4. Set Up Flat Rate Shipping

Before you get to setting up a flat rate, you will need to research what some typical shipping rates are for your products.

Take stock
To start you need to look at all the products you are considering selling online and group them by weight. What you want to do is create general ranges for shipping costs, which are based on weight and volume of the package. Creating a table of items, sorted by weight and dimensions will be helpful in subsequent steps.

How much does it really weigh?
When considering weight, you should think about the item's total shipping weight including packaging. Obviously some products will require more packaging and padding to protect delicate items, others can go in very simple packages or envelopes. This also applies to the dimensions of the shipped product, as padding and packaging can add a lot.

Make estimates
Take the table of data you've collected about your products now and get some cost estimates for shipping. Many shipping services provide online calculators where you can enter weight, dimensions and destinations to get sample pricing for the different services they offer.

Here's a link to Canada Post's online calculator that you can use to quickly get a sense of shipping costs for your product's weight and package size for a variety of Canada Post services.

Compare the shipping cost for an item to your same city, same province and then somewhere very far away in Canada to see what the price range is for that weight and size of product. By getting a sense of the shipping cost price range, you can estimate what to charge for shipping that will cover your costs while seeming appropriate to your customer.

You want to end up with a series of increasing rates based on a range of weights.

For example: You find that you can ship any product between 0 and 100grams for $10. Between 101 and 250 grams it cost roughly $12.50 and between 251 and 1kg it costs 15.00, etc. 

A note about volume
Occasionally you will have a product that weighs very little, but is very large to ship. Because the shop evaluates the shipping cost based on weight only, it may not cover the additional cost related to the overall volume of the item. For these kinds of products you have an option to add a freight charge on top of the weight charge to compensate. Make note of the products that may require a freight charge and add it on that product's product page.


Set Up a Flat Rate in your Shop


Select Administration > Shipping > Shipping methods in the dashboard menu bar.

1) Add a new shipping method by clicking the  button.

2) Enter a name for your shipping method. "Standard Shipping" is fine for a generic flat rate shipping, but you may add more specific names if you different kinds of flat rates.


3) Choose Manual (by defined location) in the Rate calculation option in the General tab.



4) Enter the quoted Delivery time from the service you based your flat rate calculations on.


5) You may want to enter a Weight limit in kilograms for this shipping method. Canada Post, for example, limits parcel weights to 30kg (or 66lbs) - but this may depend on the service you based your estimates on.



6) Click checkboxes in the Taxes section for the the taxes you will be collecting for shipping.



7) Leave the User groups as "All" (the default).



8) You can make the Status of this shipping method active or disabled. It is active by default. By making it disabled it will not be available to your customers.


Click the  button.



9) Now select the Shipping charges tab.


10) Select your desired shipping location in the Show rates for location box.

By "location", we mean the country (like Canada) or province (like Ontario) you would be shipping to. You can create a single flat rate that covers your costs regardless of where you ship it in the world or country - or if you want to be more precise about this cost, you can create pricing for each province. If you want to create flat rates for the USA or Europe please make Support Repuest.

For example:

  • By selecting "Canada" you're creating a flat rate for any address in the country of Canada.
  • By selecting "Ontario" you're creating a flat rate for any address in the province of Ontario.
  • By selecting "USA" you're creating a flat rate for any address in the United States (Hawaii too!).

If you do not define a shipping rate for a location, the customer will not be able to make use of your flat rates. This is a simple way of keeping your market to just Canada, or just North America. You should probably indicate these exceptions in your shipping policy as well.


11) Enter shipping rate values for the weight ranges you defined in the first steps.

For Example: In the screenshot above you can see that products weighing between 0-1kg will be charged $10 for shipping; weighing between 1-10kg will be charged $15; and products that weight more than 10kg will cost $30.

12) If necessary, select another location in the Show rates for location box and define the desired shipping rates for it.

Note: Do not mix countries and provinces, as the country rates will supersede the provinces. If you want to create rates for individual provinces, you will need to create a different flat rate entry for each province by selecting the different province buttons in the show rates for location section.

13) Click the  button to add (or update) the rates.


You can create other flat rates with different names for different shipping services or delivery speeds (i.e.: Canada Post Express, Canada Post Expedited, etc) by creating new shipping method.


Proceed to Step 5: Taxes…what about them?

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