Additional Math Pages & Resources

Monday, May 17, 2010

Ten percent with a minimum of $5

Ten percent with a minimum of $5

Long-time Excel Math customers know that this is our pricing for shipping our curriculum to customers in the continental United States. I should clarify - This is what we charge. But it's not exactly what the shipping costs! Alas, if only it was that easy!


We have lots of opportunities to use math in calculating the shipping prices of our products.

Because we publish books, the products are heavy. That means shipping is expensive, or slow, or both.

Let's say you purchase a Teacher Edition for $29 and nothing else. You live near Boston in code 01238. We are in 92064. The book weighs about 2.5 lbs depending on the grade level.

  • We charge customers a minimum of $5 for shipping and spend $1.00 for a box or envelope
  • Fedex Ground ships in 5 business days for $7.75
  • USPS will ship by Parcel Post in 2-9 business days for $9.92
  • USPS sends Priority Mail in 2 days in a flat rate box for $10.20
  • USPS Media Mail [book rate] goes in 8 days for $3.16
Depending on the volume we ship each day, there might also be a pick-up charge for them to send a truck to us. Which shipping approach do you suppose we choose for this order? 

Let's look at another example. If you decide to add a student individual set of lessons for $17.00 to your order,  the total is $46 and the weight is now 5 lbs.


  • We charge the same $5 for shipping these two books but use a bigger box  
  • Fedex Ground will ship it in 5 business days for $10.54
  • USPS will ship by Parcel Post in 2-9 business days for $12.34
  • USPS sends Priority Mail in 2 days in a flat rate box for $10.20
  • USPS Media Mail [book rate] arrives in 8 days for $3.94
Again if we chose the lowest-price shipping (Media Mail) we pay for the box. If you chose Priority Mail, USPS provides the box. If you are in a hurry, you can ask us to ship a faster method as long as you are willing to pay for the increase in shipping.

Most of our orders go on pallets and 10% is a good approximation for our cost of trucking these pallets to schools. Depending on the carrier and the distance, the trucking companies charge us by the pallet, or per mile, or by the box, and in some cases for special handling for delivery to school sites. Don't forget, we leave the pallet behind too, and we have to buy those (used) from a supplier.

We try to work out the most reasonable approach for each school district. For example, with our Kodiak Alaska customers we use a combination of media mail, freight barge, dog sled, etc.


You could say that shipping is our loss-leader attention-attracting feature. Depending on where you live and which product you buy, we lose a little on one-book orders and hope to offset that by smart handling of of volume shipments.

And if you want to save the 10%, you can come pick up the products at our warehouse. More on that tomorrow...

Buying and shipping math curriculum is not as simple as buying a DVD and getting it 2-day Air from Amazon. If that's what you prefer, we have the Projectable CD product for $49 (minimum shipping still $5.00)