How to Make Sense of Shipping Rates…

Often customers will come into our store and have an idea about what kind of service they want, but not how to request it.  Other times, customers just say “cheapest and fastest way”—even though those two requests usually contradict each other.  There are people who always want to use the US Postal Service because they think it is always less expensive; other people who always request UPS because they think it is quicker; and still others who only use FedEx because it is safer — and unfortunately these assumptions are not always, and sometimes never, true.  So how do you make sense of it all?  here’s a basic guide for you to use:

What if I want the cheapest way, with no extra service?          For items under 2 pounds, the US Postal Service will almost invariably be the cheapest method of mailing.  This will normally be the slowest-moving of all mail, and tracking and insurance are extra, so make sure it is not that valuable or time-sensitive.

What about Priority Mail?          For documents and objects under 1 pound, the best way to get your item to its destination in 2 or 3 days without breaking the bank is US Postal Service Priority Mail. It is around $5-$6, and it will usually go anywhere in the US in around 2-3 days.  Just remember that there is no insurance, and filing claims with the US Postal Service can be an UPHILL BATTLE.

What if I need Tracking?           Tracking is offered by FedEx and UPS only.  The US Postal Service will sell you on delivery confirmation—but do not be fooled—it is NOT the same as tracking.  In delivery confirmation, the USPS will scan your item when it arrives at the destination—so if it is lost, there is really no way to re-trace the steps of the package; also, you can only know a)when/where it leaves, and b) when/where it arrives—not what happened in between.

What is the most reliable Overnight Service?           This is an opinion based on my personal experience at a Shipping Store, but I would have to say FedEx offers the best Overnight Service.  The rates are comparable with USPS and better than UPS, and it comes with tracking and up to $100 insurance.  And the US Postal Service does not provide overnight service to a lot of rural destinations, and their service is NOT money-back guaranteed.

But if a destination is close enough, won’t my shipment get to that destination in a night anyway?          This is something you can check with the shipper you are using, but yes—UPS and FedEx can get shipments to certain destinations in one day using their ground service. While this will save you some money in shipping via Ground instead of Express, be careful because Ground transit times are always ESTIMATED.  So, if that package takes 2 or 3 days, the Carrier will not hold themselves liable. In other words, if you need to GUARANTEE your shipment there overnight, spend the extra money and pay for Express Service.  If not, save your money and send it Ground..

What about International Shipping?          For international shipping, the US Postal Service will always be the least expensive—it will also be the slowest, and they do have weight and size restrictions—so be aware of those, or your package will just be returned.  Also, make sure you always keep in mind that a package going through another country’s customs can sometimes take up to 7-10 days.  For the quickest and safest international shipping, your best bet is DHL, which will be a bit pricey, but it comes with tracking, insurance, and is BY FAR the quickest–although again, there are no guarantees on time once it reaches another country’s customs.

If you need help finding out which way to ship is best for you, just give us a call at Goin’ Postal Tallahassee at (850) 692-3130, visit us on the web at http://gpoftallahassee.com, or drive to our store at 5810 North Monroe Street, Suite 210A, Tallahassee, Florida, and we can help you package your items safely and cheaply!!!

You can also connect with us on Twitter (http://twitter.com/gptally) or like our Facebook fan page!

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One response to “How to Make Sense of Shipping Rates…

  1. Superb information about cheap and easy ways to get things sent!

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