DHL shipping costs - save money and tips

DHL Shipping Cost: Savings tips, tricks and tools for eCommerce


Written by David Renwick

Whether you’re selling homemade crafts on Etsy, or a nationwide retailer with growing eCommerce sales, DHL can be a valuable shipping partner for connecting you to your customers.

The distinctive yellow and red branding is hard to miss no matter where in the world you are, and that recognition has been built up across over 500 years of service. The company is still evolving with modern shipping trends too, making them the perfect partner for your business. To help you make the most of your relationship with this pillar of the postal service, we’ve compiled a helpful set of tools, tips and integrations.

Here’s what we recommend.

How does DHL’s “On Demand Delivery” make international shipping easier?

DHL Shipping Costs: What you need to know

DHL’s global reach and centuries of experience mean it has a comprehensive and clear set of shipping cost guidelines. No matter the weight, the destination or the size, DHL’s online tools can help you calculate shipping costs.

DHL’s shipping costs are based on what the company considers to be chargeable weight. DHL takes into account the dimensional weight and the actual weight of your package, and the greater number determines the shipping costs. Here are some extra definitions that might help:

  • Dimensional weight: The size of the package, which is found by multiplying the length, height and width, and dividing the result by 166 (when measuring in inches) or 6,000 (when measuring in centimetres).
  • Actual weight: The mass of the package.

Once you’ve determined the weight of your package, the DHL shipping rates will also be impacted by the level of service you choose. The exact range of services will depend on your country of origin and the order’s destination, but the broad range that could impact your DHL shipping costs includes:

  • Same-day delivery
  • Overnight delivery
  • Standard delivery
  • Shipment value protection
  • DHL GoGreen
  • Delivery and signature confirmation
  • Selective routing

Some of the options listed above are considered DHL premium services, and could be costly to offer to consumers if you’re a smaller business. This is without considering the extra impacts of international shipping charges or custom duties, which can quickly add up as you expand into new markets.

Integrate your eCommerce store with Starshipit

How to negotiate DHL business shipping rates

One of the main advantages to building a long-standing relationship with couriers like DHL is that you can’t use this partnership to leverage better rates. This not only helps to bring your shipping costs down, it can mean better deals for your customers as well.

Your ability to secure better shipping rates with DHL could depend on:

  • 📊 Volume: Are you shipping enough orders to qualify for better rates? Larger scale business that can send a significant quantity of orders through DHL can save.
  • 🕒 Frequency: How often do DHL pickup from your business? Once a week or once a day? Consistently filling a van or truck and having scheduled pickups can help to build your relationship with DHL.
  • 🚚 Service needs: Are you using premium services like tracking and insurance? Taking advantage of premium service courier options with DHL can increase your value as a customer.

By making a persuasive case that details your company’s ability to provide a specific volume and frequency of orders, you can begin to negotiate with couriers like DHL to access better shipping rates and bring your costs down.

In these cases, it’s good to be aware of shipping rates from their competitors too. We would also recommend looking into options like ship-from-store to make your entire shipping strategy effective for you and your customers.

Just note that building a relationship with shipping partners like DHL can take time, and they’re often a two-way street. Proving that you can bring value to the partnership with a high volume of orders won’t happen overnight, but it’s worth it to build connections with global shipping brands like DHL.

What is DHL “On Demand Delivery”

Tools to manage DHL shipping rates

When you integrate DHL into Starshipit, you can still access a range of tools that help you manage DHL shipping costs, sustainability options and international orders all in one platform. The DHL Express features supported with Starshipit include:


DHL’s Express Breakbulk (BBX) service can help reduce DHL shipping rates if your business is sending a high volume of goods to one export destination. The advantage of this service is that it consolidates a number of individual packages into one international shipment with one invoice.

The main advantages of this service for international shipping with DHL are:

  • Reduce DHL shipping rates by consolidating orders to manage import fees and duties.
  • Manage shipping delays by keeping international orders together.
    Streamline paperwork by sending international orders on one waybill instead of multiple.
  • Separate deliveries based on final delivery location once they arrive at an international port.

DHL landed cost estimator

One of the key challenges with international shipping is getting an accurate summation of all the extra shipping costs like customs fees and duties. When you’re displaying a shipping fee to your customers, you want to know an accurate landed cost that represents the actual price of getting a product from your warehouse to a shopper’s home.

With DHL Express, you can calculate the landed cost and get help with pre-shipment planning and Harmonised System Codes to ensure a seamless delivery. Getting this all done ahead of time and within the Starshipit platform means you can reduce costly delays associated with incorrect customs documents.

DHL GoGreen Plus

If you’re looking for ways to make your business more sustainable, take a look at your shipping partners. DHL is helping its customers make better shipping decisions with its GoGreen solutions.

GoGreen Plus in particular helps companies reduce their carbon emissions through the use of sustainable aviation fuel. By ticking the “GoGreen Plus” option when shipping with DHL through Starshipit, you can limit the greenhouse gas emissions from international shipping. Just note, it does add an extra charge to your orders but it means you’re aligned with efforts to make shipping more sustainable.

  • This DHL shipping option aligns with its sustainability targets which are:
  • Have more than 30 per cent of aviation fuels sustainably sourced.
  • Electrify nearly two-thirds of last-mile delivery vehicles.
  • Offer customers green alternatives for all core products.

Starshipit: Your partner for success with DHL Express shipping prices

DHL Express integrates with Starshipit and lets you use all the helpful features we just discussed. You can select GoGreen Plus for your sustainability needs, see the accurate landed cost of your shipments, and use bulk shipping options to cut down on international shipping costs. Best of all, there are no extra charges to use this functionality beyond what you are already paying for your monthly plan.

Our extensive integration partner list includes everything from reputable couriers from all over the globe to eCommerce platforms and inventory management solutions. Choosing the right partners for your business can help you save on international shipping rates, offer more delivery options to customers and make continuous improvements with helpful analytics.

Man standing warehouse with hands on shelves

Wrap up

Partnering with a renowned courier like DHL Express can give your business a range of delivery options to get orders quickly to customers no matter where they are. Once you add Starshipit into the mix as well, you can manage DHL shipping costs easily from one platform and still get access to all of the company’s premium delivery services.

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David Renwick

David Renwick

David is Starshipit's Product Marketing Lead. When he's not whipping up a fresh new product update or chatting to customers for an exciting case study, you'll typically find him scoping out coffee spots and talking about what's on at the movies. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

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