An Intro to UPS Shipping Rates

Everything You Need to Know about UPS Shipping Rate Increase in 2019

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The Unstoppable Force in the Universe: Annual Shipping Rate Increase

Breaking news: the average annual shipping rate is decreasing in 2019! Just kidding...

Shipping – as much as e-commerce is concerned – is a coercive force capable of differentiating your business brand from its competitors. It's unarguably the bedrock of any successful e-commerce business.

But there's a problem .

Sadly, a lot of shippers still aren't shrewd enough to discern the road that leads to their overthrow. While shipping is the point where a customer finally experiences your product in person, it can also represent the wrecking ball that spikes up your expenses.

There are only two distinctively unstoppable forces in the universe: the overwhelming gravitational pull of a black hole and the annual shipping rate increase . A black hole is a dense compact volume of space whose gravitational pull is extremely strong enough to prevent the escape of even the fastest moving particles; not even light can break free from it. Such can be likened to the effect of an unruly shipping rate increase to shippers; whether it's UPS, FedEx, USPS, DHL, or one of other smaller freight/shipping companies. Best believe the fact that shipping is always going to be costlier a year from now than it is today.

According to Forbes, Amazon's shipping cost increased from 12% in 2017 to more than 16% from 2018-2019. You can easily incur even more cost from shipping if you don't know the best ways to ship your goods and products to your customers.

Since shipping impacts customer experience, why not get the best for less by powering your business with more cost-effective shipping?

It all starts with having a proper understanding of your shipping data and how freight/shipping companies use data to determine their shipping rates. In this article, we will provide you facts using reliable figures, most updated charts and credible sources that'll pretty much tick all the right boxes that embodies everything there is to know about United Parcel Service (UPS) shipping rates and much more.

A Breakdown of UPS Shipping Services

Shipping costs can be formidable sometimes, so it's highly crucial to compare different UPS shipping options to avoid spending more than you should. We can categorize UPS shipping services in so many ways:

By Destination: Domestic vs. International Shipping

By Shipment Size: Indivisual Shipments vs. Less than Truckload (LTL) vs. Full Truckload (TL)

By Delivery Speed/Time

By Type and many other ways...

For this article, we'll concentrate more on UPS domestic shipping services .

10 UPS Domestic Shipping Options

Using UPS for your domestic shipping (within the United States) gives you the liberty to select different shipping options – depending on your intended delivery time. UPS domestic shipping services can further be categorized into ten (10) main options, and they include:

1. UPS Ground

UPS Ground is the standard shipping option of UPS; it's also the most commonly used UPS shipping service because it's conservatively priced. UPS Ground shipping option is available for all states in America.

As you would have perceived, UPS Ground shipping means the package goes by truck, so the package is shipped over the highways and not the airways.

If looking at sending a 2 lbs package, at 5''x5''x5'' in size, from Chicago, Illinois to Dallas, Texas, you'll be able to find a UPS Ground shipping rate of $16.79.

From Chicago Illinois to Dallas Texas UPS Ground Shipping Rate for 2 Pounds

UPS Ground Shipping Rate; Source UPS shipping calculator from

So how long does it take to ship with UPS ground?

Well, the length of time it takes varies depending on the destination and departing location. A typical UPS Ground shipment normally get to its destination within between 4-9 business days from the shipping day. This is because, as we've mentioned, the packages shipped via UPS Ground don't travel through airways. However, depending on the travel distance involved and time-in-transit, it may take as little as a couple days. Needless to mention, shipments made between two points in the same metro or county should take only a day or two to arrive at its destination.

The Benefits of UPS Ground

Prompt and dependable shipping

All 50 states and Puerto Rico

A cost effective way to do your commercial or residential shipping

2. UPS SurePost

UPS SurePost is an economy residential ground service aimed at reducing the most expensive part of the shipping process; which is known as the 'last mile'. SurePost is more of a hybrid delivery service for non-urgent residential shipments of low order value which uses the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) to complete the last leg of each delivery to residential customers.

UPS SurePost service is only available to customers in the United States shipping from the 48 contiguous states to all 50 states, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories, including P.O. Boxes and military APO/FPO destinations.

If looking at sending a 2 lbs package, at 5''x5''x5'' in size, from Albuquerque, New Mexico to Charlotte, North Carolina, you'll be able to find a UPS SurePost shipping rate of $17.37, which is slightly cheaper than UPS Ground. However, it will make a huge difference when you do bulk shipping.

From Albuquerque New Mexico to Charlotte North Carolina UPS SurePost for 2 Pounds

UPS SurePost Shipping Rate; Source UPS shipping calculator from

How is UPS SurePost delivered?

