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  #1  
Old 08-22-2011, 09:05 PM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Why does it cost so much more to ship stuff than the shipping prices on internet stores?

I need to transport my computer cross country. I'm going to ship the whole thing in the box the computer case came in when I bought it, since it already has styrofoam inserts to fit the case and everything.

It originally cost me $100 with free shipping, so the shipping cost couldn't have been too much. Without free shipping, computer cases typically cost around $15-17 in shipping.

However, when I enter the dimensions and weight into the shipping calculators, I get:

UPS 3 day $124
UPS Ground $54
Fedex Express Saver $125
Fedex Home Delivery $51
USPS Priority Mail $61


Incidentally, I ran these numbers through the UPS site a few days ago and it told me $26 or something for the UPS ground. Why would it fluctuate so wildly?


So anyway - sites like amazon and newegg can't be paying that much for shipping, right? Or how could they make a profit? Do they get massive bulk discounts or is there something I'm missing that would let me ship for a lower price? Or am I pretty much stuck paying $50+ for it?
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  #2  
Old 08-22-2011, 09:10 PM
running coach running coach is offline
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Total weight of a computer is far more than the empty case.

Big retailers most certainly do get a discount.

They would also get a discount on the parts themselves and can fold some of the shipping cost into the selling price.

Also, having all the stock in one place(or a few strategically placed warehouses) is cheaper than stock in a large number of stores.

Last edited by running coach; 08-22-2011 at 09:11 PM..
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:11 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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The discounts for having and using accounts with UPS and FedX are very significant. 50% of what a walk in customer pays is your starting point.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:13 PM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runner pat View Post
Total weight of a computer is far more than the empty case.
Irrelevant in this case - the dimensions of the box make the billing weight around 35 pounds, which is far heavier than the actual weight.

Quote:
Originally Posted by boytyperanma View Post
The discounts for having and using accounts with UPS and FedX are very significant. 50% of what a walk in customer pays is your starting point.
Business accounts only? Or could I make an account and print my own label and save? I guess I can try.
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Old 08-22-2011, 09:18 PM
boytyperanma boytyperanma is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
Business accounts only? Or could I make an account and print my own label and save? I guess I can try.
I don't know I've only ever used business accounts. The rates are negotiated with a rep. You could call them up tell them you'll be shipping 100-200 packages a day and see what type of rates they'd be willing to offer. Telling them you need an acount to ship a single package probably wouldn't get you anything.
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Old 08-22-2011, 11:54 PM
Rick Rick is offline
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When I worked for Volvo I had my own personal FedEx account that got me the same rates for my personal shipping as the company would pay.
You cannot even begin to believe just how cheap it is to ship a box when you are a national international account.
Divide the walk in rate by 5 or 6 to get what I paid. An overnight envelope was $2-$3
Wish I still had that account.
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  #7  
Old 08-23-2011, 12:44 AM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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Professional online retailer chiming in.
Rick pretty much has it. The big boys pay a small fraction of what you pay when you walk up to the counter.

I am in a position to outsource my shipping to Amazon, provided I also buy warehouse storage and order picking through them.
On your item, I show a cost of $27.80 for me to send it anywhere in the continental US via ground shipping. That generally means UPS Ground for items like the one you reference.
As that is the price that I would pay even if the item was sold on my proprietary website, rather than theirs, I'd be willing to bet my house that they're not losing money on that.

Last edited by Mr. Slant; 08-23-2011 at 12:45 AM..
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  #8  
Old 08-23-2011, 11:06 AM
Dewey Finn Dewey Finn is offline
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Are you sure that the box that the case came in is sturdy enough to ship the computer in? I built a computer a few years ago and bought an empty case from CompUSA. It came in a fairly lightweight box. But once I loaded up the computer, the case weighed considerably more. So I'm not sure that box will be strong or protective enough to ship the computer.
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  #9  
Old 08-23-2011, 11:09 AM
SenorBeef SenorBeef is online now
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Yeah, it has molded styrofoam and a hard cardboard exterior, so it fits it pretty snugly. There's not too much you can do to damage a computer by throwing it around - the heatsink is the only real concern. I'm taking the hard drives with me on carry ons, so that's not an issue. Everything else is bolted to a solid metal frame and pretty hardy.

