How Much does Shipping Cost? Here are all your Options Explained

If you’re looking for a simple answer to the question, “how much does shipping cost?” then you might be disappointed! Unfortunately, it’s a little like asking how long that proverbial piece of string is.

You see, shipping costs vary hugely depending on a range of different factors. It’s not all bad news though, because shipping costs can be easily calculated, as long as you know the answers to a few simple questions about your parcel.

To find out how much shipping will cost for your item, you’ll just need to provide your carrier with information on its size, value, dimensions and weight. You’ll also need to know exactly where it’s going to be sent in order to find out your estimated shipping price.

With this information, carriers will be able to give you a specific price for shipping, and some will also provide you with a range of other options depending on how fast you’d like your parcel to be sent. Added extras can also be added at this point, such as tracking, insurance and proof of delivery.

If you want to find out more about shipping costs, take a look at some of our most commonly asked shipping queries below. And of course, if you can’t find the question or the answer you’re looking for, don’t hesitate to give us a call.

How much is international shipping?

There’s no standard cost when it comes to international shipping, so prices can vary enormously. The minimum cost you can expect when shipping internationally is in the region of £5, but prices can easily soar into the hundreds when you ship large items overseas.

The prices of international shipping vary according to the size and weight of the parcel, the delivery time expected and the chosen carrier. Some carriers will charge quite a bit more for the same parcel than others, so it’s well worth shopping around to get the best price. And the destination of your parcel will also play a part in how much your final price is, with each region of the world possessing its own unique set of pricing.

How do I calculate shipping costs?

Calculating shipping costs might seem confusing at first, but as long as you have all the required information at hand, it’s a simple task. Take a look at different carrier websites and you’ll often find an online shipping calculator. This tool is invaluable when calculating shipping costs, and it’s very easy to use too.

All you need to do is input your parcel’s specifications, such as its dimensions, approximate weight and value. Then, you’ll be asked what region of compensation you’d like to be covered for should your parcel get lost or damaged. You’ll also need to input the exact address of your recipient, to get a range of prices.

At this point, you will commonly be given a few different prices, which will depend on how fast you’d like your item delivered. If you’re in no rush, you’ll benefit from a cheaper shipping cost. If you’d like your item with your international recipient in a matter of days, you’ll have to pay a higher price tag.

What is flat rate shipping?

Flat rate shipping is a type of shipping cost commonly used in online marketplaces such as Etsy, or on eCommerce sites powered by WooCommerce. It makes life easy for small businesses, by allowing them to determine a flat rate for shipping items within specific regions.

So, for example, if you wanted to list an item for sale you would then add a few different flat rates for shipping, with a price for shipping within the UK, a price for shipping to Europe and then another price for shipping further afield.

If you choose to use this method, you can add as many different flat rates as you like. However, we recommend you opt for a higher estimate wherever possible, to ensure you’re not left out of pocket if you do make a sale that’s destined for an international buyer.

What is free ground shipping?

Ground shipping is one of the most affordable ways to send items, and often online marketplaces will offer free ground shipping in order to entice buyers. Put simply, ground shipping refers to shipping via land, usually by means of rail. Of course, this does take significantly longer than shipping by air, but it’s much cheaper.

If your buyers are prepared to wait a few days for their products, it’s a great idea to offer free ground shipping if you’re able to. Of course, the business will need to swallow the cost of shipping such items, but sales may well go through the roof if you start to offer this.

Why is international shipping and handling so expensive?

Some businesses are surprised by the huge jump in shipping costs when they begin to trade internationally. There’s no getting away from the fact that international shipping prices are far higher than their domestic counterparts, but when you look at the reasons why, it’s understandable.

Parcels sent overseas are subject to a far longer journey than those that just travel to domestic buyers, and because of that, there are many more steps that the parcel goes through before it reaches its destination.

Parcels bound for international buyers are taken to a depot, first of all. Then, they’ll be sorted and sent to an airport. At this point, they’ll be put on a plane, and taken to the right country. When that plane arrives, every parcel on board needs to be inspected by customs, before it can continue on its way. Once parcels are approved by customs, they’re passed onto a local courier to carry on their journey, until they reach the intended recipient.

When you compare this to the steps involved in domestic delivery (being driven to a depot, being sorted, and then being driven to the correct address) it’s easy to see why the costs involved are so much higher. There’s a lot more work involved!


If you’re looking to find out more about shipping costs for your business, drop us a line. We’re the experts when it comes to international shipping, and we can advise you on the best options for your business. Don’t waste hours painstakingly searching for different shipping options. Just give us a call, and we’ll do the hard work for you.