Does your business spend more than it should on shipping and postage costs? Perhaps you routinely send packages out to customers via overnight mail. Do they really need to get there so fast? And are you using the cheapest service?

For example, one company regularly shipped numerous packages by overnight mail and Federal Express until an employee suggested using UPS. When shipping to certain zip codes with UPS, the firm found it could get overnight delivery at regular service prices. Over time, the savings really added up.

The best way to cut costs is simply to wait a few hours. Overnight services usually charge a premium for getting an item to its destination in the morning. Hold off until the afternoon and you can save 30 percent with some services. Second day delivery can save you 40 percent or more. In other words, slow down outgoing mail and speed up profits.

Here are seven other tips for getting 
express delivery costs under control, 
without sacrificing speed or alienating customers:

1. Investigate the cheapest way to send something from your office and still have it delivered on time.

2. Do an internal analysis. Calculate your mailing volume and determine your usage patterns. Analyze past bills, break out costs and itemize by vendor. 

3. Appoint one person in your office to be responsible for knowing how to mail things economically. Try to send everything out through this person. The major package carriers often impose a higher charge for not including your account number or having a bad address on a delivery slip. Check addresses and follow directions to ensure you don't get charged for careless mistakes.

4. Send documents collect if vendors want them overnight. Encourage employees to ask for the other company's overnight service account number. At the same time, make sure they aren't giving out your firm's account number without authorization.

5. When your package won't fit inside a postage paid envelope sent by another company, simply tape the postage-paid envelope to the outside of your packet before mailing.

6. Weigh packages, consolidate shipments, and claim refunds for any late deliveries.

7. Finally, employees -- not the company -- should obviously pay for their personal postage. This rule should apply from the top of the organization to the bottom. After all, if employees see the top brass helping themselves to free personal postage, they may think they're entitled too.

© Bizactions LLC.