37 Tips to Start Domestic Shipping Business

Domestic Shipping Business: Delivery is one of the final customer touchpoints for eCommerce businesses.

Expectations around eCommerce delivery have changed dramatically over the past decade.

With many consumers craving fast, flexible, and free shipping.

Therefore, developing your domestic shipping strategy should be a priority on your list.

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Domestic Shipping Business
Domestic Shipping Business: https://www.joc.com

Domestic Shipping Business

In this guide, we’ll teach you the ins and outs of domestic shipping at the beginner’s level.

Providing you tips and tools along the way.

That will help your small business be smarter with shipping.

While at the same time, manage customer expectations and deliver happiness consistently.

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1. Planning your domestic shipping strategy

Here’s what you should think about to ensure you are doing what’s best for your small business domestic shipping and fulfillment needs.

2. Know the destinations

Depending on the nature of your product.

You should ask yourself if it makes sense to ship within your city limits.

Your state, country-wide, or all of the above.

If your item is:

  • Perishable
  • Regulated differently across state borders
  • Includes liquids or batteries

…it may place limitations on where you can ship.

Domestic Shipping Business

3. Get the Domestic shipping restrictions and prohibited items

There is a difference between shipping restricted items and shipping prohibited items.

If an item is restricted, it means that it’s possible to be shipped.

But it must meet certain requirements set by your courier before they decide to accept it.

If an item is prohibited, it means it cannot be shipped at all.

Domestic couriers have the right to deny service if your shipment’s content is prohibited.

Shipping restrictions and prohibitions vary by courier.

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Domestic Shipping Business

4. Know the Shipping dangerous goods domestically

In shipping, dangerous goods are classified as items that can cause harm to those handling them in transit, if not handled properly.

Common “dangerous goods” include the following:

Alcohol: There’s a lot of regulation around how to ship alcohol, especially within the United States. Each state has different importing laws, and you may need additional licenses to legally ship and deliver.

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Domestic Shipping Business

In the United States, you are limited to using express couriers to handle alcohol shipments as the US Postal Service doesn’t allow any shipments of alcohol.

Still, express couriers like UPS and FedEx may restrict shipments of beer and other alcohol between certain states, with wine shipments dependent on the laws of the destination states.

Expect to pay a surcharge since a recipient signature will be required to accept the shipment.

Additionally, the person receiving the shipment must be at least 21 years of age, and identification will need to be checked to confirm.

Domestic Shipping Business

Liquids: If your product contains liquids, it may require special handling by your shipping courier.

There may also be restrictions on shipping via air freight (for example, each shipment can have a maximum of 100ml of liquid).

You may need to rely on ground transportation, which can affect your delivery times if shipping by plane is too expensive.

Examples include:

  • Nail polish: If it contains alcohol and is flammable, some couriers may ask you to provide additional information such as the flash point and toxicity. Expect the need to adhere to specific packaging requirements.
  • Perfume: Similar to nail polish, perfumes containing alcohol may be prohibited for air transportation, but eligible for ground transportation.

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Domestic Shipping Business

Gases: Products that come in aerosol spray cans (think hair sprays or air fresheners) can be shipped, but they must be properly classified and follow courier packaging instructions. They may be transferred by air, though there may be restrictions on quantity.

Due to courier restrictions for dangerous goods, you may need to adjust your shipping budget due to higher costs and longer delivery lead times.

5. Insuring your domestic shipments

For non-fragile items valued under $100, we don’t recommend purchasing additional shipping insurance. This is because services like FedEx shipping insurance and UPS package insurance normally insure shipments valued up to $100.

USPS shipping insurance varies; USPS Priority Mail Express may include up to $100 of insurance while USPS Priority Mail shipments may be insured for up to $50.

However, if you ship items valued over $100 and are concerned about damage or loss of your inventory, it may be best to purchase additional shipping insurance. Insuring your shipment shouldn’t break the bank – on average, express couriers charge 3% of the declared value. For USPS, pricing begins at $2.10.

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Domestic Shipping Business

6. Know the Domestic packaging types

The way you package your items can impact your shipping costs.

While some domestic couriers base their pricing on the actual weight of your shipment, others may implement a pricing structure based on the amount of space it takes up on a truck or aircraft.

This is known as volumetric (or dimensional) weight. To calculate this, couriers multiply the length, width, and height of your package, then divide this number by a cubic divisor. They will then compare this number to the actual weight, and will charge the higher of the two.

