Great question! Check out this video - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8L8hTdeq6Ao
There's also a comment on it that says: "Hey DSL, thanks for the valuable info..more happens if the customer will ship on their account but due to size and weight the shipping always differs but I want to offer free shipping, how best can I factor in the shipping and still make a profit?"
My reply was:
I am assuming you meant to say "if the supplier will ship on their account"..
With that being said - you are correct saying the costs will always vary. We always just offer free shipping and know that our margins will vary based on customer location and warehouse location.
For example - if we we sold commercial refrigerators for $2,000 that shipped from New Jersey it might cost $100 to get it to New York and $300 to get it California.
We would offer free shipping to both locations and just assume an average shipping cost of $200.
With that being said - if you find yourself not being able to maintain a good margin with the long distance shipments then it's best to refer to the blog article I linked above (with the shipping broker info).
If your competitors are offering free shipping to any location then there's a good chance they're doing the same =)"
Also, I would get some average product weights and use UPS/FedEx shipping calculators to find the average shipping cost (say to the same coast and then also across the country)….I’d use the average cost to test my margins and see what I could afford. Once you have that information, you can set certain products to have free shipping. If you works the price of shipping into the price of your product, you're going to end up getting fewer clicks on AdWords. So, free shipping where your margins allow and charge shipping at checkout for heavier items.
Also, check out this link on how to save big on shipping - https://blog.dropshiplifestyle.com/how-to-save-big-on-shipping/
Hope that helps and let us know if you have any other questions or would like some other free resources, thanks.
Have a great day!