There are a few ways to ship a package, and which one you choose depends on what you’re sending and how quickly you need it to get there. You could use first-class mail, which is the cheapest option, to send something small that doesn’t need to get there quickly. You could use USPS Priority Mail or UPS Ground to send something bigger or if it needs to get there faster.
The United States Postal Service, UPS, and FedEx are the three most well-known shipping companies in the United States. All three are reliable enough to be used. Still, you might find yourself asking:
- FedEx, UPS, or USPS? Which one costs less?
- Do some companies do faster or rush deliveries than others?
Who are the other companies that ship things?
Some people think that the best way to ship something is the one that takes the least amount of time, while others think that the best way is the one that costs the least amount of money. Some shipping companies may be better than others, but this will depend on your priorities.
According to Bryan Valdemar, senior product manager for GoDaddy, the company that owns Sellbrite, an e-commerce service for people who sell things online. “The big carriers are experts in different things, like price, package size, and delivery speed,” he says. “These factors include the following:”For example, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is often the least expensive way to ship small packages that weigh less than a few pounds. However, the United Parcel Service (UPS) is the best option for bigger packages that weigh more than a few pounds. FedEx is the best choice for overnight shipping when time is the most important factor.
The cheapest way to ship is based on delivery.
Even though the United States Postal Service often has the best prices, it has had a lot of trouble with shipping delays in recent years. When shipping larger packages, think about how long it will take and how much it will cost. However, if you are sending smaller items, the United States Postal Service (USPS) is probably still the best choice.
Here is a list of the quickest and least expensive ways to send mail through the post office:
- First Class: Prices start at $4.50 for delivery in 2–5 days.
- Priority Mail prices start at $8.70 for delivery in one to three days.
- Priority Mail Flat Rate Boxes cost between $9.45 and $21.50 for delivery in 1–3 days.
But there are some rules that must be followed. First Class mail can only be used to send things that weigh up to 13 ounces and aren’t too big. After that, you’ll have to switch to Priority Mail, but the first price of $8.70 only applies to packages that weigh one pound or less and are going to close-by zones.
Flat rate boxes from the United States Postal Service (USPS) may be the best deal for customers because they can hold up to 70 pounds and can be sent across the country for a low price.
UPS and FedEx both offer a ground delivery service with delivery times between one and five days. However, UPS’s starting price for a 1-pound package delivered in a neighboring zone is $11 and FedEx’s starting price is $9.36.
UPS and FedEx also have one-rate boxes, which are similar to the flat-rate boxes offered by the USPS. UPS’s basic fee for ground shipping within the 48 contiguous states ranges from $10.15 for very small items to $27.30 for very large packages. These prices are for packages sent within the U.S. FedEx will send small packages for as little as $12.05, but extra-large packages and three-day delivery will cost you $39.10.
The best way to ship overnight
If you want the shipment to arrive in a few hours instead of a few days, you will need to use a faster service like same-day or next-day delivery.
From the three main carriers, Priority and Mail Express from the United States Postal Service (USPS) are likely to be the least expensive for you. A box that weighs half a pound has a standard starting price of $26.95, and it could be delivered as soon as the next day or as late as two days later. On holidays and Sundays, there is an extra charge for deliveries.
UPS Next Day Air Saver, on the other hand, has shipping rates that start at $29.66 for a one-pound package and promise delivery by the end of the next business day. It’s possible that this service isn’t available everywhere, and there’s no way to get it on a Saturday. FedEx Standard Overnight charges $31.22 to send a one-pound package to an address within 150 miles. The package is guaranteed to arrive the next business day before 4:30 p.m.
But for short-distance deliveries, the best way to ship might not be with a typical carrier at all.
Best way to ship internationally
The cost of international shipping will vary a lot depending on where the package will end up. Here is a list of the prices that the main airlines charge to fly to Canada, which is always one of the cheapest places to visit:
- When you use the USPS Priority Mail International Canada service, prices start at $40.45 for a one-pound package or $30.70 for a small flat rate box that can hold up to four pounds.
- With UPS Worldwide Saver, the price for next-day delivery of a package that weighs 1 pound starts at $72.96.
- FedEx International Ground shipping costs start at $22.61 for a one-pound package.
