Guide to the cheapest shipping options for small business

Shipping costs for small businesses can be pricy and keeping costs low can your business grow. Learn the cheapest shipping options in 2023 here.

If you’re searching for “cheap shipping for small business,” you already know shipping for small business can’t be taken for granted. Keeping shipping costs low is essential to maintaining a positive customer experience and growing your business. It might seem like your big competitors get the best shipping discounts, but discount shipping for small business is possible. In this guide, we’ll discuss the cheapest options for small business shipping, the best shipping for small business in 2023 and small business shipping solutions from Pitney Bowes.

Table of contents

  1. Shipping tips for small businesses
  2. What are the cheapest shipping options for small business?
  3. The cheapest shipping options by weight
  4. The cheapest shipping options by speed
  5. The cheapest international shipping options
  6. How to reduce small business shipping costs
  7. Reduce your package weight
  8. Choose the right-sized packaging
  9. Monitor rate changes
  10. Consider PitneyShip to cut carrier costs

Shipping tips for small businesses

Shipping for small business may be your only physical point of contact with a customer. Here are some tips on small business shipping that can help you make a good impression.

Tip #1 Look for lower-cost shipping options

By using a lower cost delivery option, you may be able to provide free shipping to customers, which can increase your sales. Pitney Bowes offers PitneyShip® software with a built-in shipping calculator to find the lowest rate fast. With PitneyShip, you have the ability to sort by price/delivery time depending on what is being shipped and when it needs to arrive. Offering customers shipping options at different price points can help close a sale. By leveraging multiple shipping carriers, you’ll have the right options during peak holiday season or when other macro environment events are happening (strikes, pandemic, labor shortages, etc.) to avoid business disruptions and protect client experiences.

Tip #2 Communicate with customers and set delivery expectations

Understand shipping timeframes and communicate them to customers in multiple places on your website and other channels of communication like email and social. With PitneyShip, tracking notifications can automatically be sent to the recipient by including their email address information. This can help reduce the number of customer inquiries and provide a better overall experience. A customer who knows when their package is expected to be delivered is typically a happy customer.

Tip #3 Enhance your brand experience

For small businesses, it’s important to stand out from the crowd. For expensive items, choose expedited shipping to meet customer expectations. Customers also want a pleasant unboxing experience. Small physical details like personalized notes, branded packaging or shipping labels can set your company apart. The intangibles matter too. A reliable technology and logistics partner often goes unnoticed to customers when things run smoothly, but when something goes wrong, customer pain points are highlighted. That can be stressful, but PitneyShip simplifies the entire process. You can access carrier discounts, rate shop across carriers and track all your orders and carriers in one location.

What are the cheapest shipping options for small business?

The answer to “cheap shipping for small business” can be complex. The cheapest shipping options will vary based on your package dimensions, weight, delivery speed, origin and destination. We’ll compare the best options from USPS, UPS, FedEx and DHL for discount shipping for small business. Note that the tables below show retail rates, and Pitney Bowes negotiated rates will generally be lower.

The cheapest shipping options by weight

For “cheap shipping for small business,” the weight of your package will have a big impact on your shipping cost. We’ll compare your options across carriers for several common package weights to help you find discount shipping for small business. Be aware that both UPS and FedEx charge for “dimensional weight,” so if your package is large or oversized, the shipping rate will be much higher.

Partnering with Pitney Bowes can give you access to discounts that you can’t access as an individual or low-volume shipper. Our partnerships leverage volume to provide pre-negotiated prices to small businesses. To give you a rough idea, here are retail rates for shipping a package from New York to Los Angeles with delivery within 5 days. Pitney Bowes rates are generally lower.







> 1lb





> 5lb





> 10lb





> 50lb





Cheapest shipping options by speed

The cheapest way to ship packages varies based on the shipping speed required. We’ll cover the differences between 2–3 day shipping options and overnight options to help you find “cheap shipping for small business.” Note that the tables below show retail rates for a hypothetical 1lb package shipped from New York to Los Angeles. Pitney Bowes negotiated rates will generally be lower (true?), providing a path to discount shipping for small business.











2–3 day





The cheapest international shipping options

When shipping internationally, shipping costs largely depend on the delivery destination and the weight of the package. “International” and “cheap shipping for small business” might seem like a contradiction, but choosing the right courier can save you money. To give you a frame of reference, we’ll compare shipping rates across carriers for a 5lb package originating in New York. These are retail rates, but keep in mind, you can get discount shipping for small business through Pitney Bowes.






















How to reduce small business shipping costs

There are few proactive strategies on how to reduce shipping cost that we’ll discuss in more detail below:

  • Reduce your package weight
  • Choose the right-sized packaging
  • Monitor rate changes
  • Consider PitneyShip software to cut carrier costs

You also want to be on the lookout for human error, which can sabotage your shipping expenses. Using PitneyShip software can help you avoid costly mistakes like not weighing items properly or inputting incorrect weight and dimensions. PitneyShip takes the mystery out of carriers’ dimensional weight or cubic pricing methods of calculating cost based on package dimensions and weight. As rate changes happen, you’ll always see the total cost for deliveries, including surcharges, with no surprises.

Another costly error? Incomplete or incorrect addresses. Address correction can cost nearly $20 for a single package. PitneyShip has address verification built in.

Pitney Bowes clients also benefit from our partnership with USPS that offers you the best in-market rates through the Connect eCommerce program. You’ll save up to 89% off retail post office rates with PitneyShip software solutions. In addition, PitneyShip gives you access to discounted UPS shipping rates of up to 78% off UPS Ground® package delivery.

Reduce your package weight

Be strategic about the materials you use to pack and ship and the savings can add up over time:

  • Choose a corrugated box that is stronger and lighter than a regular cardboard box.
  • Use a lightweight packing material like air pillows to protect items from shifting.
  • Design a custom shipping package that closely fits the shape and size of your items.

Read on for more ideas on how to reduce shipping cost.

Choose the right-sized packaging

Another idea on how to reduce shipping cost is to match your item to the packaging:

  • Use flat-rate shipping when possible. USPS Priority Mail® flat rate boxes are often the best value.
  • UPS and DHL also have shipping options that include free packaging.
  • Keep in mind that some carriers use the dimensional weight of your package to calculate cost.
  • You might not need a box at all. A poly mailer or a padded envelope could serve your purpose and save you money.

Monitor rate changes

If you’re being conscientious about how to reduce shipping cost, be aware that rate changes happen multiple times throughout the year, and USPS, UPS, DHL and FedEx each issue their own updates. PitneyShip software accounts for these changes so you always have the most accurate and up-to-date information. And when rates decrease, you can rest assured that Pitney Bowes will pass those savings along to you.

Consider PitneyShip to cut carrier costs

Pitney Bowes shipping software can cut carrier costs and save your small business money. PitneyShip® software gives you access to discounted shipping rates, sends your customers tracking notifications by email and automatically keeps you up to date on rate changes.