How Much Should Businesses Charge for Delivery Per Mile



Table of Contents

According to Panera’s CEO, Robert M. Shaich,  “Delivery is about being more efficient, it's about numbers, and it's about extracting costs.”

Shaich was talking about how businesses get their products out to customers in general, but it could also be argued that delivery services (actually delivering that product to customers) are all about efficiency and numbers, and one of the places that this comes to the fore is when business owners try to figure out what to charge per delivery mile.

In this article, we will explore the various costs involved in delivery and discuss effective strategies for calculating delivery expenses. Additionally, we’ll delve into how Shipday, a leading delivery optimization platform, can help businesses save money while providing efficient delivery services.

Factors affecting delivery costs

To determine the delivery cost per mile accurately, businesses must include delivery fees in their calculations, and it’s essential to account for multiple factors that contribute to the overall cost.

These fees can be based on various factors, such as the distance traveled, the estimated time required for delivery, or even an hourly rate. Moreover, additional costs may arise for specialized delivery jobs, such as time-sensitive or multi-stop deliveries. Pricing these extra services appropriately ensures fair compensation for the added value provided.

By understanding these elements, businesses can accurately calculate delivery expenses and establish competitive rates. Let’s look at some of these costs:

Cost of gas and vehicle-related expenses

One of the primary components in calculating the delivery cost per mile is the cost of gas. Businesses need to take into account the fluctuating prices of fuel and factor it into their pricing strategy.

Additionally, vehicle-related expenses such as car or truck maintenance and insurance should be considered. These costs per mile vary depending on the size and type of the delivery vehicle.

Delivery drivers and hours of delivery

Delivery drivers also play a significant role in the overall cost per mile. Their wages, insurance, and hours of delivery should be factored into the calculations.

Businesses also need to determine an appropriate cents-per-minute rate for drivers, considering factors such as wait times, loading/unloading, and potential delays. This helps ensure that the cost per mile accurately reflects the time and effort put forth by the delivery drivers.

Overhead costs and miscellaneous expenses

Apart from fuel and vehicle expenses, overhead costs such as warehouse rent, utilities, and other employee wages might affect delivery charges. Miscellaneous expenses, including customer service team salaries and marketing efforts, can also play a role. Efficient evaluation and management of these costs help maintain a reasonable profit margin and offer competitive rates.

Additional charges for extra services

In addition, depending on the nature of your delivery business, specialized services like same-day delivery, time-sensitive delivery, or multi-stop jobs often incur extra charges due to increased complexity and resource requirements. Pricing these additional services appropriately ensures fair compensation for added value.

Calculating delivery cost per mile

Accurately calculating the delivery cost per mile is crucial for establishing a profitable and sustainable delivery business model. Effective calculation methods enable businesses to set fair prices while accounting for all relevant expenses.

Average delivery cost and pricing for delivery

Assess the average delivery cost to set the right price per mile and consider all the costs incurred, including fuel, vehicle expenses, labor, and overhead costs. By understanding the average cost per delivery, your business can then establish a competitive and profitable pricing structure. Make sure the pricing aligns with industry standards and meets customer expectations.

To calculate the average delivery cost per mile, take the total mileage covered during a specific period and divide it by the total delivery expenses incurred. This straightforward approach provides a metric for determining the cost per mile, allowing businesses to adjust pricing accordingly.

Variable costs and additional expenses

In addition to mileage and the ongoing expenses we’ve already addressed, consider other variable costs associated with each delivery, such as tolls and parking fees. Also, depending on the nature of your delivery business, consider additional expenses, such as insurance surcharges for medical deliveries or handling fragile items. Accounting for these factors ensures accurate and transparent pricing for customers.

Strategies to save on delivery costs

Saving on delivery costs is a common goal for businesses. Implementing effective strategies and leveraging innovative solutions can achieve cost savings without compromising service quality.

Leveraging technology and delivery partnerships

Collaborating with reliable delivery providers and leveraging technology-driven solutions significantly reduces operational costs. Integration with delivery apps and platforms grants access to a broader customer base and shared delivery infrastructure, eliminating the need for maintaining a dedicated fleet. This approach enables efficient scaling of delivery operations.

Optimizing delivery operations and efficiency

To minimize costs per mile, businesses should focus on optimizing their delivery operations. This includes efficient route planning and utilizing route optimization software to reduce mileage and fuel expenses.

Additionally, leveraging technology and innovative solutions can enhance delivery efficiency, resulting in lower costs per mile. By streamlining processes and maximizing efficiency, businesses can optimize their pricing strategies and offer competitive rates to customers.

Optimizing with Shipday

Utilizing route optimization software, like Shipday, identifies the most efficient routes, reduces mileage, and streamlines delivery operations.

Leveraging this technology-driven delivery ecosystem platform can help you optimize tasks and maximizes cost-effectiveness, and it can also help you make decisions on other considerations like traffic patterns, mileage, and fuel expenses. This approach ensures efficient resource utilization and affordable prices for customers.


Determining how much to charge for delivery per mile requires careful consideration of various factors and expenses. Understanding the costs related to fuel, vehicle maintenance, overheads, and additional services enables businesses to establish fair and competitive pricing models.

Implementing cost-saving strategies such as optimizing delivery processes and leveraging technology-driven solutions leads to sustainable and profitable delivery businesses. With the assistance of Shipday, businesses can streamline operations, minimize expenses, and provide exceptional delivery services at affordable prices.

Try out Shipday for free, and revolutionize your delivery business.

Ready to get started?
Play around with it first, add your team, pay later.
Start Free
By clicking “Accept All Cookies”, you agree to the storing of cookies on your device to enhance site navigation, analyze site usage, and assist in our marketing efforts. View our Privacy Policy for more information.