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VeneerSupplies.com Monthly Newsletter

shipping-servicesWhy is Shipping So Expensive?
We are doing our best to fight corporate greed and keep shipping costs affordable.
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pg-boxes.jpgA significant number of "nasty-grams" regarding shipping costs have recently been sent to me by email. It is unfortunate and disheartening because we do our best to keep these costs as reasonable as possible. We have worked extensively with FedEx to get the best possible rates that a small business can earn and we pass these discounts to our customers. We have selected FedEx as our primary shipping carrier because we find they are more affordable and just as reliable as UPS.

We do not profit from shipping costs on your order. In fact, we have absorbed a loss on total shipping and packaging costs during each of the last few years in an attempt to keep your shipping cost as reasonable as possible. It's frustrating that the carriers continue to find new ways to raise rates and apply numerous surcharges to most shipments. Additionally, all of the major shipping carriers now base their charges on the weight and the size of the box. We ship a lot of large light-weight boxes containing veneer so you could be affected by the "dimensional weight" change that each carrier has forced upon us and most other small businesses.

Even worse, UPS and FedEx typically raise their rates each year in what is referred to as a GRI or general rate increase. It is disappointing that even after 2020, a year in which there was virtually no price inflation in the US, both carriers applied an increase of approximately 5% in costs! We were hit with an increase of more than 7% because we already had many discounts in place with the carrier. Many of our surcharges were increased by more than 9% and two other surcharges were increased by 80% and 157% on January 1, 2021.

The carriers apply surcharges to almost anything imaginable. Here are just some of the carrier surcharges:

  • Fuel surcharge
  • Residential delivery surcharge
  • Delivery area surcharge for rural areas
  • Extended delivery area surcharge for very rural areas
  • Additional handling surcharge for boxes over 48" in length
  • Additional handling surcharge for boxes over a certain weight
  • Peak additional handling surcharge (applied during the holiday season, but now still in place due to the pandemic)
  • Declared value surcharge
  • Daily pick-up surcharge

It is also important to know that your shipping cost includes an additional $1.35 that we add to cover the cost of the box and packaging material. This amount is $1 less than the average cost of all boxes we use each month. Small boxes can be pricey but large boxes are painfully expensive for small businesses. Additionally, you will find that we'll pack your order with more packing material and in ways which better protect your shipment than the typical online supplier. This additional material adds just a little to the shipping cost, but it appears to be a worthwhile expense based on customer comments about our packing methods.

Your shipping charge also includes insurance for full replacement value. Insurance is free on the first $100 of any box but insuring beyond that is quite expensive and it gets notably more expensive each year.

Also, the shipping carriers always round-up the weight on a box. If package weighs 2.1 lbs, then carriers make us enter it as 3 lbs. The carriers weigh each box and automatically charge our account if we record the package as having weighed less.

Our Carrier Discounts Reduce Your Shipping Cost
After countless hours spanning multiple weeks of haggling with FedEx, I was able to negotiate a decent discount on ground shipments and I've coded our website to pass every bit of the discount on to our customers. We are incredibly fortunate to have a really good FedEx representative who, unlike our former rep from UPS, has been able to give us very good discounts and continues to look for additional ways to reduce your shipping cost.

In regard to the dimensional weight scheme, we are doing everything possible to reduce your shipping cost and we have implemented a plan to make sure you never pay too much.

But our website's ability to calculate your shipping cost is not perfect. So we always issue a store credit if the actual shipping charge is significantly less than the amount calculated by the website software during checkout. Again, we do not and will not ever profit from your shipping cost.

But Amazon Ships for Free Right?
Anyone who compares us to the world's largest and most profitable company should have their head examined. Don't even bother to email me a complaint about shipping if you are planning to compare our shipping costs to Amazon.

Some Final Thoughts...
Many of the unpleasant email messages we get start with "your shipping costs are too high", but it is not our shipping cost. I promise that we are doing our best to keep costs as low as possible and so I highly encourage you to send an email to FedEx or UPS or USPS to complain since ultimately it is their prices that can seem too high.

FedEx surcharges add up to a lot of money. I've seen heavy orders ship to distant states in the US for the same cost as smaller orders shipped to states that are not so distant. I believe this is caused by extended delivery area surcharges. In other words, if you live in a very rural area then the shipping cost could be much more than for those living in a city.

Lastly, I want to point out that shipping prices reflect a tremendous amount of time, talent, and technology. Stop and think about how much effort and resources are used to get a box from one location to another. The local delivery drivers, the long-haul drivers, the hub employees, and the administrative staff for any shipping company must be extensive. A lot goes into getting a box from point A to point B and it is easy to overlook just how much it takes to deliver a box in light of the shipping cost.