Configure Checkout Rates in ShipStation

ShipStation's Checkout Rates feature allows you to configure rates for your customers to select during their checkout process from your stores. Once you've connected Checkout Rates to your store, you are ready to configure the rates you'd like your customers to see in the store checkout. If you are new to Checkout Rates, you should first read our Checkout Rates Overview to learn about the feature requirements and how it works.

You can create three types of Checkout Rates:

  • Live Rates: this type will pull rates from the carrier accounts you have connected to ShipStation for the services you define. For example, you could create a standard option using a live rate for a carrier and service that ships within 3-5 days.

  • Flat Rates: this type allows you to offer the same shipping price to all orders regardless of the actual shipping cost.

  • Free: this type allows you to offer free shipping for all orders from this store.

You will want to define a Checkout Rate for each rate option you'd like your customers to see during checkout from your store. For example, if you want your customers to select either Standard Shipping or Expedited Shipping for their order, you'll create a Checkout Rate option for each. They can be the same type of rate (live, flat, or free), or they can each be different.

Additionally, you must create rate options for each store that uses Checkout Rates. To edit a store's settings in ShipStation, go to Settings > Selling Channels > Store Setup and click Edit Store Details next to the store you wish to edit.

Checkout Rates Requires Accelerate Plan or Higher.

To access the Checkout Rates feature, your account must be on the Accelerate plan or higher (also available to accounts during the trial period).

Additionally, this feature is currently in its beta testing phase for Australia-based accounts. This means certain functionality may be limited or you may sometimes encounter unexpected results. If you encounter any issues while using this feature, please contact our support team or your account manager so we can help resolve the issue or improve the feature!

Configure Live Rates

When you choose the Live Rates pricing method, ShipStation will query the carrier APIs for the services you selected. Then, ShipStation will choose the cheapest rate to display on the checkout page.

If you opt to include a rate adjustment, ShipStation will adjust the rate we receive from the carrier API and display the adjusted rate on the checkout page.

About Calculation Methods

For Australia or New Zealand-based accounts, there are some region-specific calculation methods to take into consideration when using Checkout Rates.

The following details explain how live rates are applied to multi-box shipments and how to calculate the size of your shipment: By Volume or Cartonization.

By Volume

This is the default option. When you select By Volume as a Checkout Rates calculation method, ShipStation will calculate the total volume of all items in the cart based on the item dimensions you have added to the product records (either the Package Dimensions for the product or the preset group, if the item is part of a preset group). If no item dimensions are present for the product, ShipStation will use the Backup Dimensions.

This volume calculation - along with the weight and ship to and ship from postal codes - is what ShipStation sends to the carriers to get rate estimates for the shipment.


If you have custom packages configured in your ShipStation account, you can instead choose the Cartonization option. In this case, ShipStation will calculate the volume of the items in the cart - again based on Package Dimension set for your product or the Backup Dimensions set in Checkout Rates - and attempt to find the best fit within your custom packages for all the items. ShipStation will then send the volume of the "best fit" custom package to the carriers to get a rate estimate for the shipment.

ShipStation will try to "fit" as many items as possible from the cart into the custom package dimensions. If there are items in the cart that won't fit into the largest available custom package, ShipStation will take the volume of the "best fit" custom package and add the volume of the remaining items. This combined total volume will then be what ShipStation sends to the carriers to get a rate estimate for the shipment.

Here is an example of how this would work. If the cart includes 7 items, but only 5 fit in the largest available custom package, ShipStation will try to fit the remaining 2 items into another custom package.

  • If they fit, ShipStation will make two rate calls to the carrier (one for each package).

  • If they do not fit, ShipStation will calculate the volume of the remaining 2 items and make two rate calls to the carrier (one with the custom package dimensions and the other with the volume of the remaining items).

  • For both scenarios, the rates for the 2 rate calls will then be added together for the total rate.

Keep in mind that the custom package details do not import into ShipStation with the order. Checkout Rates only uses this to get a rate estimate for your customer during checkout. You must still select your preferred package when configuring shipments in ShipStation.

