In the world of e-commerce and order fulfillment, understanding how shipping costs are calculated is crucial for businesses aiming to manage expenses effectively. One concept that often causes confusion is dimensional weight (DIM weight), a pricing technique used by major carriers like FedEx, USPS, and UPS. This blog post will demystify dimensional weight, explain how it’s calculated, and offer tips for ShipJoy users to optimize their shipping strategy.
What is Dimensional Weight?
Dimensional weight, also known as volumetric weight, is a billing technique used by carriers to ensure that the space items take up in a truck or plane is reflected in the shipping costs. It considers the volume (the amount of space a package occupies) in relation to its actual weight. Carriers like FedEx, USPS, and UPS use dimensional weight to charge for the space parcels occupy, rather than just their physical weight, especially for lighter, bulkier packages.
Why Dimensional Weight Matters
Understanding and optimizing dimensional weight can lead to significant cost savings, especially for businesses that ship large, lightweight items. Carriers started using this method to prevent businesses from shipping large boxes with very light items without paying for the space the packages take up in delivery vehicles.
How is Dimensional Weight Calculated?
Each carrier has a specific formula to calculate dimensional weight, but the general process involves the following steps:
- Measure the Package: Measure the length, width, and height of your package. Round each measurement to the nearest whole inch.
- Calculate the Volume: Multiply the package’s length by width by height. The result is the cubic size of your package.
- Apply the DIM Factor: Carriers set a dimensional weight divisor or factor, which can change based on shipping policies or the type of service you choose. Divide the cubic size of your package by the DIM factor to determine the dimensional weight.
- Compare with Actual Weight: The carrier will charge based on the greater of the two weights: the dimensional weight or the actual weight.