Update for June 23, 2019 Rate Change
The USPS® has a second rate change this year that goes into effect on June 23, 2019. The USPS will start using dimensional weight to determine the price of packages for Priority Mail®, Priority Mail Express® and Parcel Select, and they're changing the way they calculate dimensional weight. Here's an overview of the changes and what they mean for your business.
What Is Dimensional (DIM) Weight?
Dimensional weight is used by all the major carriers—UPS, FedEx and now USPS—to calculate the shipping cost of larger packages with lower weights, i.e. light packages that take up a lot of valuable space in a delivery truck or airplane. If the calculated dimensional weight is higher than the actual weight you will be required to pay the higher amount.
Starting June 23, dimensional weight pricing will apply to packages sent via Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Parcel Select Ground.
How Is Dimensional Weight Calculated?
There are two ways to calculate dimensional weight: it can be calculated by hand, but the easiest way is to use our handy NeoShip online shipping software.
If you do decide to calculate dimensional weight manually, follow these steps:
- Multiply the length, width, and height of your parcel to determine if it is greater than 1 cubic foot or 1,728 cubic inches.
- If your package is less than 1,728 cubic inches, you do not need to enter in the dimensional weight. Your package will be priced based on the actual weight.
- If your package is greater than 1,728 cubic inches, you will divide the cubic inches by 166 to calculate the weight of your package.
Dimensional Weight Examples
Example 1: You're shipping sneakers that weigh 7lbs. in a box that measures 12" x 12" x 8". Multiply the length x width x height of the package: 12" x 12" x 8"= 1,056 cubic inches. Calculate the price using the actual weight of 7 lbs. because your package dimensions are less than 1 cubic foot or 1,728 cubic inches.
Example 2: You're shipping a book that weighs 5 lbs. in a box that measures 12" x 12" x 14". You multiply the length x width x height of the package: 12" x 12" x 14" = 2,016 cubic inches. The dimensions are greater than 1 cubic foot or 1,728 cubic inches, so you need to divide the dimensions by the USPS divisor which is 166. 2,016 cubic inches / 166 = 12.14 lbs. rounded up to 13 lbs. This is the weight you will enter into the machine.
As you can see from the example above you may end up paying more if you're shipping something lightweight in large packaging. This difference in weight can really add up! To reduce being charged for dimensional weight:
- Use the smallest packaging possible
- Use Flat Rate boxes and envelopes
- Use padded envelopes for shipping flexible items like clothing
How is dimensional weight entered into a postage meter?
If you have NeoShip online shipping software the dimensional weight will be calculated automatically. If you have a Neopost postage meter, you'll need to manually enter the dimensional weight that you calculated by selecting manual weight mode. Model-specific instructions on manually entering weight can be found on the Neopost Knowledgebase.