Calculate Rates

Explains the Rate Calculator, how to create labels with it, use Natural Language Processing (NLP) in it, & notes about labels w/out orders.

ShipStation's Rate Calculator lets you view estimated rates across multiple services and carriers so you can determine which service is best for different shipments. Additionally, you can use the Rate Calculator to create labels (both outgoing and return labels) without creating an order.

There are two ways to view rates with the Rate Calculator:

  1. Toolbar Rate Calculator

    Use the Rate Calculator in the top toolbar to compare rates based on Ship From and Ship To postal code, weight, package dimension, and service class. 

    V3 Toolbar with rate calculator icon highlighted.
  2. Shipment Rate Calculator

    Use the Rate Calculator in the Configure Shipment Widget to view rates for a shipment on a specific order.

    V3 shipping sidebar. Red box highlights the rate calculator next to the Ship From drop-down

The Shipment Rate Calculator returns rates from the carrier based on the following shipment details:

  • Postal Codes for the Ship From and Ship To Addresses

  • Address type: Residential or Commercial

  • Shipping Confirmation Type

  • Package Type, Weight, and Dimensions

  • Service Class (the type or speed of service)

Toolbar Rate Calculator

Use the Toolbar Rate Calculator to view and compare rates based on Ship From and Ship To postal codes, shipment weight, package dimensions, and service class. 

Rate Differences Between Toolbar and Shipment Calculator

Because the Toolbar Calculator sends fewer details to the carrier rate API, you may sometimes see different rates for the same shipment between the Toolbar Calculator and the Shipment Calculator.

The Toolbar Calculator does not take into account the address type (residential, commercial), package type, or confirmation type. The Shipment Calculator will provide more accurate rates when such details affect the rate returned from the carrier's rate API.

From here, you can proceed to creating a label without creating an order, if desired. 

Create a Label With the Rate Calculator

The Rate Calculator allows you to create both outgoing and return labels without creating an order first. 

ShipStation will create the label at this point and, depending on your printing setup, will either send it to your default printer or ask you to print the label. 

If ShipStation is not able to create the label, we'll display any relevant errors so you can correct the shipping details and attempt to create the label again.

You can print the label immediately or print it later from the Shipments tab. Review the Print Labels article in this help guide for more details on available print options.

Rate Calculator Return Labels

To create a return label from the Rate Calculator, follow the same steps to create an outbound label but select the Create a Return Label option above the address fields.

Then choose to either Email or Download the label.

Notes About Labels without Orders

Labels created through the Rate Calculator in ShipStation's toolbar will not have orders associated with them. You should be aware of the following when creating labels this way:

  • Creating a label through the Rate Calculator will not generate an order or customer record. A shipment record will be available in the Shipments tab.

  • You cannot create International labels or any labels requiring customs information from the rate calculator.

  • Shipments created through the Rate Calculator do not allow you to define the shipment's line items. Packing Slips and Pick Lists printed from the shipment will not contain any product information.

  • Notification e-mails are not available for shipments created through the Rate Calculator.

  • All labels count against your subscription plan's shipment limit.

  • You cannot specify a custom RMA number for return labels created with the Rate Calculator. ShipStation will auto-generate the RMA.

  • Since each of these labels is a standalone label, a return label cannot be made from the shipment record for an outbound label that doesn't have an order. See Return Labels for steps to create standalone return labels. 

Shipment Rate Calculator

The Shipment Rate Calculator will take the details configured for that shipment and display the rates for all carriers and services available for that shipment.

The carrier and service you selected will be set in the Configure Shipment Widget so you can proceed to create the label. 

Rate CalculatorConfigure Shipment Widget