Setting Up Carrier Rules


Carrier rules is a highly flexible part of ShipperHQ. Carrier rules are used to set, surcharge, or override live shipping methods or custom carriers like table rate or flat rate carriers.

Bear in mind that used wrongly your rates can show incorrectly, so just ensure you think about what you’re setting up and test the rule afterwards on your site.  At ShipperHQ we have many years of experience of our clients using Carrier Rules with great success.

Examples of Carrier Rules

Here are some example carrier rules we see:

The list goes on….

For more examples on how to setup other specific Carrier Rules check this out.

Creating a New Rule

  • In the ShipperHQ Dashboard, click on Carrier Rules > Add New
  • In the Basic panel, name your rule. Try to give it a name that accurately represents what it does. This will help you as then you can search on the rule name.
  • The next panels relate to how the rule will work. A rule applies to Shipping Methods, and is made up of Conditions and Actions. That’s it. Which shipping methods, conditions, or actions you set differs depending on what you’re trying to do. Insight below.

Applicable Shipping Methods

Here is where you select the Shipping methods your rule will affect.

For Example: if you are hiding UPS Air methods, you will select those as the applicable methods under “Live Shipping Methods Assigned”. If you are surcharging a custom flat carrier method, you will select that under “Custom Shipping Methods Assigned”.


Specify the conditions under which you wish the rule to apply. Conditions can be Zones, Shipping Groups, or Filters. You can also enable Customer Groups as a Condition under Carrier Rule Settings.

Some examples of Conditions would be:

  • If preventing shipping methods to Canada, you will set Canada in the Apply to Zones Condition
  • If surcharging shipping rates for your BULKY Shipping Group, you will set BULKY in the Includes Shipping Group Condition.
  • If offering free shipping after $50.00 cart price, you will set a $50 Min Cart Price Filter in the Weight/Price/Quantity Filters Condition (more on Filters below).
  • If offering discounted shipping rates for your WHOLESALE Customer Group, you will first Enable Customer Groups & set WHOLESALE in the Customer Groups condition.


Filters are used to match cart conditions as a condition for triggering a rule. There are different kinds of filters you can make for Price, Quantity, or Weight.
When you have more than one filter of different types on a rule, these filters act as AND conditions, meaning they must each be true for the condition to be considered met.
When you have more than one filter of the same type on a rule, these filters act as OR conditions, meaning only one of them will need to be met for the condition to be considered met.

For example…
For a rule with these two filters, a cart with only one 70 lb “Bikes” item in the cart WILL NOT cause this rule to trigger:

However, for a rule with these two filters, a cart with only one 70 lb “Bikes” item in the cart WILL cause this rule to trigger:


The action is what you want to happen when the rule applies. You can choose to Hide Methods, Set/Overwrite Rates, or Surcharge/Discount rates.

You can choose to set/surcharge/discount rates by a flat dollar amount, or by a percentage value, and can have that apply Per Cart, Per Shipping Group, Per Item in a Shipping Group, or Per Box within a Shipping Group.

Advanced Conditions and Actions

In the Advanced panel of your Carrier Rule, you can set rules against advanced conditions such as: Origin, Boxes, Delivery days, Address Type, Per Qty added costs, or Valid From/To Dates.

Some of these Advanced Conditions need to be enabled under Carrier Rules->Settings.

Some Advanced Conditions require certain advanced features to be enabled.

You can remove condition or actions you do not need, for instance if you do not use Customer Groups then you can disable in the Settings and then these are no longer shown in your dashboard.

Rule Processing Order

Rule Types Order (Set and Surcharge)

By default, Surcharge Rules (that is, rules which are set to Surcharge Rates in the Actions panel) will apply before Set Rules (rules set to Set Rates in the Actions Panel). This allows you to do things like set up a surcharge rule for a handling fee but allow that to be overridden by a Set Rule which sets free shipping.

You can change the order so that Set Rules are processed first followed by Surcharge Rules by changing the “Run Surcharge Rules before Set Rules” option to “No” under Carrier Rules > Settings > Apply Actions.

Order Within Rule Types

Within each Rule Type (Set and Surcharge as described above), you are able to define a specific order in which your rules are processed. This option is less common so disabled by default but can be enabled under Carrier Rules > Settings > Apply Actions by setting the “Rule Processing Order” option to “Yes.” With this enabled, you’ll see several additional fields in the Advanced Actions panel on each of your Carrier Rules.

  • Rule Processing Order The order in which you wish rules to be processed. Set a number between 0 and 999 where 0 will be processed first and 999 processed last. The numbers you set on your rules do not need to be sequential.
  • Stop Further Rule Processing With this option selected, if the Conditions for this Carrier Rule are met and therefore the rule is processed, no further rules will be processed.
  • Overwrite Set Rate By default, Set rules are cumulative (that is, if you have multiple rules setting rates the result will be the sum of the rates set for all applied rules). With this option selected, if multiple Set rules apply to a certain shipment, you can tell ShipperHQ that this rule will override all previously processed Set rules.

Next Steps

Now that you have your rules in places, you can explore additional checkout features to create the checkout experience customers expect.

  • Dimensional Shipping – allows you to achieve more accurate Shipping Rates especially when getting rates from Live Rate Carriers like UPS and FedEx or when using USPS Flat Rate boxes
  • Date & Time – allows you to show to show Estimated Delivery on Shipping Methods
  • Address Validation – supports the ability to validate the address entered by your customers in the checkout
  • Landed Cost Engine – allows you to achieve more accurate Shipping Rates in situations where shipments going over national borders are subject to duties & taxes
Test Your Rates

Verify that your carriers and rules are working and see how they will display in your checkout right from the ShipperHQ dashboard.

Learn More


If a carrier rules does not seem to be working, here are our recommendations:

  1. Go check all the conditions in the rule and ensure you are happy they will match
  2. Switch off other rules so that you can focus on just testing the 1 rule
  3. Remove as many other variables out of testing, e.g. other carriers, origins, etc
  4. Within the rule itself remove as many conditions, get back to a point where the rule is working, then add in the conditions 1 by 1

By following this you should be able to determine what is not working. As you get more confidence in the system you will find the rule creation becomes easier.

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