- DHL is another well-known company that ships packages all over the world. The price is based on the size and weight of the item. For example, it costs about $81.90 to ship a small box that weighs one pound from the United States to Canada.
Best Ways to Ship Packages Based on Their Sizes
Make smart choices about how to pack your things because the price to ship them depends a lot on their size and weight.
Valdemar says that most people think that using the smallest cardboard box possible is the best way to cut down on shipping costs. There is, however, another option that is easy to find: poly mailers. You can get these plastic bags with or without padding, so you can use them to carry clothes and other low-cost items. Valdemar says, “Carriers charge less for these types of packages because they take up less space in delivery vehicles.”
Here is a list of the least expensive ways to ship things, depending on what will be sent.
- The most affordable way to mail gift cards is in a USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope.
- The best way to send a package this size and weight is in a USPS Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box.
- UPS Simple Rate or FedEx One Rate is the best way to ship medium-sized to large packages.
- The best way to ship large packages is with UPS Ground Service.
The best way to ship gift cards
If you want to send a gift card to someone via email, the cheapest way to do so would be to put the card in an envelope and send it through first-class mail at the post office. That would amount to spending less than a dollar.
The United States Postal Service (USPS) recommends using a padded envelope or some other kind of strong packaging to make sure gift cards get to their destination without getting broken. After buying the right envelope and adding insurance, the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope, which costs $8.95, might be a better choice.
When you send something through the Postal Service with priority, you will get an envelope for free. Also, most packages sent by priority mail come with free tracking and up to $50 in insurance in case the product gets lost, stolen, or broken.
Small packages can be sent for the least amount of money with a USPS Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box.
If you want to send small gifts like socks, T-shirts, or jewelry, the USPS Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box, which costs $9.45, may be the best deal. The length of this box is about 8 inches, the width is about 5 inches, and the depth is about 1 inch. It also comes with free monitoring, up to $50 in insurance, and fast delivery.
In this category, FedEx Express Saver comes in second. FedEx One Rate service starts at $12.05 for a small package, which makes it the second-best option in this category. The delivery will be held up for about three days. You can also use UPS Ground Service, which will cost you at least $10.15 and could take up to a week to deliver your package.
- The best way to ship packages that are medium to large in size is with UPS simple rate or FedEx One rate.
- The prices for big and medium-sized packages are the same for both the UP Rate and the FedEx One Rate.
When using the UPS Simple Rate, prices for medium boxes start at $16.95, while prices for big boxes with a volume of up to 1,050 cubic inches start at $22.95. A medium FedEx box will cost you $15.70, while a big FedEx box will cost you $24.20. These prices are about the same as what UPS charges.
USPS Media Mail is the least expensive way for the US Postal Service to ship packages that contain media like books, movies, or music. At least $3.19 will go toward a one-pound bundle. Still, this is the most time-consuming way to ship, and it will take at least a week to finish. Also, media mail doesn’t come with tracking or insurance, so it’s not the best way to send gifts or other important things through the mail.
The most reliable way to ship large packages is with UPS Ground Service.
You won’t be able to use the USPS to ship furniture or other big, heavy things. Seventy pounds is the most weight that the U.S. Postal Service will let you send by Priority Mail. Because of this, the best way to ship big items is through UPS or FedEx. Any company will ship packages that weigh up to 150 pounds with their standard shipping services.
The price of shipping a big item can vary a lot depending on its size, weight, and final destination. UPS Ground Service is a little more expensive than FedEx Home Delivery, but it says it can deliver your package two days sooner. This is based on the idea that you want to ship a box from New York to California that weighs 100 pounds. UPS thinks it will take four days and cost $191.64 to deliver the package, while FedEx Home Delivery thinks it will take six days and cost $187.80.
Shipping costs are important because they can make or break a sale. Almost half of online shoppers abandon their shopping carts because of extra costs, like high shipping and tax fees. So, keeping these extra costs low will help your business, so make sure you always have the best shipping rates.
At first, figuring out the cheapest way to ship packages internationally can be a matter of trial and error. But once you’re used to all the options, delivery methods, courier companies, and where most of your sales come from, you’ll be able to figure out the cheapest way to ship packages internationally. Once you have a reliable shipping plan and shipping costs that work for both you and your customers, you’ll spend less time filling orders and more time growing your dropshipping business.