UPS takes care of the groundwork by transporting the packages between its shipping centers before dropping them off at the USPS office closest to the delivery point. USPS on the other hand, picks up the baton from UPS to complete the final delivery process. Practically, when using UPS SurePost, your package (must be a shipment less than 10 pounds) moves along with standard UPS freight first before being transferred to a post office for final delivery upon reaching the customer's destination city/town. From that point, USPS completes the delivery the next day.

How long does it take for UPS SurePost to deliver?

According to UPS, time-in-transit is usually between 4-9 business days, and the delivery days are Monday to Saturday. However, we did find that it could take longer than what it claimes the delivery time is not guaranteed...

While UPS SurePost might be one of the most pocket-friendly shipping options for customers, it also has its demerits. First off, it's not always a guaranteed service since it typically adds one or two days to your delivery time. Secondly, UPS has limited liability in the case of lost or damaged shipments due to the involvement of USPS in the shipping logistics.

UPS SurePost Features of Service

UPS SurePost Features of Service; Source

Although UPS SurePost competitive rates slightly balanced up its slow delivery time, if you aren't flexible with the delivery time; probably because your needs are time-definite, we strongly recommend you ship your parcel with UPS SurePost – if and only if – the parcel cannot be shipped using USPS Priority Mail packaging and weigh between 2-10 pounds. Heavier packages are cheaper with UPS Ground.

The Benefits of UPS SurePost

It can reduce shipping costs by as much as 35%, and customers may not even notice.

Gives business that ships individual parcels to residential customers the ability to evade residential surcharges.

An excellent option for companies that want to increase their margins in the short term since it helps to save cost without having to sacrifice much in terms of service quality.

3. UPS 3 Day Select

UPS 3 Day Select throws in a blend of economy and speed; this shipping option guarantees the delivery of your product by the end of 3rd business day. UPS 3 Day Select is available throughout the 48 contiguous states in America.

This shipping option can be categorized as an air package since airways can be used to ship packages if the distance is too great to drive. Ideally, shipments under this category will first have to be sort through the ground system; which means, UPS drivers treat them as ground service. However, depending on the distance of shipping destination, the ones to be shipped by air will be separated to go to the airport.

Technically, even if time-in-transit of your package to its destination takes a day, your package could be held for two business days and then delivered on the 3rd business day so that they can meet up with the service description.

As with all UPS air services, tracking is always provided. You are also entitled to claim a refund if UPS doesn't meet their on-time delivery guarantee, as they promised. This guarantee, however, doesn't apply to packages delayed due to conditions beyond UPS control or the shipments that are scheduled to be delivered between December 12th and December 25th.

If looking at sending a 2 lbs package, at 5''x5''x5'' in size, from Phoenix, Arizona to Kansas City, Missouri, you'll be able to find a UPS 3 Day Select shipping rate of $32.19.

From Phoenix Arizona to Kansas City Missouri UPS 3 Day Select for 2 Pounds

UPS 3 Day Select Shipping Rate; Source UPS shipping calculator from

The Benefits of UPS 3 Day Select

Accurate tracking provided

Economy shipping with guaranteed delivery

Free UPS packaging included for your convenience

Delivery commitment: end of the third business day

Day-definite option for less time-sensitive shipments

4 & 5. UPS 2nd Day Air

UPS 2nd Day Air offers two different air services. When shipping a package that requires no overnight delivery, UPS economical 2nd Day Air service provides guaranteed delivery of your parcel within two business days to every address coast to coast and in Puerto Rico.

However, if your package is time-sensitive and needs to be delivered in 2 business days, then UPS 2nd day A.M. service is the best bet for you. UPS 2nd Day Air A.M. guarantees early morning delivery of your packages within two business days between 10:30am - 12:00pm.

There's also a tracking option for shippers to track their packages. More so, if UPS doesn't meet their on-time delivery guarantee, you'll get a full refund if you push for it. However, this guarantee does not apply to packages delayed due to conditions beyond UPS control or for UPS 2nd Day or the shipments that are scheduled to be delivered between December 12th and December 25th.

UPS 2nd Day Air UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.
A delivery commitment of 2 business days A delivery commitment of 2 business days
Delivery typically by the end of day Delivery is between 10:30am - 12:00pm
Guaranteed, second business day delivery Guaranteed, second business day delivery
Available for all 50 states and Puerto Rico. (Alaska and Hawaii might require more time before delivery) Available from the 48 states with limited addresses in Alaska and Hawaii to residential destinations
Ideal for fast shipments that don't need to be delivered overnight Cost effective option for time-sensitive business needs
Free UPS packaging included for convenience Free UPS packaging included for convenience

Difference between UPS 2nd Day Air & UPS 2nd Day A.M.

