When you ship items on a pallet, it's often necessary to determine the overall volume of the loaded pallet to come up with your final shipping costs. Freight companies use a rate formula that takes into account both the weight and size of your pallet, and the companies usually charge more for pallets that take up a lot of space in their trucks or planes. You can often cut costs considerably by preparing your pallet in way that takes up less space in the freight vehicle.
Measure the area of the pallet base in square inches. These measurements are usually the same as the dimensions of the pallet itself. For example, if you use a standard 40-inch by 48-inch pallet, use those figures as your width and length to get a total area of 1,920 square inches. This applies even you place only a few boxes on the pallet and don't cover the entire surface. If any of your boxes hang over the edge of the pallet, increase your measurements to include the overhang.
Measure the height of the finished pallet. Measure from the ground to the top of the highest item, making sure to include the height of the pallet itself in the measurement.
Multiply the height times the area to find the pallet's overall volume in cubic inches. For example, if you use a standard 40-inch by 48-inch pallet, and the overall height of the pallet is 50 inches, the volume is 96,000 cubic inches (40 x 48 x 50).