Shipping is a big cost for companies. 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, along with their continuous rate and surcharge increases, can 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 rates, you’ll find a lot of sites, and 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 rates. This may be exclusive to one carrier like UPS, but some associations also offer discounts with multiple carriers, like  DHL or FedEx discounts.

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

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.

Shipping software companies: Shipping software programs and platforms like Shopify shipping 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 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. These UPS volume discounts for small enterprises allow 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.

When signing up for a UPS account as a new customer, they ask you a few questions:

  • On average, how many packages do you ship each week?
  • Do you ship mostly to homes or businesses?
  • What matters most when shipping: speed or cost?

Let’s run two scenarios that help breakdown the differences they will offer different types of shippers.

Business Shipping Scenario

Let’s say you ship more than 50 parcels a week, mostly to businesses, where 3+ days in transit is fine, as long as the price is the best. Here are some discounts currently available.

Service Save up to
Domestic Ground 42%
Domestic Air 65%
International Import 56%
International Export 74%
Domestic Residential and Delivery Area Surcharge 25%


As the number of shipments decreases, you will notice your discounts do decrease however. Here is a look at only 31-50 parcels per week:

Service Save up to
Domestic Ground 30%
Domestic Air 55%
International Import 50%
International Export 40%
Domestic Residential and Delivery Area Surcharge 25%

Residential Shipping Scenario

Now let’s say instead you only ship maybe 31-50 packages per week, but mostly to residential, and speed is of most concern, looking at overnight to 2-day delivery. Here is what UPS discounts they are currently providing.

Service Save up to
Domestic Ground (1-10 lbs) 28%
Domestic Ground (11+ lbs) 15%
Domestic Air 55%
Worldwide Export Express Services 74%
International Import 55%
Domestic Ground Residential and Delivery Area Surcharge 100%
Domestic Ground Fuel Surcharge 100%


For business shippers (Scenario 1), the focus should be on Domestic Ground for cost-effectiveness, with the option of Domestic Air for urgent deliveries. International shipping discounts are also significant. As the number of shipments decreases, you will notice your discounts do decrease however.

For residential and most cases where urgent shipments are the concern (Scenario 2), Domestic Air becomes more relevant due to the need for speed. The 100% discounts on Residential and Delivery Area Surcharge and Fuel Surcharge are particularly advantageous for residential deliveries. For lighter packages, the discounts are better. However, for heavier packages, the discount drops, which is important to consider for cost management.

In both scenarios, UPS offers a range of discounts that cater to different needs, whether it’s cost-effectiveness for business shipments or speed for residential deliveries. The choice of service should align with the specific requirements of shipment volume, destination, and urgency.

Shipware offers small business shipping services that provide significant discounts for small and medium-sized businesses. These SMB Rate Programs allow small shippers to attain big business discounts without the need for extensive negotiations or spending millions on shipping. Shipware’s programs can reduce small parcel costs by up to 30%.

Additionally, Shipware ensures that once special rates are in place, conduct invoice audits and collect all eligible refunds, crediting them directly to your account. This approach not only saves money but also streamlines the shipping process for small businesses, making it an ideal solution for those looking to optimize their shipping strategy and costs.

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. Particularly for high-volume shippers, negotiating custom carrier rates directly like UPS can lead to a substantial volume discount. UPS has a rate chart showing savings based on volume. On the other hand, smaller businesses can benefit from pre-negotiated discounts offered by third-party platforms or through carrier-specific programs.
  • 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 get discounted rates and 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 if you have enough volume to secure a carrier agreement with UPS, you can also optimize your shipping service contract. However, if you think you can negotiate your own contract successfully without professional advice, you may want to think again.

Crafting a Comprehensive Shipping Volume Discount and Strategy

At Shipware, we’ve seen that shippers often get subpar rates when negotiating themselves. Why? Data and experience.

Shipware’s experts have access to extensive benchmarking information that helps us optimize contracted rates, terms, and clauses — whether you’re in search of a UPS, DHL or FedEx shipping discount. By understanding your company’s services, most-assessed accessorial charges, destinations, package sizes, shipping volume, and other factors that influence your unique shipping costs, we can craft a negotiation strategy with a much better discounted shipping rate for your company to carry out.

Get Additional Savings through Invoice Auditing

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

The recovery fees are 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 today.