Dimensional Weight: What it is & How it Works

Dimensional weight pricing allows merchants to pay for the space a shipment occupies on a delivery truck, rather than its weight. Ideal for larger packages of lighter weight, dimensional weight pricing can save you on shipping– depending, of course, on what you’re sending. 

Dimensional Weight Calculation 

All air freight and most ground freight carriers now require declared dimensions. You calculate dimensional weight by multiplying a package’s length by its width, and then by its height. Dividing this measurement by 1728 (because there are 1,728 inches in a cubic foot) determines whether the package is larger than one cubic foot. 

If your calculation is less than one square foot, you most likely don’t have to worry about dimensional weight. However, shipping providers require different criteria for their dimensional weight thresholds.  Make sure you understand the provider’s shipment weight criteria. 

Nevertheless, a merchant is required to pay the higher of the two rates determined by each weight calculation. In other words, you can’t get away with overpacking. So whichever shipping provider you use, rest assured they will charge you the appropriate amount based on their requirements.

Declaring the Right Weight

Declaring dimensional weight can be crucial for a small business depending on how much you ship on a daily or weekly basis. That’s because most shipping carriers charge a fee if you’re utilizing their dimensional weight shipping without declaring dimensional weight. These fees can add up quickly. 

Let’s assume your business ships 80 units every week and, on average, there’s typically a 25% discrepancy in the dimensional declaration. For each of these oversights, your carrier charges a subsequent $5 fee. This can quickly add up to hundreds of dollars a month.

Carriers use an automated system to scan and weigh packages as they’re being processed. Your provider will confirm if there is a miscalculation with the dimensional (or physical) weight for a package. Regardless, accounting for these errors impacts the carrier’s operational efficiency, which is then passed down to you as a fee(s). 

When weighing your shipping options, make sure you’re partnering with the right shipping service. ShipTime, for example, allows you to enter box dimensions and package weight for accurate rate quoting. And the dashboard speeds your shipping quote with predefined box sizes. 

The ShipTime search engine aggregates data to find you the best shipping rates available. Finding you the best possible shipping rates, ShipTime provides all relevant shipping information on one screen. Working with the most accredited shipping providers, they also help you take the hassle out of your shipment operations with customer-centric services. 

The ShipTime dashboard solution also provides predefined incentive rewards and the “My Pickups” functionality, allowing you to see scheduled pickups and times. They cover all your bases when it comes to efficient tracking and delivery.  

Learn more here.