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. 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 E-commerce 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 USPS.com as they are if you buy postage at the post office. Therefore, you might save time if you buy postage online through USPS.com, but you ultimately won’t save any money.
Commercial Pricing (Top USPS Discounts)
And behind door number two is…Commercial Pricing! Commercial Pricing reflects the deepest level of USPS discounts available. Think of this rate like “wholesale” prices for USPS. If you’re an E-commerce 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’s free USPS shipping software 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!
Pro Tip: Most online shipping software will offer Commercial rates, but almost all of them will nickel and dime you with additional markups, monthly fees, or per-label costs. Pirate Ship is the ONLY shipping software that offers true Commercial rates with NO additional fees or volume requirements. Every single account gets access to Commercial Pricing rates for all USPS services. That means you get access to the deepest USPS discounts possible, so your small business has a shot at competing with the big guys.
Wait—What Happened to Commercial Plus Pricing?
Good question! Starting on January 27th, 2019, USPS will change the name of Commercial Plus Pricing to simply “Commercial Pricing.” Technically, they’re the exact same thing! They both represent the same level of discounts. We suspect that you’ll still see the term “Commercial Plus Pricing” around a lot online. So, whenever you do, don’t be confused! Just remember that it still signifies the highest level of USPS discounts.
Introducing Priority Mail Cubic
Congrats! You successfully navigated through the different USPS postage pricing tiers. That wasn’t so bad, was it? Now that you have a basic understanding of those different pricing tiers, we want to share a secret with you called Priority Mail Cubic. Fasten your seatbelt, because once you learn about this, you’ll be speeding straight for a town called Cash City, USA.
Priority Mail Cubic—or “Cubic” for short— is a “secret” mail class of USPS that you won’t find at the Post Office, but it’s the cheapest and fastest way to ship small packages. Priority Mail Cubic isn’t priced based on weight—instead, the outer dimensions of your package determine the price of postage. Like all Priority Mail services, delivery occurs between 1-3 business days, it comes with free package tracking, and even includes $100 in insurance at no extra cost.
Why Does Priority Mail Cubic Matter?
We’ll break it down for you as simple as possible. If you’re an E-commerce business owner shipping with USPS, you should ALWAYS ship Priority Mail Cubic. Cubic is BY FAR the cheapest way to ship small packages under 20 pounds (like a subscription box). However, this mail class isn’t something USPS offers to the public. Fortunately, Pirate Ship lets you ship Priority Mail Cubic at the Commercial Pricing rate with ZERO hidden markups or contracts! They even have a Priority Mail Cubic Tier Calculator that helps you get the most bang for your buck out of your package dimensions.