Sendle, an Australian courier company, launched in the United States in 2020 as an alternative to USPS shipping software…and in the time since then, small business shippers have been highly curious about it. Admittedly, we saw the low flat rates they advertise on their website (which are well below USPS Commercial Pricing rates) and it piqued our interest. However, the more time we spent on the platform, the more we noticed a few issues that we thought might cause problems for certain types of eCommerce businesses. So, while Sendle may look like a better deal than regular USPS shipping software at first glance, we thought it best to do a deeper dive.
Why Using Online USPS Shipping Software May Be a Better Deal than Sendle
Below, we’ve listed several reasons why we think it may be better to use online shipping software to buy discounted USPS labels than to make the switch to Sendle.
Sendle Blends the Country Into Averages, Instead of Focusing on the Zone-Based Rates to Every Destination
The main theory behind Sendle is that it blends all packages into prices based on nationwide averages, instead of offering the cheapest rates to each USPS zone. On the other hand, most shipping software options offer lower prices the closer you ship to your origin address. It’s common sense, really—the shorter the distance that USPS has to haul the package, the cheaper it is to ship it. However, this isn’t the case with Sendle.
Based on Sendle’s model, all destinations in the country cost the same price, and the price is only affected by how much your package weighs. This could be both helpful and harmful for your business, depending on what you’re shipping and where you’re shipping to. Sometimes you’ll end up paying less than Commercial Pricing rates for shipping on Sendle, which is an amazing deal. Other times, though, you’ll pay much more.
If all of your packages need to travel far distances to your customers, then Sendle may be an awesome option to save you some cash. However, if your customers are spread out throughout the country, with some closer to you and some further away, then you’re going to want to stick with shipping software that offers standard USPS services at the deepest discounts possible.
Most Shipping Software Options Offer More Shipping Services
Simply put, Sendle only offers a single flat-rate service based on the weight of your box. As a result, it doesn’t have nearly as many services as regular shipping software does. For example, Sendle doesn’t offer Media Mail, Parcel Select Ground, nor Priority Mail Express service…and that’s just for USPS. So, if you’re trying to ship books for cheap, or ship something like perishable items overnight, you’re out of luck. You also can’t send any items that require ground-based transportation, or any time-sensitive legal documents using the Priority Mail Express Legal Envelope, either.
Connecting to an eCommerce Platform
In terms of integrations, Sendle actually connects with some pretty key platforms. Sendle currently offers a free pathway to integrate storefronts on eBay, Etsy, Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, and Amazon (which is huge). Believe it or not, some shipping software options out there don’t connect with Amazon, so if you’re an Amazon seller fulfilling your own orders, it could pay to take a look at Sendle’s offerings and see if it makes sense for your business!
The Maximum Package Size and Weight May Limit the Packages You Can Ship with Sendle
The biggest box size that Sendle allows for packages is a total of 864 cubic inches, or 0.5 cubic feet. Needless to say, this is limiting for shippers who need bigger packages for sending their items.
To give you some context, here are some common dimensions of boxes that equal out to just under 864 cubic inches in volume:
- 12 x 8 x 8″
- 10 x 9.5 x 9″
- 18 x 8 x 6″
- 15 x 7.5 x 7.5″
This particular size restriction means you can’t send any packages larger than these examples on their platform, while other shipping software options allow for you to do so.
Lastly, Sendle doesn’t allow for any packages over 20 pounds. This also potentially excludes a lot of businesses from using their service, since all USPS Priority Mail services (excluding Priority Mail Cubic) that you can access with shipping software allow for a maximum weight of 70 pounds.
Sendle Doesn’t Allow Shippers to Send Common Items Containing Hazardous Materials
Lastly, the kinds of items you’re allowed to send on Sendle’s platform are also quite restrictive. For example, you need to agree and acknowledge when you sign up that you’ll never send any packages containing hazardous materials. That includes common items such as lithium-ion batteries, hand sanitizer, and aerosols. On the other hand, you can ship all of these kinds of items with USPS shipping software, as long as you choose Parcel Select Ground service.
Sendle Offers Their Own Coverage, But You Can’t Add Extra Third-Party Insurance
From what we could tell, Sendle offers its own insurance for Sendle Preferred shipments of up to $150 per package, which you can read more about on their Cover Policy page. However, this coverage is not included with Sendle’s discounted service, Sendle Saver. Also, this insurance might be more limiting than even the built-in USPS insurance of $100 per package, because it only seems to cover lost shipments and not damaged ones. Their insurance, as they say on their policy page, “cannot cover damaged parcels.” That means if your shipment arrives with broken items inside of it, you can’t file an insurance claim through Sendle’s coverage.
Secondly, their platform doesn’t seem to allow you to add third-party insurance to protect your packages. That means that if your package takes damage or goes missing during transit, you’ll have to either go through Sendle’s protection or file a separate claim on the USPS website. However, USPS insurance only comes with $100 of protection, and also won’t cover any missing packages marked as “Delivered.”
On the other hand, there are online shipping software options that give you more protection by allowing you to add insurance from third-party providers that cover both lost and damaged shipments. Most of these insurance partners also allow you to declare values for your packages for up to thousands of dollars, so you can cover your shipments for much more than just $150 per package.
Sendle’s 100% Carbon Neutrality Pledge
Unlike other shipping software solutions, Sendle has pledged 100% carbon neutrality, which more and more small business shippers are starting to appreciate. It’s a definite selling point for Sendle; they claim that for each package shipped with them, they offset the carbon emissions that package creates (this is a nice thought, since eCommerce shipping actually does create quite a large carbon footprint).
Sendle does this by setting aside a portion of each package cost and investing those funds into sustainability-conscious projects that its own customers get to vote on. Per their website: “Every year, Sendle’s community of business owners are given the chance to vote on which projects will offset Sendle’s carbon emissions for the next 12 months.”
Give Sendle a Shot to Rate Shop…It’s Free!
The bottom line is: it’s free to sign up and give Sendle a shot. However, before buying any labels, we suggest that you do your due diligence and rate shop for the cheapest quotes for your packages. You may find that a little bit of homework goes a long way, and puts more money back in your pocket. There are a ton of different shipping software options out there…and we’d hate to see you miss out on the best rates by not doing the proper research.
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One CommentPost a Comment
Linda Bella OHara
Sendle and the USPS work great together if you are a Fulfillment or ecommerce business that has large volume and/or fits the parameters of size, weight, and distance. In order to optimize your rates.you should use both or one or the other depending on your needs and your customer needs.
Some merchants have very few sku’s and could take adavantage of Sendle for Coastal and USPS for Zones less than 3 or whereever the break even point is for cost and delivery time.
I am a USPS Expert, was a Senior Manager at the USPS, and the pioneer for USPS ecommerce since 2012.