How the FedEx WooCommerce Shipping Works and How to Set It Up

If you are going to use the WooCommerce FedEx Shipping plugin, you’ll have to understand shipping and FedEx part, as well as the plugin part. So! Let’s take a look at the shipping part. In order to ship anything, you’ll need a box. Let’s take a quick look at that box.

Simple Shipping Semantics

The box’s longest side is its length, and its girth is W + W + H + H. If the box is 30″ x 20″ x 10″, the length is 30″, and the girth is 60″ or (2 x 20″) + (2 x 10″). The girth is not the outside area of the box (L x W x H x 2).

For those who would rather have an example, if you imagine yourself as a package, you can find your girth by tying a string around your waste. To find the girth of a box, stand the box up and measure its waste.

Now that we’ve gotten some semantics out of the way, let’s take a look at the FedEx part.

FedEx Rates

When using FedEx, there are two different rates you can choose. There is the FedEx Standard Rate and FedEx One rate (also commonly known as flat rate).

FedEx Standard Rate

You can use any size box you want. The max weight is 150 lbs; the max length is 108″ (9 feet tall), and the max girth+length is 165″. I suppose they combined the girth and the length to give you some flexibility.

FedEx One Rate

FedEx One Rate is the equivalent of flat rate shipping. With FedEx One Rate, you need to use FedEx’s boxes (currently twelve selections). The max weight is 50 lbs, and the max box size is about a one foot cube.

The max weight and dimensions FedEx One Rate is a lot less, but, as you’ll see later, it’s much cheaper to ship even if you’re shipping the same size and same weight box.

As a side note, dimensional weight applies when your package is relatively light compared with its volume/size. Think beds. A bed is big but normally light. To find the dimensional weight, multiply length by width by height in inches and divide by 139.

WooCommerce FedEx Shipping Plugin

Now, let’s take a look at the plugin part. I am going to test the the WooCommerce FedEx Shipping Plugin. I will add an item that is 2.4″ x 2.4″ x 2.5″ and increase the quantity to ten. Let’s see what happens. If I turn the plugin’s debug mode on, I can see that the plugin chooses FEDEX_SMALL_BOX to pack the items into. The  FEDEX_SMALL_BOX is 11.25 x 8.75 x 2.625. That’s good to know! Unfortunately, the WooCommerce FedEx Shipping plugin does not save this data anywhere. You have to guess which box it chose for your customer by looking at the price.

So, how did the plugin figure this out? Basically, it adds up the area and weight of the items and compares them to all the boxes available.

FSR vs. FOR

Using FSR (chosen by default), the cost to ship the package from CA to PA is $21.34. However, if I enable FOR, it changes to  $10.75. That’s a huge difference! I included a FedEx One Rate example table below to help you see what’s going on. You can see that the plugin is choosing the FedEx Small Box. It’s choosing National since the box will be shipped more than 600 miles. If I am shipping from CA to CA (local) with FOR, it costs $8.50 and $10.89 with FSR. FedEx One Rate is undeniably the better choice.

Be sure to enable FedEx One Rates in the FedEx plugin!

FedEx One Rate pricing using FedEx Express Saver 3 day service
Packaging Type 2 Local 3
0-150 miles
Regional 3
151-600 miles
National 3
601 miles plus
FedEx® Envelope
9-1⁄2″ x 12-1⁄2″
Reusable Envelope:
9-1⁄2″ x 15 -1⁄2″
$7.50 $8.00 $9.75
FedEx® Pak
10-1⁄4″ x 12-3⁄4″, 12″ x 15-1⁄2″
Padded: 11-3⁄4″ x 14-3⁄4″
Reusable Sturdy Pak:
10″ x 14-1⁄2″ (expands up to 1-1⁄2″)
$7.50 $8.25 $10.00
FedEx® Small Box
10-7⁄8″ x 1-1⁄2″ x 12-3⁄8″,
8-3⁄4″ x 2-5⁄8″ x 11-1⁄4″
$8.50 $9.75 $10.75
FedEx® Medium Box
11-1⁄2″ x 2-3⁄8″ x 13-1⁄4″,
8-3⁄4″ x 4-3⁄8″ x 11-1⁄4″
$11.00 $13.25 $13.50
FedEx® Large Box
12-3⁄8 x 3″ x 17-1⁄2″
8-3⁄4″ x 7-3⁄4″ x 11-1⁄4″
$17.00 $18.50 $18.75
FedEx® Extra Large Box
11-7⁄8″ x 10-3⁄4″ x 11″
15-3⁄4″ x 14-1⁄8″ x 6″
$26.50 $30.25 $42.50
FedEx® Tube
6″ x 6″ x 38″
$26.75 $30.25 $42.50

Settings for WooCommerce FedEx Shipping Plugin

Now, I’ll move on to the plugin settings. If you see a “?” anywhere, it means that you will need to explore this option more on your own.