Live Rates Adjustments for Multi-box Shipments

If you apply a live rate adjustment to an order that is a multi-box shipment, that adjustment will apply to the shipment as a whole, not to each individual box.

For example, say you configure a checkout-rate adjustment to charge $2 less on qualifying shipments. A customer's cart includes a multi-package shipment, with an initial shipping rate of $17: $7 for one package plus $10 for the other. With your applied live rate adjustment, your customer will see $15 (7+10-2) as their shipping rate.

Say you configure Backup Item Dimensions that apply a rate of $20. If you have a multi-package shipment but no rates are returned, then ShipStation will apply the Backup Item Dimension rate only once. The customer will be charged $20.

Using Product Dimensions & Backup Dimensions

For the Live Rates option to return the most accurate rate estimates from the carriers, we need to let the carrier know the dimensions of the package to be shipped. Currently, Checkout Rates will look to see if the order items include Package Dimensions in their Product Details.


If you have entered dimensions here, ShipStation will use these dimensions for your Checkout Rates calculation method (by volume or cartonization). If no dimensions have been entered here, ShipStation will instead send the Backup Dimensions you entered in the Checkout Rate's settings as the dimensions for the shipment.

Backup Item Dimensions settings for Checkout Rates

For the most accurate rates, we recommend adding package dimensions to all of your product records.

To add dimensions to a product record:

  1. Click an item name to open the Product Details screen.

  2. Go to the Shipping tab.

    Product details Shipping defaults tab.
  3. Add the length, width, and height of the item into the Package dimensions fields.

  4. Check the option to Apply changes to open orders (this will update any order currently in Awaiting Shipment that contains this product) and click Save.

Configure Free or Flat Rate Shipping

The Free and Flat Rate options will show your customers the rate you enter in ShipStation. It will not pull rates from any carriers.

Use the Free option if you do not wish to charge a shipping fee for orders placed in this store. When using the Free option, there are no additional configuration steps. Select Free and click Save.

Flat Rates are a good option if you want to charge the same shipping fee for all orders from this store.

To set a Flat Rate:

  1. Open your store settings and go to the Checkout Rates tab.

  2. Click the Add Checkout Rate button.

    Checkout Rates tab with the Add Checkout Rate button highlighted.

    This will open the Define New Checkout Rate page.

  3. Select Flat Rate from the Rate Type menu.

  4. Enter a Checkout Rate Name and Description.

    Your customer will see both the name and description you enter here on their checkout screen. For example, name the option Standard Shipping with the description, "Usually arrives in 3-5 days."

  5. Enter an amount for your Flat Rate.

  6. Check the box to make the option Active and Visible In Your Marketplace and save your changes.

Preview Your Checkout Rates Options

Once you have configured the options you'd like your customers to see at checkout, click the Preview button to see what rates and details ShipStation will send for an example shipment.

Notes About Configuring Checkout Rates

  • You can configure Checkout Rates for both domestic and international services.

  • Checkout Rates does not automatically apply your customer's service selection to the shipment in ShipStation. However, if you would like to always ship your orders with the same service your customer selected at checkout, you can set ShipStation to do so.

    Go to Store Setup > Checkout Rates and check the box for On order import, automatically set the Shipping Service selected by the customer at checkout and save your changes.

    The Checkout Rates tab shows the option marked that says "on order import, automatically set the shipping service selected by the customer at checkout. Note: This will override any service category you have already set."

    This setting will override any other service mappings that could apply to the order. You can always change the service for the shipment if you decide to use a different service for any reason.

  • UPS rates: If you have both your own UPS account as well as UPS from ShipStation set up in ShipStation, the rates for each account will likely be different. Be sure to select the UPS from ShipStation services in the Checkout Rates live rate setup if you wish to offer the lowest available UPS rate to your customers.

  • Troubleshooting tips: If a rate is not appearing as an option in checkout: