How Can You Calculate Shipping Costs with the USPS Shipping Calculator?
The world of eCommerce is competitive. So much so that leading businesses in the arena always have to stay on their toes to get everything right, or they lose out to their adversaries within clicks. From offering an exciting range of products and services to ensuring timely and smooth delivery, they must take care of everything. And that’s where they often partner with reliable logistics and shipping companies to ensure their products reach the intended customers on time and in good condition. The United States Postal Service (USPS) is one such shipping company.
Although finding general information about a logistics and shipping provider is easy, eCommerce business owners often stick to the proper method to estimate the shipping costs. Usually, people aren’t aware that instead of contacting the company’s contact center to enquire, they can calculate the shipping rates themselves through online shipping calculators that are often provided on shipping carrier websites. USPS too offers this facility through the USPS shipping calculator.
If you are planning to ship with USPS and would like to know how much cost you will have to bear, you should use the USPS shipping calculator to prepare your estimates beforehand. In this post, we’ll assist you with using this shipping calculator.
1) Overview of USPS
USPS, aka United States Postal Service, is owned by the US federal government, and its sole purpose is to provide postal services throughout the country. This independent agency is present in 34,000 locations, employing over 630,000 employees and reaching up to 160 million homes. Regardless of rain or snow, USPS fulfills its responsibilities and provides postal service to all citizens of the United States.
48% of the world’s mail is delivered by USPS, for the company provides exceptional customer service and has one of the largest computer networks. Further, it offers a wide range of shipping services to pick the one that suits you the most. Shipping with USPS is quite a popular choice for various reasons, the most important being its reasonable shipping rates. If you are a frequent shipper, this is one quality you should generally keep an eye out for. The hassle-free services provided by the company have won several hearts over the years.
2) Popular Services Offered By USPS
USPS is a popular carrier and the official postal service provider for the United States. It provides a range of shipping services that allow businesses to send their parcels through a suitable service. This enables ecommerce and retail businesses to look after the needs of their customers without compromising their financial budget or parcel security. Some of the popular shipping services offered by the carrier include:
2.1) Priority Mail Express
Priority Mail Express is one of the fastest delivery services offered by USPS. With this service, you can guarantee next-day delivery to almost all US pin codes and PO Boxes. The services come with a free flat rate envelope, and all the parcels under 70 lbs do not need to be weighed.
Since it is one of the fastest services, it is also one of the most expensive services, starting at 27.25$. The service comes with a money-back guarantee, allowing you to ensure that the carrier will follow the delivery schedule.
2.2) Priority Mail
Priority Mail is a service the carrier provides for ecommerce businesses that want an affordable option and faster delivery times. The service delivers to most pin codes within 1-3 business days. The USPS tracking and Insurance services are provided by default along with this delivery mode. The Shipping boxes and envelopes required to ship with this service are provided for free by the postal service.
The shipments under 70 pounds need not be weighed, and the service comes with a free pickup service. Another critical service feature is that you will not have to worry about fuel surcharges. The Priority Mail service of USPS starts from $9.00 and is one of the most value-for-money services provided by USPS.
2.3) First Class Mail
First Class Mail is suitable for small packages and mail items only. The service delivers a mail package within 1-5 business days, while the small packages are delivered within 2-5 business days. The small packages accepted under the First class mail service must be under 13 ounces. The service is very suitable for businesses and ecommerce platforms that deal in lighter and smaller goods.
However, the insurance value for the merchandise under the service is capped at $5000. Therefore, you cannot ship valuable items through the service. The service is cheaper compared to other services provided by the postal service, and the shipping rates start as low as $4.80.
2.4) Media Mail
Many businesses share books and printed media for promotional purposes with their customers. USPS came up with the Media mail service to cater to this underserved market segment. Under this service, you can ship any form of printed media, including books, leaflets, etc., at cheaper rates than standard shipping. The service does not accept digital media, including video games, computer drivers, and digital drives.
The carrier usually takes 2-8 business days to deliver through this service as it is cheaper than all other postal service services. The shipping rates through USPS Media Mail start as low as $3.49.
2.5) USPS Retail Ground
USPS retail ground is a service designed for ecommerce platforms and retailers with bulkier products. The service delivers less-than-urgent packages and is a perfect option if your package does not fit the Priority Mail Criteria. The delivery takes from 2-5 business days, depending on the delivery location.
The service comes with a USPS tracking service. The shipping rates for the service start from $8.80. The drawback of the service is that it can only be availed at the post office location of the USPS.
3) What is the USPS Shipping calculator?
Shipping an order can be a complex endeavor, especially if you have to follow a strict budget. USPS is the official postal service provider and, therefore, has to focus on making its service available to the general public. The shipping cost can be a deciding factor for most shippers. Thus, to allow its customers to estimate the shipping cost beforehand, USPS provides an online tool called USPS Shipping Calculator.
The USPS shipping calculator is a simple and valuable online tool that calculates your shipping charges. All that is required are your package details, such as volume, dimensions, origin, and destination. This tool eliminates the need for guesswork and provides room for comparing prices with other shipping companies.
4) How to use the USPS shipping calculator?
USPS has focused on making the tool as easily accessible as possible. The tool is really simple to use and allows you to estimate your shipping costs beforehand. Here are the easy-to-follow steps:
4.1) Go to USPS’s website
USPS provides a shipping calculator to calculate the shipping rates for your packages which are available on their website. You can also find USPS shipping rates by weight chart on their website.