If looking at sending a 2 lbs package, at 5''x5''x5'' in size, from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to Seattle, Washington, you'll be able to find a UPS 2nd Day Air shipping rate of $48.61.

From Philadelphia Pennsylvania to Seattle Washington UPS 2nd Day Air for 2 Pounds

UPS 2nd Day Air Shipping Rate; Source UPS shipping calculator from

6. UPS Next Day Air

UPS Next Day Air service is the ideal shipping option for shipments that must arrive the next business day. If your package demands the typical fast, reliable delivery to any address in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, then this is the service for you. Saturday delivery is available for an additional charge, and of course, tracking is provided.

The delivery is usually expected to get to its destination around 10:30am - 12:00pm, or even at the end of the day depending on destination.

If looking at sending a 2 lbs package, at 5''x5''x5'' in size, from Nashville, Tennessee to Miami, Florida, you'll be able to find a UPS Next Day Air shipping rate of $84.76.

From Nashville Tennessee to Miami Florida UPS Next Day Air for 2 Pounds

UPS Next Day Air Shipping Rate; Source UPS shipping calculator from

The Benefits of UPS Next Day Air

Perfect for overnight with early delivery time

Guaranteed on-time delivery.

7. UPS Next Day Air Saver

This is more affordable than UPS Next Day Air. UPS Next Day Air Saver is a shipping service that's ideal for those important shipments that require next day service but don't necessarily have to be at its destination in the morning. UPS guarantees delivery at least by 4:30pm for business and end of the day for residential. Of course, tracking is provided; however, Saturday delivery is not available.

If looking at sending the same 2 lbs package, at 5''x5''x5'' in size, from Nashville, Tennessee to Miami, Florida, you'll be able to find a UPS Next Day Air shipping rate of $78.01.

From Nashville Tennessee to Miami Florida UPS Next Day Air Saver for 2 Pounds

UPS Next Day Air Saver Shipping Rate; Source UPS shipping calculator from

The Benefits of UPS Next Day Air Saver

No need to feel ill at ease because your package's next day delivery is guaranteed.

It's the most affordable next-day option.

8. UPS Next Day Air Early

UPS Next Day Air Early is the shipping that guarantees next business day + early morning delivery for urgent shipments. If your shipment needs to get to its destination as soon as possible, then UPS Next Day Air Early is a perfect option to consider. This service is available in 48 continental states + Anchorage, Alaska and Oahu, Hawaii.

The Benefits of UPS Next Day Air Early

Next business day delivery available as early as 8:00am to most major cities in the U.S and latest by 9:30am to most other cities in the U.S.

Guaranteed time-definite service or you get a full refund if they fail to deliver on time

Free UPS packaging included for your convenience.

UPS delivers to more ZIP codes by 8:00am than any other company.

UPS Next Day Early serves more businesses than FedEx First Overnight shipping option. See details here.

9. UPS Express Critical (Domestic)

If you're really in a hurry, you can choose same-day delivery with UPS Express Critical. This is a service that interlocks all of UPS's same-day and urgent capabilities into a single suite, giving shippers the liberty to better manage package and heavy freight shipments together. It's currently the fastest UPS shipping service for urgent and emergency shipping to all 50 states and Puerto Rico.

The Benefits of UPS Express Critical (Domestic)

Best available next flight-out, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.

A full range of services, including international, surface, hand-carry or chartered aircraft.

Automated routing lets you choose from the fastest delivery options.

Fast pickup and door-to-door reliability give you complete peace of mind.

10. UPS Ground (with Freight Pricing)

UPS Ground (with Freight Pricing) service is a shipping option that uses typical LTL pricing structure. It's an economical choice for multiple-package shipments weighing more than 150 pounds.

The Benefits of UPS Ground (with Freight Pricing)

Dependable delivery with full visibility on each individual package

Guaranteed on-time performance and competitive transit time

#1 Shipping Factor: Dimensional Weight

UPS domestic shipping rates are calculated based on the billable dimensional weight of the shipment and the destination (zone) to which the parcel(s) is going to be delivered. In this guide, we'll walk you through the process of absolute must-knows to get reasonable UPS shipping rates as well as how the shipping rates are calculated.

What's a Dimensional Weight?

