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What is the Cheapest Way to Ship Packages in the U.S.?

You might be asking yourself the question ‘what is the cheapest way to ship a package?’ If you are, then you have come to the right place. We know that a lot of people spend time looking into the cheapest options regarding shipping their packages in the US, so we have written this guide to help you find the cheapest ways to ship packages.

Whether you are a small business, large business, or anyone who has a lot of shipping needs, you are going to need to find the right deals so that you can keep your profit margins up. That’s why you need to shop around before you can know what the best deal is going to be when it comes to shipping your packages. We are going to take a look at some of the options that you can consider.

But, you do need to keep in mind that it will depend on what you are shipping to how expensive it will be. It will also depend on how long you have to ship the item, what kind of delivery service you want, and a whole range of other factors. The price is going to be reflective of what it is that you require, however you are still going to want to try and find the best, yet cheapest way to ship a package.

Over 2lbs Ground Delivery

If your package is over 2lbs in weight and you are looking for ground delivery as opposed to air delivery, then your two main options are going to be FedEx or UPS. Straight away, you are going to find that FedEx can offer you 15% off your shipping costs, just for creating an account with them. This is quickly going to be apparent as the cheapest option, but this could change if you end up being charged for dimensional weight. Both UPS and FedEx now impose this charge, so do be sure to keep this in mind when you are shipping. You can work out the dimensional weight before you ship, and the heavier the weight, the higher the price.

UPS and FedEx both started charging for dimensional weight back in 2016, and you need to check if your package is going to be subject to this charge before you can work out which option will be the cheapest. This typically applies to larger packages, and you should bear in mind that each company might have different calculations for their dimensional weight. But, to give you an idea, UPS currently work it out by using LxWxH/166.

That said USPS might be the cheapest way to ship a package if you can take advantage of the 3 flat rate box shipping option. This is available on small, medium and large boxes. So, it might be possible to squeeze a package over 2lbs into a small flat rate box and get a great rate even with a larger item. Typically though the cheapest way to send a package that is larger will be with FedEx or UPS.

Under 2lbs Ground Delivery

If you want to find the cheapest package shipping for something that is under 2lbs, you should be looking to USPS for this job. You might notice that as the weight ticks up and slowly reaches the 2lbs mark, it becomes few and far between which delivery service you use. UPS, FedEx and USPS all charge roughly the same when it comes to packages around this weight, but the lower you go, the better deal you are going to get from USPS. So, the cheapest way to ship a package that is under 2lbs is likely going to be with USPS.

If your package is under 13 oz, then you should deliver it with first class mail. While, as we will discuss further down, reliability levels can vary with USPS, their cost for lighter items is virtually unbeatable.

Flatrates

USPS deliver your package in 1-3 business days if you choose priority mail. As long as your package stays under 70lbs, you are going to entitled to the flat rate shipping offered by this company. If you take your package down to the post office, you will find that the rates start at $6.70 for various locations, and will increase depending on what type of package you are shipping. This flat rate is offered through any state.

FedEx One Rate also offers a flat rate when it comes to shipping and will deliver your package in 1-5 business days. Where USPS offers you this rate up to 70lbs, FedEx only offers this service for packages that are up to 50lbs. So, if you are looking for flat rate shipping, it will depend on how much your package is going to weigh.

UPS does not offer a flat rate service in the way that UPS and FedEx do. Because of this, the cheapest way to ship a package if you are comparing all three is going to depend on the weight and size of what you want to ship. UPS Ground is the equivalent of priority mail for USPS and delivers your package in 1-5 business days, so if you are looking for a faster option, you are likely going to want to consider USPS.

Need A Next Day Service?

If you need a next day service, you will again find the USPS is the cheapest solution. In this case, USPS Express is the best option. There’s just one problem with this, and that’s the fact that the solution doesn’t always deliver the package the very next day. Instead, your client could be waiting two days! As well as this, the solution does not provide a morning service which means that you will struggle to get packages to clients immediately. This can be an issue for B2B companies. The cost of an overnight delivery will also be substantial adding about five times onto a standard ground delivery. Despite this though, USPS express still comes out on top. While they may have reliability issues, the good news is that if your package isn’t delivered on time, then the money you paid will be refunded.

