Tips to make shipping cheaper

22nd September 2022 by Frank West2
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Sometimes things become so normalised that we forget to measure the impact they have and don’t realise they are hindering us from the shadows.

I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately and as I try to reduce my shipping fees, I thought it was time to go back to the basics!

The weight of punchboards

A common board game component is a punchboard, you’ll find them in most boxes but do you ever consider how much they weigh?

I often weigh game components and recently received a game with a pile of punchboards, they were 2.5mm thick and in total weighed 1.625kg.

If they were 2mm thick they would have saved 0.325kg, and at 1.5mm thick they would have saved 0.7kg.

For a Kickstarter such as The Isle of Cats, cutting out 0.3kg helped bring down my shipping brackets enough to save me around $20,000.

I think 2mm thick punchboards are a good thickness for any game (it is what I use for The Isle of Cats tiles), and for many games 1.5mm can be acceptable.

The weight of boxes

I like to use 3mm thick boxes, it creates a far more solid box and people always comment on it, but is it a good idea?

I measured a 3mm thick box and it weighed 1.4kg, at 2mm (much more standard) this would have been 0.47kg lighter.

The size of boxes

With boxes it’s not just about thickness, size also makes a difference. Making a box 10% smaller can help reduce the weight. If The Isle of Cats had been narrower, making it a more traditional box size, I could have saved 0.2kg.

Saving money

Just with the changes above we’ve potentially saved 1.37kg, or 3lb in weight.

The difference between shipping a 6lb and 9lb game in the US is around $4.20, in other regions it’s even more.

  • As we’ve made our box smaller, it may also fit in a smalling shipping box to the customer, use less packaging materials, and bring the weight down further.
  • As we’ve used less materials, we could save around 15% on our manufacturing costs.
  • As we’ve made the box smaller, we’ll also save money on freight.

We’ve just touched on 2 components and likely saved over $6.50 of raw costs, where else can money be saved?

Keep in mind, the goal here is to save money but not at the expense of the product. For each component remember to consider how it will impact the quality of the game and find the right balance.

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Frank West

Frank West is a gamer and designer based in Bristol, UK. He published his first board game, The City of Kings, in 2018 and now works on other games and organising events in the local area. His goal? To design and publish games focusing on immersive themes, fun mechanics and beautiful components. If you have any questions or would just like a chat, feel free to get in touch at any time!


2 comments

  • Wonmin

    22nd September 2022 at 7:45 pm

    Another tip I found for shipping one-off items was to use websites like EasyPost or Shippo versus physically going to UPS or USPS to ship out games. Might not be applicable for you Frank in the UK but maybe some American readers might find it useful.

    Reply

    • Frank West

      22nd September 2022 at 10:27 pm

      That’s a great tip Wonmin, thanks for sharing!

      Reply

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