How Can the United States Postal Service Help Small Businesses?

Learn how the US Postal Service helps small businesses with its mix of affordable rates and quick delivery
United States Postal Service helps small businesses
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Running an eCommerce business comes with a unique set of opportunities and obstacles. When you start an online business, every choice you make impacts your bottom line. Some of the biggest decisions you’ll need to make are where to source your material from, how to design your website, how much to charge your customers, and which shipping carrier to choose when it’s time to fulfill orders. In our experience, USPS is the premier carrier for any start-up eCommerce business. This guide is all about how the United States Postal Service helps small businesses, and why you should consider using USPS for yours.

Table of Contents

Affordable Rates and Quick Delivery Makes the United States Postal Service the Premier Carrier for Small Businesses

USPS is the best carrier for small businesses because of its unique mix of affordable rates and quick delivery. Most of the shipping services that USPS offers feature delivery within 1-3 business days, along with an express option for next-day delivery. Also, compared to other private carriers such as UPS and FedEx, the Postal Service’s rates are the cheapest you’ll find on the market. Most importantly, USPS offers special discounts through shipping software partnerships that any individual or small business owner can take advantage of, no matter where they are in the country. These special USPS discounts are the secret ingredient that allows your business to maximize its margins by keeping shipping costs as low as possible!

USPS Offers Different Services for All Kinds of Shipments

Depending on what your small business is shipping, USPS offers a variety of services to meet your needs. Below is a quick list of all some of the most popular shipping services that USPS offers.

First Class Package

USPS First Class Package is the go-to USPS service for sending lightweight items under 15.99 ounces (or 1 pound, basically). This is the perfect option for sending small items that don’t weigh a lot, like a T-shirt or handmade trinkets. First Class Package doesn’t come with any built-in insurance, and you’ll need to use your own boxes or other packaging options for shipping. Even so, the cheap rates and quick delivery of 1-3 business days make it more than worth it. When you take advantage of certain USPS discounts that we’ll talk about in a few sections, rates for First Class Package start at just over $3 per package!

Priority Mail (and its Sub-Services)

Priority Mail is the most popular shipping service that USPS offers. For smaller, heavier packages, you won’t go wrong with this service; when comparing, rates for weight-based Priority Mail are some of the lowest you’ll see between all the carriers. All Priority Mail shipments come with limited built-in insurance from USPS, and delivery typically occurs between 1-3 business days.

Doing a side-by-side, Priority Mail rates are similar to UPS Ground in the majority of cases. However, you get a whole lot more options with Priority Mail than you would with UPS Ground, such as the ability to order free packaging options on the USPS website delivered right to your door. You can also can take advantage of other popular “Flat Rate” services for sending different kinds of items. With “Flat Rate” service, shipping rates stay the same as long as your items fit inside the designated packaging. Some popular flat rate options you’ll see are the Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope, and Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes.

Learn more about Priority Mail Flat Rate services.

Parcel Select Ground

Parcel Select Ground (or “Retail Ground” at the Post Office) is the Postal Service’s ground transportation option. Shippers should use this service if they’re sending items with hazardous materials, or bulky, heavier items that would cost too much to ship via an air-based service like Priority Mail.

As part of its rate changes in 2022, USPS drastically lowered the price of Parcel Select Ground. Now, ground prices are often way cheaper than Priority Mail. This is a game changer, since these shipments now can get 50% cheaper than Priority Mail! However, USPS ground service is much slower than Priority Mail, and it doesn’t come with any built-in insurance. That said, a lot of business owners are willing to take that chance to save more money on their shipments. If you’re okay with saving money in exchange for slower service, then Parcel Select Ground may be the best shipping service for your small business to maximize margins.

Priority Mail Express

If you’re sending time-sensitive products and need it delivered ASAP, then Priority Mail Express may be the best service for you. Simply put, Priority Mail Express is the Postal Service’s fastest shipping option. This service featuring next-day delivery to most urban locations in the United States, and 2-day delivery to some rural destinations. Priority Mail Express service also comes with a money-back guarantee; if your package arrives later than USPS tells you when you drop it off, USPS will reimburse your postage!

Media Mail

USPS Media Mail is a highly-discounted service that USPS offers for sending specialty “media-based” items. If your items qualify, you can enjoy weight-based rates that start at just over $3 per package. Shippers should note that this is one of the slowest services USPS offers; delivery can take anywhere from 2-8 business days (or more). However, the real kicker is that USPS is super strict about what qualifies for Media Mail. Some examples of items that qualify for Media Mail are books, vinyl records, and printed sheet music.

You can read more about the types of items that qualify for Media Mail on the USPS website.

Every Individual in the United States Can Access the Same Rates (No Matter Where They Live)

A key characteristic that sets USPS apart from other carriers is the promise of universal service. Basically, this means that everyone in the country can access the same rates, no matter where they are. For instance, someone in New York City can ship a package for the exact same cost as someone in Honolulu. Conversely, UPS and FedEx treat shipping to remote locations like Alaska and Hawaii as though they’re shipping to another country! They even impose major surcharges for shipping to and from places like these. USPS, on the other hand, doesn’t charge anything at all on top of the postage cost.

If you get a quote to ship to/from Alaska or Hawaii from UPS or FedEx, you’ll see for yourself how expensive it is. This is the main reason why USPS is the most popular carrier in states like Hawaii and Alaska, as well as in US Territories like Guam, Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.

Learn more about the cheapest way to ship to US Territories.

Shipping Software Saves Small Businesses the Most Money Possible on Labels from the United States Postal Service

When you’re running a small business that ships often, every dollar counts. A big part of running a successful eCommerce business is saving the most money possible, and this is why using shipping software to buy discounted postage is so important.

When you use shipping software to buy postage online, you gain access to the highest level of discounts that carriers typically reserve for huge commercial shippers. This level of discounts is known as Commercial Pricing. In some cases, Commercial Pricing rates can save you up to 89% off of what you’d pay to ship the same package at the Post Office! Plus, you get to skip the lines at the Post Office by buying and printing labels at home. The best shipping software options also allow you to schedule pickups for free. So, you never have to leave your house if you don’t want to! With all these perks, there’s absolutely no reason not to use shipping software to buy discounted USPS postage for your business.

Access Specially-Discounted Services such as Priority Mail Cubic with Shipping Software

In addition to getting special discounts and giving yourself the ability to buy and print postage at home, shipping software also comes with other perks. For instance, you also gain access to “secret” services that you’d never be able to take advantage of otherwise. One such service is Priority Mail Cubic, which is hands down one of the best services the Postal Service offers…if not the best!

Unlike other services where rates are based on how much your package weighs, Priority Mail Cubic is priced based on your package’s outer dimensions. As long as your box or envelope is under 0.5 cubic feet in volume, it can weigh up to 20 pounds, and it won’t affect the price! Also, with this service, the smaller your box is, the cheaper it will be to ship it. The same goes for envelopes. For example, a 19-pound box going from New York to Los Angeles might cost you almost $80 with regular Priority Mail at Retail Rates. With Priority Mail Cubic rates, that same package costs less than $13 to send! That’s a savings of almost 84%…which is crazy if you’re running a small business that ships a ton of packages.

Since Priority Mail Cubic is such as “hack” for sending smaller, heavier packages, this service is a prime example of how package dimensions can make or break your small business…and why USPS is the best choice for saving money on business shipping.

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  1. Angel Borchert

    Need a laptop size box and 2 phones


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