Canada and the US are two countries that rely on each other in many ways, and it’s not surprising why. They share the world’s longest international border and have engaged in trade and commerce for centuries. Both countries also consider themselves strong economic allies due to their geographical proximity and robust bilateral trading history. A 2018 report from the Office of the United States Trade Representative noted that the US-Canada trade partnership generated a total of $363.8 billion in export revenue and $354.7 billion in import revenue. This data is even expected to grow substantially as both countries are geared towards deepening each other’s trade investments in the future.
Today, Canadian businesses are likewise motivated towards exporting products to the US, but not all of them are aware of the fees that come with international export. Some just type “How much is shipping Canada to the US?” or “How long does Canada standard shipping take?” on Google and incorporate whatever they can find to their business plan. To prevent any financial mishaps in the future, we have compiled four essential Canada to US shipping cost tips for new entrepreneurs. After all, strategizing efficiently and planning your US shipping budgets well is the only way you can organize your shipment process.
What are the Types of Products You Can and Can’t Ship from Canada to the US?
Before we officially provide suggestions on costs that come with Canada-US shipping, it’s always beneficial for an entrepreneur to know what products are allowed for export by the Canadian government. Canada shipping packages may be rigid enough to protect products during transit, but there are still certain goods that are prohibited, controlled, or restricted for shipping.
Below are some of the most popular products Canadians can ship to their American neighbors:
- Retail products (clothes, appliances, kitchen utensils, beauty products, etc.);
- Tech products;
- Advertising materials;
- Leather goods, and
Suppose your business falls under any of the above categories. The Canadian Border Services Agency (CBSA) will usually allow these products to be exported to the US and tag them as Non-Restricted Goods. Remember, the Canadian export process is different between low-value (below $2,500) and high-value shipments ($2,500 and above). You might need additional documents depending on how much your shipment value is. With the proper licenses and papers filed, customs agencies are more than happy to allow your products to be shipped beyond the Canadian border.
On the other hand, the US Customs and Border Protection Agency has imposed specific restrictions on imported goods from Canada. By definition, Restricted Goods are shipped products that require additional documentation before entering the US. If you’re a Canadian entrepreneur, make sure to apply for the proper US import licenses and file the necessary paperwork ahead of time if you’re ever shipping these types of products.
For starters, these products are considered Restricted Goods in the United States:
- Alcoholic beverages;
- Food products (raw or prepared food;
- Farming and agricultural produce;
- Medicine and related medical tools;
- Textile products;
- Trademark documents;
- Firearms, and
- Cultural artifacts.
Tip #1: Utilize both express and standard courier services.
Express cross-border shipping services are undoubtedly beneficial if you want your products to arrive at your customers’ designated locations right away, but they can be expensive. After all, express shipping is a premium service only reserved for time-sensitive products.
A strategic way to lessen shipping costs would be to balance both express and standard shipping services. The formula is simple: separate your high-demand products from the rest of your inventory and have them shipped using the express service. You can then use standard shipping for products that are not as in-demand and save a few extra dollars.
You can also bend time to your will if you have an established timetable for your shipments. Some savvy export entrepreneurs with recurring shipment schedules have their products delivered much earlier but continue to advertise “free shipping” for their customers. Even if some customers cancel orders after you’ve paid for standard shipping from outside Canada, you will still be able to save more money compared to using express shipping services the entire time.
Tip #2: Package your products strategically (or use free packaging).
Poorly-packaged products are one of the primary reasons for a sudden soar in shipping costs. After all, shipping companies factor in the size and weight requirements to their calculations— the bigger and heavier the product, the higher the price.
While larger packages provide additional protection and rigidity to your products, you will need to purchase more expensive shipment boxes for them. A good countermeasure is to invest in high-quality, lightweight packaging that can protect your products and be compact enough to fit in standard shipment boxes at the same time.
Alternatively, some shipping companies provide free packaging support for your products. If you’re keen on decreasing your shipping costs, why not take advantage of this free service? You will see that your shipping from Canada to US cost calculations will eventually work wonders for your business.
Tip #3: Try to get shipping discounts or enroll in discount programs.
Shipping discounts are eventually made available for businesses with higher shipping volumes, but this isn’t the only way to get shipping rebates. As an entrepreneur, you can try to negotiate for lower shipping prices in exchange for exclusivity with the courier company. If a shipping service is guaranteed a long-term client, it will surely offer a program with deducted shipping rates.
Some couriers also offer discount coupons or savings programs for clients who’ve had extensive shipping histories with the service. If you think you’ve already shipped with a service for quite a while now, it doesn’t hurt to ask for the availability of specific discounts for your business. Who knows, maybe you’re eligible for a discount that your shipping company overlooked!
Tip #4: Consider investing in prepaid shipping.
Prepaid shipping is especially practical for businesses that ship in bulk or high volume. It’s also proven to be useful for new entrepreneurs who already have their products’ size and weight measurements and accurate shipping cost calculations in mind.
For the uninitiated, most courier companies offer prepaid shipping services by allowing their customers to pay a fixed quantity of shipping boxes instead of paying for individual shipments each time a product is delivered. To maximize this feature, you can utilize a shipping calculator or an automated software service to calculate shipping costs ahead of time. If the math adds up, you can save up to 20% in shipping costs.
Conclusion: A proper cost breakdown is beneficial to help you determine your shipping budget in advance.
As a new entrepreneur, formulating proper shipping from Canada to US cost breakdowns requires you to take things slowly. You may eventually make mistakes, but your willingness to learn and research will help you maximize your shipping experience and elevate your business to the next level. If you follow these tips, there is unlimited potential for savings in shipping prices Canada can offer for your US-bound items.
If you’re also interested in hiring a team of shipping specialists, we at Stallion Express can help you ship your products from Canada to the US for a fair price. Book an appointment today!