The dimensional weight, which is also known as volumetric weight , is the technique used by commercial freight transport and shipping companies to evaluate the billable weight of a parcel. UPS applies dimensional weight to packages that use their ground services.

How Do I Calculate Dimensional Weight?

Dimensional weight of a parcel is gotten by calculating the cubic size of that parcel – simply by multiplying the length, height and width of that parcel. Once the cubic size of the box has been determined, it is then compared to the actual weight of the package in some circumstances, and the larger of the two is used to ascertain the package's actual billable weight.

Dimentional Weight

Dimentional Weight Formula

To determine the dimensional weight of a package, UPS divides the value of the cubic size of the parcel by 166 for domestic shipments, and 139 for international shipments. UPS established a dimensional weight divisor of 139 for packages larger than 1,728 cubic inches or one cubic foot in size. The 166 weight divisor is used for all packages that are smaller than one cubic foot.

Is There Any UPS Shipping Calculator That Can Do the Math for Me?

There's a plethora of free and shipping broker sites you can use to calculate and compare shipping rates between one or more freight/shipping carriers. We'll be making use of InstantShip's UPS shipping calculator to show UPS shipping rate for some of its domestic shipping services. Feel free to use whichever software or website that's more convenient to you when doing your shipping rate comparison!

If looking at sending a 2 lbs package, at 15''x15''x15'' in size, from Columbus, Ohio to Colorado Springs, Colorado, you'll be able to find a UPS Ground shipping rate of $41.07. Although the package is only 2 pounds, its cubic size is 15''x15''x15'' = 3,375 cubic inches > 1,728 cubic inches. Therefore, its billable weight is 3,375 cubic inches / 139 = 25 (24.28 but UPS always rounds it up) pounds, which is its dimentional weight.

From Columbus Ohio to Colorado Springs Colorado UPS Ground for 2 Pounds

UPS Ground Shipping Rate; Source UPS shipping calculator from

How to Compare Different UPS Shipping Options with InsantShip's UPS Shipping Calculator?

We built InstantShip's free UPS shipping calculator with ease-of-use in our minds. All you need is the basic shipping paramters such as weight, sizes and zip codes. The calculator returns live-time UPS shipping rates and all available UPS shipping options. You can easily sort and compare the returned shipping options based on of these:

Service – find the available services

Price – know which service offers the best value

Time-in-Transit – know how long it will take for the package to arrive

Want a sneak peek into the ease of calculating UPS shipping rates with our free UPS shipping calculator? Give us 60 seconds; we have made an easy-to-follow tutorial video for you. Go on, you know you're curious!

In-Store Pricing vs. Discount Pricing

Much like there is a difference between auction sale price and regular retail market price, so too are there differences in how your shipping are priced. In-Store Pricing is the total shipping cost you pay at UPS store without any discount, while Discount Pricing is InstantShip's execlusive price after huge shipping broker discounts for shipping your item – it saves up to 85% on UPS shipping rates !

If looking at sending a 5 lbs package, at 10''x10''x10'' in size, in a hurry from Virginia Beach, Virginia to Madison, Wisconsin, you'll be able to find a UPS Next Day Air in-store quote of $139.88, compared to InstantShip's quote of $48.71, which helps to keep $139.88 - $48.71 = $91.17 in your pocket just for a single shipment!

From Virginia Beach Virginia to Madison Wisconsin UPS Next Day Air for 5 Pounds

UPS Next Day Air Shipping Rate Comparison: In-Store vs. Discount; Source UPS shipping calculator from

2019 UPS Shipping Rate Increase [UPDATED]

UPS announced changes in their 2019 shipping rates on December 7, 2018. The increased shipping rates became effective since December 26, 2018. The rates for UPS ground, air increased an average net of 4.9%. As you'd probably expected, it went up as usual again on August 9, 2019...

1. 2019 UPS Domestic Shipping Rate Increase

The December 2018's increase in UPS shipping rates has a direct effect on the following shipping services:

UPS daily package rates including UPS Ground, UPS Air, and UPS International services

UPS Alaska and Hawaii daily package rates

UPS retail package rates including UPS Ground, UPS Air, and UPS International services

UPS SurePost rates

UPS Hundredweight Service (CWT) package rates

UPS Air Freight rates

UPS Worldwide Express Freight rates

2019 UPS Domestic Shipping Rate Increase

2019 UPS Domestic Shipping Rate Increase

The chart above shows the increase percentage of all UPS Domestic shipping services (excluding UPS Domestic Express Critical). From the chart, you'll notice the total price increase for UPS domestic rates to be 6.17%; which is significantly higher than 4.9% average announced by UPS by 1.27%.

