A proforma invoice from Fedex is essentially an estimate of a Fedex commercial invoice that would be used for international shipping of goods other than documents. It may look almost identical to the final commercial invoice but will include clear labeling that it is the proforma invoice. These proforma invoices are often used for paying customs on imported goods or providing a quote for budgeting purposes.
A clear understanding of shipping fees is important for both the buyer and the seller in a transaction. A customer may be presented with this proforma invoice with detailed estimated shipping costs before they commit to purchasing from a seller, so they can evaluate all their supplier options with an understanding of the full costs of goods + shipping. The seller, or company doing the shipping, can also use this proforma invoice as a way of budgeting their estimated shipping costs before the final invoices are available. Knowledge is power, and knowing more about your shipping costs allows you to look for cost savings. A parcel invoice audit will track shipping costs after the final invoice, using the true shipping costs once they are known. It will list Fedex surcharges, but they will be estimates and are subject to change.
What Is a Proforma Invoice for Shipping?
According to Fedex, a “proforma invoice is an abridged or estimated invoice sent by a seller to a buyer in advance of a shipment or delivery of goods.” Generally these invoices will include:
- Quantity of goods - the overall number of each different type of good being shipped
- Value of goods - commercial value of goods, especially important for customs to calculate import duties
- Weight of parcel - including full packed weight
- Estimated shipping costs - including surcharges and other expected fees
- Clear labeling that it is a proforma invoice, not the final commercial invoice
- May include information intended for the buyer to understand how and why shipping costs may change
This invoice typically serves two purposes: it provides estimated shipping costs for budgeting purposes and the value of goods for customs reporting during importation. Mistakes made on this proforma invoice may result in fines by custom officials as well as additional shipping charges due to delays from these mistakes. It is very important to make sure that these types of forms are filled out correctly; and it is worth the extra investment in training and/or software to ensure that they are.
Fedex Commercial Invoice for International Shipping
Because a proforma invoice is nearly identical to a commercial invoice, it is important to look at why you would need a commercial invoice for Fedex in the first place. Commercial invoices (therefore proforma invoices as well) are only needed for shipping if you are shipping internationally AND you are shipping goods other than documents. Fedex document shipping does not require a commercial invoice. These commercial invoices are used in customs to ensure that duty fees are accurately calculated on imported goods.
Fedex Proforma Invoice Vs Commercial Invoice
The main difference between a proforma invoice and a commercial invoice is that proforma invoices provide estimated shipping costs while commercial invoices provide actual shipping costs. The proforma invoice is not a bill to pay, whereas the commercial invoice is. The proforma invoice should always be clearly labeled so that the buyer can easily understand that it is an estimate of shipping costs, and it should not be treated as a bill.
Where to Put a Proforma Invoice on Fedex Parcel?
When applying the proforma invoice to the parcel to be shipped, simply make sure it is in a place that can be easily seen. The proforma or commercial invoice will generally be placed near the shipping label so it is easily spotted by customs officials and carriers.
ShipSigma: Ship Smarter
We know managing all the moving pieces in product shipping is a huge and often complicated job. We’re here to make it easier! Our parcel invoice audit can find labeling and invoicing errors that might be costing your company unnecessarily and help you set up systems to avoid them in the future.
With our real-time auditing services and proprietary technology, we streamline your high volume parcel shipping and get you the very best rates - often saving you up to 25%! Contact us today to start saving.