After you enable the plugin, add FedEx to a shipping zone. I added it to a shipping zone with the United States region. I also added it to the Rest of the World shipping zone, but don’t do that. Apparently, that causes the plugin to stop working.

Click the shipping zone and then click FedEx to get to the FedEx options. This is where you will see the normal options you are used to.

For the Origin Post code, enter the zip code of wherever you’re shipping from.

Parcel Packing Method: Pack into boxes with weights and dimensions

Box Sizes: All the box sizes should be added already.

Residential: ?

Insurance: ? I have it enabled.

FedEx One: Make sure to tick this option.

International Ground Direct Distribution: ?

Request Type: ? List Rates

Fedex SmartPost Hub: ? N/A

Offer Rate: Offer the customer the cheapest rate only, anonymously

Services: I have enabled the following services.

STANDARD_OVERNIGHT

FEDEX_2_DAY

FEDEX_EXPRESS_SAVER

GROUND_HOME_DELIVERY

FEDEX_GROUND

SMART_POST

To set your account details (and to turn on debug mode), go to WooCommerce > Settings > Shipping > FedEx.
You have to sign up for a FedEx account in order to get the information for the following options.  The test developer key, test meter number, and test account number are provided instantly, but the test developer password is emailed.

FedEx Services

Below is more information on different types of FedEx shipping services.

Fedex Freight
Palletized shipments more than 150lbs and less than 2200lbs

Fedex First Overnight

Delivery first thing tomorrow morning by 8 a.m. (only some zip codes)

FedEx Priority Overnight

10:30 a.m. delivery for AA areas
12 noon for AM areas
4:30 p.m. for PM areas
Monday – Saturday (Saturday delivery is available as early as noon in many locations)
Package Size: 8 oz. FedEx Letters and other packages up to 150 lbs. each, and 119″ in length, and 165″ in length plus girth

FedEx Standard Overnight

3:00 p.m. Monday – Friday for AA and AM areas
4:30 p.m. for PM areas
Package Size: 8 oz. FedEx Letters and other packages up to 150 lbs. each, and 119″ in length, and 165″ in length plus girth

FedEx 2Day

4:30 pm. second business day (by 7 p.m. to residential addresses) within virtually all of the continental U.S.
Monday – Saturday
Package Size – up to 150 lbs each, and 119″ in length, and 165″ in length plus girth

FedEx Express Saver

offers time-definite delivery to 210 countries in 24-48 hours. It’s faster and you can decide the time of day it will arrive. However, this does cost more.

FedEx Ground

offers cost-effective delivery in 1-5 days to the continental United States and 3-7 days to Alaska, Hawaii, Canada, and Puerto Rico. While it is inexpensive, you cannot choose the time of day the package will arrive nor does it arrive as quickly as with FedEx Express Saver.

Fedex smart post
Coverage to every residential address in the U.S., including P.O. boxes, APO, FPO and DPO destinations, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands and all other U.S. territories.

FedEx SmartPost does not pickup packages originating outside the contiguous U.S.
Transit Times typically 2 to 7 business days within the contiguous U.S., based on the final destination ZIP code. Longer transit times to destinations outside the contiguous U.S.
Maximum weight is 70 lbs; maximum length and girth is 130 inches.
No residential or Saturday delivery surcharges.
Delivery scans available throughout the day.
Limit of liability is $100.
Customer reports via FedEx® Reporting Online.

Most people will only want FedEx 2Day (FEDEX_2_DAY_AM, FEDEX_2_DAY), FedEx Ground (FEDEX_GROUND, GROUND_HOME_DELIVERY), and Smart Post (SMART_POST).

I this tutorial helped you to understand WooCommerce shipping (and shipping in general). Let me know if there is anything I should add!