However, remember that UPS international shipping is also factored in in the 4.9% average announced by the company. The two services with the highest price increase are UPS 2nd Day Air and UPS 2nd Day Air A.M., with a rise of 7.22% and 7.46% respectively!

UPS Ground Shipping Rate Increase by Weight

UPS Ground Shipping Rate Increase by Weight

UPS Ground price increase averages 4.89% for all zones and services with 31-40 pound packages seeing the highest increase of 5.32%, while services with 1-10 pound packages recorded the lowest growth in the price increase.

UPS Ground Shipping Rate Increase by Zone

UPS Ground Shipping Rate Increase by Zone

Zone 44 represents Alaska and Hawaii metro areas, while zone 46 represents Alaska and Hawaii remote areas and zone 45 represents Puerto Rico.

2. 2019 UPS Fee & Surcharge Rate Increase

Wait, there is more... ?! Aside from UPS daily package rate increase, there are quite a lot of other additional charges that will increase your shipping cost, and they include:

Accessorial Fees

Delivery Area Surcharge

Extended Delivery Area Surcharge

Delivery Confirmation

UPS Delivery Intercept

UPS On-Call Pickup - Area Surcharge

Residential Surcharges

Scheduled Pickups

Now, let's take a quick look at the recent 2019 UPS Fee & Surcharge Rate Increase and how they may affect your shipping strategy.

Name of Surcharge 2018 Surcharge Rate 2019 Surcharge Rate % of Increase
Additional Handling - Length, Width, Girth $19.00 $23.00 21.1%
Additional Handling - Weight $12.00 $14.25 18.8%
Address Correction $15.90 $16.40 3.1%
Delivery Area Surcharge
Commercial - Air $2.75 $2.95 7.3%
Commercial - Ground $2.60 $2.80 7.7%
Residential - Air $4.05 $4.35 7.4%
Residential - Ground $3.50 $3.80 8.6%
Extended Delivery Area Surcharge
Commercial - Air $2.75 $2.95 7.3%
Commercial - Ground $2.60 $2.80 7.7%
Residential - Air $4.45 $4.85 9.0%
Residential - Ground $4.45 $4.85 9.0%
Remote Area Surcharge
Alaska $26.00 $28.00 7.7%
Hawaii $8.00 $9.00 12.5%
Delivery Confirmation
Signature Required $4.75 $5.00 5.3%
Adult Signature Required $5.75 $6.05 5.2%
UPS Delivery Intercept
Electronically $15.90 $16.40 3.1%
By Telephone $21.90 $22.90 4.6%
Large Package Surcharge
Large Package Surcharge Commercial $80.00 $95.00 18.8%
Large Package Surcharge Residential $90.00 $115.00 27.8%
UPS On-Call Pickup - Area Surcharge
Residential Addresses $3.50 $3.80 8.6%
Extended Residential Addresses $4.45 $4.85 9.0%
Residential Surcharges
Ground $3.60 $3.95 9.7%
Air Services $4.15 $4.55 9.6%
Scheduled Pickups
Billing Totals under $75.00 per week $27.00 $27.00 0%
Billing Totals over $75.00 per week $13.50 $13.50 0%
Other Surcharges
Collect on Delivery $13.50 $14.50 7.4%
Over Maximum Limit $650.00 $850.00 30.8%
Third Party Billing Service 2.50% 4.50% 2.05%

UPS Fee & Surcharge Rate Increase Comparison 2019 vs. 2018

Accessorial fees are fees charged for any accessorial service provided to shippers. UPS Accessorial service is a carrier-provided service not generally included in regular transportation services, such as address correction after a shipment is picked up or demurrage in ocean freight.

UPS 2019 Over Maximum Limits surcharge increased with an additional $200 from last year's $650 to a total of $850.00 in 2019 – with a 30.8% increase !!!

3. 2019 UPS Minimum Charge Increase

You kidding, Steve Job's 'one more thing'... ?! Aside from UPS daily package rate increase and all kinds of UP fee & surcharge rate increase, UPS has decided to increase its minimum billable charge.

There's always going to be an attached minimum charge to whichever UPS shipping option you use for your shipment. Irrespective of the % discount you're offered, every UPS package is subjected to this rule, and you could be losing valuable discounts. The minimum charge for a package was $7.57 in 2018; now this price has increased by 3.70%, which has amounted to $7.85 in 2019.

