What Is a Volume Discount? Shipping Discounts Explained

You’re probably familiar with the phrase “buying in bulk,” meaning someone is purchasing a lot of something so that the per-unit price will be lower. Why does this tactic work? If a book costs $5, why would buying 100 of them mean they now cost $4 each? 

Buying at scale changes associated costs. The seller doesn’t have to ship each book to 100 different locations; they can put them in one big box and send them to one customer. Additionally, the seller likes making a large sum of money all at once, and if they can entice customers to spend that much, they’ll offer good deals to do so.

Delivery companies offer volume shipping rates because it’ll give them a set amount of business from a client, allowing them to plan a shipping routine around the client. Volume shipping rates reduce costs per delivery because it takes fewer trips with fewer vehicles and employees. Additionally, shipping discounts incentivize consistent business. So what is a volume discount practically? A way for high-volume sellers to save money.

How Do Volume Discounts Work for Shipping?

Each shipping company will have its own volume shipping or bulk shipping rates. They’ll set a threshold for the number of items, the total volume of items, and/or the weight of items their customers need to send at a time. For a more extreme example, real bulk shipping, the kind that occurs on cargo ships, loads huge quantities of goods directly without any packing or packaging.

Essentially, shipping companies want shipments to be worth their while, and the more they can carry at one time, the better.

Volume Discount Shipping Example

To expand on the book example, let’s dig deeper into what is a volume discount.

Suppose that you’re selling books, and you ship them off one at a time. Each time you have to ship off a book, you put it into a box, and the shipping company comes and picks it up from you. After doing this process for 100 books, it’s easy to see how this would get expensive and use a lot of materials. 

Now, imagine making a single sale of 100 books at once. Instead of each book getting put into an individual box, they can go in the same box. The shipping company makes one trip instead of a hundred. 

Although that single box weighs a lot and takes up more space, that’s made up for because the shipping company uses fewer resources. In this case, you’ll be charged far less by the shipping company, which will use much less fuel, causing less wear and tear on their vehicles and using less of their employees’ time.

How to Get a Volume Discount for Shipping

Shopping around is how to get the best possible rates. You might get a great rate for a certain number of packages from one shipper, and another shipper has excellent rates for a higher or lower number of packages. It will take some research.

Understand Your Courier’s Policy

What is a volume discount as per your courier’s definition? What is their threshold, and do they count by dimensional volume, weight, and/or the number of items? If you choose Print Bind Ship for your order fulfillment, we can make this simple because we also warehouse and track your inventory. We can also sidestep having inventory at all by printing on demand. 

Don’t Be Afraid to Negotiate Shipping Rates

Shipping rates aren’t set in stone. As shipping volume increases, shippers will be more amenable to making a deal. If you’re well beyond their minimum threshold for volume discounts, they may be willing to give you further savings. 

Be Aware of Additional Charges

Some additional charges won’t exactly be advertised loudly. For example, you’ll have to pay more for items shipped on Saturday and Sunday, as well as on holidays. It’s best to ask your courier when the cheapest shipping times are so you can take advantage of them. 

Understand Package Sizing

To get the best UPS, FedEx, or Post Office discounts, you need to be familiar with package sizes. Using the 100 books example from earlier, you might be within their size limit for a given delivery tier. But by adding one more book, you’ll need to put that book into a separate box. This uses more space, which means that the delivery company can’t use that space for other packages, so they’ll charge accordingly. 

Learn your courier’s preferred package sizing to best use the space you have.

Take Advantage of Third-Party Insurance

The main way you’ll save money with third-party insurance is that it will cost far less than carrier insurance. Sometimes it’s as much as 90% cheaper. You may also get coverage in countries or regions where the shipper won’t provide protection, and you may get higher declared values, too. In many cases, you’ll be able to make claims quicker and easier as well.

Consider Print Bind Ship

Partnering with Print Bind Ship gives you worldwide access to new markets and customer bases. Because we operate globally, we can save you money on shipping by strategically placing your inventory so that your products come from the closest possible warehouse when it’s time to ship to a customer.

Of course, we can save you even more by printing on demand. If you’re selling a book to someone halfway around the world, it doesn’t make sense to print it here and deliver it all the way there. The nearest Print Bind Ship facility can print, bind, and ship the book instead.

Turn Up the Volume with Print Bind Ship

The more you ship, the more you save. Delivery companies love bulk shipping because it’s easier on them, and they’re happy to charge you less as an incentive. 

If you’re looking for low-cost worldwide shipping, then it’s time to talk to Print Bind Ship. We can get your products just about anywhere on the planet for less than what the other guys charge. If you’re ready to increase your volume, we’re ready to listen. Contact Print Bind Ship today!


What Is a Good Volume Discount?

By way of example, UPS will offer discounts of up to 50% for large-volume shipments, which is certainly beneficial!

How Can I Get Bulk Shipping Rates?

First, contact your courier to determine their bulk shipping thresholds. Don’t be afraid to negotiate.

What Is Bulk Shipping?

Bulk shipping is when a large amount of one item is delivered, often unpackaged, to cut down on shipping costs.