Size really does matter

Measuring the size of parcels accurately

At Bob Go, we often receive inquiries from customers who are puzzled as to why the quote they accepted differs from the final cost charged by the courier. While there could be several reasons for this, one of the most common is that customers are unsure of how to accurately measure their parcels. To avoid any discrepancies in shipping costs, it’s important to invest in a reliable scale and take the time to measure your parcels accurately. Not only will this help you save money, but it will also guarantee that you receive the most accurate shipping rate quote. So, don’t hesitate to invest in a scale or two and take the first step towards hassle-free shipping with Bob Go.

This guide explains the difference between actual and volumetric weight, and how to precisely measure your parcels so that you are equipped with the necessary knowledge to ensure that your initial shipping charge matches the confirmed charge rate. Let’s dive in!

Why size is so important:

Courier quotes are calculated by using the collection and delivery addresses, the expected delivery time frame, and the weight and/or dimensions of the parcel. Essentially, couriers compare the actual weight of the parcel with the volumetric weight of the parcel (the dimensions, and therefore, the space it will take up in a courier vehicle) and charge you on the higher of the two weights. This is where accurate measuring comes in.

When couriers book parcels into the hub using a SWAD (scanning, weighing and dimensioning) machine, the weight measured may differ to what you have calculated during fulfillment. This creates a difference between the initial shipping charge and the actual courier confirmed charge. By submitting the most accurate measurements upfront, you will receive a more exact quote and reduce the difference between the initial shipping charge and the courier confirmed charge. 

How to measure a parcel accurately:

It is important to note that the packaging adds extra weight and increases the volume of the parcel. Therefore, it is essential to weigh and measure the fully-packaged parcel to ensure the accuracy of the shipping quote.

After you have entered the necessary information, Bob Go will calculate the initial shipping charge based on the higher of the actual weight and volumetric weight (calculated using dimensions). However, once the parcel has been booked into the courier hub and processed through the highly accurate SWAD machines, the courier will charge you based on the higher of the two measurements, which may differ to your initial measurements.

Actual weight

The actual weight is the mass in kilograms that your parcel weighs. Use an accurate and reliable scale to weigh the fully-packaged parcel and get your actual weight. 

Volumetric weight

The volumetric weight is based on the dimensions of the parcel, including the packaging: Volumetric weight = width x height x length / 4000. Use a tape measure or ruler to measure the length of the parcel, the height and the width (in centimetres). Divide this figure by 4000 to calculate your volumetric weight. 

Scenario: actual vs volumetric weight

You need to ship a laptop bag to your customer. You wrap the bag in bubble wrap for extra protection and package it in a box for shipment, sealing the box with a wide tape. Placing the fully-packaged parcel on a scale reveals the actual weight to be 2.3 kg. Next, you use a tape measure to measure a length of 45 cm, a width of 25 cm and a height of 10 cm; giving you a volumetric weight of 2.81 kg (45 x 25 x 10 / 4000). As the volumetric weight is higher than the actual weight, you will be charged for the volumetric weight of 2.8kg, not the actual weight. 

The shipping of a pillow is another great example of when the volumetric weight will exceed the actual weight. 

Measuring odd-shaped sized parcels

The same principle applies when measuring any odd-shaped or unusual parcel. Always use the actual weight, but calculate the volumetric weight as well by submitting the length, width and height of the parcel. 

An important concept to remember is that couriers will charge on the total volume of the parcel, like when an item is shipped in a courier sleeve. The dimensions of the entire courier sleeve will be taken into account, as opposed to the item within the sleeve. Rather wrap the excess packing around the item and securely fasten to reduce the overall volume of the parcel. 

How Bob Go handles the differences

Due to the accuracy of the SWAD machines used by the couriers, we often see differences between the initial shipping charge and the courier confirmed charge. Luckily, our billing system accommodates such discrepancies. Every time you accept a quote and ship your parcel, a shipping charge is billed towards your account and will reduce your available account limit. Once the courier confirms the charged rate for a shipment, then the initial shipping charge will be reversed and the confirmed charge rate will be applied.