Smart Warehousing Feb 23, 2023 10:43:00 AM 7 min read

Shipping Oversized Items: What You Need to Know to Save Time and Money

Shipping oversized items comes with its own unique set of challenges to navigate, but we've got you covered! Let’s explore everything about shipping oversized items, from what defines an oversized package to the best ways to get your big-ticket items from point A to point B.

What is an Oversized Package?

So what is an oversized package? Simply put, it's an item that's just too big for your average delivery driver to toss on their shoulder and carry to your customer’s doorstep. This is the kind of package that makes the delivery person let out a big sigh and regret not hitting the gym last week. In technical terms, an oversized package is one that exceeds the maximum size and weight limits set by carriers like UPS, FedEx, and USPS. This means that if your package is larger than 108 inches in length and girth combined, or weighs more than 150 pounds, it's officially classified as oversized. And as you might expect, carriers typically charge extra fees for these extra large items, so it's important to be aware of the specifics. 

Weight Plays a Role when Shipping Oversized Items


If you're planning on shipping oversized items to your customers, it's important to understand just how much weight impacts the shipping process. The weight of your package will determine which carriers are willing and able to ship it, as well as the overall cost of shipping. It's no secret that heavier packages come with a higher price tag. In fact, some carriers may even have weight restrictions for oversized packages, so it's crucial to check with them beforehand. Ultimately, understanding the role of weight in oversized shipping is key to ensuring that your package arrives safely and without breaking the bank.


Shipping Oversized Items: Costs and Regulations to Keep in Mind


When shipping oversized items, there's more to consider than just the weight and dimensions of your package. Additional fees charged by carriers can quickly add up, making the cost of shipping oversized items more expensive than you might expect. Some fees you might encounter when shipping oversized items include oversize surcharges, handling fees, and additional charges for lift gate services. It's important to factor these costs into the cost of your product and your ultimate shipping charges to avoid any unexpected expenses down the line.


Best Ways to Ship Oversized Packages

There’s more than one way to ship oversized packages, and each one has its advantages and drawbacks. 


  • Freight carrier: A freight carrier can be a good option for larger, bulkier items that are too big or heavy to ship via a standard parcel carrier. Freight carriers have the necessary equipment and expertise to handle oversized items and can offer competitive rates for these types of shipments. Keep in mind that freight carriers may have longer delivery times and may require your business to drop off the package at a terminal or arrange for a pickup.


  • Third-party logistics provider: Working with a third-party logistics provider can simplify the shipping process for oversized items by allowing you to outsource the entire process to a third party. This can include everything from packaging to delivery, as well as managing customs and other logistics-related tasks. A 3PL can also help you negotiate lower rates with carriers due to their volume of shipments.


  • Parcel carrier: If your oversized item is smaller and within the weight and size restrictions of a parcel carrier like UPS or FedEx, this may be a cost-effective option. However, be sure to carefully check the carrier's weight and size limitations to ensure your item is eligible. Keep in mind that parcel carriers may also charge additional fees for oversized or heavy items, and may require additional packaging or labeling to ensure safe delivery.


How to Avoid Surcharges and High Prices When Shipping Oversized Items

Think extra surcharges are simply the cost of doing business when you’re shipping something oversized? Think again. There are some strategies you can employ to keep your bottom line in check and avoid high prices in oversized item shipping.


  • Do the research: Compare rates from a variety of different carriers that offer oversized shipping services. And don't just look at the base rate, but also check for any additional surcharges or fees that may apply, as these can significantly impact the final cost of shipping, for your business and your customers. 


  • Package properly: Damage during transit can lead to additional fees, which means proper packaging is critical when shipping oversized items. Use sturdy and durable materials, like double-walled corrugated boxes, to protect your item from damage. Additionally, include proper padding and reinforcement to prevent shifting or movement during transit. 


  • Work with a 3PL partner: Consider using a third-party logistics provider, who may be able to negotiate lower rates and handle the entire shipping process for you. A third-party logistics provider (3PL) can be advantageous for businesses that ship oversized items regularly. 3PLs have existing relationships with carriers and can negotiate lower rates than you could get on your own. Additionally, a 3PL can handle the entire shipping process for you, from packaging to delivery, which can result in greater efficiency for your company


Shipping oversized items to your customers calls for caution and attention to detail. By understanding the weight and size restrictions of different carriers, safely packaging and properly labeling your items, and exploring different shipping options, you can avoid oversize surcharges and high prices and successfully ship your oversized item to your customers.

Need a trustworthy partner to ensure your oversized items arrive at your customers’ doors safely, on time and efficiently? Smart Warehousing has you covered. With our vast network of coast-to-coast warehouses, plus our 20+ years of shipping expertise and SWIMS technology, we’re ready to partner with you. Contact us today