If you want a more reliable service, you may want to consider FedEx and UPS. Both are considerable more expensive than USPS for fast deliveries, charging more than twice the average cost. However, they will guarantee delivery times, providing peace of mind to both you and your clients.

Additional Benefits With USPS

Certain businesses will be able to gain a special benefit with USPS with their media mail service. If you are providing customers with books, printed paper, CDs or DVDs, then this is going to be the cheapest way to ship boxes. It includes any type of media that you might be shipping and a 2-pound box can cost just $3 to ship. This is great news for business owners who regularly sell media and are searching for the cheapest way to send a package.

How Does Distance Impact Cost?

Distance for the shipping is one of the main factors that will always impact rates. It’s important to realize that shipping providers have divided the states into eight sipping zones. These are determined by where the product is shipped from. Naturally, the further you have to send a package, the more expensive it’s going to be. The good news is that the cost does not increase that much from the zone. On average, you can expect a ten percent rise when comparing a delivery to Zone 2 to a delivery to Zone 8 using USPS priority mail.

Can Packaging Impact Costs?

Packaging can certainly impact the costs you could be expected to pay for shipping on packages. You might assume that this is due to the weight of the packaging in question. However, research shows that some shipping companies seem to charge based on the volume of space that the package takes up regardless of weight. For instance, FedEx will charge more if you are using a tube to ship a two-pound package compared to a standard packaging option. The price rise can be quite dramatic too with the cost of a First Overnight delivery increasing from $112 to $160. As such, if you want to keep costs low, at least when using FedEx, you should make sure you rely on the standard packaging options.

Is It Possible To Negotiate?

When you’re looking for the cheapest way to ship business products, you might want to try negotiating cost. Both UPS and Fedex have been known to negotiate cheap shipping terms when they are trying to win over a new client. Ultimately, with the right approach you might find that the cheapest way to send a package isn’t based on the company you choose but how well you can hold your own in a negotiation.

It’s important to remember that these companies are competing. So, if you focus on one and hint that you might take your business elsewhere, there’s a good chance they will make some adjustments in the hope of signing you up for their service. Particularly, if the order includes multiple packages being shipped or even a long term agreement. The bottom line here is that you shouldn’t underestimate your role as a customer when looking at the cheapest way to mail a package.

Is It Worth looking At The Discounts?

You should certainly consider the discounts offered by companies when you consider the cheapest way to ship your packages. Each of the main providers including FedEx, UPS and USPS provide discounts to businesses providing multiple packages to customers. The right discount for you will depend largely on your needs. For instance, some like USPS provide discounts through eBay which is great news if you sell on eBay. Others provide big benefits to small businesses such as UPS. They offer 10 percent off shipping if you are delivering up to 4 packages each week. If you are delivering over 25 packages each week using their service, you can get up to 18% off. In contrast, FedEx provides a service that you can sign up for which will give you 16% off a variety of their programs including priority overnight shipping. This could give them the advantage over the typically cheaper speedy services offered by USPS.

Cutting The Cost Of Your Packaging

There are various ways to cut the price of what you’re spending when you are looking for the cheapest way to ship packaging. For instance, you can get cheap shipping rates by exploring the flat rates available. These can provide the best savings. Alternatively, you may want to look at ways to reduce the cost of the packaging by reducing the materials. You might find that removing plastic from packaging can lower the cost substantially.

So, what is the cheapest way to ship a package? The bottom line is relatively simple. For the most part, USPS will provide the cheapest option, particularly if you are not worried about the time it takes your package to arrive or even distance. This is particularly true when you consider the discounts that you can get using this service. However, if you are shipping a package upwards of 20 pounds, then you will need to think about using their Priority mail option to keep your costs within an allocated business budget.

If, on the other hand, your package is larger than 20 pounds or is more than 1728 cubic litres, you’ll need to turn your attention to FedEx and UPS to get the cheapest possible service. These are the companies you need for those bigger, bulk orders.

At First Mile, we make sure we find and provide the cheapest package shipping for every client by carefully price comparing the main service providers. We research the best and cheapest shipping rates for you to make sure that your costs are always kept as low as possible.