There are many reasons you might want to ship clothing – and there are just as many answers covering all of the questions involved in the process. Whether you’re shipping individual packages or larger bulk items – the question of price is always at the forefront. So, how much does it cost to ship clothes?
Options for shipping clothes include through USPS, parcel shipping – such as FedEx and UPS- and consolidated freight for much larger quantities. Depending on the size and weight of the shipped items, it can cost anywhere from around $5 to upwards of $500.
In this article, we will go over the factors that play a role in shipping costs, as well as specifics on the options available. We will also cover the most affordable ways to ship clothes and some tips for packaging the clothes you want to send.
How Much Does it Cost to Ship Clothes?
Shipping clothes happens more often than one might think. As the proprietor of an online shop or an individual selling single items – you may need to ship individual packages. Or – on a larger scale – for clothes being shipped for retail sale, or perhaps you’ll be moving across the country. There are many situations where you might wonder how to calculate the shipping costs to send clothes.
The cost of shipping clothes can vary widely depending on several key factors. Namely, the things that will influence the overall cost include the size of the package being sent and/or the weight of the package’s contents. Some other key elements include how far the clothes will be traveling, and how quickly you need the items to arrive at their destination.
The cost for shipping packages – clothes or otherwise – is often based on the package size. Overall, the package size makes up the contents of the shipping containers transporting these items across the country and overseas.
Most carriers offer flat-rate shipping for different sized parcels – where the weight will not be a determining factor – simply the size of the package being sent. Flat rate shipping containers can be envelopes or boxes and range in sizes from extra small to extra large. Size and cost specifications will depend on who’s doing the shipping. This is often a good route, especially if the clothes you’re sending weigh a lot.
Shipping costs calculated based on weight are also known as variable rate shipping. The package dimensions are not of particular concern; instead, the total cost will be calculated based on the final weight. While the size of your box or envelope may not play a direct role in the price – the weight of the shipping containers will – packaging is still important.
The base rates and final cost for clothes shipped based on weight will depend on the carrier you are shipping through. Variable rate shipping tends to be more expensive overall – there are usually more flexible delivery times available, but you’ll also end up paying an extra cost.
Shipping regions will play a role in the overall cost of shipping clothes – there will be cost differences between shipping services. Some carriers may offer the same rate within the country – this is the case for most flat-rate shipping services – but others may also have distance-based prices. There will always be different pricing tiers to choose from – many of them based on zones and the total distance the package will travel.
If you’re not particularly concerned about how long it will take for your clothes to arrive at their destination, shipping costs will always be less. Any package that needs rush delivery – or even to be delivered on a specific date or time frame – is going to cost a premium price.
Most flat rate shipping doesn’t give you an option when deciding on arrival times – instead, there is a set time frame. Variable rate shipping will offer several options for how fast – or slowly – a package will arrive, but it usually tends to cost more.
There are several options to choose from when it comes to shipping clothes across the country. The most widely used carriers in the U.S. are the United States Postal Service, and parcel shipping companies, such as FedEx and UPS. Consolidated freight shipping is used much less by the average consumer. But if you plan on shipping large amounts of clothes across the globe, this may be an option worth looking into.
The United States Postal Service is the most widely used shipping company for e-commerce in the United States. The USPS offers many different pricing and delivery options when it comes to shipping packages of all sorts.
Flat Rate shipping services are offered through USPS. They offer small, medium – in two different dimensions – and large boxes, as well as prepaid Flat Rate envelopes. The cost for flat rate shipping starts at $9 for the smallest envelope – the large box comes in at just under $22.50.
The great thing about USPS Flat Rate shipping is that you can send parcels up to 70 pounds to any state in the country for the same price. Delivery time is stated as 1 to 3 business days, and most shipments include tracking and up to $100 worth of insurance. An added bonus if you buy prepaid forever mailers – they’ll even pick up packages right at your door.
