Purpose: This article explains volumetric weight and how to calculate it.
Volumetric weight vs actual weight
What is volumetric weight?
Volumetric weight is the ‘volume’ that a package occupies when in transit (the physical size of a package).
What is actual weight?
The actual (or physical) weight of a package is its actual weight measured in kilograms.
The amount of space a package occupies (volumetric weight) in transit is regarded as equally as important as how much it weighs (actual weight) by shipping companies.
How to calculate volumetric weight
The most common means to calculate volumetric weight is by multiplying the length, width, and height of a parcel (in cm) and dividing that figure by 5000 (some carriers use a divisor of 4000).
Often the price of your shipment is dictated by the volumetric weight of your parcel(s) rather than the actual weight.
Using a calculator:
Multiply the parcel’s three dimensions (length x height x width)
If you are using centimeters then divide the result by 5000
If you are using inches then divide the result by 305
The resulting figure represents the volumetric weight of your parcel
The courier will compare the volumetric weight to the actual weight of a parcel and charge whichever is the greater of the two (also known as billable weight or chargeable weight).
Volumetric weight in shipment form
To make things easier for you, we've added the volumetric weight to the shipment form. So what does this mean? You can now easily see what the volumetric weight of your shipment is. Don't forget to select the right box or fill out the correct measurement. See example in the image below:
The shipping methods that take the volumetric weight into account (UPS and DHL Express) will automatically adjust to the volumetric weight.
Example: If your volumetric weight is 17kg as in the image above, the methods shown for UPS and DHL Express will be DHL Express (..) 17-18kg and UPS (..) 15-20kg.
Use the Add Boxes feature to automate volumetric weight shipments
You can add boxes to your Sendcloud account so that you can specify which box to use for parcels above or below a certain actual weight. Find out more about how to add boxes here.
Once you've added default boxes, you can use shipping rules to automatically specify the correct box per order based on the actual weight of the parcel:
When you use Pack & Go, it will now suggest the appropriate box to use