DIM Weight...Revisited

Jun 5th 2017

Almost two years ago, we released a blog post to help demystify dimensional weight and the impact of this new approach to shipping costs for your e-commerce business.

While the basics of dim weight haven't changed, carriers have played with the variables a bit. In general this means - unfortunately - not so great things for your shipping fees. But since knowledge is power, here's a short recap on the changes, and what they mean for you.

In 2016, FedEx and UPS both had a standard DIM factor of 166.

UPS now has a variable DIM factor. Boxes that under 1,728 cubic inches will have a DIM factor of 166, but but larger ones will have a DIM factor of 139. FedEx changed its factor to 139 across the board, making all of its DIM weights heavier than before.

What does this mean?

Let's say you are shipping a package that is 12 x 12 x 12" and weighs 12 pounds. Previously, weight both carriers, its DIM weight would have been (12 x 12 x 12)/166 = 11 pounds (rounded up). You would have been charged for shipping a 12-pound package - the higher of the DIM versus actual weight. It will still be 11 pounds with UPS, but for FedEx, your DIM weight would increase to 13 pounds: (12 x 12 x 12)/139 = 13 pounds (rounded up). So FedEx would charge you for a 13 pound box.

Now let's say you are shipping a package that is 14" x 14" x 14". With both carriers, this would previously had a DIM weight of 17 pounds. Now, since the cubic inches are above 1,728, both carriers would give it a DIM weight of 20 pounds.

To add to the changes, both carriers have also changes their base billing rates. This generally makes UPS more competitive in Zones 2, 3 and 4 and FedEx slightly more competitive in Zones 5, 6, 7 and 8.

Is your brain hurting a bit? If so, check out Endicia's Dimensional Weight Calculator, which can do all of the math for you!

Most of the tips we previously shared still apply so while this increases rates, it does not change your basic strategy for optimizing your shipping packages.

The main new opportunity to keep in mind is to try to keep your boxes (especially those that are light, and will be subjected to DIM weight) under 1,728 inches if you can! Luckily, we can get you there with our custom cut corrugated boxes. Let us know if we can help you design the optimal, most efficiently sized box for your needs!