What Are Shipping Charges?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 01 September 2019
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Shipping charges refer to expenses that must be paid to ship an item through a mail carrier or delivery service. These charges are often paid to the delivery service, and different services can set different rates for transporting packages, usually based on the weight of the item and the distance it is being shipped. A company shipping a product to a customer often incurs such charges as an expense to the company. Shipping charges can also be charged to customers to offset such expenses and improve profits for a company.

Most companies that make a product to be sold incur some type of shipping charges based on getting that product to customers. These charges can be based on sending products directly to a customer through a mail service, or they may be related to the expense of shipping products to a retail store or warehouse. Shipping charges are usually based on the weight of the item or items being shipped. The distance the item is traveling, and the time desired for it to be received, can also increase this base cost for a package.


Shipping charges are frequently considered by companies that are likely to incur such costs, since they reduce profits. Companies that frequently ship products through the mail, such as mail-order catalogs or Internet retail businesses, often come to agreements with different mail carriers and delivery services for shipping products. This allows a company to better control and predict the shipping charges that are going to be incurred by that business during standard operations. Some companies may need to ship large numbers of products between warehouses and retail stores, which may require private trucking to transport products throughout an area.

Customers may also have shipping charges passed along to them to eliminate the expense to the company. These charges might be hidden within the perceived cost of a particular product or service, though they are usually charged separately for retail transactions. This allows companies to ensure profits on items sold, since the shipping charges are offset and paid by customers, and customers can choose to pay additional costs to have products shipped to them more quickly. Many companies also charge for “handling” along with shipping, which typically includes packaging materials prior to shipment and covers other potential charges such as the salaries of those responsible for packaging and shipping products.


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