When most customers who come into the store are asked what service they need, they reply with a standard answer—“whatever is cheapest”. Then sadly, on that rare occasion when a shipment gets lost or damaged by the carrier, the customer is left with no next step to take. This is why at Goin’ Postal Tallahassee, we offer all the major carrier services, and a plethora of options. But how, as a customer who does only occasional shipping, supposed to know what you need? Here’s a basic crash course:
United States Post Office – for items under one pound, they offer first-class mail, which will always be the cheapest. However, there is no ‘tracking’ or insurance; those services can ONLY be added for an extra fee. And ‘tracking’ through the USPS isn’t really tracking at all, just ‘delivery confirmation’. The difference between ‘tracking’ and ‘delivery confirmation’ is that tracking allows you to trace the steps of your shipment for its entire journey; while ‘delivery confirmation’ just lets you know when the package arrives in its destination. ‘Delivery confirmation’ with a signature will be an extra fee. And with any service through the USPS, there are NO GUARANTEED DELIVERY TIMES—only estimates. So, even if you pay the extra money to get a package somewhere overnight, there is no sure-fire way to get your money back. BOTTOM LINE, if it’s not worth much to you, and quick transit time is not a priority, than you should send it the least expensive way, which is usually the USPS.
Fed Ex – Fed Ex offers Ground Service, which can take anywhere from 1-4 days (although delivery dates for Ground Service is not GUARANTEED); Express Saver, which GUARANTEES service in 3 Days anywhere in the US; FedEx Express 2Day, which GUARANTEES service in 2 days anywhere in the US; and FedEx Overnight, which GUARANTEES delivery on the next business day. Fed Ex offers complimentary tracking and $100 in insurance. Additional insurance can be purchased, as can signature confirmation service, and even ADULT signature confirmation service. In my experience, Fed Ex gives you the best value for your dollar, and is the most pleasant company of the 4 major carriers to deal with when it comes to lost items or filing claims. Just a couple of tips—if shipping FedEx, always try to send it to the recipient’s place of business as opposed to their home, as this will shave a few bucks off of the shipping cost; and always ask for the estimated transit times—because to some destinations, Ground Service IS Overnight.
UPS – A lot of companies still use UPS, because for a long time they were the ‘only game in town’ when it came to commercial shipping. UPS offers almost identical service to Fed Ex, with most of the same added features. We usually steer people to Fed Ex, however, because Fed Ex offers us discounts that we can pass on to you as a customer; where UPS does not have an Approved Shipper Program anymore. So 9 times out of 10, for the same service Fed Ex will be about 20% less than UPS.
DHL – DHL offers international shipping ONLY, and it will always be substantially more expensive than USPS, Fed Ex, or UPS. The benefits to DHL are the transit time, which is usually HALF the transit time of the other 3 carriers; International Tracking, which USPS does not provide at all; and not long waits once it gets to the destination country as your package goes through customs.
So there you go—a brief introductory course in Shipping 101. And always remember, if you’re not sure, call a representative of Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850)668-1840 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we can make sure you get your shipment where it needs to go the way YOU want it to get there.
Goin’ Postal Tallahassee. 3491 Thomasville Road. Tallahassee, Florida. 32309. At the Killearn Publix Shopping Center, between Publix and Bonefish Grill.