Unfortunately, every 3PL company has different rates that they charge, which makes it very difficult to compare 3PL costs among the various options. But there are some common charges that you will encounter that we’ve included below so that you can begin to familiarize yourself with what to expect. Please keep in mind, that the information provided below is estimated and isn’t necessarily the rates you’ll encounter when you get FREE price quotes. The only way to get the most up to date 3PL costs is to obtain live rates from vendors in our system. Nonetheless, these estimates should give you a basic idea.
Some important notes to keep in mind about the various fees:
- Initial set up involves the integration of your company with the 3PL, which can include set up of warehouse space and integration of computer systems. The most common examples are web store integration and EDI set up.
- Receiving is when the 3PL actually accepts your product into their warehouse, counts the goods, inspects it for damage, labels it if necessary, places it in its proper location in the warehouse, and enters the counts into their inventory system which can be viewed in their online reports.
- Storage is usually factored on a monthly basis and is most often based upon the average inventory over the monthly period. This frequently takes the shape of the warehouse taking an inventory count of all of your goods at the same time each month. The standard unit of measure is either valued on a per pallet basis (4 feet by 4 feet by 4 feet), square footage basis, or a cubic footage basis so 3PL costs will have to be compared.
- Fulfillment fees are incurred when warehouse workers physically go out and pick and package your orders for shipment to your end customers. Be careful to explore with the 3PL who will be providing boxes and packaging materials. Fees for fulfillment can vary significantly, so be very careful when a 3PL company has a very low fulfillment rate. Sometimes they’re trying to lure you in with a low fulfillment rate only to provide higher rates in other areas.
- Shipping is one of your greatest areas of opportunity with 3PL costs. Usually, they’ll be able to get much better rates than you. Either they’ll offer you a mark up over their cost or a discount off of published rates. This can be a great area of savings for your firm.