You're paying carriers more than you think you are! In this blog post, I'll show you how you can view your actual bill and any adjustments applied to your ShipStation carrier balance.
Welcome back to my blog series on optimizing shipping costs! For those who don’t know me, I’m Tyler, and I founded String to help eCommerce businesses save time and money on order fulfillment.
Over the last few months, I've spoken with numerous eCommerce logistics leaders who don't know what their actual carrier bill is at the end of the month. They're adding up the shipping label costs in a spreadsheet and taking the sum of those figures. But there's a critical problem with this approach! It doesn't tell you how much you ACTUALLY paid. This is because carriers are able to charge you adjustments and fees after their facilities receive a package of yours.
In some cases, I've seen annual adjustments and fees add up to nearly $50,000!!! That's $50,000 the business had no idea they were spending... Let that sink in. A full time employee salary disappearing without you even knowing it.
If you're like me, you want to know how much you're actually paying and gain some insight into why you're being charged fees and adjustments. If you use ShipStation, you're in luck! Because today I'm going to show you how to view your actual billing data and know why you're being charged more than you think you are. So buckle up and open up ShipStation folks, because we're about to get our hands dirty.
DISCLAIMER: This only works if you use ShipStation carrier accounts. If you have your own carrier accounts, you'll need to log into their billing portals.
Step #1: In the ShipStation dashboard, click the 'Gear' icon in the top right hand corner of the nav bar.
Step #2: Click on the "Shipping" tab in the left hand menu bar and then click on the "carriers" sub menu button.
Step #3: Under the "ShipStation Carriers" tab, you should see "USPS" as the first row. On the right hand side of that row you should see 3 dots below the word "Actions". Click that button. In the drop down menu that appears, click the button that says "View Reports".
Step #4: You should now be on stamps.com. There will be a left-hand menu bar with options like "Prints", "Expenses", and "Balances". Click on the "Balances" button.
Step #5: In the upper most nav bar you should see a drop down menu that says "Report Type:" with a graph next to it. Click on the downward arrow button and select "Transactions" from the drop down menu.
Step #6: You're now able to see all cash flow from your carriers! There will be 6 columns. The right-most column will tell you what type of transaction it is. If the cell says 'Adjustment ID xxxxxxxxx' you'll be able to click into it and see the additional charge a carrier placed on a shipping label after you paid for it. As a first step, I'd recommend going through these and seeing if you notice any trends from your data. Are you frequently getting adjustments for incorrect dimensions or weight? Are you getting residential surcharges tacked on? These are things you should understand so you can begin to make corrections.
Step #7: I recommend downloading a csv with this data so you can easily understand what you are actually paying to your carriers. In the top nav bar on the right hand side, you'll see an icon with a tray and arrow pointing upward. Click this to download a csv with all of your transactions. You can also apply filters to export transactions within a specified time frame.
Now you evaluate both why you're receiving adjustments and how much they're costing you. I really hope this helps and if you have any questions don't hesitate to reach out and ask me for help. Thank you so much and have a great week!