In January, USPS implemented price rate hikes it had announced last year, the most important ones we highlighted in this story.

READ MORE: USPS Announces Price Changes for 2019

However, one potentially significant change in how dimensional weight (DIM Weight) is calculated was postponed until June 23, 2019.

But it now is getting closer to the June 23 deadline and while most shipping processors are ready for the switch, many small online businesses offering free shipping who use USPS Priority Mail services on bulkier items could be in for a surprise.

With a little over a month to go, two key points online retailers need to evaluate to make sure they are ready.

  • If a parcel is over 1 cubic foot (1728 cubic inches), USPS will no longer exempt shipments in Zones 1-4 from DIM pricing. After June 23, all shipments to all zones will be subject to DIM pricing if the parcel exceeds 1 cubic foot.
  • The formula to calculate DIM pricing will change from a volumetric divisor of 194 to 166. DIM weight is calculated by multiplying a package’s length, width, and height and applying the volumetric divisor. Starting June 23, USPS will use the new formula for Dim weight which is (Length) X (Width) X (Height) / 166.

Tips To Get Ready

For merchants that ship a lot of small items, this is a good time to look at packaging to avoid paying more in shipping.

  • USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail Boxes – When going to a post office to get packaging supplies, most locations only carry a small selection of flat rate boxes. There are a lot more flat rate boxes available to order for free USPS that could solve rising shipping costs.
  • One Cubic Foot Boxes – Since USPS is keeping the DIM exemption for small parcels under one cubic foot, now is a great time to evaluate if shipping boxes in your inventory are just over this threshold. Remember, (Length) X (Width) X (Height) must be 1728 or less to be considered one cubic foot.

One final note, actual weight will apply before DIM weight if the package’s actual weight is more than the DIM weight.

What are you doing to get ready for this DIM pricing change by USPS? Please use the comments section below or head over to our Facebook Group for Small Business Sellers and interact with other small business owners.
And don’t forget to follow us on FacebookTwitter, and LinkedIn to stay up to date with important news and business insights for your online retail business.

Similar Posts


  1. Very problematic. These type of setbacks will cause many businesses to fail or go back to brick and mortar shops. For instance, a piece of art that is packaged at 24x24x5 inches or a fishing pole at 80x6x6 or a bread box at 15x15x12 and and all weighing 6 lbs will now be considered to be over 17 lbs. on June 23rd. taking a huge chunk out of the profit and sending it to the USPS instead. Any items that are under $80 may not be worth the time to sell if they are over a cubic foot.

    1. So true. A lot of my items are delicate and require a lot of bubble and peanut packing. 90% of my boxes are over the limit.

  2. I sell vintage items on Etsy. A lot of my inventory would involve larger than one cubic foot packages. What is the alternative as shipping cost would be prohibitive?

    1. Hey Vicki,

      This is sadly a common issue for certain sellers who sell unique or larger items. Occasionally you can get lucky and find specialist couriers who are set up logistically to handle larger items at more competitive prices.

      Otherwise it’s just the way that the eCommerce world is moving, with buyers expecting fast and free delivery options, it either means you build shipping into the unit price or just be honest and up front with shipping costs.

      I imagine for vintage items buyers would generally be more understanding, but I know this isn’t always the case.


  3. My experience with parcel delivery to my home via USPS has been a two-year nightmare. Using USPS to lower costs is a slippery slope for a merchant.
    Now this broken provider wants shippers to pay more…with no assurance of acceptable quality. Will USPS improve its parcel delivery by means of fee increases? I think that is extremely doubtful.

  4. Do some research on “how and why shipping from US to US is 10 times more expensive than shipping from China to US”. Our country has been sold out, taxpayers pay/subsidize shipping from China to USA, while the entirety of USA manufacturers cannot compete. This is purpuseful destruction of USA (by individuals within USA).

  5. UPS, FED EX all use Dim shipping. About time the USPS did the same. No impact on my business as I don’t offer free shipping. I ship mostly over 1 cu boxes but I pass my shipping discount on to buyers.

  6. This is not okay. I sell on items such as purses and totes. The cost of shipping a 2 lb box, 12 x 12 x 8 would be $10.32 but a 2 lb box that is 17 x 17 x 8 is $38. That’s just unreasonable.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *