USPS Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes: Stay Away!

Learn why using Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes isn't the best choice for your small business
stay away from flat rate boxes

If you’re a normal human being, your ears probably perk up when you hear the word “free.” We’ll admit it…ours do, too. However, sometimes the free option isn’t the best option. This is especially true in the case of USPS Priority Mail Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes. Even though USPS offers these boxes for free when shipping Priority Mail Flat Rate, they can still end up being almost $10 more expensive than using your own box! Simply put, using custom-branded packaging saves you money AND creates positive unboxing experiences for your customers at the same time. Like the old saying goes: “You get what you pay for.” In this case, springing for custom-branded packaging instead of free USPS boxes pays off handsomely.

Why are Medium and Large Flat Rate Boxes Free?

Good question! To speak frankly, it’s essentially a marketing ploy (isn’t everything?). USPS came up with the idea to offer these particular boxes for free, along with a simple pricing structure to make shipping seem more approachable – they noticed shippers were having a hard time choosing the right USPS mail class. And guess what? It worked. Shipping Priority Mail Flat Rate has become widely embraced by small businesses across the country because they’re drawn to the free packaging. However, while small businesses think they’re getting a good deal, this practice often ends up hurting them. If you’re running an E-commerce business, you should steer clear of these free USPS boxes. Instead, a better option is to use your own packaging or create custom packaging for your products so you can take advantage of more cost-effective USPS services that exist.

Why Should I Use Custom-Branded Packaging?

This question comes with a two-part answer. The first part of the answer is simple and quite obvious: it enhances the Customer Experience. The second part has to do with the cost. While Medium and Large Flat Rate boxes may be free, using your own packaging is often CHEAPER than shipping Priority Mail Flat rate, thanks to a “secret” USPS mail class called Priority Mail Cubic. Let’s dive into the details.

Customer Experience

Today, consumers care about experiences more than ever—and that includes the unboxing experience! Simply throwing your product into USPS branded boxes is a missed opportunity to reinforce your brand and strengthen customer loyalty. Therefore, if you want your eCommerce business to have a shot at competing, you should ALWAYS utilize custom packaging. Using custom-branded packaging is already common practice with nearly every successful eCommerce business out there. If you’re not doing it as well, you’re behind the curve.

Millennials Matter!

Speaking of strengthening customer loyalty…let’s talk about Millennials for a second. Millennials are much more than just lost souls who move back in with their parents after college. According to Forbes, Millennials officially have the most spending power out of ANY generation! Also, studies show that Millennials care just as much about the unboxing experience as they do the contents of their packages. Millennials would rather receive products in a nice custom package than in a less-than-aesthetically-pleasing USPS box (no offense, USPS). Therefore, if your E-commerce business isn’t using custom packaging, you’re not tapping into Millennials to the best of your ability. And if you’re not tapping into Millennials, well…you’re just sleeping.

Pro Tip: Check out our Reviews page for some custom packaging options!

Priority Mail Cubic: The Secret Sauce

Here’s the second part of the answer: custom packaging is often CHEAPER than Flat Rate boxes! We’ll explain how in three words: Priority Mail Cubic.

Simply put, Priority Mail Cubic is undoubtedly the cheapest AND fastest way to send small packages that weigh up to 20 pounds with USPS. This mail class is so deeply discounted that it’s often cheaper than shipping Priority Mail Flat Rate, even after you factor in the cost of custom packaging. Here’s how the cookie crumbles. Shipping Priority Mail Cubic gives you the opportunity to save money and build customer loyalty at the same time. It’s a total no brainer!

How Can I Ship Priority Mail Cubic?

Unfortunately, USPS doesn’t publicize Priority Mail Cubic, and it isn’t something the Post Office offers to everyday consumers. Typically, the only way to access this “secret” mail class is to enter into a contract directly with USPS. Those contracts have strict guidelines to meet, like shipping over 50,000 packages a year. Realistically, that’s a lofty goal for a lot of small businesses to hit, so Priority Mail Cubic discounts have mostly only been enjoyed by big commercial businesses in the past.

Fortunately, Pirate Ship’s free USPS shipping software allows you to ship Priority Mail Cubic at the best Commercial Rates with NO hidden contracts, markups, or fees! That means you get the best USPS discounts and save a ton of money on postage. And THAT means your small business has a better shot at thriving!

Priority Mail Cubic Beats Flat Rate Every Time

The truth is, shipping Priority Mail Cubic will be cheaper than Priority Mail Flat Rate—even AFTER you spring for custom packaging. Therefore, the free Flat Rate boxes are never a good deal, especially if you can ship Priority Mail Cubic with shipping software. Plain and simple, shipping Priority Mail Cubic is one of the cheapest ways to ship with USPS. Oh, and one more thing. If you’re really adamant on not spending money on custom packaging (which we definitely don’t recommend), you can get free USPS boxes for Priority Mail Cubic.


Post a Comment

    How can o ship water cost effectively

    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Nerlyn, thanks for writing in! If you’re shipping bottles of water, you may get the cheapest rates with Priority Mail Cubic using online shipping software. You can also use free USPS boxes for this service, if you’re trying to keep costs down. Check out our Reviews page to see which shipping software might be the best option for you – I personally use Pirate Ship!


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