As we near the beginning of fall, the holidays are coming up just around the corner. Around that time of year, shippers always ask us what the best way to ship wreaths is with the US Postal Service. While the best way to ship anything is to typically access USPS discounts with shipping software, boxes containing wreaths and other large, lightweight items always get hit with high dimensional weight charges. Therefore, you probably won’t be able to save much money here by buying postage with shipping software, if any at all. Get ready to deck the halls and get into the nitty gritty details with us…but stay alert! Your shipping costs may be a lot higher than you expect.
What is Dimensional Weight and Why Does it Apply to Shipping Wreaths?
Paying based on your package’s dimensional weight means that you pay for the space the box takes up, rather than how much it actually weighs. In essence, if you’ve got a big, lightweight box, carriers calculate the shipping costs based on its dimensional weight.
For example, let’s say you’re shipping a 2-pound box with a wreath that measures 25×2522″. In this case, carriers will actually treat your box as if it weighs 83 pounds instead of 2 pounds, due to its dimensional weight. Here’s how to calculate the dimensional weight, or DIM, of a box:
(Length x Width x Height)/166 = DIM
So, the dimensional weight of your box comes out to: (25 x 25 x 22)/166 = 82.83 (83 pounds rounded up)
No matter if you use shipping software or go to the Post Office, shipping rates are the same for Retail Ground and Parcel Select Ground when dimensional weight comes into play. Therefore, you may as well still buy your postage with online shipping software and skip the line at the Post Office, anyway.
This is an Exception, Not the Norm
Please note that this is a very, very rare exception to the rule. 99% of the time, it’s much cheaper to buy labels online with shipping software. Shipping software companies allow you to access the deepest level of USPS discounts possible—at least, the good ones do, anyway. These discounts are called USPS Commercial Pricing. The Postal Service typically reserves these savings for huge commercial shippers sending over 50,000 packages per year. However, some of the best shipping software companies pass those savings down to you for free!
Properly Packaging Wreaths
Wreaths aren’t exactly the most fragile items, but you also don’t want them to receive damage during transit. Therefore, it’s important to use a strong corrugated box instead of a large envelope or poly mailer. You can also protect the wreaths by using different kinds of packing material such as wrapping them in foam paper, and using air pillows to fill space inside the package.
Don’t Forget the Insurance
Keep in mind that USPS Retail Ground service doesn’t include any built-in shipping insurance. Therefore, we suggest paying a couple of extra bucks to add insurance onto your package. It’s always a good idea to protect your packages with shipping insurance, especially when they’ll be traveling USPS Retail Ground. Retail Ground packages tend to get damaged much more than packages in other USPS mail classes, since they’re right alongside heavier, bulky packages that move around a lot during transit.
Purchasing shipping insurance is 100% worth it to protect your packages against damages of any kind during transit. As we always like to say around here, “Protect yourself before you wreck yourself!”