8 Cheapest Yet Effective Tips to Ship Large Oversized Packages


8 Cheapest Yet Effective Tips to Ship Large Oversized Packages

Have you gone through the trials and tribulations of shipping big bulky shipments?

Shipping large items can be a costly affair for businesses. Besides the higher shipping costs, over-dimensional packages also come with a multitude of other challenges like storage space, handling, and transportation. 

In other words, an oversized package equals amplified troubles for your business.

Thankfully, we have outlined some tips and tricks that can ease some of your burdens while dealing with large and heavy shipments. Keep reading to know the cheapest ways to ship large packages and also other important considerations while handling these shipments. 

What Qualifies as a Large/Oversized Package?

There’s no standard definition for large or oversized packages in the shipping industry. By and large, most carriers have their own criteria to qualify a shipment as oversized. 

However, let’s refer to three major global carriers to get a basic idea. 



UPS would subject your package to Over Maximum Limits charge if: 

  • Your package weighs more than 150 lbs (68 kgs)

  • Your package exceeds the combined size of 165 inches (419 cms) in length and girth 

  • Your package measures more than 108 (274 cms) inches in length 


FedEx applies oversized package fees if your packages have a girth dimension of more than 130 inches.

Further, FedEx would consider your shipment as freight if:

  • It’s heavier than 150 lbs (68 kgs)

  • It measures more than 165 inches (419 cms) in combined length and girth dimensions


DHL keeps things a little simple. They charge you an oversize package cost if your shipment weighs more than 70 kgs (154 lbs) or any of the dimensions exceed 120 cms (47 inches). 

Moreover, all the above carriers also compare the package weight with its volumetric weight (detailed discussion in next section) and charge on whichever is higher. 

What to Consider When Shipping Oversized Packages?

Oversized packages are not defined just by their dimensions. A small package that exceeds the weight limit criteria of a carrier is also considered oversize and they come with handling challenges for the sellers and carriers alike. 

Therefore, you must consider the below factors while shipping large or heavy packages.

Volumetric Weight

Volumetric weight — also known as dimensional weight in some countries — accounts for the volume of the package. The carriers started charging on this weight as they were losing a lot of revenue in shipping large items that weighed too little. 

For example, the package containing a five feet tall stuffed toy would not weigh much but it’ll occupy a lot of space in the shipping vehicle. Hence, the carriers would calculate its volumetric weight and charge shipping costs on it if it’s more than the normal weight of the package. 

Here’s how you can calculate the volumetric weight of your shipment:  


                    (Length x Width x Depth)

Volumetric Weight = ——————————————————


*most companies use numeric value 5000 as a divisor


Fragility of Shipment

If your product is delicate or vulnerable to damage during shipping & handling, consider a logistic company that has expertise in transporting such specialised services. Although they would charge extra and your shipping costs may go up, it’s still worth it. 

Origin and Destination Location

Whether you’re shipping a large oversized or a small parcel, the origin and destination of the shipment directly affect the transportation costs. Most carriers define their shipping zones and charge accordingly. Farther the distance, the more you’d pay. 

Type of Shipping Service

Every carrier has its own set of rules and regulations when it comes to shipping large items. Also, account for the urgency of the service you need. For instance, same day or next day delivery will cost you extra than the regular delivery. 

Proper Packaging

Shipping large items require extra care in packaging for reasons such as:

  • Product safety

  • Handlers’ safety, and

  • Safety of the transport vehicle

Hence, it’s best that you let the logistic company do the packaging since they are experts at packaging, handling, and transporting such shipments.


While you may want to deliver goods to your customers as quickly as you can, just keep in mind that over-dimensional packages may take 10+ days to reach the destination. In some cases, it may also take up to 14 days, as compared to 2-3 days for normal parcels. 


Hence, ensure that you promise delivery dates wisely and also prepare your customers for any further delays that may happen.  

How to Ship Heavy Items

Shipping heavy packages may look like a daunting task. But as they say “Inch by inch, it’s a cinch”.

With that said, we have outlined some simple suggestions that can make this task doable, if not easy.

