Much like the bills you receive after an American hospital stay, the rates Fedex and UPS quote for standard shipping services are complete and utter bullshit. Shipping is kind of like paying your car insurance premiums. The rates are the same for everyone, but maybe we can give you a good driver discount. You got good grades in college? Discount. Have a pet moose? Discount. You get the idea.
It’s absurdly easy to save at least *some* money when you have to ship something if you know to look for a discount. Just sign up for a business account with UPS or Fedex, and you’ll get the baseline “targeted rate” discount. Don’t have a business? Who cares? Do it anyway.
Here’s the easy to find link to sign up for a normal business Fedex account. Why wouldn’t I sign up? There’s no fees or shipping requirements. Just click a few form fills and they’ll give you a number that let’s you buy shipping for 16% less (Express) and 8% less (Ground) than “normal”. UPS does the same thing.
Have an Amex OPEN card too? Cool, there’s an extra 5% off your fedex rates.
There are other ways to pay less, of course (perhaps you’re an AARP member!?).
College alumni associations and credit unions often have mildly better discount rates available. And if you have a real business, a GPO could help you save a lot in a shipping rate negotiation. Just look at the discounts Care Purchasing Services members can get: http://enrollandsave.visionary.com/4416/index.php. 67% off the published rate. Now that’s not bad at all. Especially when they’ll let you join for free…