Dimensional (DIM) weight can be a tricky subject to master. All of the changes that small package carriers UPS and FedEx have made in recent years don’t help. In 2017, FedEx is lowering the DIM factor for domestic packages to 139 from 166. UPS is making the same change for domestic packages less than or equal to 1,728 cubic inches. So how will this change affect you?
First, it’s important to understand what dimensional weight is and how it’s calculated. Dimensional weight pricing is a common industry practice that sets the transportation price based on package volume, in relation to its actual weight. Carriers use dimensional weight in order to account for the space packages take up on their trucks and planes. This allows for a more precise way to charge for their services.
The basic formula for calculating DIM weight is (length x width x height)/DIM factor. For most small packages, the DIM factor will now be 139. The one exception is UPS domestic packages 1,728 cubic inches and under. UPS originally didn’t announce any changes to its DIM weight pricing for 2017, but it followed suit after FedEx announced it would be using 139 as the DIM factor for both domestic and international packages. Let that serve as a reminder to stay informed, as UPS and FedEx are continually making updates to their rates, surcharges, and DIM weight rules.
Once you calculate your DIM weight, compare it to your actual weight. The greater of the two will become the billable rate. When deciding if you need to make any adjustments to how you ship your packages in the upcoming year, start by doing an analysis of your common shipments. Look at those package measurements, calculate the cubic inches (length x width x height), and find the DIM weight to determine your billable weight. For an easy way to determine your billable weight, click here to use our DIM weight calculator.
UPS and FedEx base rates differ quite a bit more in 2017 than they have in the past. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure you’re not just using DIM weight pricing to determine which carrier to use. Download our free white paper, Understanding the 2017 Small Package Rate Increases, for a detailed analysis on the new rates.
Since density is the name of the game, make sure you review your shipment packaging to reduce the size of your package if you can. Don’t use oversized boxes that contain unused space and, where possible, consolidate orders. By being more efficient with your packaging, you’ll ensure you’re not paying to ship empty space.
One of the best ways to offset the rate increases and DIM weight pricing changes is to ensure you’re maximizing any discounts available to you. PartnerShip offers association members discounts on select FedEx services. If you're not sure if you qualify for one of our small package shipping programs contact us and we'll find the solution that's right for you.