Understand Dimensional Weight for Smoother Package Forwarding
Have you ever wondered why it sometimes costs more to ship something than you might have expected? If you’re shipping an item that is light in weight but large in size, your shipping cost will probably be calculated based on dimensional weight, not the actual weight.
What is dimensional weight? Dimensional weight is a way to calculate the shipping cost of a package based on a “theoretical weight” rather than its gross weight. It’s necessary for carriers to use dimensional weight when determining shipping costs because packages that are very large but not very dense will take up a lot of cargo space that could be used for heavier (and more expensive) packages. (You can see the “secret formula” for calculating dimensional weight here.)
How You Can Use Dimensional Weight to Save Money on Package Forwarding
Sometimes consumers feel that dimensional weight is unfair. “My package hardly weighs anything, why should I pay extra just because it’s big?” they say. But if you calculate dimensional weight ahead of time, you can actually use it to your advantage.
Let’s say you buy a new pillow. It’s the softest, lightest, fluffiest pillow in the world, and the only way to get it is to buy it from the US and ship it internationally. It only weighs 1lb, but the dimensions are 18″ x 12″ x 6″, which gives it a dimensional weight of 10lbs! Yikes!
But here’s the good news. The difference between the 1lb actual weight and 10lb dimensional weight is 9lbs of free international shipping. Since you have to pay for a 10lb shipment, in any case, it means you can take your new pillow, consolidate with other packages (smaller, heavier ones), and the shipping cost won’t increase, as long as the actual weight remains below 10lbs.
Here’s another example: popcorn. The Great American Popcorn Works makes some of the tastiest snacks in the US. 🙂 But gourmet popcorn by the bag has a low density and the dimensions will “eat up” your shipping costs. However, if you include a hand-cranked stove-top popcorn popper with your order, you can increase the overall weight of your package and ship two for the price of one.
Size Matters: Largest Package Forwarding Dimensions?
Most things that are very large are also very heavy. But sometimes, dimensional weight is necessary. What are some other examples of items that might be very large but very light? A box of fresh air? The world’s biggest marshmallow? Post whatever you can think of (realistic or ridiculous) in the comments section!