The cost of shipping to Canada depends on the size and weight of your package, as well as the speed you wish for your shipment to be delivered. Generally speaking, your package becomes more expensive to ship the bigger and the heavier it gets. This is true for every single carrier you ship with, but some carriers also impose surcharges that make sending packages to Canada much more expensive than you might anticipate…though one carrier doesn’t!
USPS Offers the Best Rates for Shipping to Canada
When it comes time to choose your shipping carrier, there are two main contenders: USPS and UPS. FedEx also offers services for shipping to Canada, but they are the most expensive option out of all the carriers. Therefore, we generally don’t consider FedEx as a viable option for shipping on a budget…let alone shipping internationally, which is always more expensive.
Bar none, USPS offers the lowest prices for sending packages to Canada. This is because there’s no private company looking to maximize margins here; USPS partners directly with Canada Post, who then carries out final delivery to Canadian recipients. Since this partnership between both countries’ postal services is facilitated through the Universal Postal Union, USPS is able to provide the cheapest rates out of any carrier for shipping to Canada.
So, if saving the most money on shipments is your goal, then USPS is the way to go—even though delivery times may take a bit longer.
So…How Much Does it Cost?
Since so many variables affect the cost of shipping, it’s not quite possible to offer a “catch-all” quote for the majority of packages going to Canada. However, if you know exactly what you’re shipping (weight, dimensions, etc.), you can plug in that information to get an instant rate quote from both USPS and UPS!
Here are two links where you can get rate quotes from USPS and UPS:
UPS Will Impose Surcharges on Almost All Services
When obtaining rate quotes, some shippers may choose UPS over USPS when shipping to Canada. They figure services like UPS Standard offer affordable prices plus quicker delivery…so, why not? Although we can’t fault that logic, it pays to read the fine print before you buy any UPS Standard labels. Here’s why: UPS doesn’t advertise that their international services almost always come with surcharges that you (the shipper) have to pay.
These surcharges pop up for a number of reasons, but we see them most often for customs-related fees. In a lot of cases, UPS surcharges can end up costing more than your postage! USPS, on the other hand, won’t hit you with any surcharges when shipping to Canada.
All this said, UPS offers much faster international services when compared to USPS. So, if delivery speed is an important factor for you, then shipping with UPS might be worth it.
Use Shipping Software to Access Special Discounts and Services for Shipping to Canada
No matter whether you want to ship with USPS or UPS, you shouldn’t pay for postage at retail rates! That means you shouldn’t go to your local Post Office or UPS Store to ship your package. Instead, use shipping software that lets you access the deepest discounts on postage costs.
On top of hooking you up with major savings on postage, certain shipping software companies have special agreements in place that allow them to offer unique services that make shipping to Canada even cheaper. One example is the service Simple Export Rate, which is exclusive to Pirate Ship. With Simple Export Rate, shippers can send lightweight packages to Canada for 50% less than it costs to send the same package with USPS First Class Package International! Plus, there are no surcharges…which is worth a whole lot, in our experience.
Learn more about how Simple Export Rate can save you tons of money on your Canada-bound shipments.
Pro Tip: UPS labels you purchase on shipping software aren’t exempt from international surcharges, either! In fact, sometimes when you purchase prepaid UPS labels with shipping software, it can get ugly, because UPS hits you with surcharges long after you buy your label and drop off your shipment…and that’s never fun.