Key points:

  • Converting packaging dimensions to cubic feet can help you pass over accurate information to carriers. This can be essential in helping keep shipping costs low
  • Optimizing your packaging dimensions can ensure you are getting the best rates available from carriers
  • Combine these tips with Easyship's cutting-edge shipping tools to effortlessly create an affordable delivery experience customers love

Do you need to calculate cubic feet for your shipments? This article breakdown why carriers require these units and how to calculate the volume of your packages. Plus, explore how passing over accurate dimensions and optimizing your packaging can help keep shipping costs low.

Understanding Cubic Feet

Cubic feet are a unit of measurement used to accurately detail the volume of an item. This can provide the carrier with crucial information, especially how much three-dimensional space a parcel will take up in transit. This can be a key determinant in working out shipping fees, as carriers won't want to undercharge. For example, sometimes large and bulky shipments may weigh little, but take up a large amount of capacity.

To calculate the cubic feet of a package, you need to multiply the length x width x height. For example, the cubic feet formula for 1 cubic foot equals 1 foot x 1 foot x 1 foot, giving you the volume of a cube. Every time you need to calculate the volume in cubic feet, it is essential you know the length, width, and height in feet.

While package dimensions are regularly measured in feet and inches, certain carriers may specify feet for larger shipments and the dimensions in inches for smaller ones. It's vital to double-check which measurements your carrier requires to avoid extra fees. If you are required to measure in inches, you would use the same formula as cubic feet. For example:

Length of 12 inches x Width of 6 inches x Height of 12 inches = 864 Cubic inches

While multiplying the length x width x height is the same as working out cubic feet, the formula is a bit more complex when converting cubic inches to cubic feet. You have to divide the cubic inch volume by 1728, which is the number of cubic inches in a cubic foot. So in the example above, 500/ 1728= 0.5 cubic feet.

Calculating the Volume of Your Package

Finding the volume of your products once packaged and ready to ship can be essential in avoiding extra shipping costs. Depending on the order's shape and weight, carriers may use the package's overall cubic feet length, weight, height and width to determine shipping rates. Passing over an accurate volume measurement, in the specified unit of volume, can help ensure a smooth shipping experience.

Accurately measuring the dimensions of your package will depend on the shape of your packaged product. First, find a tape measure to note down the length, width, and height of the package. Then, pick the furthest point of each dimension and make sure to include any bumps, bulges, or other protruding parts of the parcel.

Top tip: Round up to the nearest inch

If you are packaging your products in boxes, one key advantage is easily recording accurate measurements. This can help you get the best shipping rates available for your online store. These 3 steps can help you figure out the cubic footage:

  1. Start by measuring the length. This is the long side of the box, on the side of the longest flap
  2. Turn the box 90 degrees and note down the width. This is the side with the short flap
  3. Next measure the height, with the flaps closed from top to bottom

Converting to Cubic Feet

If you are more comfortable measuring your packages in a different unit, then you may need to take an extra step to find the cubic volume in feet reliably. Start by calculating the length x width x height in your preferred units and then following the conversion detailed below:

  • Cubic Inches: Divide the final number by 1728
  • Cubic Yards: Multiply the result by 27
  • Cubic Meters: Multiply the result by 35.31

Related post: The Ultimate Guide for Pallet Shipping


Using Cubic Feet in Shipping

Shipping rates can also vary considerably, depending on whether the carrier is using a package's weight or cubic feet to determine the price. For smaller packages, the dead weight of an item, plus its packaging, is typically the crucial factor in determining shipping costs.

For larger packages, cubic feet can play a more important role. Make sure to check with your preferred carrier to determine which pricing model they apply, as package dimensions can play a key role in unwanted extra shipping costs.

While some carriers may use cubic feet as a factor in determining shipping rates, others may charge based on the package's dimensional weight (DIM). In these cases, the carrier will usually use whichever figure is greater, as this allows them to charge more. This is more likely for bulkier packages than smaller ones, as they potentially can take up a lot of the carrier's capacity when being transported.

The DIM weight of a shipment is calculated by multiplying the size in cubic feet, by the weight of the package. This total is then divided by a specific figure, decided by each courier. Optimizing your packaging allows you to potentially reduce your shipping costs. Check out these quick tips for optimizing package dimensions below:

  • Use the smallest size box that is effective
  • Try to reduce excess bulky packing materials like bubble wrap or foam blocks
  • Look at whether custom boxes are available that will fit your item
  • Use an online shipping calculator to compare rates based on package dimensions or weight

Get an Instant Estimate of Your Shipping Costs With Easyship

Converting packaging dimensions to cubic feet can help you pass over accurate information to carriers, potentially helping to keep shipping costs low. By optimizing your packaging dimensions, you can ensure you are getting the best rates available from carriers. Easyship can help you compare prices from over 250 top carriers, connecting you to the best value shipping rates wherever your end customer is based.

Free Shipping Calculator: Get an instant estimate of your shipping costs for free, in just a few clicks. Just simply enter your shipment weight and destination. Then compare which exclusive pre-negotiated rates work best for your store's order today

Have you put in the effort to work out the dimensions of your package? Sign up for a FREE Easyship account and reward your hard work. Enter your package's dimensions and start comparing accurate shipping prices with up to 91% off