When choosing a carrier, nothing is black and white. One might be better for international while another might be best for shipping locally. Then throw on weight and dimensions, delivery date, whether or not you’d like confirmation or signatures on the parcel, and the decision becomes a lot more complicated. We here at BrownCor have analyzed the top three carriers – UPS, USPS and FedEx and determined which is your ideal choice for the most common shipping needs.
First, UPS. The United Parcel Service is a great choice for shipping packages within the contiguous states that are over 2 lbs. and need to be delivered within 2-5 days guaranteed. One of the nicest features about UPS is that most of their services can be accessed conveniently online. UPS also offers full web tracking every step of the way, as well as a guaranteed delivery time and date.
FedEx, the other main private carrier, also offers full web tracking as well as guaranteed delivery time and date. They also offer 15% off all orders when postage has been purchased online. FedEx is almost always cheaper than USPS for parcels over 5 lbs. that need a five day or less delivery time.
These two are both very reliable, and offer great tracking options, as well as delivery guarantees. Both of them use green vehicles as well as alternative fuel, also. The notable difference is that UPS is preferred by shippers for ground transport of parcels while FedEx is preferred for air transport.
And lastly, there is USPS. While hours, regulations and fees have been changing recently, the US Postal Service still remains the winner of a key shipping group. For parcels under 2 lbs. that do not need a guaranteed delivery date, USPS is the way to go. If you, or your customers, are price conscious, USPS is a great choice for smaller parcels. They also offer flat rate boxes, which don’t weigh or calculate boxes and go by the slogan, “if it fits, it ships.” Flat rate boxes are the best value for the price if the contents inside weigh over 2 lbs, however. USPS is also the cheapest option for guaranteed next day delivery with USPS Express. However, when choosing this option, be sure to check the delivery date, as sometimes the window is two days in some areas instead of one. Also, USPS does not have morning deliveries, so if a customer needs a package first thing in the morning, another option might be better. One of the biggest downsides of choosing USPS is that they do not guarantee delivery unless parcels are sent Express Mail. Signature and Delivery Confirmation options are available, but even so, USPS is reported as the least reliable of the three main carriers. The cheapest, but less reliable overall.
Choosing the best carrier for you or your business means examining what you are mailing. How much does it weigh, where is it going and when do I need it there by? Overall, it seems that USPS comes out as the winner for parcels 2 lbs. that don’t need a guaranteed delivery date. Otherwise, UPS and FedEx are the best options for guaranteeing your parcel arrives exactly when you need it there. UPS seems to be the best option for larger parcels that need a guarantee, but can afford to be sent via ground transit. FedEx is the better option for larger parcels being sent via air transit.
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