Promo University

Why Does My Shipping Cost So Much?

Alyssa Mertes

Published: July 23rd, 2020

Have you ever been baffled about how your order of 100 water bottles could end up costing you $300 in shipping? Well, rest assured! I'm here to tell you all the little details that go into calculating your shipping cost.

  • Weight
  • Dimensional Weight
  • Box Dimensions
  • Shipping Method
  • Transit Distance

There are many variables that affect the cost of shipping. Here, we'll run through them one by one so you can see exactly how each factor impacts your order. Make sure you pay attention, just in case there's a quiz at the end!

Let's start with the major players:



This factor is pretty straightforward. Your order will cost more or less depending on how much it weighs when placed on a scale. The more it weighs, the more expensive your shipping will be.

*DISCLAIMER: The Delivery Guarantee is temporarily suspended due to external logistical and carrier issues on a worldwide level; the projected delivery date cannot always be promised or guaranteed.

Dimensional Weight

Weight is all well and good, but not all of our items are very heavy. For example, items like KOOZIES®, lunch coolers, and tote bags are actually pretty light. However, they are typically shipped in large boxes. This is where dimensional weight comes into play. Even though your items may not weigh a lot, a large box still takes up a lot of room on the truck (or train, or plane).

So what is dimensional weight anyway? Well, it's essentially the cubic size of your package. Don't remember what cubic size is or how to calculate it? We've got you covered.


Box Dimensions

Calculating cubic size can be tricky, and isn't done on a regular basis by most. Here, we'll break it down for you in an impromptu math lesson:

The cubic size of your package is calculated by multiplying the height by the length by the width, or Height x Length x Width. You can measure in either inches or centimeters.

Bubba in box
Bubba in box

Domestic and International Conversions!

According to UPS, to determine the dimensional weight for domestic shipments, you divide the cubic size of your package (height x length x width) by 166 to get the dimensional weight in pounds. For international shipments, divide the cubic size of your shipment by 139 to get the dimensional weight in pounds. If you measured in centimeters, divide by 5,000 to get the dimensional weight in kilograms.

What Determines Billable Weight?

So which one will you be charged for: actual weight or dimensional weight? Well, it depends on which one is bigger! The largest of the two weights is your billable weight, and will be the weight used to calculate your shipping cost.

You can think of it like this: Let's say you have a box of USB drives that weighs 20 pounds in a 6" x 8" x 10" box, or a dimensional weight of 3.5 pounds. You also have a box of custom stress balls that weighs 20 pounds in a 24" x 14" x 15" box, or a dimensional weight of 36.3 pounds. Even though both boxes weigh the same amount, since the stress balls come in a larger box (and therefore have a larger dimensional weight), they will cost more to ship...simply because that box takes up more room on the truck.


Handy Chart!

Weight vs. Dimensional Weight
Heavy weight $$$ $$$$ $$$$$
Medium weight $$ $$$ $$$$
Light weight $ $$ $$$
Small dimensional weight Medium dimensional weight Large dimensional weight
As you can see in the above chart, the heavier your items and the larger the boxes, the more expensive your shipping will be.

Shipping Method

We have several shipping methods available to ensure you always receive your items on time. However, the pricing varies depending on which method you choose. Your shipping will always cost less if you ship using Standard Ground shipping. Depending on whether you choose 3 Day Air, 2 Day Air, or Overnight shipping, the price increases. Overnight shipping is the most expensive. The faster you have your items delivered, the more expensive your shipping will be. If you have more questions about expedited shipping or rush production, click here!


Transit Distance

Another important factor in calculating your shipping is how far your items have to travel. This one is pretty straightforward. The more distance between the factory your items are shipping from and your delivery location, the more expensive your shipping will be. Why's that? Because the further your items have to travel, the more fuel is used to transport them, which means more money is needed to get from point A to point B.


Another Handy Chart!