First Class variable shipping through USPS starts at just under $5 – for packages up to 13 oz. – and goes up from there. First Class packages can be delivered between 1 to 5 business days – quicker time frames costing more – and can qualify for insurance and delivery confirmation.
Extra large packages – or items that are non-standard sizes – can incur additional fees as well. For variable-rate shipping through USPS, you will provide your own packaging.
Parcel shipping companies generally offer flat rate and variable rate shipping, similar to the USPS. These services generally tend to be slightly more expensive, so it’s important to shop around and check prices between carriers. This is especially true if you’ll be shipping larger quantities or items frequently.
UPS comes in at a close second for most widely used shipping services – and just like with the USPS, they offer multiple shipping options when it comes to shipping clothes. UPS offers the widest range of sizes for their
Flat Rate boxes – with two more options than the USPS offers. They are the only service to offer an extra small size option – though the cost is just under $9.50, making it a similar price to the USPS smallest size. UPS’s extra large Flat Rate box, though, comes at the cost of $24.30, making it pretty similar to a USPS’s largest box.
When shipping clothes by variable rate shipping through UPS, you will use your packaging for your shipments – so be conscientious about how much weight this could add. The shipping costs will also depend on the location the clothes are being shipped to and the form.
UPS uses zones when determining the cost per distance traveled. Packages of different weights or sizes can vary in cost depending on where they are being shipped to and where they are coming from.
FedEx is another popular parcel service that offers Flat Rate shipping– which they refer to as One Rate – and variable rate shipping. FedEx tends to be the most costly of the options we’ve discussed.
Prices for shipping through FedEx will depend on the package’s size and the speed and distance for which the package will travel. For calculating costs – FedEx uses zones to determine the overall mileage a package will travel from its origin to the final destination.
One thing that sets FedEx apart from both USPS and UPS is that you are required to use FedEx’s packaging. The costs for the packaging is factored into the cost of shipping – something important to remember when comparing costs between companies.
FedEx offers several different sized boxes and envelopes for their One Rate shipping. These range in price from under $11 to over $39 and up. The pricing is slightly less flat than with other carriers – the final cost of One Rate shipping depends on the package type and delivery time.
Beyond the standard costs – weight, distance, and speed of travel – for shipping, it is important to remember that there may also be additional shipping fees to consider. If you’re shipping clothes via the variable weight method, insurance and tracking aren’t always included. So, if you’d like to keep tabs on your package, it may cost a bit more.
Keep an eye out for surcharges, especially when shipping items internationally. When sending items overseas, there tend to be the most additional costs, including the possibility of paying international taxes and fees.
Consolidated Freight Shipping
A type of shipping generally left for manufacturers, retailers and those shipping large quantities. Consolidated freight can save you if you plan on shipping a lot of clothes. Consolidated shipping combines LCL – less than container loads – shipments from various participants to be shipped together in one full container. This is a useful method for anyone who wants to send a big shipment – but one that’s not large enough to fill a container on its own.
Consolidated shipping saves wasted space – and therefore money – by combining these partial loads into one bigger one. It is much more cost-effective to ship full containers rather than partial ones – so when shipments are combined, the savings will be passed down to each of the individual shippers.
Consolidated freight is a good method to consider if you will regularly ship large packages of clothes to retail establishments. Or as a possible option if you are moving across the country and have a large wardrobe to transport.
The Most Affordable Way to Ship Clothes
As with anything – it’s always a good idea to shop around when searching for the best prices – it’s no different when it comes to shipping clothes. There are so many variables factored into shipping costs – especially when you consider distance and speed of travel – that you should always get a precise quote.
Checking the cost between carriers for a package with precise specifications will help get you the lowest price in real-time. That being said, the carrier with the cheapest options is the United States Postal Service.
The USPS’s standard prices are, across the board, the lowest for shipping individual packages compared to other parcel delivery services. Flat Rate and variable rate shipping tend to cost the least when you ship through the USPS.
