Sea Freight: 4 Ways To Save On Shipping Costs For Your Small Business

Starting a small business is the beginning of making your entrepreneurial dreams come true. There’s no shame in starting small, as even the biggest conglomerates of today were once in that position as well. It’s as exciting as it is challenging, given how small businesses have so much more to learn—particularly concerning the finance side of operations.  

Before the profits start to kick in, there are the necessary expenses small businesses have to cover first. One of those is the skyrocketing shipping costs which can become big profit-eaters. Small business owners need to be strategic with looking for ways to have cheap freight sea shipping worldwide without sacrificing the freight company’s quality.  

With the right tactics, there are so many ways you can save big on small business shipping. Some of those measures are discussed below.  

  1. Offer In-Store Pickup  

If you have a brick-and-mortar shop, offer the option of an in-store pickup to local customers. You may be surprised by how many local shoppers prefer this option so that they won’t have to pay for shipping.   

This choice is still quite convenient as the shoppers themselves can choose when to pick up the items from your store. They can time it strategically to coincide with errands they may be running within the vicinity or whatnot. If your website uses Magento, the Store pickup extension is the choice for your customers to choose the most convenient store location and times.

With that, this offer is a win-win for both ends. You save on packaging supplies, and the shipper won’t have to pay exorbitant shipping fees.  

  1. Negotiate With Multiple Shipping Companies  

Searching for a shipping company to partner with isn’t always an easy thing to do. It may take a very long research process to find the best and the cheapest. Hence, the need to negotiate with multiple shipping companies to compare prices.  

This process of negotiation comes in handy for several reasons:  

  • It’s not ideal to partner only with one shipping company. You have to offer multiple options to your buyers, so they can choose which companies to trust upon checkout.   
  • Having multiple shipping companies as your partners can also mean choosing the cheapest options based on location. This is important as shipping fees can vary per carrier according to the location you’re shipping to and from.  
  • Negotiating with multiple companies means you get to haggle for more bulk orders. The more you ship from your supplier to your small business location or warehouse, the more you can ask for discounts and special rates.  
  1. Use Free Shipping Supplies  

One of the shipping-related expenses businesses have to cover is the cost of packing. You can’t skimp on this, as you’ll want your products to stay safe and well-protected while in transit. However, if you aren’t careful in choosing your supplies, you could also be paying more than necessary for shipping supplies.   

To prevent this, look for ways to obtain free shipping supplies. It all boils down to being resourceful with these tactics:  

  • Re-use the packaging and wrapping supplies you received from your suppliers when they shipped your orders from their warehouse to your store. 
  • Scout for excess packaging materials from big department stores and supermarkets, as they’re almost always willing to let go of those for free for extremely low prices. 
  • Use only the quantity of packaging supplies you need for every item you ship to the buyer.  
  1. Opt For Third-Party Insurance Coverage  

Should you need more insurance coverage for more expensive and valuable products you’re selling, a better option is to opt for third-party insurance coverage. This adds a layer of confidence and protection to ensure that the products you’ve ordered from suppliers make it to your business in good condition.  

From the buyer’s perspective, it’s a better practice for small businesses to allow them to choose whether or not they want to add insurance costs on top of the shipping fee they must pay. Doing so gives more customers convincing reasons to choose your small business. This gives them more control over the total cost they must pay to ship their orders.  

In the long run, this strategy helps maintain your stability and profitability as a small business as you’re not losing customers to competitors who may be offering cheaper shipping fees. Choosing a third-party insurance provider may be cheaper as long as you research the rates well and their reputation.  

On the other hand, don’t feel compelled to stick to the insurance coverage automatically provided by your chosen shipping company. Seek out other insurance companies that can offer more reasonable rates.  


Ask any entrepreneur, and they’d be unanimous in saying that shipping costs can negatively impact a business’s profitability. The higher the cost of shipping your products, the lower your profit margin. This unfortunate situation would’ve been prevented if you had made the correct choice of choosing the right shipping company.  

Therefore, learning how to reduce shipping costs is essential for businesses. Nevertheless, this list covers the basics of what it takes to save on your shipping costs potentially.

June McGown