Freight Shipping

Freight is usually referred to as bulk transportation of goods. If your package is heavy enough, carriers may accept it as freight shipping. While most shipping companies consider any shipment that weighs above 150 lbs (68 kgs) as freight, you must check with the service provider to gain the price advantage. 

Pay the Extra Fee

The other way to ship a heavy package is by paying the surcharge or extra fees to the carrier. While it may not be the best option, you can consider it when you want to deliver the package on priority. 

Divide the Package

Is it possible for you to divide your shipment into multiple smaller packages? Let’s say you’re shipping a heavy machine. In this case, dismantling the equipment and packaging the parts separately may save you from overweight and oversize surcharges. 


However, you must consult your carrier for the possibility of freight shipping before you dismantle the machine as multiple parcel charges may exceed freight costs. 

Choose a 3PL Partner

If you are shipping heavy items recurringly, then bringing a third-party logistics (3PL) partner on board can solve most of your supply chain problems. Since 3PL service providers are logistical experts, they not only deliver your heavy shipments efficiently but also help you bring your costs down owing to their vast network and liaisons. 

Things to Do Before Shipping Large Packages

If you have been shipping goods for a while, you would have already dealt with logistical challenges such as damages and losing items in transit.  

While you can not completely eliminate these occurrences, you can always act proactively and minimise the costs of such damages. Here’s what you can do:

Get Cover for Loss and Damage

Large items may not get lost very easily, but they carry a greater risk of being damaged or causing damage to third-party property, handlers, carriers, etc. 

While the shipping companies have their safeguards against such collateral and financial losses, you should also consider protection plans for your shipments. Agreed, it may add some extra expenses but it’ll be much cheaper as compared to the product replacement costs. 

Pay Attention to Packaging

As the large packages are considered as special logistics, pay close attention to your carrier’s packaging requirements such as dimensions, material strength, acceptable cushioning etc. 

Some carriers prefer their own packaging to transport special category shipments. In fact, it’s better if you take the packing service of logistics or shipping company as they can secure your parcel more efficiently. 

Implement Tracking Systems

Tracking your shipments serves the following purposes:

  • You’re always aware of the progress or hiccups happening during the fulfilment process

  • You can enhance customer experience by keeping them updated on the delivery milestones

  • Continuous tracking reduces the chances of the shipment being misrouted or delayed


If you have partnered with a 3PL service, you get access to their state-of-the-art order management and tracking software that not only updates progress on your systems in real-time but also informs your customers.  

Confirm Delivery

Before you ship a large or heavy package, it’s advisable that you talk to the customer and verify the shipping address that you have on your records. It’s because you don’t want reverse logistics on such packages. It can put a huge dent in your profit margin. 

Once the package is delivered, take delivery confirmation with recipient details and save it in your records. It’s not just for information purposes, you may require these details in case there’s a need to raise an indemnity claim. 

Cheapest Ways to Ship Large Packages

Now that we have discussed what all to consider and how to ship heavy and oversized packages, it’s time to learn some tips that can help you save shipping costs on these shipments. 

Here they are.  

Compare Shipping Service Providers

The first things first. Keep the following shipment details handy:

  • Package dimensions and weight

  • Origin and destination countries, cities, and postcodes

  • Package content and its estimated value

Now, one by one visit the websites of carriers like FedEx, DHL, Australian Post, etc. and find out the shipping costs. Then compare all the quotes and go ahead with the most affordable price. 

Alternatively, you can log into the site of freight resellers like Pack & Send and fill in the above details in their shipping cost calculator for larger goods. They will find all the available options and offer you a personalised quote.

Consider Freight Shipping

Most carriers charge lower rates for freight shipping as compared to regular parcels. This can help you avoid overweight and oversize surcharges. 

For example, UPS offers the freight shipping option in the shipping cost calculator on their site.


Similarly, check with other carriers that specialise in freight delivery and calculate if it’s cheaper than normal parcel service. 

