The Truth About Shipping Costs
Recently I have been getting several emails from people questioning the amount charged for shipping. Typically, these come from people outside the United States, but they come from people inside the US on occasion as well. All the emails usually have the same question/concern: Why the price for shipping is what it is (usually higher than they thought it would be). In this blog post, I wanted to take some time to dispel some myths about shipping and explain exactly how we get the price for shipping at UTKilts.
First, ‘Free Shipping’ is one of the biggest myths out there. One of the biggest examples of this is Amazon Prime. As many know, you get ‘free’ 2-day shipping with Prime. There are several reasons this is not true. First, you do pay a $100 a year fee to be a prime member. While that does include other things besides free shipping, it is a fee that you pay to get that free shipping. The other reason why Amazon Prime is not really ‘free’ is that the cost of shipping is included in the product itself (I have a unique perspective in that I sell products through the Amazon Prime program; known to sellers as FBA). When a product is sold, the seller of that product is charged an Amazon fee that includes a fee to pack and ship the item. This fee is on every single item that is sold under the Amazon Prime label. That means the ‘free shipping’ is not really free shipping. The cost of the shipping has been included in the cost of the product. If you order more than 1 item at a time, the fee stays the same for the seller while the shipping costs go down for Amazon. As you can see, free shipping is not what it appears to be.
Free shipping also shows up on other places besides Amazon. There are lots of retailers (including UTKilts) that offer free shipping from time to time. Typically, it involves spending a certain amount of money so that the company can make up some of the money lost on not paying for shipping. No matter which way you look at it, free shipping is just not free. In most cases it is included with the cost of the product while in others you spend more money so you can get the free shipping.
Though UTKilts occasionally offers free shipping in the US, it is not very often at all. Typically, we do have a shipping fee that is applied to each order. Many wonder how that fee is calculated. Unlike the international shipping, we have setup the shipping fee in the US manually. The reason we do this is because of flat rate boxes with USPS. We can easily calculate when the flat rate box will start to save you money based on the products and their weights. The automatic rates that are fed to the website from USPS don’t know how or when to change the box being used. For this reason, all of the shipping prices quoted for any of the US states have been manually calculated. However, as you will see in the next section, these prices are typically underquoted.
DOMESTIC US SHIPPING
The prices charged for U.S. domestic packages a have two things in play. First, at UTKilts we get special, negotiated USPS and FedEx rates through our shipping label provider. It is less than what the typical person pays at the counter or even online. For example, a medium flat rate box (which is what we use to ship one, two, or sometimes three kilts) costs 13.45 at the counter or online from usps.com. Our cost to ship the same package is 11.60. The automatic rates that can be fed to my website do not account for our discount, which is another reason we do not use them. That leads us to the second reason for our shipping prices. If you have ever ordered a kilt from us and medium flat rate was the best option for your zip code, you will notice that you were charged 10.50 for shipping costs. That is the exact same price we started with over 6 years ago. We are very hesitant to raise rates and usually keep rates the same and take the hit on our end. This means that not only are you getting a great price, but UTKilts is covering a portion of the shipping costs for you.
For international shipping, things are a little bit different. First, we rarely can use a flat rate box to save money shipping abroad. Second, USPS does not give us any discount for shipping internationally. Therefore, we do use the automatic shipping costs that are fed to the website from USPS or FedEx. This means that if you are anywhere outside the United States, the rate that you are getting quoted for shipping is the exact rate that we pay when we ship it. If you go to usps.com, you can easily verify the shipping cost to your country. However, that does not include the 3rd party insurance we always put on our packages that are shipping internationally. That insurance is around $1.25 per kilt you order. This means that even with international orders you are still not paying the full cost to have it shipped to you.
Many people still do send emails questioning the rates being charged to them. If we had a better, less expensive way to ship internationally, we would most definitely use it. We always pose the question to each person that questions the amount charged: “Do you have a lesser expensive option we can use?” If there is a better way, we are always open to improving our service. However, we have yet to get an answer to this question. That is most likely due to the fact that we have looked for less expensive options and have not been able to find them. However, we are always open to someone letting us know about a better way to ship their item.
No one likes to pay shipping. We understand that. However, at UTKilts we take the time and resources to make sure you do not pay more for shipping than is necessary. Go ahead, take a look at the site. We think you will agree that not only do we have amazing prices on our products, but shipping costs are extremely reasonable as well.