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What affects the UPS rates in UPS WooCommerce plugin?

WooCommerce UPS Shipment Tracking
Author Marta Pawlonka
Reading time:
4 minutes read

Trying to adjust the UPS rates to meet your needs? Curious which factors have an influence on the shipping cost calculation? Just keep on reading and find out how the selected features affect the displayed UPS rates in the free and PRO version of our UPS WooCommerce Live Rates and Access Points plugin.

We’ve been asked quite often what is what in our UPS and UPS PRO plugin. That’s why, to make it clear, in today’s article we would like to provide you with some more details about what exactly affects the live rates it displays. But before we begin, let’s have a quick reminder:

To use our plugin, you need to create an UPS user account first and obtain the login credentials. You can do it directly at https://www.ups.com/upsdeveloperkit.

After entering the UPS credentials you received on the plugin configuration screen and establishing the connection with UPS API, you need to add the UPS shipping method within a selected shipping zone. To achieve that go to WooCommerce → Settings → Shipping → Shipping zones, choose the right ones you want to display the UPS live rates in and add UPS shipping method there:

UPS shipping method woocommerce wp desk flexible shipping

UPS live rates plugin’s method configuration

As you have probably noticed there are plenty features on the UPS shipping method’s configuration screen, however, let’s focus now only on these affecting the UPS live rates directly. A knowledge how exactly the ones marked below work, will make you able to adjust them bearing in mind your business specifics.

UPS - Rates Adjustments shipping method

Please mind that if you want to compare the rates displayed by our UPS plugin with the ones from the UPS online calculator you need to remember to:
  • choose the correct Pickup Type on the shipping method configuration screen – the most accurate are Customer Counter and One Time Pickup,
  • be logged in to the same UPS user account at UPS.com which is also used by the plugin,
  • enter in the UPS online calculator exactly the same data – product(s), price(s) and addresses as in your shop.

Negotiated Rates

It allows to turn on/off the UPS negotiated rates if those are active and assigned to your UPS account. If you do not have negotiated rates enabled at your account you won’t see any difference in the displayed live rates.

If you are interested in how to get negotiated rates and offer them to your customers please follow the UPS instructions or contact the UPS support directly.


This option enables or disables your shipments’ insurance. If disabled, the base of the live rates returned by the UPS API will be lower depending on the UPS pricing system in a specific country. You can also find some more useful information about the declared value here.

UPS - Negotiated Rates and Insurance shipping method

Pickup Type

The pickup type defines the way the UPS will pick up the parcels you are going to ship. There are six options to choose here:

  • Daily Pickup,
  • Customer Counter,
  • One Time Pickup,
  • Air Call,
  • Letter Center,
  • Air Service Center.

Depending on which one of the above is selected the live rates will be higher or lower. Daily Pickup is set to be used as a default pickup type here, however, if you want to offer the most accurate shipping pricing and the closest to the one you see after logging in to the UPS admin panel please choose: Customer Counter or One Time Pickup.

UPS - Pickup Type shipping method

Destination Address Type PRO – Business or Residential

One of the main factors the UPS API takes into consideration while calculating the shipping cost is the destination address the parcel is going to be shipped to. It recognizes the entered data which is being validated next if it is Business or Residential. Choosing the right default option here will prevent the incorrect calculation from happening in case of unsuccessful validation.

UPS - Destination Address Type shipping method

Handling Fees PRO – None, Fixed value, Percentage

This option will grant you the possibility to define if the customer should be charged with any additional fees. Choosing None, Fixed value or Percentage option will allow you to decide how the fee is calculated and by entering the positive or negative value you will determine if it is a surcharge or discount (negative) – they will be later applied to the live rates.

UPS - handling fees shipping method

Parcel Packing Method PRO

Please be aware that these options to work properly require the product’s details such as weight and dimensions to be entered. Otherwise, our UPS plugin won’t be able to calculate and display the live rates in the Cart and on the Checkout page.

Parcel packing method allows you to receive more accurate shipping rates by choosing the most suitable packing method for the products you are selling. You can choose between the three options below:

UPS live rates plugin - Parcel Packing Method by weight shipping method

  • Pack into one box by weight – all the ordered products will be treated as if they are packed into one box (one package) and their weight will be summed up. Their total weight is also the only factor taken into consideration here to calculate the shipping cost so please make sure all the products have their weight entered.
  • Pack into custom boxes – products will be fit into the previously defined your own custom boxes using the most effective way. Optionally you can also use the UPS default packagings here. The rates will be calculated as a sum of shipping cost for each standard or custom box used. To work properly, all the products need to have their weight and dimensions entered first.
    • Type: Standard boxes – a group of standard UPS packagings such as: UPS Letter, Tube, Express box, 25KG Box and 10KG Box. They have their dimensions and weight already predefined by UPS API and you can only modify their Box Weight and Padding.UPS live rates plugin - Parcel Packing method into standard boxes
    • Custom boxes – this option will give you the possibility to define your own custom boxes you use for shipping. You can fully determine all their dimensions, Max Weight, Box Weight and Padding.UPS live rates plugin - Parcel Packing method into custom boxes
  • Pack items separately – if selected, the shipping cost of all the ordered products will be calculated as if each of them was packed into its own separate box and then summed up. In this case all the products’ dimensions and weight need to be filled in as well.

