3rd party Shipping Services, worth it?

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I am pretty new to the online sales game. I have a brick and mortar that has started to get more and more online traffic (we sell Japanese grocery items) I find that shipping is the hardest thing to figure out here. I have been using calculated shipping, and recently I have added a flat rate $8 shipping for sales over $50, to help convert sales. However, when I do this a lot of time I am eating a lot of shipping cost. 

What is considered to be the cost of business, and what is considered to be bad business? I have seen commercials for ship station, and other 3rd party shippers, do they have better rates than shopify? Are they worth it? Do they help work flow? 

Any insights would be greatly appreciated!

Thank you!!!