The Free Shipping Myth

A lot of fitness equipment retailers offer free shipping. We don’t. Trust me transport companies don’t do any freebies. Free Shipping is a myth and I will explain why.

Recently we were called out by a member on the Facebook group Garage Gyms Australia for charging exorbitant shipping. The member was located in country NSW and they were looking at a bench. Our website was charging him $160 from memory. Whereas Verve was shipping benches for around $60.

So I quickly checked what the actual freight would cost us and it was closer to $180. FYI our website calculates shipping based on delivery to a residential address. If we shipped this adjustable bench to a business with a forklift the cost would be reduced by approximately $90.

Now maybe Verve have an excellent deal with a freight company. From the options we have that is the best we can do at the moment. But I do know that many companies subsidise shipping gym supplies. There is a very good reason why we don’t.

tailgate truck delivery

Shipping Companies Do Not Work For Free – it’s a Myth!

In all my years in business I have never found a courier that will deliver anything, let alone heavy gym equipment for nothing. As an accountant by profession, free shipping is a myth and doesn’t make sense to me. Although you may not see a shipping charge on your invoice, that shipping charge is incorporated somewhere into the product cost.

Only In America

Honestly I don’t know where the free shipping concept originated. I am only assuming it started in America. That is where I used to see it most often.

Free shipping in America is vastly different to free shipping in Australia. For starters America is just a bit bigger but has thirteen times more people. Not only does this mean you have a massive market where you can scale up your business. But the biggest benefit is transport is so much more affordable.

Even with these differences, free shipping is still absorbed in the product cost.

The Issue Is Allocation

The USSR collapsed because the central planners could not allocate resources as efficiently as a more free market orientated economies. By competing with the USA they ultimately sent themselves broke. The same rules apply here.

In the past our website has under allocated shipping to orders from remote areas. When your shipping is cheap (or free) to remote areas you end up selling more to remote areas. This under recovered freight cost has to be absorbed by the business. You have to increase revenue to cover this. Or cut costs somewhere. Or make less money and potentially head to the same demise as the Soviets.

stalins head after ussr collapse

For the record I sympathise with people who live in remote areas. Freight for shipping gym equipment even in within Sydney is getting damned expensive. What it costs to ship to remote areas is steep to put it mildly. But is it fair to get the battler who is paying $750 per week to rent a telephone both sized apartment in Sydney to subsidise it?

Cheaper Shipping Options

You can save yourself quite a bit of money on shipping if you go and pick up from the depot. Depending on which transport company’s depot is closer you can save $70 to $90 on say a set of bumper weight plates. Depending on the company, anything over 25kg to 30kg must be put on a pallet. You then get charged a tailgate fee when delivered to home.

The advantage of picking up from a depot is that you do not have to wait around for a delivery. If you have got access to a van, ute or trailer you can pick up almost anything. A wagon or SUV can fit heaps. In the early days I used to deliver power racks with pulley systems in my wife’s old Honda Civic.

But the record was we once fit a Powertec Multi System into a Holden Barina. I have a photo of this feat somewhere and I will update this post when I find it.

So picking up a bench in an averaged size car is no problem. If you are unsure what will fit just let us know. We have had loads of fun shoe horning gym gear in customer’s vehicles over the years.

car overloaded with furniture

Shipping Ends Up Cheap In The Long Run

Even if you get hammered with shipping it will work out bugger all if you spread it over the life of the equipment. Personally I am using equipment that is well over 12 years old. If I allocated a hefty shipping bill per week it would be pennies. It is just another incentive for you to get into the gym!

It is also another reason to buy quality as quality lasts. Plus it is so much better to use. Cheap gym equipment is just as expensive to ship. The last thing you want to do is pay through the nose to get a piece of junk in your gym.