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Easyship Solutions & Updates

Dead and Dimensional Weight, Explained

Determine dimensional and dead weight shipping solutions for your eCommerce business. Use our calculator to find volume & billable weight rates.
Dead and Dimensional Weight, Explained
Jules

By Jules

 

June 6, 2019

Key Points:

  • Easyship allows users to show chargeable weight and calculation methods through the Easyship dashboard
  • To calculate the dimensional weight, couriers multiply the length, width, and height of your package, then divide this number by a cubic divisor of their choice
  • The chargeable weight and calculation method is saved and visible in Shipment Details via the Easyship Dashboard, so users can refer to this information for previous shipments

Did you know that the way you package your items can impact your shipping costs? This is because couriers can implement different standards when determining the billable weight of their shipments.

To see how packaging can affect your shipping cost, first, it’s best to understand how couriers establish their rates. Then, we’ll demonstrate how you can use shipping software like Easyship to find the best value solution for your shipment.

Table of Contents

Deadweight vs. Dimensional Weight: What's the Difference?

Deadweight is the actual weight of your shipment. When couriers choose to charge your shipment based on dead weight, they do not take into account the physical size of your shipment. Postal couriers such as the United States Postal Service, Hong Kong Post, and SingPost normally offer services whose rates are based on dead weight.

However, it’s common for couriers like FedEx, UPS, and DHL to implement a pricing structure based on the amount of space your shipment takes up on a truck or aircraft. This is known as dimensional (or volumetric) weight.

To calculate this, couriers multiply the length, width, and height of your package, then divide this number by a cubic divisor of their choice. They will then compare this number to the actual weight of your shipment and will charge the higher of the two.

Why Do Couriers Charge by Dimensional Weight?

Imagine shipping a package full of ball pit balls if you need a visual. The weight of the package itself is pretty light. However, because of how much space it can take up, a delivery truck full of such packages could be quickly filled to capacity with very little actual weight.

Couriers are always looking to maximize the number of packages on a vehicle while maintaining profitability, so they take this into account and use a pricing structure that will charge accordingly.

Display Chargeable Weight: Is It Right for You?

Does the following apply to your business?

  • You normally ship with express couriers
  • You're unaware of volumetric weight
  • You assume the actual weight is the only relevant information in shipping costs

If so, Easyship allows users to show chargeable weight and calculation methods through the Easyship dashboard.

The chargeable weight and calculation method is saved and visible in Shipment Details, so users can refer to this information for previous shipments.

This solution is helpful for Easyship users, as it provides an extra level of transparency to shipping costs, and there are no surprises when it comes to shipping rates.

Easyship offers three calculation methods, including:

  • Actual weight
  • Volumetric
  • USPS Cubic (only for some USPS Priority Mail services)

In addition, the calculation method is based on the following:

  • Does the courier use volumetric weight to calculate shipping?
  • If the calculation method doesn't use volumetric weight, then the calculation method is "actual weight"

*To learn more, check out this support article.

New Pricing Changes for USPS Dimensional Weight in 2019

It’s common for postal and ground solutions to not base their rates on dimensional weight.

However, this may no longer hold true due to USPS’ rate changes in 2019. Before, if your package dimensions were over 1 cubic foot, USPS used to only apply dimensional weight for these Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express packages if they were being shipped further distances (zones five through nine, if you want to get technical).

But starting June 23, 2019, it won’t matter which zone you are shipping to. If your package is over one cubic foot and you’ll be using Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express, it will be subject to dimensional weight for zones one through nine.