7. Domestic Shipping Business

If you need a visual, imagine shipping a box full of styrofoam cups. The weight of the box itself is pretty light. However, because of the size of the box, a truck could be quickly filled to capacity with very little actual weight.

Couriers are always looking to maximize the number of packages on a vehicle while maintaining profitability, so they take this into account and use a pricing structure that will charge accordingly. This is why it’s to your advantage to have efficient packaging; don’t lose money due to unnecessary volume!

8. Domestic Shipping Business

There are a variety of packaging options you can consider that will best fit your item:

Boxes: For those starting out, couriers such as FedEx, UPS, and USPS offer their branded boxes in standard sizes – for free. You can also consider getting something custom made and branded with your logo.

Padded envelopes: This is a great option for books, DVDs, jewelry, fashion accessories – small items that may need a little protection during shipping.

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Domestic Shipping Business

Poly mailers: This is a popular, economical option for non-fragile items like clothing. It’s lightweight, which can really lower the weight of your shipment. However, when choosing poly mailers, ensure you choose one with strong material as cheaper ones have the tendency to tear easily.

9. Take time to plan your domestic shipping strategy

It’s wise to take time and focus on the details of your domestic shipping strategy, as the delivery experience is an extension of your brand. It can also influence your customer satisfaction.

Knowing the destinations you will ship to, anticipating issues that may occur, and choosing the best packaging and shipping solutions that will prevent these issues will best prepare your business to handle any incoming order.

Domestic Shipping Business

10. Choosing the right domestic couriers for your business

Between postal, regional, and express couriers, it can already be overwhelming to decide which couriers you should work with.

You may think that it’s best to keep it simple by choosing one courier, but working with multiple couriers has its benefits.

When shipping domestically, you should consider working with a mix of trustworthy couriers that can meet your delivery needs based on your customer’s location and delivery time frame expectations.

As customer delivery preferences will vary, it’s recommended to offer three shipping options, each focused on the following:

Offering more than three shipping options can overwhelm customers, while offering less may not satisfy customer needs.

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Domestic Shipping Business

11. Know the Domestic Service pricing options

Here are the common pricing options that you can expect couriers to offer.

Dead weight: This is pricing based on the actual weight of your shipment, regardless of its size. Postal couriers normally use this type of pricing.

Flat rate: This is when one price is charged for a shipment, regardless of weight. Normally, couriers would have a specific size for a box, assign the flat rate shipping price to it, and regardless of what you put in the box and how much it weighs, you will be charged one price.

Volumetric weight: Also known as dimensional weight, this is calculated by multiplying the length, width, and height of a package and dividing it by a cubic divisor. Express couriers usually use this type of pricing structure to ensure that shipments are packed as efficiently as possible so it doesn’t take more space than needed on a delivery plane or truck.

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Domestic Shipping Business

12. How long does domestic shipping take?

Domestic delivery lead times vary depending on the distance your shipment is travelling and the service option you choose from your courier.

For example, USPS domestic shipping include services such as Priority Mail (1-3 business days), and Retail Ground (2-8 business days).

DHL domestic shipping offers a domestic Parcel service with a 2-8 business day timeframe, and an express service that delivers the next possible business day.

13. Know How to calculate domestic shipping costs

You can decide whether you would like to charge your customers the exact cost based on your shipment’s weight, dimensions, and the distance it’s being shipped, or if you’d like to offer flat rate shipping pricing.

Flat rate pricing can work for you if you want to easily forecast your shipping costs per month. It’s also a good marketing tool that can encourage customers to buy more.

However, you may not always get your money’s worth with flat rate shipping. Most of the time, unless the items being sent are very heavy, regular postage rates usually end up being cheaper.

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14. Domestic Shipping Business

Also, calculating the break-even point for cost savings with flat rates requires a very complicated comparison of package volume, weight and distance.

If you’re against the idea of possibly overcharging on shipping, offering calculated rates based on the customer’s location is a good alternative. Using a third-party app such as Easyship’s Rates at Checkout will take the guesswork out of what to charge, automating this task for you!

Before you start shipping, you can also estimate costs and compare couriers for your domestic destinations using Easyship’s Rate Calculator.

Domestic Shipping Business

15. Create an account with your couriers

Opening a business account with a courier can be very useful for you, as you can negotiate lower rates based on your expected shipping volume.

