We’ve all heard the saying “there’s no such thing as a free lunch”, and I think most of us understand the meaning – if someone is offering a “free lunch”, there are, undoubtedly, strings attached – someone is paying for it. There is always a cost associated with food, as I’m sure any of you who grow food can attest to.
What about “free shipping”?
Well… just like a free lunch, there’s no such thing.
Why is there no free shipping?
UPS, FedEx, the USPS and all other carriers charge for their services. If you’ve ever sent a package or letter through the mail you have probably used stamps, or paid for a shipping label. When you purchase an item that gets shipped, you pay the shipping cost, you just may not always see it.
The actual cost of any shipment depends on three primary attributes:
- Physical size – bigger items take more space on trucks
- Weight – trucks have weight limits
- Distance – the further a shipment has to go, the more it will be handled
And a few secondary attributes:
- Speed – expedited shipments require special treatment
- Risk/hazard – potentially hazardous items require special treatment
- Value – high-value items must be insured against loss or damage
- Relationship with the carrier – businesses that ship a lot get lower shipping rates (we take great pride in our relationships with our partner carriers!)
All of these attributes are combined to determine the true cost of any given shipment.
What about all of that “free shipping” available online?
In most cases, the true cost of the shipment is simply included in the price of the item(s) because the cost is easy to hide in most things that are sold online, which tend to be high-margin, relatively small and lightweight items, like clothing, accessories, electronics, cosmetics, etc.
Why doesn’t Seven Springs do this?
Because we are committed to supporting farm businesses, including our local and regional farmers, as well as those further afield. If we were to take the average cost of nation-wide shipping, and add it to the cost of our products and call it “free shipping”, we would in effect be penalizing our local and regional farms.
Because we are farmers ourselves, we understand that margins in farming can be tight, which is why our pricing philosophy is transparent - we are essentially “wholesale to the public”. This leaves no room for us to hide “free shipping” in the prices of our products.
Then why is shipping so expensive?
It really isn’t, but it may look this way for several reasons:
- As a business we are honest and transparent – we tell you what the true cost of shipping is, and we don’t profit on what we charge for shipping
- Most of what we sell is relatively heavy, large, and/or valuable
- It’s about volume. Shipments in the 50-400 lb range are relatively big and heavy compared to most other types of purchases made online. 50-400 lb orders are not quite big or heavy enough to ship on a tractor trailer, so they are shipped via UPS, and the cost per 50 lb package is relatively high. Once a shipment weighs over 450 lbs or so, the shipping cost per unit drops considerably – we can ship 2450 lb of fertilizer to most places east of the Mississippi for around $4.50 per 50 lb bag!
Hopefully this gives you some insights into the way we do business, and the realities of the true cost of shipping.
If you have any questions, please give us a call (800)540-9181!