How to Measure a Box for UPS

In the title we mentioned UPS but this could be true for FedEx and probably even USPS. Back in the good ole days, you simply placed your box on the scale, entered the address info, and then pressed a button and magically a label appeared and then you placed it on the box and you were done.  

Shipping a Box in 1992 vs 2023

Well, shipping a box is a little different now. You still have to do most of the things listed above but nowadays you also have to somehow measure your box as well.  Several years ago most all of the major carriers decided dimensional measurement and weighing made more sense than just weighing alone. It makes sense to maximize how many boxes can fit in the various vehicles and charge customers accordingly.  

But, using dimensioning does add another step in your shipping process. That’ probably not a big deal if you’re only shipping a few boxes a day. In fact, if you’re only shipping a few boxes a day, we suggest you purchase our measuring yard stick below and keep it near your shipping table. However, it will need to be “reloaded” from time to time (ha ha)

dimensional measuring yard stick

But seriously, what if you’re shipping 25 boxes a day? Can you afford to have someone type in the measurements for 25 boxes?  What about if you’re shipping over a hundred boxes a day?  That can take quite a bit of extra time to grab a tape measure for every box. And of course you’re also having to rely on your measure person and hope that they read the measuring tape correctly AND they type the correct numbers into the shipping software. Because if they don’t, you can be sure the shipping companies are checking and will bill you accordingly on your next statement. So how exactly do you measure a box for UPS?  Please see below.

How To Correctly Measure a Package According to UPS

  • Determine Length, Width and Height
    The longest side of your package is your length.
  • Round Up
    Round to the nearest whole number when taking your measurements. For example, 1 to 1.49 will be considered 1, and 1.5 to 1.99 will be considered 2.
  • Keep Measurements Handy
    You’ll need these when you create your shipment.

Speed up your Shipping Process

So, what are some of the solutions you can explore to speed up your shipping and accurately measure your boxes? We’ve talked about this in the past as well but there are several ideas to consider.  First, if you’re shipping A LOT of boxes every day, you probably should go ahead and purchase one of our dimensional weighing systems. That would be a great way to increase efficiency, accuracy and compliance. Yes, they do have some up front costs but dim weight systems can significantly speed up your shipping process. And, in some cases, even provide pictures and proof that you can use with the freight companies if you ever have any disputes.

Other ideas to consider include saving your most popular boxes in your shipping software.  For example, in UPS Worldship you can save your boxes in the package type editor. Basically you enter the boxes and the dimensions one time and save them for future use. Then you simply choose them from a drop down menu when you are shipping out a certain box.  Another idea you could try that’s fast, but not quite as accurate, is to look at the dims that are often stamped on the bottom of the box. Often you can use that measurement and maybe add an inch to one of the numbers just to be safe.  

If you need some assistance on your shipping process, be sure to contact us and we would be glad to assist. We have sold hundreds and hundreds of shipping scales over the years and we know what equipment to recommend for many situations.  You can call our sales department (919) 776-7737 or you can fill out our RFQ form for assistance.

Avoid dimensional weight charges

Many years ago in the shipping world we just weighed a package on top of a shipping scale and paid charges based on the weight. Today, you pay shipping charges based on both weight and the size of your box that you are shipping. Smaller packages are greener packages because more of them fit on a pallet or in a truck, meaning it takes less fuel to move them. Larger packages take up more space and, ultimately, use more fuel. That’s the principle behind dimensional weight. Since dimensional weight is a very important measurement it can be a good idea to add a dimensional weighing and measurement tool to your shipping process. Continue reading