With some couriers, you can easily create an account online and start shipping immediately. If you already have a steady volume of shipments, you may also choose to speak with an account manager to see your business qualifies for additional discounts.

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16. Domestic Shipping Business

To negotiate lower rates, you should provide your account manager data such as the number of shipments you’ve processed in the past few months, and what your expected shipping volume will be.

If the idea of contacting multiple couriers to negotiate lower rates sounds time consuming, it may make sense to find a shipping software or platform to scale this process.

17. Use shipping software to scale

Shipping software companies create products that help you manage your eCommerce logistics end-to-end.

A major selling point is that they work as a third-party reseller, partnering with a variety of couriers to offer discounted rates to their customers. With no minimums to meet, it’s a useful service for up-and-coming eCommerce stores to have access to.

Other benefits of using a shipping software include:

  • Automated shipping.  Compare courier rates, generate labels without manual data entry, efficiently process returns, and send tracking emails post-shipment.
  • Enhanced checkout. Allow customers to see calculated rates, taxes, handling fees, delivery time frames, and courier quality ratings when they checkout so they are fully aware of all costs.
  • Centralized management. Integrate all the platforms you sell on for full visibility on shipping costs.

Easyship is an end-to-end shipping platform that does all of the above, and more! Creating a free account only takes a few minutes, and once you connect your store you can start shipping immediately. It’s one shipping shortcut you won’t regret!

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Domestic Shipping Business

18. Implement your domestic shipping policies

Everything you’ve learned up ‘til now will be useless if you don’t have a section on your eCommerce site that explains the shipping policies and details you’ve worked hard to create!

One best practice would be to have a dedicated page that lays out your shipping policy. It doesn’t have to be long or complicated, but it should include the following:

  • Names of the domestic couriers you’ll be using
  • Domestic Courier service types – Same day, overnight, and standard, for example
  • Pricing – Mention whether you offer free shipping, flat rates (you can include the pricing table here) or rates based on a customer’s location
  • Handling times – Number of business days it takes you to ship an item
  • Delivery timeframes – Number of business days it takes your courier to ship an item
  • Restrictions – List places that you can’t deliver to (such as PO Boxes, APO, FPO, or DPO; states that may prohibit your product)
  • Returns – Explain what can be returned and what the process is

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19. Domestic Shipping Business

Consider using Easyship’s shipping policy generator to get a policy tailored just for your eCommerce store – in minutes.

In addition dedicating a page for your shipping policy.

It can also be useful to include shipping information in your product pages so customers know what to expect before reaching checkout.

20.Use your shipping policy as a marketing tool

SMBs who are looking to scale quickly should strongly consider using a shipping platform so they can offer competitive rates at checkout.

Showing affordable shipping rates and promoting a generous shipping policy are a few ways eCommerce stores can use shipping as a marketing tool.

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21. Start shipping domestically

Now that you’re equipped in the ways of leveraging shipping as marketing, don’t be surprised when the orders start coming in!

Ensure your shipments include important order information and are labelled properly by following these steps.

Domestic Shipping Business

22. Domestic Shipping 101

When you start shipping your packages.

You’ll need to include a packing slip and a shipping label for each shipment.

A packing slip is a document that lists the products inside the shipment and their description, to ensure everything was included in the customer’s order.

A shipping label will the following information:

  • Name and address of sender (your business)
  • Name and address of your customer
  • Courier barcodes that contain information about the delivery
  • The service option you’ve chosen
  • Tracking number (if your service includes tracking)

You can print a shipping label on a regular 8”x11”/A4 size paper, or invest in a thermal printer, which will print sticker labels (usually with 4”x6” dimensions).

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23. Domestic Shipping Business

Shipping dangerous goods domestically

In addition to packing slips and shipping labels, dangerous goods shipments have special requirements that you’ll need to adhere to. Some couriers have special dangerous labels that you’ll need to attach, and declarations you must fill out and include with your shipping label.

You can contact your courier directly for their specific requirements to ensure your shipment will be processed.

24. Domestic Shipping Business

By using shipping software like Easyship, you can automatically generate labels for these goods.

We also have staff with dangerous goods training who can answer any questions you may have.

25. Labelling your shipments and paying for postage

If you’re shipping items in a box, it’s best to put your shipping label on the top of the box as it is the easiest part to be seen.

If you’re using courier branded boxes and other packaging, they’ll include markings on where to attach the shipping labels.

