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Carrier Package Minimums: What You Need To Know 

By Last updated on: November 15, 2022

Many shippers have no clue how the carrier package minimum charge from FedEx and UPS minimum affects their overall shipping spend. Most companies do not realize carrier package minimums override a large percentage of the negotiated discount rates. Shippers must know the contractual UPS minimum net or FedEx minimum package charge.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

So what is the 2023 Minimum Net Charge?

Carrier package minimums apply a minimum net charge to all packages; this is the lowest amount a shipper will pay to send any package. For each shipment, you will pay the greater of the (a) net shipment charge based on the negotiated incentives or (b) the minimum net shipment charge. The general default minimum net charge is a Zone 2 one-pound package. Here are the standard minimums for FedEx and UPS.

 UPS Minimum Net ChargeFedEx Minimum Package Charge
Ground Residential$ 10.10$ 10.10
Ground Commercial$ 10.10$ 10.10
UPS Minimum Net Charge

Where to find the minimum net charge in your agreements

Each carrier uses different contractual language to specify minimum charge information. FedEx calls this “Minimum Package Charge” or “United States Minimums:” Each service level will have the Minimum Package Charge detailed. UPS makes this much easier to find, one section with all services listed labeled “Minimum Net Charge.” 

FedEx Minimum Package Charge

How Does a This Affect a Shipper?

For example, we put together many years ago when the minimum was only $7.57. This UPS ground shipper with a 30% discount. Remember, the company will pay the greater of the negotiated rate or the minimum charge of $7.57. All one-pound packages going to any zone will receive a discount under the negotiated 30% rate.

Here are the UPS ground published package rates for all zones, one to 10 pounds. The chart to the right shows the cost of each package with the shipper’s negotiated 30% discount off published rates.

These charts indicate all the zones and weights affected by the net minimum charge. The effective discount for a zone 2 one-pound packing is zero percent or no discount. The effective discount with the net minimum charge will significantly impact shippers with low-weight shipments.

Carrier package minimum charge

This chart shows the dollar impact per package with a minimum net charge in place. A shipper will lose $1.40 in discounts for a 4-pound package send to any location in zone 2.

Negotiating Better Minimum Terms

Package minimums are negotiable, even if your carrier rep insists they aren’t. The biggest questions are how many of your shipments are hit with the minimum net charge? Then, how large a reduction needs to be allowed to maximize your negotiated discounts?

Refund Retriever can help identify your shipments affected by the minimum net charges. Our contract consultants can help lower your shipping costs by understanding the overly complicated carrier agreements, then figure out how to make it work for your company. We are always happy to help shippers; give us a call anytime.

Carrier Package Minimum Charge in a Nutshell

The vast majority of shippers are affected by minimum charges each day. The minimum charge effectively robs a company of those discounts. Since the carriers raise rates yearly, the minimum charge will continue to grow. In conclusion, a complete understanding of your company’s shipping costs requires you to identify carrier package minimums and the total loss of discount rates. Contact us to determine your contractual UPS minimum net charge or FedEx minimum package charge.

Brian Gibbs

Author Brian Gibbs

More posts by Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay-based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever's primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, e-commerce, and more. Learn more at or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.

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