Transit Distance vs. Shipping Method
Heavy weight $$$ $$$$ $$$$$
Medium weight $$ $$$ $$$$
Light weight $ $$ $$$
Standard ground shipping 2 or 3-day Air Shipping Overnight shipping
As you can see, the further your items have to travel and the faster you need your items shipped, the more your shipping costs increase.

Think of it this way: If you have a large order of say, 1,000 water bottles, that's about 20 boxes, the size of an elephant. If you need it shipped overnight, that means you're essentially getting an elephant a last minute plane ticket across the country. You can see how it adds up!


The (Shipping) Price is Right

Weight, dimensional weight, shipping method, and transit distance are the biggest players when it comes to your shipping costs, but there are a lot of other variables that can affect the price of shipping. Now that we've got the biggies out of the way, let's move on to some of the other factors that can impact the cost of shipping:


Damage-resistant packaging for fragile items: Some of the items we offer are fragile and breakable. Any glassware, ceramic mugs, picture frames, and other fragile items are placed in special damage-resistant packaging, and boxed up with packing peanuts and/or bubble wrap to ensure they get to you in one piece. All special packaging is added onto your shipping cost.


International Shipping: No matter where you are in the world, if UPS/FedEx can deliver to your destination, we will ship it! Please note that additional lead times, duties, tarrifs, and taxes will be assessed to all international destinations. Prior to order approval, your account executive can review these additional charges and considerations.


How many locations your order is shipping to: This is also known as dropshipping. If you are shipping your items to more than one location you will incur a small fee per address.

Save money shipping

Whether you are shipping to a business or residence: You may not have thought of this before, so here's a tip! It is always more cost efficient to ship to a business than a residence. Just remember to make sure your office manager approves of your late night infomercial shopping sprees before you start having packages shipped to work!


Combustible/Flammable Items: If you've ordered items that are flammable or combustible (things like lighters, candles, and hand sanitizer), there will be an additional charge. This is to ensure your items don't explode, or go up in flames while in transit!


Perishable Items: Lastly, if you order something tasty and edible, that means it's perishable. Perishable items like food will need to be shipped quickly, or packaged with dry ice to ensure they're still edible by the time they arrive on your doorstep. There are some additional charges added to your shipping cost for these items.

Time for pro tips!

It is difficult to change your shipping or re-route your package once your products are in production. So keep in mind that re-routing your shipment can delay the arrival date and cost you a little more cash.

Thankfully, we do everything we can to make sure that you know what your shipping is going to cost before you place your order. Shop with confidence and never go over budget again! Not to mention—with a click of a button, you'll be able to view faster delivery options!

example shopping cart
You'll be able to see when your items will arrive - all upfront!
Need a quicker delivery date? Click "Need it Sooner" to see all options!
Example Shipping date
example shopping cart
You'll be able to see when your items will arrive - all upfront!
Need a quicker delivery date? Click "Need it Sooner" to see all options!
Example Shipping date

If you are still on a category or search results page, simply navigate to the various filters on the lefthand side to select your delivery date. Make sure that you plug in your zipcode as well!

Example product listing

If you'd like more helping hands, don't hesitate to get in touch by emailing our team at, giving us a call at (866) 312-5646, or live chatting with one of our reps right on our website.

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Now that you know all of the variables that can impact the cost of shipping and how to get the most accurate shipping estimates, we hope you can feel comfortable and confident in your order. We'll always do everything in our power to track down the most cost effective shipping estimates for our clients. We hate paying more for shipping just as much as you do!

Quality Logo Products are experts on all things printed and promotional. Let our team of awesome, incredibly good looking, and fun promo nerds help you select awesome promotional swag today!

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Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa Mertes

Alyssa is the Lead Copywriter at Quality Logo Products. As a promo expert, she's uncovered the world's first custom tote bag, interviewed the guy behind rock band ACDC's logo, and had a piece published by the Advertising Specialty Institute, a leader in the promotional products industry.