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26. Domestic Shipping Business

With shipping software, you can automatically generate both packing slips and shipping labels with all the information needed without doing any manual data entry. You’ll also have the opportunity to pay for postage before the label generates, allowing you to skip the line at the post office, or simply drop off your package at your courier’s office.

27. Automate shipping paperwork for better accurac

Shipping documents such as packing slips and shipping labels require accuracy to ensure that orders are correct and shipments are deliverable.

SMBs should avoid manual data entry by using shipping software to automatically generate these required documents at scale.

Domestic Shipping Business

28. Reduce shipping costs

Here’s how small businesses can save on shipping.

1. Take advantage of postal solutions

Postal couriers will normally base their shipping rates on the actual weight of your package. By opting out of additional services like tracking or express delivery, the cost of postage turns out to be very economical for many.

There are also couriers that offer low-cost solutions in conjunction with postal services such as the USPS. At times, they could even be cheaper than using the postal service itself. Examples include DHL eCommerce and UPS Mail Innovations.

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Domestic Shipping Business

2. Reduce packaging for your shipment

Smaller dimensions save you from being charged for unnecessary volume, which is important if you need to use a faster solution that charges rates based on dimensional weight. Efficient packaging also secures your items from potential damage. If possible, use lightweight packing material to reduce weight.

3. Opt to use your courier’s packaging

Couriers such as USPS, FedEx, and UPS offer free envelopes, boxes, and labels, which is very useful if you need to cut costs on shipping supplies.

Potentials of Domestic Shipping Business

Domestic shipping businesses have significant potentials, particularly with the growth of e-commerce and the increasing demand for reliable shipping services. Here are some key potentials of a domestic shipping business:

29. E-commerce Growth:

The rise of e-commerce has led to an increased need for efficient domestic shipping services. As more consumers shop online, there is a growing demand for reliable shipping solutions to deliver goods to customers’ doorsteps.

30. Market Expansion:

A domestic shipping business can tap into a wide range of markets and industries, including retail, manufacturing, healthcare, and more. By offering fast and reliable shipping services, you can attract customers from diverse sectors and expand your market reach.

31. Customized Solutions:

There is a growing demand for customized shipping solutions tailored to the specific needs of businesses and consumers. Domestic shipping companies can offer a variety of services, including same-day delivery, express shipping, freight forwarding, and specialized handling for fragile or perishable items.

32. Last-Mile Delivery Opportunities:

Last-mile delivery, the final leg of the delivery process from a distribution centre to the customer’s location, presents significant opportunities for domestic shipping businesses. By optimizing last-mile logistics and leveraging technology, companies can improve delivery efficiency and customer satisfaction.

33. Technological Advancements:

The integration of technology, such as route optimization software, GPS tracking, and real-time delivery updates, has revolutionized the domestic shipping industry. These technological advancements enable shipping companies to streamline operations, improve delivery accuracy, and enhance the overall customer experience.

34. Subscription Services:

Some domestic shipping companies offer subscription-based services, where customers pay a monthly or annual fee for unlimited shipping or discounted rates. Subscription services can help build customer loyalty and provide a steady source of recurring revenue for the business.

35. Green Initiatives:

With increasing environmental awareness, there is a growing demand for eco-friendly shipping solutions. Domestic shipping companies can adopt sustainable practices, such as using electric vehicles, optimizing delivery routes to reduce fuel consumption, and implementing recycling programs to minimize environmental impact.

36. Partnerships and Collaborations:

Domestic shipping businesses can explore partnerships and collaborations with other companies to expand their service offerings and reach new customer segments. This may include partnering with e-commerce platforms, retailers, logistics providers, or technology firms to leverage complementary strengths and resources.

37. Seasonal Demand:

Certain times of the year, such as during holiday seasons or peak shopping periods, experience a surge in shipping demand. Domestic shipping businesses can capitalize on seasonal demand by offering promotional deals, expanding capacity, and ensuring timely delivery to meet customer expectations.

38. International Expansion:

While initially focusing on domestic markets, successful shipping businesses may eventually explore opportunities for international expansion. By establishing strategic partnerships, leveraging global shipping networks, and adapting to international regulations, companies can tap into new markets and diversify their revenue streams.


Overall, the potentials of a domestic shipping business are vast, driven by evolving consumer preferences, technological innovations, and the growing importance of efficient logistics in today’s interconnected world. With careful planning, investment in infrastructure and technology, and a customer-centric approach, domestic shipping companies can capitalize on these opportunities and thrive in a competitive marketplace.

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