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How FedEx Pricing Works - How To Ship Your Bass Cheaper

Discussion in 'Miscellaneous [BG]' started by tastybasslines, Jul 7, 2014.

  1. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I'm in Los Angeles, and the last time I shipped a bass, it was $36 to upstate NY. Today went I went to ship another bass and it was almost $70, and I didn't ship until I could figure it out. What was the difference? This is what I found out from the manager.

    FedEx prices things based on "dimension weight" and the actual weight of the package is a long second to the overall box dimensions. Dimension weight is calculated by the length (always the longest side) + 2xW + 2xH. Any measurement beyond an exact number gets rounded up. 52 1/2 gets rounded up to 53. My box was 53 length, 18 width and 8 height for a total dimension weight of 105. While I watched, I asked him to lower each individual measurement one inch until the pricing tier dropped significantly. We did this in different configurations and each time the pricing tier dropped, it was at the exact same threshold. We went from 14 to 19 pounds for the actual weight and the price changed very minimally.

    The magic number to get into the lower pricing tier is a box dimension weight of 97. A dimension weight of 98 is where the pricing bump occurred each time.

    My cost went from $67 to $34 - a significant difference. Of course, the distance will have an effect on the cost, but I'm shipping a 5 string coast to coast, anything less is going to be even cheaper than that.

    Hope this helps some people who ship basses.
    petrus61, macmanlou, Red Four and 4 others like this.
  2. waynobass


    Feb 27, 2008
    Interesting. Cost depends more on the size of the box than on weight or distance?
  3. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Exactly. I guess it's about how much (dimension weight) they can get on each truck.
    Winfred likes this.
  4. Oren Hudson

    Oren Hudson

    Dec 25, 2007
    Gastonia, NC
    One other cost cutting. Have a FedX account.
    jharms80439 and fourstringdrums like this.
  5. JTE

    JTE Supporting Member

    Mar 12, 2008
    Central Illinois, USA
    Most FedEx, UPS, etc. shipments cube out (run out of room or exceed the available cubic feet of thebtruvk/plane) well before they weigh out. That's why pricing is going to be basefd on size more than mass.

    Unrepresented likes this.
  6. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    This. I always print out my own label and then drop it off at a facility.

    Unfortunately for dimensional weight, sometimes you can't get around it since I believe the average bass box will put you over 97 if you intend on putting any padding in.
  7. DWBass

    DWBass The Funkfather Supporting Member

    I must have packed all my basses perfectly because I've never paid more than $40 to ship any bass using Fedex Ground. Average was $27-$35. I also have my own account and print my own labels.
  8. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    Yeah, he mentioned that the savings on the $67 price was $13 with the FedEx account.
  9. GlennW


    Sep 6, 2006
    The last bass I shipped through UPS was 12 pounds actual weight, 33 pounds billable (dimensional) weight.
  10. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    I shipped the same bass yesterday in a smaller box - sure enough it had a dimension weight below 98 and it was now $31 dollars.
  11. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Supporting Member

    This is good info - thanks. And yes, I have a FedEx account (costs me nothing) and that saves me a pleasant amount on every box I send out. I avoid USPS whenever possible. UPS has a depot that's a half-hour drive away and there's no way I'm driving an hour to ship a box. The "UPS Stores" are all independent ship/mail places with a horrendous markup on UPS, so I don't go there either.

    More benefits:
    - FedEx tracking numbers actually work; USPS numbers are worthless.
    - No standing in line at USPS while people spend five minutes searching their purses for the last $.03 they need to pay postage.
    tastybasslines likes this.
  12. CrashClint

    CrashClint I Play Bass therefore I Am

    Nov 15, 2005
    Wake Forest, NC
    DR Strings Dealer (local only)
    I have an FedEx account at work which I use. I have sold and shipped a few Roscoe basses and it usually runs me $54 (last one shipped to San Francisco) which included the insurance of $2500. I use padding so my last shipment was 51" x 18" x 8".
  13. gard0300


    Jan 10, 2011
    Vandalia, Ohio
    I quit using FedEx on line. Every time I ship a bass using a credit card. They end up tacking on extra charges to my card, claiming package's dimension weren't correct.

    Which is false. I always round up when I'm measuring. I always use a digital scale. I'm just done with them. Ridiculous.
  14. edpal

    edpal Banned

    Oct 3, 2007
    USPS has similar price breakdown. The most controlling factor with all the services is the girth, and that is what you want to hold down. All the services have a price bump when length and girth exceeds 108 inches. Subtract 52" for a cased bass - leaves you 56. Side padding kills you - I use pieces of luan subflooring I had them rip into 16" X 48 pieces - get 6 of those out of one $9 sheet.One piece over the control knob side of instrument to avoid blunt force breakthrough of the control cavity. By packing tight, not light I have managed to ship cased basses from Michigan to all points of the Continental USA for less than $35. I have a Gary Willis Fretless to ship today . . . guess I'll see how that goes.
  15. fourstringdrums

    fourstringdrums Decidedly Indecisive Supporting Member

    Oct 20, 2002
    I'm unhappy with UPS right now. I just shipped a bass to a TBer and he gave me the right business address but UPS screwed up and delivered it to the wrong building. But they also acted like I had the wrong address so they changed it and this billed me an additional 12.50 for the privilege.
  16. Frank Tuesday

    Frank Tuesday

    Jul 11, 2008
    Austin, TX
    I recommend this. The last bass I shipped from Texas to Missouri cost me $12.
  17. Gravedigger Dav

    Gravedigger Dav Supporting Member

    Mar 13, 2014
    Fort Worth, Texas
    It is more about what will fit in the planes and revenue. Boxes of the same dimension containing different things will have different weights. You can use the old feathers and lead analogy. A plane can carry a finite weight and volume combination. To charge just by weight reduces available revenue. If you have a plane load of feathers paid by weight, it may lose money because the volume the plane can carry is full but it could carry a lot more weight. So the "dimension weight" is a way to even out the weight/volume issue with freight.
  18. jmbjandfam

    jmbjandfam Supporting Member

    Apr 24, 2011
    Foxfire Village N.C.
    This happens to me everytime as well. It's always 2-5 dollars more.... but still FedEx is the cheapest route for me even when they change the price.
  19. PolkaHero


    Jan 5, 2002
    I just noticed this today as well. They charged me a buck extra even though I use a postal scale and rounded up all the package dimensions.
  20. tastybasslines

    tastybasslines Banned

    May 9, 2010
    Los Angeles, CA
    The manager told me that it (your first quote) is an estimate and the actual cost can change, but usually not much. Home shippers can put the wrong dimensions all the time, so they have to correct it.

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