Do you need scales when preparing a package for a courier?

Even when you ship one package per quarter, it needs to be weighed. Sometimes one kilogram more can triple the shipping cost. When you send tens or hundreds of packages a week and you do not constantly sell the same products in precisely calculated amounts, a accurate and convenient set of scales is essential.

Just to begin, here is a warning – all methods where you determine the weight roughly can be very misleading.

Very expensive cheap bathroom scales

The cause of funny measurements and costly mishaps when sending courier packages are good bathroom scales. You can weigh yourself without the package, then you can weigh yourself with the package, and after subtraction you get the weight of the package. However, if you  repeat the described operation, you will see how imprecise this method is.

If the weight of the parcel indicated on the consignment note is not the actual weight, but still within the courier limits, you do not have to worry about big surcharges. The trouble begins when you declare the weight of a standard parcel and the actual weight classifies your shipment as oversized (large parcel). It does not matter whether your parcel is half a kilogram, a kilogram or 10 kilograms heavier than the limits, you will pay according to the rates provided for the next weight group. It may happen that for the amount you pay additionally, you could buy a simple but accurate set of scales.

How to weigh packages and pallets?

With more packages, it is necessary to purchase electronic platform scales. Their size and measurement range should be calibrated to the dimensions and weight of the largest parcels shipped. The accuracy of such scales ranges from a few to several grams. With such scales, it is difficult to put too many items in your parcel and exceed the established limits.

The most convenient equipment for weighing pallets is a pallet truck equipped with scales. The weight of a pallet shipment is the sum of the weights of the goods and the pallet. In this situation, there is no device that is more accurate and faster in operation than a set of scales on a pallet truck.

Weighing parcels and pallet shipments can be avoided when shipping made-up (packaged) goods that are precisely weighed. In such a situation, it is enough to count their number, and even just measure the dimensions of the load on the pallet.

Weight checked with a tape measure

Apart from the actual weight, there is also a volumetric weight, otherwise known as dimensional weight. It is a way in which couriers protect themselves against the transport of air, i.e. large-size packages with a small weight. In practice, this means that couriers always choose the option that is more favourable to them, i.e. they charge a fee for the actual or dimensional weight.

It is not difficult to calculate the dimensional weight. You just have to multiply the length of the parcel expressed in centimetres by its width and height, and then divide by the conversion factor for the dimensional weight. The factor, depending on the courier, can be 4,000, 5,000 or 6,000. A more convenient and reliable way is to use calculators that can be found on the couriers’ websites. Checking the dimensional weight will save you unpleasant surprises in the form of surcharges applied by the courier.