Browsing eBay (USA) I saw an item with these characteristics:

  • 24 x 18 x 12 inches (60 x 45 x 30)
  • About 60 lbs

Shipping was running about $145 to my address, which was ~40$ of the price of the item.

The seller commented that if it could be sent to a commercial address the shipping could be reduced by about ½.

I've had other large items with similar attributes shipped for much less in the past, so this seemed expensive.

For an item like this that isn't on a pallet and could be manually handled, why would residential shipping be so much more? Is there anything I can do to "qualify" for the lower rate?

  • Live in location with businees who have daily deals with shipping companies and therefore take the price of "visit" down. Sending one, or two vans a day to business park is cost effective because with one run you deliver goods to multiple companies. Sending same amount of good to indivuduals rise the price as the time and cost increase. – SZCZERZO KŁY Apr 23 at 11:08
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  • @BenMiller-RememberMonica I didn't felt like it deserve an asnwet status. Yours is much better end with far better explanation. – SZCZERZO KŁY Apr 23 at 11:12
  • @Ben Miller - Remember Monica: That is NOT an answer, it's an encouragement to the OP to think about what's involved. To do an actual answer, you'd have to have inside knowledge of how shipping companies set their prices. – jamesqf Apr 23 at 15:53
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    @jamesqf The question asks why, and the commenter gave an answer as to why. The fact that the OP may be guessing with his answer is irrelevant. Please read the meta question again. :) – Ben Miller - Remember Monica Apr 23 at 15:55

There are a few reasons carriers charge more for residential delivery than they do for commercial delivery.

Businesses are often near each other, there are fewer of them in town than houses, and they receive more packages than houses do. As a result, delivering to businesses means fewer stops and less driving around.

Also, businesses generally always have someone present during the day to accept the package, whereas houses are often vacant during the day, which slows the driver down, as he may have to leave a note and take the item back to the warehouse for a delivery attempt another day.

There are exceptions to these generalizations, of course, but the carrier has no way of knowing if they will have any delivery issues at any individual address, so they have decided to provide a discount to commercial delivery addresses. This also encourages people buying things for themselves to get them delivered to their workplace, reducing delivery time for the carrier.

According to this UPS page, residential delivery is defined as a delivery to a building that is a home. Even if there is a small business operating inside the home, UPS still considers it to be a residential delivery. So you are not supposed to select “commercial” unless you are getting a delivery to a business location that is not also someone’s home.

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