There are various shipping providers to choose from. USPS happens to be one of the most popular amongst boutique owners and e-commerce businesses.
Shipping with USPS can be a breeze, but it's easy to make a mistake. Packing USPS orders starts with choosing the right box (or poly mailer...because let's face it, those are so much cuter than USPS boxes) and then choosing the correct postage. It's good to note that you can get free boxes delivered straight to your door from USPS.
Now, just as a warning this all may seem confusing at first. But, bear with me. Do some research, read this post a couple of times and check out the photo below which breaks down the different rates. You'll be a shipping pro in no time.
(P.S. If you use a third party shipping service you may be able to save on the cost of shipping your packages. This is typically more cost effective for businesses that ship large amounts of orders each month.)
Choosing a Shipping Method
Selecting the best way to ship your orders depends on various factors; how quick would you like it to arrive, size of the package, weight of the package, etc. And then there are other factors such as if you'd like to be able to track the package, adding additional insurance and adding delivery confirmation.
After you've chosen these factors you need to select the correct postage. Below are some of the options to choose from.
First Class Mail
First Class Mail is the most affordable way to send small packages. Prices for First Class packages are based on weight, size and shape of the parcel. This service will offer the best price for packages weighing up to 13 ounces. The only drawback to this form of shipping is that sometimes it takes longer for packages to be delivered.
Packages sent by Priority Mail are delivered between 1 and 3 business days. Prices for this service start around $6.95. Heavier packages and the zone (where it's being delivered to) will result in higher prices.
Priority Mail packages can be scheduled to be picked up from your home for free meaning you don't have to drive to the post office and can spend more time packaging your orders. Unlike First Class Mail, this service includes up to $50 of insurance with most packages.
Priority Mail Express
Shipping with USPS also offers the ability to get your packages delivered fast! Priority Mail Express is USPS's fastest delivery service. Prices start at $25.50 and are dependent on weight and zone. These packages can also be sent as Flat Rate Priority Express packages. We'll discuss Flat Rate in the next section.
These packages include up to $100 of insurance. It's important that both your postage (the label) and your box both reflect Priority Mail Express. If your order is not in a Priority Mail Express box, it will not be sent as a Priority Mail Express Parcel. Another great benefit is that Express Mail offers overnight scheduled delivery by 10:30 am, or on a Sunday or holiday in many major markets for an additional fee. So if you need to get your package delivered overnight this would be your best option.
Flat Rate Priority Mail
Flat Rate Shipping is awesome because you don't have to weigh your items to determine that cost of shipping. There is a set shipping cost dependent on the site of the flat rate box you're using. Shipping with USPS can be expensive for heavier packages, but Flat Rate shipping provides a FLAT RATE for all packages weighing less than 70 LBS.
Flat Rate boxes are shipped Priority, meaning that your packages will be delivered within 1-3 business days. The greatest benefit to Flat Rate shipping is that you don't have to weigh your parcels prior to creating a label. As long as it weighs below 70 LBS. and fits into one of the Flat Rate boxes, you already know what the price of your shipping will be. Knowing this will be helpful in determining how much to charge your customers for shipping.
In my experience, shipping my orders costs between $3 and $8 for small packages, usually weighing less than one pound. That prices rises as the weight of the package rises and the further away the package is being delivered. For example, if I were to ship one item weighing less than a pound using first class postage, it usually costs between $3 and $5. According to the First Class rates in the photo above, the most it would cost to ship a package t zone 9 weighing less than 1 LB. (16 oz.) would be $5.53. But, if my package weighs more than a pound but can fit into a small USPS box, I may choose to ship it in a small flat rate box which will cost me about $7.50 (see the flat rate priority mail image above), versus sending a package to zone 9 weighing MORE THAN one pound and being sent priority mail which would cost $15.17. That same package being sent to zone 9, weighing less than 1 pound would cost $9.91.
Ok, so I know that was A LOT to take in. BUT, I recommend reading this over a couple of times as well as checking out the USPS website to see the different rates. Also, dependent on what website platform you use you may qualify for discounts if you use the platforms USPS shipping service or plugin. For example, my website is run through WooCommerce and I receive a discount between .50 cents and $3 dependent on the cost of shipping my package.
Now, I'm sure you're wondering how much to charge you customer's for shipping. No worries; we've got you covered in the next post, How Much to Charge for Shipping. If you have any questions, be sure to leave a comment.