Fulfillment by Amazon: How to Get the Cheapest UPS Rates

Once again I apologize for interrupting the beginner series posts that I was intending to follow through with.  I’m beginning to learn that things don’t really follow a clear path and may forgo the series posts in the future.  I’m constantly coming across new processes, strategies and better ways of running a used book business and am excited to share them with you.  This is why I typically can’t set in stone blog posts because nothing is predictable.

If you follow my tweets on Twitter (@sellyourbooks) you’ll know that I tweeted a few days ago about getting the cheapest rate possible for incoming UPS shipments to Fulfillment by Amazon.  I’ve found that after a dozen or so shipments to Amazon, the rate is never the same on a per pound basis.  I’ve paid anywhere from 20 cents/lb to up to 38 cents/lb.  Since Amazon lets you choose how many boxes you’re sending in a shipment and how heavy the boxes are going to be, I wanted to get the cheapest possible rate by finding how many and how heavy these boxes would need to be to maximize my money.

If I could find the cheapest per lb rate that UPS is going to charge me I could then either create a FBA shipment right away or wait until I have enough books to send to Amazon to match this cheap per lb rate.  After an email to Amazon support and a lot of browsing around on UPS’s website and tracking down a UPS rate sheet, I believe I’ve found the cheapest way to get your books sent to Amazon when using Fulfillment by Amazon.

Finding this cost sweet spot will also allow you to budget better in determining exactly how much it’s going to cost you each time to send inventory to Amazon.  I found it hard to really set a standard price in regards to incoming shipment charges and the different fees that Amazon charges you.  With the information that I know now I’ve managed to get a budget in place and know exactly how much I’m going to have to shell out per book if I want to utilize Amazon FBA.

Here are the general steps that I went through in order to calculate the cheapest price possible for shipping books to Amazon.  I will go into more detail in the videos that I have created.

  1. There are many different warehouses that Amazon uses for incoming FBA inventory.  You’ll need to find which town Amazon is going to have you ship your books to (mine was Whitestown, IN).
  2. Find a zip code in this town (if multiple zip codes).
  3. Find the UPS zone that this town is in.
  4. Download the UPS rate sheet to calculate Lose Weight Exercise and cost.  Get the UPS Per Lb Rate Sheet.  I got the total Lose Weight Exercise information from the UPS Retail Rate and Service Guide.

If you liked this post "Like" it via Facebook with the button above. Also, I love getting comments and discussing these issues with readers. Feel free to leave a comment below.

  • Rezolutionz

    Didn't ever realize that the rate was varied. Thanks for doing the math and letting us know the sweet spot. Now if you could only get the UPS guys to quit trying to make small talk with me like,”hows the book biz?” “you must be doin pretty good, right?”
    Just print me my receipt and go buble wrap something… Im not there to chat with you, and its quite annoying if there happens to be another customer in the store…

    Now all we need to know is where is the cheapest place to get the labels? And how much does your Laser Cartridge cost compared to how many sheets it will print before needing to be replaced? If you think you're gonna use a inkjet,deskjet etc you are out of your mind, the prices for ink are way too high high!

    Onto the next FBA problem, when your item sells, Amazon doesn't remove it from your inventory, it simply shows up as not fulfillable with a quantity of 0. This is messy and tedious to clean up.

  • adbertram

    I tend to like when people make small talk with me about my business. I've
    found a few people that know I sell books and notify me when there's a
    bookstore going out of business or when they happen to stumble across a lot
    of books for sale for some reason. Consider them your “scouts”. :)

    I've used a laser printer for over a year now and haven't looked back. I
    ran out of ink for my inkjet when I first started in a month. I've been
    buying my labels from a 3P seller on Amazon. I just bought 3000 for $20.
    They are the “1 x 2-5/8 Inches, Box of 3000 Labels (5160)” ones. If you can
    find a cheaper place to get the Avery 5160 ones or even just about any label
    that is 30 per sheet and is 1 x 2-5/8″, I'd love to know about it.

    I can see where Amazon is coming from by not removing books from your
    inventory because they're thinking from the perspective of a large volume
    seller that has dozens, hundreds or even thousands of 1 particular SKU. It
    would be a hassle for sellers like this to constantly create a new merchant
    SKU for the same product. I just ignore that and not worry about it. If I
    happen to send the same book again down the road, I'll just have it create a
    new SKU for me. Amazon's none the wiser.

    A

  • Rezolutionz

    Didn’t ever realize that the rate was varied. Thanks for doing the math and letting us know the sweet spot. Now if you could only get the UPS guys to quit trying to make small talk with me like,”hows the book biz?” “you must be doin pretty good, right?”
    Just print me my receipt and go buble wrap something… Im not there to chat with you, and its quite annoying if there happens to be another customer in the store…

    Now all we need to know is where is the cheapest place to get the labels? And how much does your Laser Cartridge cost compared to how many sheets it will print before needing to be replaced? If you think you’re gonna use a inkjet,deskjet etc you are out of your mind, the prices for ink are way too high high!

