Shipping Tips & Solutions

Shipping Small Items? Here are the Cheapest Options

Shipping small packages for your online store? In this article, we cover the best courier options and the cheapest ways to ship your package in 2020.
Shipping Small Items? Here are the Cheapest Options

By Jules


October 13, 2020

It’s been a long year of staying in, but one way that many people have passed the time during an otherwise bleak year has been through picking up hobbies. From fire escape gardens and clay earrings to bread making and knitting, there’s so much you can do inside!

But, if we’re going to be honest, no one really needs a whole closet full of chunky, hand knit scarves and hats. Why not turn your hobby into a side hustle with an eCommerce store? There’s a reason, after all, that Etsy has seen its best-ever sales during the pandemic.  

Make things, have fun, sell things, bring joy, earn money. That’s a win-win-win-win. Right? Not entirely. Experienced and novice sellers alike are aware that shipping costs can add up to a small fortune if you're not careful. Even, ironically, for small packages.

Whether you’re shipping domestically within the US or overseas, this article will help you figure out how to ship small items, the different carrier services available, and how you can leverage Easyship's shipping tools to find the cheapest way to mail a small package.

How to Ship Small Items

Shipping doesn't have to be a hassle. To ensure that you know what you’re doing and are making informed decisions, do your research before even looking at the packing tape.

  • Package Your Items Properly: We’re starting at the beginning, as it were.. Though most small items have their own packaging, it is always good to add your own custom packaging to aid in  branding efforts and further cushion the item from any form of damage should it be fragile
  • Take Measurements: You’ll need to know the exact dimensions of your package when calculating shipping rates for small package shipping. It is especially important that you take accurate measurements so that you know the length, width, and height of your package. When divided by  a cubic number, you’re recording the volumetric or dimensional weight. This measures how much space a parcel takes up. For small packages, there is a slimmer margin for error, so accuracy really matters.
  • Weigh Your Package: You will need to know the exact weight of your package. Small packages are usually weighed in pounds or ounces given their size. This is called the dead weight, in logistical terms.
  • Calculate Rates: Now that you know the exact dimensional and dead weight of your package, all you need to do is enter the weight, origin and destination address of your package on our shipping rates calculator. This will automatically tabulate full, accurate shipping for you.
  • Book and Pay: Once chosen a courier based on price, simply hit the “Ship” button to book your shipment and complete the payment.
  • Print Your Shipping Label and Send the Package: The next step is to print your shipping labels, along with any customs paperwork when shipping small packages overseas. Then, you’ll use good quality, transparent adhesive tape to secure your printed shipping labels and customs documents to the side of your package. Finally,  drop at the nearest courier location or wait for the  next pick up.

Shipping International? Remember to Determine Customs

If you’re shipping internationally, the last thing you want is your goods to be stuck in customs. To circumvent this unfortunate series of events, you’ll want to take care  of taxes and duties ahead of time.

There are two kinds: Delivery duty unpaid (DDU) which means the customer is paying those all-dreaded hidden fees and Delivery duty paid (DDP) which means the merchant has it covered. Whichever the case, it’s up to the merchant to decide. If the duties go unpaid, goods will languish in customs until they are paid, meaning delays in delivery and possible customer dissatisfaction.

You can avoid this by either lumping the cost of duties into the cost of products through Easyship’s rules feature or clearly outlining these duties guidelines in a shipping policy, for example.

Shipping Small Items: Available Shipping Solutions

Several shipping solutions will serve you the best when sending out small packages around the world and across the us. Here are some of the more cost effective ways to do so.