4. Ways to Leverage UPS Domestic Shipping Increase, Fee & Surcharge Rate Increase and Minimum Charge Increase

That's a lot of rate increase, isn't it? Although many e-commerces would accept 2019 UPS domestic shipping rate increase unwillingly and some would even tend to transfer the additional logistics cost to their customers' shipping costs, this might become the #1 reason for drop in sales pretty soon – there is no doubt that shopping cart abandonment has been linked to high shipping costs. More so, surcharges and minimum charge will always account for a large percentage of a company's shipping costs. So, to reduce the impact of these additional surcharges on your shipping cost, shippers must ensure they exhaust all possible means to minimize the possibility of the incurrence of those events that trigger these fees. Therefore, it's pertinent to mention that you must have one or more of the following in place to mitigate these costs:

Using a UPS shipping calculator that gives you accurate live-time UPS shipping rates

Using a third party shipping broker like that gives consolidates UPS shipping rate discount

Offering a third party return shipping insurance that covers return shipping cost, pays for return shipping label and helps you get more loyal and repeat customers

Sharing cheaper UPS shipping rates with your customers by adding InstantShip UPS shipping calculator to your page of Product Return Policies: your customers will be able to create cheaper prepaid shipping label for product returns - when helping your customers save, you earn their loyalty !

You can easily add free InstantShip UPS shipping calculator to your site. Grab the installation code below and thank us later ! However, if you've ever encountered any technical issues of our calculator, feel free to contact us and our friendly team is always there to assist!

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Comparing UPS with Others Freight/Shipping Carriers

If not at all time, UPS is cheaper than their competitors (USPS, FedEx, and DHL) for most packages delivered in the same time frame. But still, let's look at the competitive advantage of these top freight/shipping carriers.

Compare UPS, FedEx, USPS and DHL

Compare UPS, FedEx, USPS and DHL; Designed by

1. UPS

Strength of UPS

Base Rates Not Set in Stone: UPS rates are negotiable. UPS assume you'll negotiate for account-specific negotiated rates as you grow.

UPS SurePost: UPS working in conjunction with USPS offers an incredible shipping option which unifies UPS Ground service and U.S Postal Service into one full shipping service. It's an attractive and (affordable) option if a significant chunk of your shipments is not urgent, time-sensitive, and residential.

Guaranteed Express Shipping: If you need a package delivered ASAP, UPS is a great choice. UPS provides services like same-day delivery and next-day delivery. Guaranteed delivery gives you the peace of mind that your packages will arrive on time.

UPS Controls Its Entire Network: When you ship UPS, the company operates every vehicle that transports your package, owns every facility that processes your package, and employs every person in charge of handling your package. This gives room for a high degree of control and efficiency. It also means consistent, predictable service regardless of where or what you ship.

Mostly Affordably Priced for Heavy Shipments: While USPS is the cheapest option for light shipments, shipping cost tends to upsurge dramatically for heavier shipments. If you're shipping packages heavier than two pounds, you should take a look at UPS's shipping rates, and also take advantage of volume discount or lower rate through proper negotiation.

UPS Provides One of the Best Tracking Service: UPS has a fantastic tracking service that enables its customers to track and monitor their shipments with ease.

Weakness of UPS

Some of UPS Shipping Services Are More Expensive: While this isn't true in all cases, UPS's services can cost a little bit more, and their shipping costs are high due to surcharges charges.

Unavailability of Free Package Pickup Service: USPS offers scheduled pickups free of charge; however, the opposite is the case with UPS since you'll have to pay a flat rate for the same service from UPS.

2. FedEx

FedEx famously started as a paper written by Yale University student Frederick W. Smith in 1965. In 1973, Frederick founded Federal Express. The company quickly established itself as a leader in express shipping and slowly grew into a multinational conglomerate. Today, it's the second-largest carrier with over $50 Billion in revenue and more than 40,000 workers.

Strength of FedEx

A Precise Tracking System: FedEx offers customers a robust tracking system. You can also use FedEx's delivery manager to hold packages at a FedEx office or schedule delivery for a specific time.

Negotiable Pricing: If you're shipping large volumes of packages through FedEx, you may be able to negotiate for lower a shipping rate which becomes permanent if you hit specific volume goals. Your account manager is authorized to make mutually beneficial rate changes. You may find that FedEx offers competitive rates for packages up to 50 pounds.

FedEx Is a Pioneer in Next Day Delivery: FedEx offers a wide variety of urgent delivery options. This includes the latest flight, next business day by 8:30am, 10:30am, and 3:00pm

Weakness of FedEx

No Free Package Pickup Service: Like UPS, FedEx does not offer a free package pickup service. That does not mean that you cannot schedule a package pickup. You'll have to pay a fee.

