As any business manager will tell you, when it comes to balancing budget projections against actual costs, the devil is in the details. This is especially true when it comes to shipping, as it’s not uncommon for invoices to fluctuate from initial estimate to final receipt, often on account of surcharges known commonly as accessorial fees.
These “hidden” costs are what show up on invoices as surcharges in addition to the negotiated price when extra services are required. These fees can run the gamut, both in their cost and the complexity of the service, and have the potential to make seemingly affordable shipment costs inefficient once they start to pile on.
Even minor errors can reap major costs
For instance, imagine a flat or parcel is labelled and sent off with an incomplete or even slightly incorrect address. The error may be as minor as a missing apartment number or an incomplete ZIP code, but it’s a standard practice for most carriers to correct the error on the label before completing the transaction, even if the mistake is relatively inconsequential to the package’s delivery.
Making this correction is standard practice and will be done at the expense of the shipper, who will likely find out about the surcharge as an unpleasant surprise on their invoice. These are hardly inconsequential charges for most carriers.
When these charges add up unexpectedly, they can eat into any projected revenues fast. A business may have strong sales leading up to the holidays, for instance, but a minor labelling defect could leave that business on the hook for a bevy of accessorial fees after shipments are out, forcing them to change their budget forecasts and reign in their holiday cheer.
Accessorial fees a burden on budgets and efficiency
These fees don’t just come about due to simple mistakes or human error, either. Residential Delivery Surcharges, for instance, can be applied simply to a shipment that’s being delivered to a home. Doubling down on that, an additional accessorial fee can be applied on top of the residential surcharge based upon “extended distance” for delivery if a shipment is going to what a carrier deems is a rural area.
It’s not just the cost of the surcharges that can be so frustrating for shippers, but the hassle of having to reevaluate spreadsheets, track down where fees were accrued and scrutinize invoices. It can be maddening when the actual costs for shipping don’t align with business projections.
To take the guess work out of shipping, businesses need to find a trusted partner who can provide price certainty. At Pitney Bowes, we believe that the best way to do this is to eliminate accessorial fees altogether. By estimating shipping costs with the greatest accuracy possible, the price that we quote will be the final one. No confusing billing statements to waste time sorting through.
Want to avoid price uncertainty for your flats and bound printed matter? Learn how our presort services help businesses take the guess work out of their costs by delivering price certainty Visit www.pb.com/us/bpm to learn more.