Due to their acronyms, it is quite easy to confuse the two. But what really are the differences between UPS and USPS? Whenever you have a parcel that needs to be shipped somewhere else, these two are the first two companies which come in mind. So which should you choose, and why?
USPS stands for the United States Postal Service, which was founded in 1775. It’s practically an authority in the shipping industry due to the length of time that the government agency has been in existence. Also known as the postal service or US Mail, USPS offers first-class and domestic mail delivery services.
UPS, on the other hand, is a public company, called the United Parcel Service, Inc. founded in 1907. It is considered as the world’s largest package delivery company, and they offer logistics services, courier express and freight forwarding. UPS also offers airmail service, which reduces the length of time. You can choose from next day air (depending on where it is being shipped), second day air, 3-day select and ground shipments.
Now, in terms of the more practical aspect of the delivery services, which one is better? USPS priority mail takes about two to three business days to get delivered. If you were to use UPS Ground, on the other hand, it might take up to two weeks before the package gets delivered to the recipient. Now when shipping USPS they have stricter guidelines in terms of the weight and size of the package, while UPS can deliver packages of virtually any size.
One main distinction between the two, which is a main selling point for any shipper is a tracking number. With USPS it is a lot harder to obtain a tracking number to make sure your package will be getting to you on time, where when shipping with UPS you receive a tracking number with every shipment right away. UPS also just announced a new service that aims to enhance customer satisfaction and maybe even get a little extra change jingling in its pocket. Termed “My Choice,” UPS will allow customers to sign up to receive free email, text, or phone alerts on the night before a package is due for delivery, advising them of when to expect a knock at the door. An even more valuable feature is the ability to electronically sign in advance for packages requiring signatures confirming receipt. Result: No more little sticky notes on the front door telling you that you could have received a package if you had been home at the right time.
With all that being said let’s get into the different pricing of the two. With USPS you have two ways to ship, one by going off the weight of the package or by going with a certain size box that is a flat rate price no matter the weight. As with most shipping your cost is going to be based off of weight and distance, for example if I am located in New Mexico it is going to be a lot cheaper for me to ship something to Arizona than to New York. To avoid distance being a so cost effective UPSP offers flat rate boxes and envelopes. These prices can range anywhere from $5.60 for an envelope up to $16.85 for a large flat rate box. Needless to say if you are shipping something really heavy but small enough to fit in one of the flat rate boxes USPS might be the way to go.
With that being said UPS will ship any box any size any weight. It is hard to give exact prices with UPS since they mostly go by weight and distance. If you were to go to their website they do offer a shipping calculator in order for you to get an idea of your cost.
There is always a debate on UPS vs. USPS as the best method to ship. Conversely, UPS is much more finely tuned. It’s their electronic process that is all the difference. Also, they keep in contact with you regarding the status of your inquiry. Each carrier has a lot to offer. For example, USPS Priority Mail is an excellent choice for fast, low-cost shipping, and USPS is the only carrier that does not charge extra for Saturday delivery or that can service post office boxes.UPS had the largest ground fleet with an estimated 101,900 trucks (or “package cars,” as the company calls them).
So, which is best? The bottom line is that it depends on what you ship, where you ship it and what packing-materials needs you have, if any. It depends on your customer service needs, and your sensitivity to environmental issues. The best solution for your ecommerce business may not be the best for mine. It depends.