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How to Decipher Your UPS Bill

Posted on May 11, 2010 by Jeff

It doesn’t matter what phone you’re carrying, smart or not, at the end of the month we all endure the madness of deciphering a three to ten page cell phone bill (+/-). I mean really what is a Federal Excise Tax? CNET and others have actually gone so far as to write guides, “How to read your cell phone bill”.

Take that same madness and multiply it by 400 to 500 pages and you have an average Gordian Project weekly UPS bill. That’s right, multiply that for a month and we’re comparing a couple thousand pages to our three to ten page cell phone bill example.  UPS provides the following sample invoice. The “summary of charges” is simply defined as being broken out by billing option, adjustments, and other charges. It’s those adjustments and “other” charges you want to look out for. In fairness a glossary of detailed terms is also provided. However, sifting through all those pages to identify the charges, calculating the individual dollars associated to them, and then watching for trends week to week is all but a full time job.

UPS Sample Invoice

If you’re experiencing similar frustration or just interested in better understanding what you’re cutting a check for I would recommend enrolling in UPS Billing Data. Along with your physical or PDF invoice, UPS provides the raw data in CSV, XML, or EDI format.  That raw data (CSV only) can then be used in conjunction with the UPS Billing Analysis Tool to, “create customized reports, organize your billing data from multiple accounts into a single data file, and integrate the information into your company's business systems.” The tool is helpful but limited.

To simplify the review of data I built an excel file to calculate the dollars, quantity, and average weight of each of the 97 billing options, adjustments, and other charges. Now, by simply dropping the weekly UPS Billing Data (CSV only) into the “Data” worksheet and selecting the weeks to be compared in the “Summary” worksheet the file sifts through all those thousands of pages of billing data, identifies the charges, calculates the dollars associated to them, and provides a high level view of the weekly trends. Long story short you know what you’re writing a check for.  

 

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