Call for Artists, Making Money at Juried Art Fairs, Craft Shows and Festivals
Website prices for UPS and Fedex are retail prices for people with no accounts. Even if you have very little volume you can open an account with them. Once you do, you will probably automatically see significantly better prices when you log into your account. After you have your account setup go ahead and call them up and ask for help with pricing for your business. Even if you have low volume they may be able to add a little better discount to your account. Tell them you plan to use them exclusively (and mean it so they see all your volume not just part of it), and tell them you are trying to grow your business.
Uline is the best source I know of for large flat boxes for shipping things like picture frames. Make sure you set up an account with them as well. If you have some history of buying from them on a regular basis (doesn't have to be a lot), go ahead and give them a call. Try to purchase all of your packing supplies from them so your total spending amount is as high as possible. Call them and tell them that you are using them as your sole supplier for packing supplies and you are working on growing your business. Ask them if they can help you improve your shipping margins by attaching some discounts to your account, or giving you a break on shipping if you cant pick things up from them.
Dont worry about how high your volume is, just ask. If they say no, ask where your volume needs to be so you will know when to call them back. Keep in mind they dont just look at the size of individual orders, they look at what you spend over the year. Large companies like these have a large range of discount programs for customers of all different sizes. I know this because I started Frame Destination in my garage. I worked through the different levels of just having to call the 1-800 number, to later having a dedicated inside sales person for my account, to having a dedicated sales person that comes out to my business.
President Frame Destination, Inc.