  • USPS First Class Mail: This is an excellent option for small package shipping for items under 13 ounces — especially thin, flat items, documents, and letters. It doesn't include package tracking services for small package shipping.
  • USPS First Class Package Service: If you want to find the cheapest way to ship items under 16 ounces for your online store, USPS First Class Package Service won't let you down. It also includes package tracking services — a necessary competitive feature.
  • USPS Priority Mail: Priority Mail is one of the cheapest ways to ship small items that weigh more than 1 pound. It includes package tracking and insurance for your goods.
  • UPS SurePost: When you want to ship small packages weighing less than 10lbs, UPS SurePost is one of the most cost-efficient ways to ship small items out there. To make use of it, you must sign a contract with UPS. That said, although you cut costs,  delivery times will be relatively longer.\
  • FedEx SmartPost: This is another excellent option for shipping small packages that weigh less than 10 pounds. To use this service, you will need to have a contract with FedEx. But be warned: Delivery times will be relatively slow.
  • FedEx Overnight: If you have an urgent package that needs to travel within the US overnight, FedEx overnight will offer you the fastest transit time. But, as with any other expedited shipping solution, you will have to pay to play!
  • DHL eCommerce: DHL eCommmerce is one of the cheapest ways to ship small items overseas. With this economy service, delivery times may be anywhere between 10-16 days to most destinations around the world.
  • DHL Express 12: If you want a cheap and faster option for shipping small packages overseas within 1-2 days, DHL Express won't let you down.

Now that you have an overview of each service, let’s breakdown the actual cost, shall we?

Here’s how much it would cost to ship a 2 pound package from Brooklyn to Miami, Florida with each of these carrier services. The dimensions of this package are 4 x 2 x 4.

Service Cost
USPS Priority Mail $11.85
USPS Parcel Select $19.50
USPS Small Flat Rate Box $8.30
UPS Surepost $10.52
FedEx Smartpost $11.29

The Cheapest Way to Ship a Small Package Internationally

So, how much does it cost to ship a small package? Well, when it comes to finding the cheapest way to mail small packages, there are few things to consider. They include:

  • Weight of the package: How much does your package weigh? Is it less than 10 pounds or below 1 pound? The heavier the weight, the more expensive it gets for small items.
  • Package dimensions: Does your package require you to use a flat envelope or a box with greater volume? Depending on the dimensions of your package, dimensional weight surcharges may apply.
  • Carrier and rates: Different carriers will have their own rates and discounts.

To determine how much it will cost to ship a small package, you will need to use a shipping rates calculator to get an accurate quote depending on the weight and volumetric dimensions of your package.

Let’s look at the cheapest way to mail a small package weighing 2 pounds from Brooklyn to Hong Kong using the Easyship shipping rates calculator.

Service CostDelivery Time
USPS First Class International $26.36 7-15 days
SF Economy Express $23.78 5-8 days
DHL eCommerce Packet Priority $28.29 9-11 days
DHL eCommerce Packet Plus $36.65 8-12 days
Flat Export Rate $17.89 10-14 days
USPS Small Flat Rate Box $36.45 10-14 days

Based on our calculations, the cheapest way to mail a small package overseas from the US to Hong Kong turns out to be SF Express Economy Express at $23.78 in 5-8 business  days.

Remember that shipping rates will change based on the weight and destination of your package, so you may need to calculate accordingly.

Find the Best Way to Ship Small Items with Easyship

Easyship leads the pack when it comes to providing eCommerce retailers with seamless courier solutions for small package shipping to every corner of the world. We partner with over 250 couriers including USPS, FedEx, UPS, and DHL to provide you end-to-end logistics infrastructure, as well as provide you the best rates calculator so that you can find the best courier service for your small package shipping.

To find the cheapest way to ship small items, just use our shipping comparison tool to get the most accurate quote.

Remember: The dimension and weight of your package have a significant impact when determining the rates you will get for your small package shipping. So, make sure that you enter these fields correctly to get the best quotes possible.

Whether you are shipping small packages under 1 pound  or up to 10 pounds, Easyship gives you the shipping tools you need to find the cheapest way to ship small, lightweight items anywhere in the world.

Sign up for an account today and get discounts up to 70% at any time for your small package shipping.

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