UPS live rates plugin - Parcel Packing Method separately shipping method

Please mind that all the dimensions and weight units set in the WooCommerce settings will be converted into the Measurements Units selected on the UPS plugin configuration screen. In other words, if you have set the default WooCommerce units to be KG/CM, but then chose the LBS/IN in the UPS settings, the plugin will convert them and use LBS/IN to calculate the shipping cost.

UPS live rates plugin - Measurements Units settings

We hope you will find this article helpful to understand better how our plugin works and to realize what affects the UPS rates it displays. Please let us know if there is still something unclear in this matter and we will do our best to explain it and bring it to you in details. We really do appreciate any kind of feedback we receive!

Still wondering if the plugin will meet your needs?

Try it using our 7 days free DEMO!

or simply get it here:

UPS WooCommerce Live Rates and Access Points PRO £69

Offer UPS Access Points support and live shipping rates in WooCommerce.

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9,000+ Active Installations
Last Updated: 2022-06-20
Works with WooCommerce 6.3 - 6.6.x
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1 year ago

The API Status icon does not appear on my UPS settings page. Was that removed in the later versions? How can I verify that my API is logged in correctly to UPS and getting valid data. When I turn on Debug, I see messages that UPS: Using Cached Response. Any suggestions?

Marta Pawlonka
Marta Pawlonka
Reply to  Gary
1 year ago

Hello Gary. Could you please let me know what exactly plugin do you use? Also, the screenshots of the settings page will be helpful. Thanks.

Reply to  Marta Pawlonka
1 year ago

Hey Marta, I use the WooCommerce UPS Shipper plugin and I found the error! I had entered a value into the Box Weight, not understanding the value is the cardboard box (zero pounds!) and not the packed box. Thank you.

Łukasz Spryszak
Łukasz Spryszak
Reply to  Gary
6 months ago

Hi Gary, the article above is related to our UPS WooCommerce Live Rates and Access Points PRO plugin and unfortunately we are not familiar with the other 3rd party UPS Shipper solution you’ve mentioned. I believe that if you’ve encountered any issues with this plugin, the best way to find out what’s wrong would be simply contacting it’s authors directly.

1 year ago

When the UPS plugin calculates the shipping costs it does not appear to be calculating additional handling fees for oversized packaging. In particular, our packages are typically over 42″ in length and therefore are assessed an additional handling fee. Which causes a fairly large discrepancy in quoted versus actual shipping cost.

Łukasz Spryszak
Łukasz Spryszak
Reply to  VeritasLibertas
1 year ago

Hi VeritasLibertas, all the rates displayed in the cart or checkout are returned automatically directly from the UPS API. I suppose the problem is that UPS API doesn’t recognize the oversized packages. Have you tried using the Handling Fees option available in the Rates Adjustments section?

10 months ago

I’m not seeing the Rates Adjustments section as the documentation states. Is that only for the UPS PRO version? The rates in the cart are not calculating on residential.

Łukasz Spryszak
Łukasz Spryszak
Reply to  Debra
6 months ago

Hi Debra, the Rates Adjustments section is available also in the UPS Live Rates plugin’s free version, however, in the free version it contains less adjustments settings. Please also mind that the Rates Adjustments section is not located in the UPS plugin’s General Settings – they can be found on the UPS Live Rates shipping method configuration screen after it’s added within a shipping zone.

Marco D'Andrea
Marco D'Andrea
7 months ago

Buon giorno, vi scriviamo perchè stiamo uscendo pazzi da settimane, perchè nonostante stiamo seguendo passo passo le istruzioni abbiamo variazioni di prezzo di 5/7€. volevamo capire su cosa e dove calcola il plug-in il peso del pacco? Come viene generato? In quale sezione si può modificare?
Hello, we are writing to you because we have been going crazy for weeks, because although we are following the instructions step by step we have price changes of 5/7 €. we wanted to understand on what and where does the plug-in calculate the weight of the package? How is it generated? In which section can it be changed?

Łukasz Spryszak
Łukasz Spryszak
Reply to  Marco D'Andrea
6 months ago

Hi Marco, our UPS Live Rates PRO plugin takes the weight of the products added to the cart from their individual Product data → Shipping tab’s Weight field and sums everything up if there is more than 1 product in the cart. You can easily check the input data sent in the UPS API request after enabling the Debug Mode at WooCommerce → Settings → Shipping → UPS Live Rates → Advanced Options and hitting the Show Content button here:

Last edited 2 months ago by Bartosz Gajewski
5 months ago

Hi please, live rates do not show up, or is my trial over? have done everything I can still nothing but fall back rate shows

Łukasz Spryszak
Łukasz Spryszak
Reply to  Johnson
4 months ago

Hi Johnson, our plugins do not run in any kind of trial modes with limited functionalities or so. If the rates are not being displayed I suppose there might be something wrong with the plugin configuration. Please contact us directly at https://octolize.com/support/ and we’ll take a look at the situation what’s wrong.

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