USPS Discounts: The Different Postage Pricing Tiers

Breaking down Commercial Pricing and understanding the two different USPS postage pricing tiers
USPS truck and USPS Discounts
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Have you ever walked into a Costco or some other type of wholesale store? If so, you’ve seen firsthand how much cheaper it is to buy something discounted instead of at the retail price. Believe it or not, buying postage isn’t any different. If you look hard enough, you can find some deep USPS discounts out there! Most people don’t know it, but USPS offers two different pricing tiers for postage. This article is all about navigating the different postage pricing tiers and where you can find them.

Table of Contents

What are the Two Different USPS Pricing Tiers?

First, we want to kick things off by listing the different tiers below:

  • Post Office Retail Rate
  • Commercial Pricing

You might be asking yourself right about now, “Why should I care about all of this?” Well, if you’re an eCommerce business owner, you simply CAN’T afford to overpay for postage, especially when you’re competing against larger businesses that are almost certainly getting a better deal than you. In fact, buying discounted postage could mean saving thousands of extra dollars! If that’s something that interests you, then you should follow the late, great Michael Jackson’s advice and “keep on” reading!

Post Office Retail Rate

If you’ve ever shipped something in your life, chances are you’ve walked into a USPS Post Office and bought postage at the counter. If that’s the case, that means you paid the Post Office Retail Rate. In reality, that’s the way most everyday consumers pay for postage. While this is convenient, the retail rates the Post Office offers are expensive, since you’re essentially paying for the overhead of a physical location (rent, mail clerks, utilities, etc.). Needless to say, paying full retail price adds up fast if you’re shipping lots of packages.

Oh, and one more thing. The retail rates are exactly the same at as they are if you buy postage at the post office. Therefore, you might save time if you buy postage online through, but you ultimately won’t save any money.

Commercial Pricing (Top USPS Discounts)

And behind door number two is…Commercial PricingCommercial Pricing reflects the deepest level of USPS discounts available. Think of this rate as “wholesale” prices for USPS. If you’re an eCommerce business owner shipping lots of packages, you’ll ALWAYS want to buy postage at the Commercial rate. To speak frankly, it’s the only way your small business has a shot at competing. You’ll save a lot of money in the long run, and you can thank us later!

Here’s the thing, though: you can’t just waltz into the Post Office and ask for postage at Commercial Pricing. Typically, the only way to access this deep level of USPS discounts is to enter into a contract directly with USPS. Those contracts have requirements like shipping a minimum of 50,000 packages a year. That’s a tough mark for a lot of small businesses to hit. Lucky for you, there are shipping software solutions out there that lets you access Commercial Pricing rates without any contracts, markups, or hidden fees, so you can get the best USPS shipping rates immediately!

Want to learn more about shipping software?

To get the deepest discounts on all USPS shipping services, check out our guide:

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Post a Comment
  1. james raimondi

    what if i make my own boxes some of my board’s odd sizes

  2. Genevieve

    Books can ship as media mail or book rate. You can get the rates at USPS website.

  3. Sharin Scott

    i have 2 smallish boxes with books aprox: 30 lbs each. going from nyc to california . how do i figure the costs to ship ?


    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Sharin – exact shipping costs depend on the size of your boxes, as well as the weight and how far they’re traveling. You can use this rate calculator to get an instant rate quote from both USPS and UPS. That’s the software I use to purchase labels at the cheapest prices. I hope this helps!


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