Minimize Volumetric Weight Charges

Shipping large items usually cost more due to their volumetric weight. For instance, your shipment weighs 20 kgs but its volumetric weight comes to 35 kgs. In this case, you’ll be charged 35 kgs.

However, you can try to reduce your volumetric weight by:

  • Reducing package size: If the contents are packed in a box bigger than the minimum required size, it’ll cost you more. So, pack your product in the smallest box that’s just enough to contain it. 
  • Requesting carrier to adjust divisor: If you ship in high volumes, then you can negotiate shipping rates and the dividing factor with your carrier. As we saw in the volumetric weight calculation formula, a higher divisor can result in a lower weight. 

Find Discount Shipping Supplies

There are a couple of ways to go about this. One, order the packaging materials in bulk so that you get them at a cheaper price. This can help you decrease your per shipment cost. But this option is suitable if you ship large items frequently in high quantities. Otherwise, you may end up storing unnecessary packaging inventory.

The other way is, you can ask your carrier if they can provide you with packing material at a discounted rate. 

Ask for Discounted Shipping Rates

All major shipping companies provide commercial pricing options to businesses that ship goods in high volumes. For example, UPS offers special prices for businesses

Hence, try to negotiate for discounted rates even if you’re not shipping thousands of packages every month as you don’t have anything to lose by asking for it. 

Try Prepaid Shipping Options

Shipping companies offer discounts if you purchase some quantity of shipping labels in advance. Carriers like FedEx and UPS give as much as 20% off on prepaid labels. Hence, you can buy them in advance and use them whenever you have orders to ship.

However, this is useful if you frequently ship packages of the same dimensions and weight to the same destination. So, if you’re into B2B eCommerce where you ship a fixed amount of inventory to your clients every month, you can save a lot of shipping costs with this tactic.

Decrease Shipping Distance

We know what you’re thinking! 

When we say reduce the shipping distance, we are not asking you to change the destination. Here, a 3PL partnership helps in long-term cost-saving for your business. The 3PL providers have their warehouses and fulfilment centres in multiple strategic locations. 


Thus, they store your inventory in different regions and ship from the warehouse that is nearest to the destination. This can reduce your shipping distance and when you think of hundreds and thousands of such orders, you end up saving fortunes on shipping costs. Moreover, your entire eCommerce order fulfilment process is executed by the masters of logistics. 

Educate Customers

How can educating your customers make oversized package shipping cheaper?

First, when you educate your buyers to enter their complete and precise shipping address during checkout, you can avoid extra charges resulting from failed deliveries and subsequent delivery attempts. 

Moreover, if you prepare your customers to wait a little longer, then you can:

  • Opt for an economy or standard shipping that takes longer to deliver packages

  • Look for cheaper alternative routes as sometimes direct routes may cost more

Wrapping Up

As a business, every dollar that you save in costs adds to your profits. Though it’s expensive to ship large items, you can save considerable costs by following the tips discussed in this guide.

The solutions like dividing an oversized package into multiple boxes and paying surcharges can help you in short-term or one-off shipments. However, when you’re looking at long-term and significant cost-savings, you need to consider freight shipping, 3PL partnership, and commercial pricing options. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How to ship a package that is oversized?

First, you need to check if your package falls into the oversized category. For this, you need to have the package dimensions and then check the oversize criteria of various carriers. Then select the carrier with the most competitive shipping rates and book your shipment with them. 

How much does it cost to ship a 40 pound (18 kgs) box?

Shipping costs for a 40-pound box may vary depending on the carrier you choose. Also, consider the volumetric weight of your shipment. If it exceeds 40 pounds (18 kgs), then shipping companies would charge you on volumetric weight. 

What is the least expensive way to ship large items?

Freight shipping can be a cheaper option if your package qualifies as freight. You can check this online on the carrier website or you can talk to them over the phone or in person. Also, if you are shipping large items frequently you can ask them for business prices. 

How do I reduce my shipping costs?

You can reduce your shipping costs by:

  • Commercial pricing options

  • Minimizing volumetric weight

  • Freight shipping

  • Purchasing prepaid shipping labels

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