It Pays to Ask

Josie Leavitt - June 4, 2012

I was reminded anew about the power of asking for a deal the other day. I usually ship returns via UPS because, well, it’s easy and for the few dollars more it’s worth saving staff time hauling boxes to the post office. As I do periodically, I priced out the same 35-pound package with Fed Ex, the post office and UPS. UPS came in a lot higher.
I then experimented with shipping via Fed Ex. I set up my account with Fed Ex taking advantage of my ABA member deal. Sadly, my Fed Ex driver didn’t even have a hand truck, so he was not thrilled with seven 40-pound boxes. What should have been picked up in one day took three, so now my normally uncluttered receiving area was a mess. Okay, this was not a resounding success. I then took two boxes to the post office.
The problem with the post office is you have to bring it to them. This means putting our small hand truck in the car, loading and unloading the car and then waiting in line. I’m still waiting for the boxes to arrive at the publishers. I paid for a delivery confirmation on the returns that were shipped media mail. While I like saving money shipping, I also like getting returns credited to my account as fast as possible.
Okay, now I’m back to UPS. My driver is wonderful. He’s been our driver for years and really has become a friend. Mark was none too pleased to see us shipping out with Fed Ex. I explained why and then asked if there was anything UPS could to make it less expensive. He thought I should speak to a manager; he actually set up the meeting. So, on Friday I met with the regional account manager. Before I could say my name, he told me that I would be saving 18%! Wow. All this because he looked at my account history and saw that we qualified for greater savings with shipping. And there are all sorts of bonus savings I can have if I ship more intelligently by grouping multiple boxes to one address.
So, on the eve of BEA, I’ve already learned a great lesson: there’s never harm in asking for a discount.

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