Calculate shipping costs

How are shipping costs calculated?

20th October 2022, 9:09am in Shipping Advice by Amy Newham

We've spoken about what factors to consider when choosing a courier service, but it's understandable to be curious about how courier services determine their prices.

Interparcel's online booking and comparison tool makes it easy to filter results by services, price and speed, but how are shipping costs calculated?

Whether you want to understand shipping costs for your business or as an individual sender, you've come to the right place. Here's a breakdown of delivery costs to help you understand what you're actually paying for.

What makes up the overall shipping cost?

No two parcels are the same, so our courier services aren't either. Parcel delivery costs are determined by various factors, including dimensions, weight, speed and destination country. Let's look into these elements in more detail…

Consignment size and weight

Measure shipment for delivery

The size and weight of a package is the initial deciding factor when providing a delivery quote. Typically, the larger the shipment, the higher the shipping cost – especially if it's big and bulky. However, at Interparcel, we welcome parcels of all sizes; large and heavy, small and light, or long!

Packaging your parcel efficiently is vital to keep your costs down and protect your item for transit. For example, underfilled boxes are prone to collapse. Our Smart Boxing feature can help you sufficiently package imported Shipping Manager shipments into as few boxes as possible. You can set up the regular boxes you use in seconds.

The distance the parcel has to travel

Generally, the further a parcel travels, the more expensive the delivery. Sending a package domestically is typically cheaper than shipping to the other side of the globe.

Our longstanding partnership with globally-recognised couriers means we can offer fantastic courier services at discounted prices. Our UK courier services start from £1.75 + VAT, whereas international delivery services start from £8.85.

However, all parcels entering another country will have to clear Customs which can mean extra charges. Any applicable customs charges are excluded from the initial quote. We will discuss potential customs charges later in this blog.

Type and speed of service

In a digital world where customers expect their orders to arrive sooner rather than later, delivery speed is an important factor to consider. Faster delivery services like Next Day and Express will cost more than Economy but are better suited for urgent shipments. Alternatively, Drop Off services are usually cheaper than Collection services, as you're not paying for the courier to collect from a specific address.

Shipping fees

In addition to the above costs, the final price incorporates additional fees carriers charge on top of the basic cost of transporting an item. To simplify, we build in any congestion, covid, fuel, peak and residential surcharges into our display price. For example, fuel charges can fluctuate massively because of the changing price of petrol for lorries and air freight. However, we work all this out for you, so the price you see is the price you pay- simple!

Optional transit cover

Additional surcharges

You can choose to pay extra for enhanced transit cover to protect your parcel against potential loss or damage. Enhanced transit cover is available to purchase during the booking stage for a small fee. We recommend you purchase additional cover for valuable items or if the value of your consignment exceeds the value of the free transit cover.

Learn more about the ins and outs of transit cover in our latest blog.

Additional Surcharges

Surcharges represent any additional administrative costs made by the carriers which Interparcel may incur. They are not penalties imposed with Interparcel.

Examples include:

  • If the consignment is unavailable for collection
  • If the receiver refuses to take delivery of the goods and the parcel needs to be returned
  • If the consignment is heavier or larger than stated by the booker when quoted and booked - the size booked must include all appropriate packaging, not the size of the item before packaging
  • Customs clearance

Surcharges are not included in the initial quote and are payable while the parcel is in transit or after delivery. For overseas shipments, you are pre-paying for the outward postage charges of your package only. Interparcel has no control over any Customs queries, delays or expenses that may arise. Any applicable customs charges are not included in the original quote and will be billed to the receiver.

For more information on surcharges, please see our Terms and Conditions.

How to effectively manage shipping costs

We hope this article has helped to explain the different factors that make-up shipping costs. Booking a parcel delivery through a multicarrier solution like Interparcel means you can enjoy hassle-free sending at discounted prices.

Auto select shipping services

The Advanced Shipping Manager lets you streamline parcel delivery with fantastic features. Enable the 'Auto Select Shipping Service' option in Settings and define your shipping rules to speed up order processing and save precious time:

  • Choose your own list of preferred services
  • Ask to select the cheapest service
  • Ask to select the first matched service
  • Automatically choose the correct collection date

As well as this, setting up a free Interparcel account gives you access to:

Get a quote for your parcel today and browse our range of UK and international parcel delivery services. If you need help, our customer service team is here seven days a week to assist via telephone, live chat, and email!

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