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What is the Dimensional Weight Rule and how does it affect my rates with USPS?

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As of January 2015, you may have noticed your shipping cost increasing for UPS and FedEx. This new model of pricing is called Dimensional Weight Pricing (DIM). DIM weight is calculated based on the dimensions of the package, instead of the actual weight. If you are interested in saving money, you may want to consider using USPS as they do not use DIM Weight pricing on packages shipped domestically with Priority Mail and are under one cubic foot. Learn more with this helpful USPS video
 
However, if your package is larger than one cubic foot and is not domestic, you may still run into DIM Weight Pricing. 
 
For example: Normally, a 4 pound Priority Mail shipment, in Zone 8, is $15.52. However, this rate is based on a 12 x 12 x 12 box (one cubic foot), or smaller. Lets say that you have a box that is 14 x 14 x 14. When you ship something that is that large, USPS has what it calls a "Dimensional Weight Rule" that impacts zones 5 through 9. With the dimensions, the rate is as if the package weighed 14 pounds, not 4. This brings the cost of the shipment to $38.02.

For more info on what DIM weight is, as well as how to calculate a specific package type, see section 1.4 of this article from USPS. 

Note: When using the formulas provided in the link, be sure you are looking at the correct box type as there are different formulas for calculating cost based on what type of package you are using. 

Related articles:

What is the most cost effective way to ship my packages via USPS?
ShippingEasy Rates: what you can expect to save on USPS postage
Dim weight | Flat Rate Green webinar (VIDEO)

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