    Onto the next FBA problem, when your item sells, Amazon doesn’t remove it from your inventory, it simply shows up as not fulfillable with a quantity of 0. This is messy and tedious to clean up.

  • Rezolutionz

    I live in one of the top 5 most expensive cities in America, so its pretty competitive around here, and the more people that know what I do, the more likely that they or someone they tell is going to become a fulltime bookscout, and thus taking food from my table and forcing me to work harder to get the same amount of inventory.

    Everyone is a potential spy looking to infiltrate as far as i’m concerned. Keep my head down, and wear a hooded sweatshirt, maybe even sunglasses too.

    How do you think I got into the book biz? I overheard some other bookscouts talking and I went and did some online research and 2 years later, they probably hate me :) Not as much as I hated my 9-5 I bet.

    I have even found new sources for books when seeing other scouts in the field, “I know what they are doing!” Sure enough I was right, and I straight take over, it becomes MY SPOT (don’t mess with me). So, yeah I go incognito when in the field, lookin dirty and grimy as possible. Most book scouts are older and they can’t keep up with my young legs/wit..hahaha

    All it takes is one person to say something to another who happened to see you at another place doing your thing….whether it be scanning books, or dropping off massive amounts of packages at the post office…. this can only happen so many times before they are taking a piece of your dollar.

    Another thing is to not put your amazon store name as the return address on your outgoing packages due to the fact that if another person happens to see it and read the name, they may be able to locate you online and then they may or may not have a BIG lightbulb go off in their head.

    When people ask me where I get my books, I say a few things;
    “everywhere” “all over” “I buy in bulk”

    Some people are more motivated/capable than others, I find that the less you put it in the air the better it is. I was even mad a while back when I seen a Jeopardy contestant list his occupation as a “bookseller”. Why would you not just say “business owner”???

    Don’t blow up the spot!

  • Sean

    I have a question about the shipping methods. I have always checked only 1 shipping box and that is the expedited shipping. Now, when I send my shipment to Amazon, am I going to have to go back and edit all of the books sent for FBA to include the One Day shipping? Or when we convert to Fullfillment, will it do it automatically?

  • adbertram

    I've never used the new 1 day shipping option before but it is my
    understanding that you will not have to do this and your books will be
    offered that way automatically. Your books are treated just like
    Amazon's own.

  • http://www.readingmontana.blogspot.com/ Catherine @ Reading In Montana

    Sean, FBA does this automatically. You do have to sign up for International shipping but submitting a scan of your signature for customs. That link would be found in the upper right hand side of one of the main pages… I think it may be on an inventory page.

  • IMINC

    Thank you for all the work. Have you considered the impact of shipping two cartons to achieve the 63lbs to 72lbs to get the rate rather than shipping a single carton at less than 55lbs.

  • IMINC

    Adam, take a look at “OnlineLables” at http://www.onlinelabels.com . Their standard pricing is $25.95 for 7,500 labels (250 sheets of 30) for the Avery 5160 “like” labels. On top of that they send out discount coupons nearly every quarter. My last order total cost was $20.90 for 7,500 labels including the shipping fees of $4.95 and customer discount coupon of $10.00.

    I've used them for years for a

  • adbertram

    That is a great deal! That's a lot cheaper than the ones I was buying off
    of Amazon. I'm going to promote this site when referencing Amazon FBA
    labels. Thanks for letting me know.

  • adbertram

    I have not considered that but that is a good question. I suppose you could
    calculate that yourself by using that zone chart.

  • adbertram

    Thanks, Catherine.

  • adbertram

    That is a great deal! That's a lot cheaper than the ones I was buying off
    of Amazon. I'm going to promote this site when referencing Amazon FBA
    labels. Thanks for letting me know.

  • adbertram

    I have not considered that but that is a good question. I suppose you could
    calculate that yourself by using that zone chart.

  • adbertram

    Thanks, Catherine.

  • Joe

    The “sweet spot” is 500 lbs or more. For me that works out to .27 per lb. I can send in 9 boxes at 50 lbs each and it costs the same as shipping 10 boxes at 50 lbs each.

    Just run some scenarios, you get a shipping quote before you are required to accept and submit. Just create a fake shipment and make sure you don't pay for the shipping, or if you do by accident just cancel it.

  • Joe

    The “sweet spot” is 500 lbs or more. For me that works out to .27 per lb. I can send in 9 boxes at 50 lbs each and it costs the same as shipping 10 boxes at 50 lbs each.

    Just run some scenarios, you get a shipping quote before you are required to accept and submit. Just create a fake shipment and make sure you don't pay for the shipping, or if you do by accident just cancel it.

  • Anonymous

    Those are the ones I’ve always used for coming up to 1 year with FBA and have never had a complaint.