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Saving On Shipping With USPS

March 9th, 2016

UPDATE – the content of this post from 2016 is no longer valid. We’ve since added more shipping options that are more customized to you based upon the products in your shopping cart and your location. All of the options for any order are available for review on the Checkout page before completing your order. If you have questions about how to get the lowest rate on your order, don’t hesitate to Contact Us

One of our most commonly asked questions is How do I save more on shipping? Our Shipping page outlines our Ship & Save coupons and First Order Free Shipping coupon codes, which are great for larger purchases and first-time customers. But if you’re making a small purchase, using a different coupon code, or if you’re a member of our Wholesale program, there are still great strategies that you can use to save on Shipping with the Postal Service.

How USPS Works

FedEx and UPS base their shipping rates solely on weight, package dimensions, and distance traveled. The United States Postal Service (USPS) does the same thing for their regular Priority Mail service, but also offers several flat-rate Priority Mail options and a unique First Class Package Service that can be used strategically to help save on shipping. We charge you exactly what the USPS charges us for shipping so all of the savings are passed directly on to you.

First Class Package Service

First Class Package Service is for packages weighing less than 16 ounces. Prices range from $2.61 – $4.30. This is the best low-cost option that we offer. Packages are typically delivered within 3 business days, however they are not guaranteed to be delivered that quickly. You still receive a tracking number, as you do with all of our shipping options.

Priority Mail Flat Rate, Regional Flat Rate, and Cubic Rate Options

The USPS also offers Flat Rate options where the shipment is shipped in a specific box provided by the USPS for a set price, regardless of weight or distance. In order to understand the strategies for lowering your shipping rate you’ll need to understand how Flat Rate pricing works.

Current pricing is:

Box Type Dimensions Price
Small Box 5-3/8″ x 8-5/8″ x 1-5/8″ $6.25
Padded Envelope 9-1/2″ x 12-1/2″ $6.30
Medium Box 11″ x 8-1/2″ x 5-1/2″ or 11-7/8″ x 3-3/8″ x 13-5/8″ $12.05
Large Box 12″ x 12″ x 5-1/2″ $16.55

In addition, there are Regional Flat Rate options that have weight limits and distance restrictions. Box A can be either 10″ x 7″ x 4-3/4″ or 10-15/16″ x 2-3/8″ x 12-13/16″. Box B can be either 12″ x 10-1/4″ x 5″ or 14-3/8″ x 2-7/8″ x 15-7/8″. Box A has a weight limit of 15 lbs. Box B has a weight limit of 20 lbs. Rates are as follows:

Zone Box A Price Box B Price
1 $6.52 $7.17
2 $6.52 $7.17
3 $6.60 $8.01
4 $6.83 $9.19
5 $8.15 $10.95
6 $9.19 $15.68
7 $9.99 $17.93
8 $10.28 $20.41
9 $15.14 $28.72

Another similar option is called cubic rate pricing, where the size of the box is the primary factor in determining the Priority rate, as opposed to the weight. To be eligible for cubic pricing, the box must be 0.5 cubic feet or smaller and weigh 20 lbs or less. Pricing is as follows:

Cubic Ft (up to) Zone 1 Zone 2 Zone 3 Zone 4 Zone 5 Zone 6 Zone 7 Zone 8 Zone 9
0.1 $5.75 $5.75 $6.26 $6.37 $6.53 $6.66 $6.71 $7.04 $9.59
0.2 $6.19 $6.19 $6.51 $6.65 $7.14 $7.45 $7.71 $7.95 $11.19
0.3 $6.60 $6.60 $6.71 $6.94 $8.19 $9.17 $9.93 $10.23 $15.00
0.4 $6.71 $6.71 $7.26 $7.67 $9.24 $11.19 $12.12 $13.69 $19.19
0.5 $6.88 $6.88 $7.68 $8.59 $10.36 $13.37 $14.93 $17.02 $23.77

Zones are determined by your distance from our warehouse in Albany, NY. Check out the map below to determine what Zone you’re in:

USPS Zone Map

Strategies for Saving

Now that you understand the different services and their prices, you can use this to your advantage to construct orders with the lowest possible shipping charge.

Use First Class Package Service for Daily Special and Individual Items

If the First Class Package Service option is available to you, it will always be the lowest cost option. Roughly 50% of our individual items weigh less than 16 ounces when shipped, making this a great option if you’re placing a small order. If your order is eligible, you’ll see it listed out on the Checkout page as USPS First Class Package Service.

Pay Attention to Option and Price Changes

On our Checkout page, you’ll typically see a USPS Priority Mail shipping option. We pick the lowest of the three Priority options for you: regular Priority Mail, Flat Rate, or Regional Flat Rate. Usually the two Flat Rate options outlined above are less expensive than regular Priority Mail. Often times a single item can bump your order outside the physical requirements of a Flat Rate box, increasing your shipping price. Similarly, the Priority Mail rate can change from a cubic rate to a regular weight-based rate as the required box size increases.

As you’re building out your order, you can check back on the Checkout page to see how adding, removing, and adjusting quantities affects your shipping options. It’s not uncommon for a small change to result in significant savings.

Consider Placing Multiple Small Orders

If you notice that removing a small item like a pad or towel bumps your pricing down to a lower rate, you can often order that item separately using First Class Package Service and still save overall. Another scenario that we see is that splitting your order into two First Class Package Service orders can save you money compared to using the standard Priority Mail service or a FedEx option.

Saving to Hawaii

Priority Mail rates to Hawaii can get expensive quickly. We highly recommend adjusting your orders to fit in First Class Package Service, Flat Rate, or Regional Flat Rate options to ensure that you get the most affordable shipping charges.

Questions? Contact Us

If you have questions about how to get the lowest rate on your order, don’t hesitate to Contact Us. We can help advise the best strategy for your unique situation.

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