http://www.smartlinc.net/index.html Try looking into this service. Also, I`ve heard of a shipping service (can`t remember the name) that "Bulk Ships" from many different vendors, and at a lower-rate. (sort of a co-op type thing). It is intended to provide bulk-rate-pricing to low-volume small business. I believe that all shipments are sent to a primary location first, prior to being sent to their intended destination.
I am not an offical expert, but I have been shipping products for over 10 years, so here`s my 2 cents:
Shipping rates and discounts generally go by vloume, however, if you can project a certain volume (ie 20 ground packes per x, 10 letters per x, etc.) you can get a rep to work the numbers a bit for you, if you can commit to shipping with them.
if you are shipping COD : I recommend Fedex as COD comes back the next day, as opposed to most other companies like UPS (they send you check back snail mail, go figure)
if you are shipping a lot of little packages: UPS ground has the best software and integration options and the prices aren`t too bad, USPS is also reasonable, but if you need advanced tracking options it can work out to be more expensive, however, USPS does have free pickup.
If you ship a lot of big packages, use Fedex ground, their rates are better but the labeling is a bit archaic and the pick up must be ordered a day in advance
Smaller contractors like MSAS may be good for overseas and local shipping companies might be better for local deliveries.
Hope this helps!
Who you use to deliver your orders and why you use them is a very important decision. Especially, today when on-line companies are finding they have to absorb the costs so they can offer free shipping to compete with brick and mortar stores. Things in the shipping industry are changing daily and smart shippers stay flexible and watch their shipping charges closely.
I have spent the last 23 years helping all types of businesses figure out software and tracking solutions to solve these questions. They all have some similarities but they all differ a lot too. The important thing to remember is to use the most reliable service at the best price for each package you ship while staying totally flexible. Another point is to shop around and stay informed. SUN is a great place for that!
Here are some good points to consider when you are reviewing your shipping methods.
1) Stay flexible and shop around. It is wrong to assume that all carrier charges are the same for every location you ship your packages to. The more choices you have the more likely you are to save.
2) Make sure all the services you think your need -- are the services you really need. Many times 2 and 3 day services are just as good as over night services when customers need things fast. Many time ground services will arrive in one day. There are a lot of things you need to consider and when you do, you save.
3) Keep your automation under your control. The single carrier software you receive from a carrier is an attempt to keep you from using other services. They know the effort you take to link their software to yours will keep you from switching. You just won’t want to go through it every time prices go up. Many people feel that a business receives better pricing from a carrier when you use their software. This is just the opposite of what our customers and industry experts say. In fact, we have been told that having the ability to switch at any time can yield in great rates from the carriers. Of course there are a lot of factors involved in good rates including volume and insurance claims.
4) Look at all your costs. Many carriers charge you after the fact for daily pickup charges, address correction fees, fuel service charges and many other special services that are billed after the fact. This is where many lose as they do not charge enough for freight to cover them at the time an order is processed. Many of these charges can be more than the shipping charges themselves.
5) Tell the carriers the truth. Many feel if they tell the carriers they plan on huge volumes to get better rates. This is a practice that will back fire on you. Many agreements have penalties and this practice will kill future negotiations. Instead be honest and get the best rates you can, if you do better you can always go back and renegotiate. Even if you do get good rates and can meet commitments, be sure to keep checking competitive rates as they are constantly changing and it may pay to switch.
These are just a few things one should consider and since I am involved in this industry and I do not want to turn this into a sales pitch, I will be happy to answer any questions about shipping parcels privately. Just send me an email.