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Is Low-Cost Shipping Software Really a Bargain? How to Find the Right Fit for Your Business

Explore flexible solutions beyond cheap shipping software to unlock efficiency and cost savings

Cheap shipping software sounds tempting. It promises lower costs and easier management, especially for businesses that have a limited budget (those GRIs and surcharges!). But is it really a bargain? Often, these solutions hide costs that can hurt your efficiency and profitability in the long run. Particularly for businesses already using transactional models or homegrown solutions, taking a deeper look is crucial.

Transactional shipping software often entices with a low per-shipment fee, making it seem budget-friendly for low-volume businesses. But as your business grows and shipping needs evolve, this pricing model becomes costly. What to look out for:

  • Hidden costs: Hidden fees and unclear cost breakdowns leave you guessing your true expenses. Essential features like rate shopping and business rule automation might incur extra charges.
  • Planning nightmares: Unforeseen charges and limited visibility make budgeting difficult, potentially exceeding your budget and impacting other areas.
  • Growth headaches: As your volume increases, per-shipment costs skyrocket, turning your "affordable" solution into a burden. Imagine reaching a growth milestone only to be stuck with inflated shipping expenses. Who wants to be scared to grow?
  • Time-sucking analysis: Tracking the cost of every shipment pulls your team away from strategic tasks, like focusing on new products or customer service.

Remember, cheap doesn't always equal value. Think long-term: transparent pricing, accurate budgeting, and scalable solutions. Consider alternatives that offer long-term efficiency, growth potential and the true value of advanced features before getting locked in.

If you’re looking at low-budget shipping software, you might also be thinking about building your own shipping software as a possible solution. This might seem tempting – a cost-effective solution tailored to your unique needs. But before you dive into the code, consider the hidden costs:

  • Development drain: Building and maintaining software takes time, resources, and expertise. Your team spending months developing basic functionalities that other software offers out-of-the-box diverts valuable resources away from core business activities, hindering growth and productivity. Another point to think about here is employee turnover. What happens when your shipping software experts leave? Will you be stuck with a solution you don’t know how to support or update?
  • Feature fatigue: Homegrown solutions often lack the advanced (and new!) features and integrations available in shipping software. Struggling with manual processes, limited carrier options, and faulty integrations while competitors leverage automation and real-time insights puts you at a disadvantage.
  • Security vulnerabilities: Security breaches can be catastrophic. With homegrown solutions, the responsibility for security patches, updates, and data protection falls entirely on you. Imagine facing a vulnerability with limited expertise to address it – a risk no business can afford.

While a homegrown solution might seem cheaper initially, the long-term costs in terms of development, maintenance, and potential security risks can outweigh the savings. Partnering with a reliable shipping software provider can ultimately bring greater cost-efficiency and peace of mind. [Want to assess your current shipping software's health to help identify areas for improvement and find the right solution?]

Navigating the world of shipping software can feel overwhelming, but there are alternatives beyond transactional and homegrown solutions.

Here are two popular models to consider:

Subscription Models: Grows with the software, not against it. Pay a monthly or annual fee for access, typically including maintenance, upgrades, and support. Ideal for:

  • Flexible budgeting: Pay only for the features and volume you use, making it suitable for businesses of all sizes and growth stages.
  • Always up-to-date: Enjoy regular updates and access to the latest features, often delivered through a versionless approach for minimal disruption and seamless upgrades. [A CI/CD process guarantees this!]
  • Expert support: Get dedicated support ready to assist you every step of the way.

Remember: Subscription costs can fluctuate, or features might change. Evaluate if the ongoing fees align with your long-term needs and desired service level.

Perpetual Licenses: For businesses with high shipping volume and predictable needs, perpetual licenses can be a powerful choice. This involves:

  • One-time payment: Pay upfront for a specific software version, integration, and implementation with ongoing maintenance fees for updates and support. Some vendors offer versionless upgrades within this model, so be sure to clarify during your evaluation.
  • Customization freedom: Tailor the software to your specific needs with advanced customization options and more control.
  • Future-proof your software: Own the latest version indefinitely and benefit from automatic, seamless updates delivered through a versionless approach, ensuring access to the newest features and functionality without disruption.

Remember: You'll be responsible for all IT infrastructure costs and future upgrades if the software does not follow a versionless, CI/CD model. Consider if this aligns with your budget and technical expertise.

The right shipping software goes beyond pricing models. It seamlessly integrates with your business needs and fuels your growth. Challenges like hidden fees, outdated technology, and limited scalability plague traditional solutions. So how can you avoid these difficulties and unlock true shipping efficiency?

ProShip: Your All-in-One Shipping Solution

ProShip goes beyond just providing both a subscription and perpetual license model. It's a comprehensive shipping software platform designed to address your specific challenges and empower you to:

  • Optimize costs & boost efficiency: Clear, customizable plans with automated workflows that scale with your business to optimize carrier selection.
  • Stay ahead of the curve: Regular updates, access to the latest features and future-proof technology delivered through a versionless approach for seamless upgrades and minimal disruption. Expert support available when you need it.
  • Seamless integrations & real-time visibility: Integrate seamlessly with the other parts of your enterprise software stack to automate key tasks and gain real-time insights into your supply chain.
  • Security & peace of mind: Enhanced security measures, compliance, flexible deployment options, and reliable, industry-leading uptime and performance you can count on, even during peak seasons.

Curious how ProShip can address your unique shipping challenges? Explore these reasons in detail in the Top 3 Reasons Modern Shippers Choose ProShip White Paper or schedule a no-obligation discovery call with our experts today.