How to Calculate the Shipping Cost for a Package

Measure the package to help determine the shipping cost.
Measure the package to help determine the shipping cost. (Image: Jupiterimages/ Images)

The shipping cost of a package varies depending on the weight, size and shape of the container. The contents affect the shipping cost if valuables, fragile or dangerous materials, or perishables are enclosed. The cost also changes depending on the company with which you choose to ship the package and how quickly you want it delivered. Shipping companies often offer additional services for a fee such as package tracking, insurance and delivery confirmation. Use the website of the company you choose to simplify calculating the shipping cost.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Scale

USPS Shipping

Navigate to the website for the United States Postal Service. (See Resources)

Click "Calculate Postage" from the red bar, then select the appropriate option for your shipping requirements. These include "Calculate Domestic Postage," "Calculate International Postage" and "Calculate Business Postage." Click "Go" to move on to the next form.

Enter the required information into the form. Domestic and International both ask for the destination country (drop-down menu), from and to zip codes, mailing date and package type. When you select the package type, a new field appears to enter the weight of the package, then click "Continue." If you select "Large Package," the next page asks for the dimensions; otherwise, you are shown the shipping rates for the choices you selected.

UPS Shipping

Go to the UPS website. (See Resources)

Hover your mouse pointer over "Shipping" on the navigation bar and select "Calculate Time and Cost" from the drop-down menu.

Select the type of quote you wish to receive, then enter the country, city, zip code, date and weight information into the form and click "Next" to see a page that lists the rates. If you select "Detailed Time and Cost" as the type of quote, you also enter the dimensions -- length, width and height -- of the package into the form.

Federal Express Shipping

Navigate to the Federal Express website. (See Resources)

Hover the mouse pointer over the "Ship" option in the top navigation bar, and click on the "Get Rates & Transit Times" option.

Enter the country, zip code, package weight, package pickup and dropoff information, and ship date into the form then click "Get Detailed Quote."

Click the drop-down menu box for the Package Type and select the type of packaging you are using. If you select "Your Packaging," three fields appear to enter the length, width and height of the package.

Enter a declared value for the contents of the package and click "Continue." The next page shows you the rates and delivery times.

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