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The United States Postal Service does more than deliver the mail. Small business owners across the country rely on the USPS for managing their day-to-day operations, whether that’s shipping supplies from one business location to another or getting their products into the hands of their customers.
But many of those small businesses are concerned that, with the current issues facing the Postal Service—including financial losses and a major slowdown courtesy of COVID-19—that USPS operations could become too unreliable or too expensive to manage their small business shipping needs.
Luckily, if you’ve been using the USPS to manage your small business shipping and delivery, you have options. Let’s take a look at some of the key business services the USPS offers—and the alternative options you can explore if the USPS can no longer handle shipping and delivery for your business reliably and affordably:
If you need to send smaller packages or ship to a PO Box, try ShippingEasy
The USPS is definitely the most affordable and convenient option when it comes to sending paper mail or shipping small packages (two pounds or less). It’s also the only one of the delivery services that isn’t required to deliver packages to their customers’ doorsteps—so if you need to package delivery to a PO Box (or your customer wants the package left in their mailbox), USPS is really the only way to go.
But again, many small business owners are concerned that USPS prices are going to increase in the coming weeks and months—which could make it less convenient and more expensive to ship to a PO Box or send out smaller packages.
ShippingEasy is a shipping software that offers discounted USPS shipping rates
(including USPS Priority Mail, Flat Rate, Regional Rate, Express Mail, Priority Mail Express, and International Shipping). The ShippingEasy platform also gives small businesses access to commercial rates typically reserved for larger customers with a higher shipping volume and discounts on shipping insurance.
And when all is said and done, those discounts can equal major savings. By going through ShippingEasy (instead of shipping directly through the USPS), you can save up to 46 percent on shipping costs. So, even if USPS rates do increase in the coming months, by shipping through ShippingEasy, you can still leverage the U.S. Postal Service’s shipping options in a way that’s cost-effective for your business.
If you need shipping solutions for larger packages, try UPS
Even if the USPS doesn’t become less reliable or affordable, if you’re shipping large packages for your business, you’re going to be better off going with UPS.
For example, let’s say you received an order for your ecommerce business and you need to ship a 5 lb. package to your customer.
If you went with UPS 3-Day Select service—which, as the name suggests, offers three day shipping (with guaranteed delivery by the end of the third business day from shipping, including Saturdays)—you would pay $15.40. If you went with USPS Retail Ground service, you would pay up to $23.40 at the Post Office for the same package—and it could take up to nine business days to arrive.
Bottom line? If you’re shipping any larger packages, not only is shipping through UPS more affordable, but it offers a faster delivery time, which will help get your packages in your customers’ hands faster—making it a more effective shipping method than USPS shipping services.
If you need your package to arrive ASAP, try FedEx
If your shipping needs are focused on reliability and speed, you should definitely consider FedEx as a shipping carrier.
Of all the major carriers, FedEx has the most variety when it comes to fast shipping solutions—including same-day shipping. If you don’t need your package to be delivered the same day you drop off or have it picked up (you can print labels from the FedEx website and arrange for them to pick up the package directly from your business), FedEx also offers overnight shipping as well as two and three-day shipping solutions. And to top it all off? Their prices are competitive with other shipping companies—so even if you need your package to get to your customers faster, you’re not going to pay a huge premium over other shipping solutions on the market.
If you need to ship internationally, try DSL
If your business has customers scattered across the world, consider DHL your go-to partner for international shipments.
In terms of reach, you’d be hard-pressed to find a carrier that can deliver to more areas than DHL; currently, the company serves 220 countries, territories, and shipping destinations across the globe—so whether you need to get a package to a customer in London, Myanmar, or Cuba (or just about anywhere in between!), DHL can help your business get it there.
In terms of rates, pricing through DHL is variable; your end costs are going to depend on the dimensional weight of your package and where you’re shipping it to (obviously, larger packages traveling longer distances are going to be more expensive). But if you’re looking for reliable, fast, and extensive international shipping services, DHL could be an ideal shopping partner for your business.
Other USPS alternatives to consider
We’ve covered some of the most well-known alternatives to USPS for small businesses—but FedEx, UPS, DHL, and ShippingEasy certainly aren’t the only USPS alternatives.
If you want to explore other options for your small business shipping needs, some additional shipping services you may want to check out include:
- LaserShip. LaserShip is a “last mile” delivery service that manages the last step of the delivery process, transporting packages from their final servicing facility to their final destination using a network of independent drivers in 20 states in the eastern and midwestern United States. If you have an operating facility (or you’re selling out of your home!) in any of the areas LaserShip services and your customer base is mostly local, this can be a fast and affordable shipping alternative to USPS and other national carriers.
- Shippo. Shippo is a service that can help you find discounts—and score the best rates from—UPS, USPS, DHL, and other major carriers. It also has a host of tools designed to make shipping easier for ecommerce businesses, including website integration, print-at-home labels, and free tracking and returns.
- Stamps.com. Similar to ShippingEasy, Stamps.com offers discounted rates on USPS shipping (up to 40 percent off domestic and 7 percent off international)