Wide Array of Surcharges: Working with FedEx means keeping a close eye on surcharges which can cause your shipping budget to balloon if you don't know how to navigate them properly.

Independent Contractors Make Service Uneven Sometimes: Unlike USPS or UPS, FedEx relies upon a network of independent contractors. That allows them to be more nimble (plus save some money on payroll taxes), but it also means they don't have total control over every part of their network. FedEx strives to work with reliable contractors, but some have also complained that the presence of contractors in the company's business mix made their service somewhat unbalanced.


The United States Postal Service is a public shipping carrier and the most preferred shipping option for those who ship small and light products. If you're looking for USPS shipping services particularly, make sure try InstantShip's USPS shipping calculator to save up to 45% on USPS shipping rates.

Strength of USPS

The Most Affordable for Small Packages: USPS is hands down the king of the lightweight package; at the same time, it's also the cheapest delivery service option for shipping small items.

Hybrid Shipping Options: With systems such as UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost, the private carrier ships the package to the local post office, and USPS takes care of the final delivery.

Standard Weekend Delivery: Private carriers usually deliver shipments between Mondays to Fridays. To get your product delivered on Saturday, you'll have to pay an extra fee. However, USPS delivers packages on Saturdays for no additional charge. That extra day is highly significant because it immensely boosts days by 20% at no cost to shippers. In many larger cities, the postal service will deliver on Sundays as well.

Zero Surcharges: USPS offers straightforward, unambiguous, and easy to grasp kind of shipping fees. Shippers pay the base rate for a service – no more, no less. Unlike UPS and FedEx, there isn't any surcharges for fuel, remote areas, additional handling, or anything else.

Delivers to Mailboxes and P.O. Boxes: USPS has a monopoly on mailboxes and P.O. boxes. USPS also delivers to most locations such as post office boxes, has pick-up options, a wide array of packaging (some free), and offers insurance for Priority Express Mail and Priority Mail as well as tracking for various services.

Weakness of USPS

Tracking Isn't the Best out There: While USPS may often be the cheapest choice, they most times don't guarantee a delivery date, and rarely if ever provide accurate tracking. Honestly, USPS has improved their reliability in recent years, but packages still go missing from time to time and having an inadequate tracking system only makes the matter more infuriating when shipments are delayed or lost.

4. DHL

DHL is the largest international logistics company, and its reputation matches its size. It owns an expansive global network with deep penetration into Europe and Asia.

Strength of DHL

International Customs Expertise: Due to the extensive international experience of DHL, the company understands customs red tape better than other carriers.

Weakness of DHL

DHL Does Not Handle Domestic Express Shipping: Since DHL is no longer the U.S. owned, it isn't permitted to make deliveries between airports in the United States.

Summary & Overview of Commercial Freight/Shipping Carriers: UPS, FedEx and DHL

UPS focuses on 2-3 day delivery but has a significant overnight service as well. It also has the lion's share of the business, handling approximately 18 million packages per day (15% of which is overnight and another 15% is made up of international deliveries). UPS operates in 175 countries .

FedEx Express focuses on overnight package delivery handling approximately 4 million package deliveries per day (67% of which is overnight service, 12% international). FedEx operates in 175 countries too. The company also has other, separate divisions dedicated to bulk shipments, home delivery, freight and critical shipments which add another 9 million deliveries per day to the company total.

DHL focuses on international shipments and delivers around 2 million packages per day to 141 countries.

A Strategy to Get Cheaper UPS Shipping Rates

Unarguably, UPS and FedEx seem to be the two unequivocal freight/shipping carriers that offer the best rate – even so – with a more robust business model and infrastructure in place. When it comes to getting the best shipping rate, it all boils down to the volume/quantity of shipments; but that's not always the case. Of course, shipping in bulk quantities will give you the leverage to negotiate and get a better shipping rate with UPS. However, that's not the only way to get the best UPS shipping rates.

So here are ten (10) of the most efficient ways to get the best UPS shipping rates:

1. Negotiation: So many people don't know they have the right to negotiate for a better rate while shipping. That UPS has listed the prices for all its shipping services doesn't mean the prices are non-negotiable. It helps if you're using a single carrier for all your shipments (especially when shipping in bulk) instead of using different freight/shipping carriers; this will allow a better opportunity to negotiate rates.

2. Use One Freight/Shipping Carrier For All Shipping: As mentioned previously, it pays less to consolidate all your shipping to a single carrier instead of using multiple carriers. This will enable you to negotiate a better volume discount with the company.