I may just take an extra suitcase and check it on the plane though, if I'm going to have to pay $55 to ship it, since checking it would be free.
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Old 08-23-2011, 11:49 AM
Iggins Iggins is offline
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Another option to explore is looking for a small business that offers UPS shipping via their account. They need to keep a certain level of business to keep their discounts. For example, there was a storage place near my work that would ship UPS for cheaper than going to a UPS Store. That was a while ago, though, before the UPS branded stores were more prevalent.

Also, I opened a FedEx account online, and I seem to get somewhat more favorable rates than walking up to a counter.

Last edited by Iggins; 08-23-2011 at 11:51 AM..
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  #11  
Old 08-23-2011, 08:11 PM
Uber_the_Goober Uber_the_Goober is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SenorBeef View Post
Yeah, it has molded styrofoam and a hard cardboard exterior, so it fits it pretty snugly. There's not too much you can do to damage a computer by throwing it around - the heatsink is the only real concern. I'm taking the hard drives with me on carry ons, so that's not an issue. Everything else is bolted to a solid metal frame and pretty hardy.

I may just take an extra suitcase and check it on the plane though, if I'm going to have to pay $55 to ship it, since checking it would be free.
A solid hunk of metal with few moving parts: a 25hp electric 3 phase motor. Weighs over 50lbs, packed in a reinforced box, was DEMOLISHED by ups. They rolled it onto our friggin dock right in front of us. With the corners already visibly caved in. Needless to say it wasn't pretty.

Trust me man...you can not trust ups to be careful with your package. If it is light enough to be thrown, it will. If it is not light enough to be thrown, it will be rolled. Rolling will destroy the corners, and jostle internal components. It will not be rolled only once...or twice...but constantly everytime a human touches it.
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  #12  
Old 08-23-2011, 09:05 PM
Mr. Slant Mr.  Slant is offline
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echo,
One must assume that all carriers will in all cases throw, kick and drop all parcels you entrust them with.
Anyone who doesn't pack with a 6 foot drop in mind is negligent.
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  #13  
Old 08-24-2011, 01:56 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Slant View Post
echo,
One must assume that all carriers will in all cases throw, kick and drop all parcels you entrust them with.
Anyone who doesn't pack with a 6 foot drop in mind is negligent.
Also true for airlines. This past weekend, we were seated over the luggage hatch, and watched the crew take a package marked FRAGILE, which happened to be shaped like a club, and swing it at each other, the carts, and when tired of that, drop it on the ground a couple of times.
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  #14  
Old 08-24-2011, 09:07 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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The answer to the OP's question, surely, is economies of scale. The expensive part of shipping is not the space something takes up in the truck, or even the time and gasoline it takes to get it to your door, but getting the whole process efficiently organized, getting the system set up. Big retailers have done that once, and don't need to do it again every time.

I recently shipped a bunch of personal effects from the US to the UK. It turned out that the price to ship 20 boxes was the same as that ship one, and even to ship 40 did not cost very much more than to ship 20, nothing like double the amount. (And weight was essentially irrelevant to the cost.) What you are paying for is largely the paperwork and the cost of keeping track of your stuff so it goes to the right place, and can be found and separated from other people's stuff at the other end.

Last edited by njtt; 08-24-2011 at 09:09 PM..
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  #15  
Old 08-25-2011, 08:02 PM
Uber_the_Goober Uber_the_Goober is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mr. Slant View Post
echo,
One must assume that all carriers will in all cases throw, kick and drop all parcels you entrust them with.
Anyone who doesn't pack with a 6 foot drop in mind is negligent.
Ahem. My point exactly. The OP is the one who needs this idea reinforced to them. UPS is properly pronounced "oops" for this reason.
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