Fees - Fees -Fees- When will it stop? What ever happened to the statement, "What you see is what you get?" What used to be included is now "unbundled Think about the airlines! Want to sit in an emergency row seat? $25 . Check 1 bag, $25, check two, add another $35, check three, "that will be $100 please". Total for 3 bags checked? A whopping $160 in fees! And it used to be included in the price of your ticket!

FedEx and UPS, taking the lead from the airlines, charge for accessorial fees whenever they can -even if it doesn't cost them a thing. The latest example; FedEx is going to start charging a Delivery Area Surchage (DAS) for SmartPost Service deliveries to 23529 domestic zip codes. That's more than 50% of the zip codes. FedEx is charging their customers this even though the United States Postal Service is delivering these packages the final mile. According to Pete Manning, Shipping Solutions Specialist with the United States Postal Service. "FedEx has quietly released the news that effective July 15th, a twenty-five cent ($0.25) Delivery Area Surcharge will be added to certain SmartPost shipments. This is not a USPS price increase, and customers should know about it and understand how it may affect them."

FedEx also charges a fuel surcharge fee, non-machinable fees, balloon fees, oversize fees, package re-label fees, delivery confirmation fees, and Canada DAS fees on their SmartPost service. Not to mention, you really should set up a postage due account with the United States Postal Service for all packages that are undeliverable as addressed (UAA Mail) which come back Priority Mail rate plus a $3.00 handling fee per package.

All of these fees, and you get 2 to 7 business day delivery, which can actually take 12 or 13 days to deliver if you ship it on a Thursday or Friday (Weekends don't count as shipping days with FedEx or Big Brown).

So here is my Tip for this Tuesday, if you are using FedEx Ground, FedEx Smart Post, UPS Ground, UPS Mail Innovations or UPS Sure Post, take a look at your shipping data and compare it to some other services out there. Mainly, USPS 1st class parcels, Priority Mail and Cubic Priority Mail. Here is what you get with these services according to Peter Manning.

· 1 to 3 day expedited delivery, providing a much improved customer experience
· Reduced customer service center calls asking "where's my order?"
· Reduced cancelled orders and returns due to "buyer's remorse". Just as the purchase and ordering process should be easy and swift, so should the process by which your customer gets what they ordered!
· Faster delivery equals shortened re-order cycle. (Customers don't re-order until they receive their shipment)
· Single source "chain of custody" (eliminate multi-carrier handoff) equals simplified tracking for your customers.
· No charge on returns when your product can't be delivered.
· Reduced "Total Price Paid" per piece when including UAA costs, reship, restock, loss of sale, loss of customer Note: Requires accessing customer's annual UAA return cost and volume for accurate demonstration of cost impact

The easiest way to check your shipping data for savings is to look at all packages that you shipped that were less than 16 ounces (this can easily be done by looking at your FedEx-UPS shipping data, look at actual shipping weight of packages not billed weight). Compare these package rates to the below USPS 1st class parcel rate. Most people I show this to are amazed at the savings that can be achieved. These rates include 1 to 3 day delivery, USPS Tracking, are not zone based, so whether you are shipping next door, or across the country (or to Hawaii or Alaska), this is what you pay. No additional fees are ever added! With the Unites Stated Postal Service, "What you see is what you get".  
Dan Gooley is VP Sales, Agile New York. Contact 908.315.8629 or dan.gooley@agile-network.com. Visit www.agile-network.com for more information.