3. Using Third-Party Shipping Website That Offers Shipping Discounts: If you're an e-commerce business that ships small packages to your customer regularly, then using a third party shipping broker like InstantShip which offers UPS shipping discounts is the best option for you. This means that when you ship a package through a shipping broker, the shipping bill goes to the third party. These sites usually have consoliate shipments and pool their buying power to get a discounted rate and then, pass that on to you, giving you a sweet discount. Just like we discussed earlier in this post about in-store pricing vs. discount pricing, using third party shipping brokers will enable you to save more while shipping.

4. Building a Great Relationship with Freight Carrier Account Reps: Having a strong business relationship and a good rapport with your account reps might be enough to get you a cheaper UPS shipping rates while shipping items – since these account reps usually are well informed on association pricing and other programs that aren't necessarily advertised.

5. Understanding Your Shipping Requirement: The more thorough you are with your shipping requirements, the better you will be able to negotiate. Some of the points you should be thorough with are Shipping Patterns, Package Volume, Package Dimension, Delivery Distance, and Delivery Timeframe. These details will compel carriers to give you a better rate.

6. Leverage Regional Carriers: Using regional carriers as a bargaining chip will allow you to better position yourself with the national carriers since you'll be taking your business outside of their network. However, when using this, negotiate well to ensure you're lowering your volume with the carriers you're trying to get better rates from.

7. Have A Professional RFP: When your RFP looks professional, it shows your carrier that you are serious about negotiation and you are here for a thorough evaluation of their proposal and also use your regional carriers' rates for negotiating with their rates.

8. Don't Ever Forget You Have the Right to Claim for Refund: Shipping carriers like UPS commit service failures like late delivery, lost packages etc., for which refunds can be claimed. Claiming refunds alone can save up to 20% of the shipping costs.

9. Don't Sign Unnecessarily Agreements or Contracts: When we say unnecessary agreements, we mean those kinds of arrangements that'll render you incapacitated, those agreements that will be hard for you to pull out from.

10. Monitor and Track Company Performance: Your responsibility does not end with signing the contract. It is crucial to evaluate and continuously monitor their performance from time to time, know when to call it quits and get you another freight/shipping carrier that offers a better quality of service at a more subsidized shipping rate.

Sounds like a lot of work, huh? No need to worry and InstantShip has already done all the heavy-lifting work for you and built our free UPS shipping calculator . You can save up to 85% on UPS shipping rates, and the best part is there's no monthly fee of any kind!

Know Your Next UPS Shipping Estimate Before You Pay

There was a time when you had to visit your nearby UPS Store to find out the shipping prices only after you were ready to pay. Today, you can find out the shipping estimate of each service using our free InstantShip UPS shipping calculator that magically shows all the available UPS shipping rates before having to make any commitment to pay.

At InstantShip, we fetch UPS shipping rates in real time so you can see how much a package will cost before shipping. This means that you can choose between different delivery times and shipping quotes that fit your budget.

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Know Your Next UPS Shipping Estimate Before You Pay

Find All Available UPS Shipping Options

InstantShip offers you the ability to find all available UPS shipping options for your delivery needs. We understand that one delivery service may offer a faster delivery time than another, so we have constructed our website to ensure that you see all available shipping options such as UPS Ground®, UPS SurePost®, UPS Next Day Air®, UPS 2nd Day Air® and UPS 3 Day Select®. That way, you can make the best informed decision about which option to choose.

No business should have to spend quite so much on dealing with UPS shipping expenses. With InstantShip, you can enjoy a host of savings by calculating your costs and comparing different UPS shipping rates in real time. Why spend so much, when InstantShip helps make savings simple?

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Find All Available UPS Shipping Options

Print Your Next UPS Shipping Label with Ease

Once you have decided which UPS shipping service and delivery time to use, all you need to do is print the UPS prepaid shipping labels using our simple, easy-to-use UPS shipping calculator. Step by step, we take you through the process and the next thing you know, your UPS shipping labels are being printed. At InstantShip, we believe in making your decisions as simple as possible, so you can print the UPS shipping labels you want.

Compare our UPS shipping label printing services to many of our competitors who may have higher rates, fewer choices of services, and difficult to understand printing procedures, At InstantShip, we wanted to make things as simple as possible and created some easy-to-follow tutorials for you. And don't forget to check out our frequently asked questions page. However, if you ever have a question, we're always here to help.

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Print Your Next UPS Shipping Label with Ease

Get the cheapest prepaid shipping label

UPS Ground Shipping Label
UPS Next Day Air Shipping Label