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How to Save on Shipping Costs as a Farmer

Blog Feature Image_Save on Shipping Costs

It’s no secret that distribution is a pain point for a lot of farmers. Shipping can be very expensive, and you want to make sure it's worth it for your business.

To make it a little easier for you, here are some best practices to save on shipping costs to get your products to your customers.

1. Pack small and light

The first step is to think about what you are shipping. Often, the actual packaging of the products can be bulky and heavy. This takes up more room in a vehicle and can lead to higher costs if working with a third party distributor. To avoid this, start by measuring your current products and then determining the average daily/weekly orders. This will help you determine the space currently used in a vehicle to get your products to your customers and if this needs to be reduced.

You should only be using space that needs to be used and buy packaging that fits your products.

2. Determine and use your MOV

A minimum order value (MOV) is the lowest dollar value that you will ship to your customers. Using our calculator, you can determine how to guarantee a minimum profit per order. This calculator breaks down the cost on the road, margins, break even point, target profit, and average deliveries per hour to determine your business’ unique MOV. After determining your MOV, implement it! Only offer delivery to customers who meet that bracket, otherwise you will be taking a loss.

3. Be strategic with your shipping area

You’ve thought about your packaging and the minimum order amount for delivery – next, you must also determine the limits to where you are delivering. A MOV ensures profit for delivery, but it does not consider the shipping area. Your shipping area must be feasible with your resources while also considering the needs of your customers. To determine the best shipping area for your business, compile a list of where your customers are located and choose the most frequent.

Tip: If you're just starting out with delivery, start small. Service in your own area first. Build up a customer base and, then consider expanding to different cities. You want to make sure you are running a profitable business before running the risk of shipping to a larger area.

4. Work with more than one carrier

If you don’t have the resources or time to deliver your own products, consider using a shipping partner. If you do work with a carrier, don't only use one. Different carriers have different costs for residential vs. post office deliveries. Use a few different carriers for different orders and compare and contrast. This may seem more time consuming, but it increases the chance of getting the best deal. Also, don’t forget the power of negotiation! Use competitive pricing to get the price you want.

5. Co-loading

Co-loading is a great option for saving on shipping costs. Co-loading is partnering up with different suppliers to bring products to your customers. It can save you money, increase your shipping area, fill capacity and even reduce emissions from your distribution route! Connect with other farmers at the market and see if they're delivering to the same areas - this can save you a lot of money in the long-run.

6. Pick up locations

If door-to-door delivery is not feasible for your business, or if you’re looking to decrease current costs, consider pick up locations. Pick up locations allow you to bring your products a little closer to your customers and a lot closer to you. Instead of having to make 8 deliveries in one day, you could possibly cut it back to 1 or 2.

In addition to reducing costs, pick up locations can also help you promote your business by having locations in busy customer hotspots such as farmers’ markets, gyms, schools or community centres. 

We all want to save money in our businesses. Don’t lose money by trying to get your products to your customers.


Graphic of Local Line's Minimum Order Calculator

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