USPS Discounts: The Different Postage Pricing Tiers

Breaking down Commercial Pricing and understanding the two different USPS postage pricing tiers
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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 like “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’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!

Wait—What Happened to Commercial Plus Pricing?

Good question! USPS changed the name of Commercial Plus Pricing to simply “Commercial Pricing” at the start of 2019. 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 eCommerce 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. You can only access it through certain online shipping software options…and there are a ton of different ones out there. To find out which one best fits your needs, our Reviews page is a great place to start!

Looking for the right shipping software for you?

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  1. Genevieve

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

  2. 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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