Shipping is a big cost for companies. In 2019, logistics fees ate 11% of total sales revenues on average for shippers. And with online shopping rising, shipping takes on increased importance, not just in cost but in service. 

Many companies turn to United Parcel Service (UPS) for their shipping needs, as a shipping carrier that offers wide coverage and high service levels. This heavy reliance on the carrier, however, can also lead companies to wonder how to get shipping discounts with UPS to mitigate their business spending and take full advantage of their shipping budget

There are shipping discounts available if you know where to look. This guide will explore these opportunities, as well as some of the benefits gained through available services like shipping consulting for your UPS contract.

Types of shipping discounts for businesses 

If you search online for a UPS discounted rate, you’ll find a lot of sites, but you may spend ample time going down a rabbit hole, clicking to find legitimate savings on UPS shipping rates. Here are some places you may find a good UPS discount plan.

Associations: Some business associations offer a discounted carrier shipping option. This may be exclusive to one carrier like UPS, but some associations also offer discounts with multiple carriers, including a DHL or FedEx discount. 

For example members of the American Bar Association or Outdoor Industry Association might receive discounts including:

  • 10% on UPS Air packages – Next Day Air Early 
  • 50% on Domestic Next Day/Deferred 
  • 30% on UPS Ground Shipment Commercial/Residential
  • International shipping: 50% on Export; 40% on Import; 25% on Canada Standard
  • Savings begin at 75% on UPS Freight shipments over 150 lbs
  • Free UPS Smart Pickup service 

Non-business associations like AAA and AARP offer smaller discounts like 5% off domestic and international shipping at The UPS Store. That includes 15% off eligible products that may be helpful for another UPS service.

eBay: If you sell through eBay as an ecommerce store, you can ship via UPS to your customer if you don’t want to use USPS postage. Shippers can print out a UPS shipping label and take advantage of shipment tracking and other visibility services. 

Discounts include up to 48% off UPS Ground shipping and up to 62% on UPS 2nd Day Air; the program also waives or discounts some surcharges. 

The services included with the eBay UPS savings program are as follows:

  • Domestic UPS Ground
  • UPS 2nd Day Air
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver
  • UPS Next Day Air

It’s worth noting that eBay sellers do not need to sign up for this savings program through a UPS account to use the discounted UPS service. Sellers can drop off the items at one of 85,000 locations or drop boxes, and they can ship every day of the week but Sunday. However, these eBay UPS shipping rates are limited to shipping from the continental US.

Shipping software companies: Shipping software programs and platforms like Shopify shipping may also offer discounted UPS shipping, meaning that you can take full advantage of their discounts without having to negotiate your own. Some programs even give the discounts without you needing to lock in a minimum volume — in the eyes of UPS, your packages make up a larger volume when added to those from other ecommerce companies, with the software company acting as the large shipper. 

Discounts with shipping software companies can range anywhere from 62% on UPS 2nd Day Air to 48% off UPS Ground, with some services also waiving various surcharges. The UPS shipping discounts are similar on the various shipping software sites, but it’s helpful to compare the UPS rates when choosing a company, as one of the deciding factors. The Shopify plan can save users up to 73% off UPS rates and up to 90% on carriers including USPS and DHL. You can also get your shipping labels easily on the platform.  

Other UPS savings programs

Small business promotions: UPS runs small business promotions through their UPS Small Business Program. The program allows ecommerce stores to save 40% on all their shipping for the first eight weeks, and then retain a certain discount level after that. The discounted shipping fee ultimately depends on your weekly volume. 

With the UPS Small Business program, your company can also get a UPS promo code or coupon code for 30% off offline print products, 15% off packaging services, and offering three months of free mailbox services at The UPS Store. Of course the discounted rate offering associated with each promo code or coupon can change at any time.

With a new UPS account, here’s what they currently offer:

  • 40% off all services for the first eight weeks; up to 35% off after that
  • Up to 18% off UPS Air and International shipments
  • 9% off UPS Ground
  • Up to 18% off UPS Ground and 28% off UPS Air and International

Optimizing your shipping service 

Another way to get UPS discounts is by determining what service levels you are willing to pay for. The following are great areas to assess when looking at ways to reduce your overall shipping rates: 

  • Pick-up — Getting packages picked up at your location may cost more than dropping them off at one of UPS’s 85,000 drop-off locations. You may be able to negotiate with the shipping carrier for free pick-up as part of your contract negotiations.
  • Volume — If you spread your volume among carriers like USPS, FedEx, DHL and UPS, you may not be able to take advantage of the greatest discounts for any of them individually. UPS has a rate chart showing savings based on volume. 
  • Packaging — Carriers like UPS offer free packaging, and you can save on packaging costs by taking advantage of it. They also offer flat rate pricing services, called UPS Simple Rate, which may be a more cost-effective way to send your parcels. You don’t need to use a branded flat rate box to get flat rate pricing from UPS, unlike other carriers.
  • Delivery time — If you can change the delivery time for your packages, you can save money on shipping. Moving from Next Day Air to Ground shipping is a big savings, for example, and may not add that much more delivery time for you or your customer. Moves like these make a huge difference if your ecommerce company offers free shipping.

Negotiate your contract

Using set discount programs like the ones previously mentioned helps a lot of shippers. But depending on your volume, you can also optimize your shipping service contract. If you think you can negotiate your own contract successfully without professional advice, you may want to think again. 

At Shipware, we’ve seen that shippers don’t get the best contract when doing it themselves. Why? Data and experience. 

Shipware’s experts have access to extensive benchmarking information that helps them to optimize shipping contracts and make the maximum difference in your shipping terms — whether you’re in search of a UPS, DHL or FedEx shipping discount. By understanding your company’s services, accessorial charges, destinations, package sizes and other factors that influence your unique shipping costs, we can craft a negotiation strategy for your company to carry out. Our clients save up to 30% on their shipping cost from this process, which can be tweaked any time carriers announce shipping fee changes or new rates.

Customers are also able to save by using our invoice audit recovery services. Our proprietary software system identifies errors in the invoices, often resulting in refunds. These audits often save customers 1% to 9% of invoiced amounts, but with no out-of-pocket costs for the service. 

The recovery fees are paid from a percentage of the amount recovered from these refunded amounts. With a quick set-up process, and a program that runs behind the scenes, the savings are like finding money and don’t require your employees’ active efforts. 

To learn more about how Shipware can help you lower your UPS rates and capture invoice audit savings, contact us online.