First Class Package Service
For your smallest clothing parcels – First Class Package Service is the least expensive option on the market. Packages up to 13 oz can be sent using this method and, in most cases, will cost no more than $5. Shipping speeds are also pretty quick – arriving in just 1 to 3 days. It’s easy to prepare your package at home and simply drop it off at any post office – of which there are many.
Priority Mail Flat Rate Shipping
Priority Flat Rate shipping through the USPS is a great choice for any package over 13 oz. You can send any amount of weight as long as it fits in the confines of the pre-purchased vessel and doesn’t exceed the weight limit. Starting at around $9 and topping off at $22.50 – sending clothes by USPS Flat Rate shipping is a relatively affordable option.
The maximum weight allowed in any given package is 70 pounds – which is a good amount of weight in clothes. Likely more than would fit into even the largest of the boxes anyway. Another bonus for using Flat Rate shipping is the included insurance coverage.
Parcel Select Ground
Parcel Select Ground shipping is another method offered by USPS. This form of shipping is absolutely the slowest method available – but it can also save you on costs. This is a great choice if delivery time isn’t a crucial factor.
Rates for ground shipping have been reduced as of late – it always makes the most sense to transport full containers over partial ones. Don’t overlook checking into the ground shipping option for packages that aren’t in a hurry to arrive.
As with many things – purchasing online can save you on costs instead of going into retail shops. Perhaps surprisingly, the same rings true for shipping. It’s possible to pre-purchase shipping containers with many different specifications – and across carriers – online. So, shopping is always a good idea before simply walking into the store.
If you have a larger enterprise and plan on shipping multiple packages frequently – it’s probably a good idea to look into the possibility of commercial pricing. Many shipping services offer special shipping rates to businesses that will do a minimum amount of shipping within a specified time frame. These discounts could end up saving a significant amount over time.
How to Package Clothes for Shipping
Except for shipping with FedEx specifically – in most cases, when shipping packages of clothes, you will need to provide your own packaging materials. If you purchase Flat Rate type vessels – the job is easily done with one step. For any variable rate shipping projects, there are a few things that you should consider – weight, of course, being foremost.
It may not seem like a cardboard box adds much additional weight. But, over time, this cost could become significant. For the lightest packaging option, choose padded or poly mailers. These lightweight bags will be cheaper to ship – but of course, there is a limit on the size they can accommodate.
Clothes aren’t generally considered to be fragile items – so the most important protection you’ll want when shipping them is from moisture. Poly mailers are also a great choice for this reason – they’ll add the least weight to your shipping costs while keeping clothes protected and dry.
It’s always a good idea to consider recycled and recyclable materials when shipping products. When sending individual packages, it may be difficult to visualize the overall effects – but packaging materials contribute a large amount of waste to landfills each year. Poly mailers and other shipping materials can be found widely online.
How to Ship Clothes When Moving
Moving is a tedious job in almost every way imaginable – packing, moving and unpacking clothes isn’t fun. But if you have to do it – especially with a large wardrobe – consider shipping your clothes rather than schlepping them across town on your own.
Many parcel services – like FedEx UPS – offer services specifically for those needing to ship their wardrobes. You can use your own packaging, or the company will provide boxes – even special wardrobe boxes for delicate items to be filler. Fill the parcels as you see fit and someone will pick them up and take them from your old house to your new home.
These pick-up and delivery services can cost a pretty penny – another option for shipping clothes when moving is to use consolidated shipping, as discussed above. If you have a large wardrobe or are moving a family of multiple people – packing boxes and sending them this way may be the most economical.
There are many reasons one may need to send clothes from one location to another. Maybe you’re a seasoned seller who ships clothes regularly as it is. If not – perhaps now you’ll look into selling some of the clothing items that no longer suit you.
With the information above, you can find the easiest and most affordable way to send them out. You can make some extra cash on the side – and you’ll be helping to close the gap on apparel waste! A win-win for you and the environment.