4.2) Enter all the details of your package
Enter all the required details for your shipment. The contents of your package, the destination of the shipment, the zip code, and the date of mailing. You will also need to enter the package's dimensions and weight.
4.3) Select the type of shipment
In addition to telling the calculator where the package is going, you will have to specify how it will get there. The calculator will then ask you to choose between a flat rate option or a shape like a large package, envelope, or postcard.
- If you select the flat rate option, you must choose between Priority Mail Medium or USPS Flat Rate Boxes. Additionally, along with the prices, the delivery date will also be shown.
- If you select the latter option disclosing the shape of the package, you will be required to enter the weight of the shipment. As the size and shape of the box may not be standard, USPS will charge you according to the weight of the package. So, please ensure that the importance entered while creating an order with the carrier is accurate.
Then out of the given options, you will need to select the box that looks most similar to your package. On clicking the “Next” button, you can see the rates and expected delivery date.
4.4) Compare the rates
After figuring out the estimated delivery date and rates, you can compare it with other shipping options. This can be done by selecting “Display All Options,” which is available at the top of the page.
4.5) Avail value-added services if required
Now you will need to select your mode of shipping. After that, you can add any extra services you may require, such as insurance, certificate of mailing, etc. You will get the charges for each additional benefit from the USPS shipping rates by weight chart.
4.6) Pay for the shipping and print labels
Now that you have finalized your shipment and other details, you can proceed to make the payment. Doing this would help if you went to the USPS “Click n Ship” page. After this, download the labels for your package and get them printed or print them yourself.
5) How to calculate postage the right way?
Calculating postage can be tricky and can lead to significant losses. When you are shipping with a carrier as big as USPS, the good news is that there is an established process. To make it easier for all ecommerce businesses, we have complied a step-by-step process to calculate the postage.
5.1) Weigh the item and then round it up
During the shipping process, the United States Postal Service rounds up the weight of the package to the nearest ounce or pound and charges you for that weight. For example, if your parcel weighs 4lbs 5 oz, you will be charged at 5lbs. Especially for shipping items by First Class Package, if the weight is 4lbs 2 oz, you will still be charged at the 5lbs rate. This is applicable for any shipment, be it domestic or international.
5.2) Pick the suitable shipping service
Ensure you have picked the mail class that works for your shipment. For instance, the First Class Mail Package can only be used for packages under 16lbs, and shipments heavier than that will have to be shipped with Priority Mail. Similarly, the Domestic Rate boxes come in two categories (A and B), each with a limit of 15lbs and 20 lbs, respectively.
5.3) Get the dimensions down
Depending on the mail class you have selected, you could be charged for the dimensions of the package. Measure the length, breadth, and height of your package correctly. To find out the dimensional weight of your package, you can use the following formula:
DIM = (Length X Breadth X Height) / 166
5.4) Label the package properly
USPS offers a wide range of packaging options to meet your shipping needs, one of which is through labels. Ensure to use the correct ones for your packages. Use a Flat Rate label if you’re shipping with USPS Flat Rate Boxes.
Additionally, keep in mind while packing that the label is stuck onto the package's longest side and is not creased or stuck on the edge. All the titles and the barcodes on them should face in the same direction.
5.5) Double-check the zone
Regardless of which tool you’re using to print out the labels, double-check the address of origin and ensure it is up to date. The United States Postal Service charges by zone, and to see the rates per zone, you should check out their shipping calculator and shipping rates chart.
6) A few final words
Shipping rates form a critical deciding factor when an eCommerce business chooses a shipping partner. They should be fair and budget-friendly for the weight, time duration, and distance a package needs to be in transit. While most providers offer a pricing page on their websites, it’s often not enough to estimate the cost they’ll incur.
Online shipping calculators come to the rescue in such cases, making accurate computing costs without external help possible. USPS offers the USPS shipping calculator so that you can consider all the variables before arriving at an estimated shipping cost. An estimation of your shipping cost with a trusted carrier like USPS is an excellent option for ecommerce businesses to get a financial estimate for their shipping operations.
7.1) Does USPS charge according to size or weight?
The shipping rates at USPS differ for each service level. For the Flat Rate USPS Priority Mail, the package volume doesn’t matter, as long the shipped item fits a corresponding envelope or box with a pre-assigned rate. On the other hand, the shipping rates of USPS Priority Mail are based on the volume and destination of the package.
7.2) What is the cheapest method for international shipping?
USPS is by far one of the most popular and cost-effective options that are available for international shipping. They provide a wide range of services that you can select from, such as Priority Mail International for shipments weighing over 1lb, Priority Mail Express, for packages that need to be shipped urgently, and International First Class Package for packages that are of a lighter weight.
7.3) How much do I have to pay for USPS shipping per pound?
Most shipping rates at USPS are determined based on the weight and destination of the package. For packages weighing below 1lb, the starting rate is $2.74 if you select the First-Class Package Service offered by USPS. If the package weighs more than one pound, like the USPS Priority Mail, starting at $7.02. Parcels weighing up to 70 pounds are accepted by USPS.
7.4) What is the largest size box for priority mail?
The giant box branded by USPS Priority Mail is the USPS Flat Rate Box which measures 12- ¼ (length) X 12 - ¼ (width) X 8-½ (height), all in inches, and can carry up to 70 pounds. However, if you need to ship large items, you must use your packaging. USPS services are available for boxes up to 108 inches in both length and width.
7.5) How big of a box can I ship with the USPS shipping carrier?
With USPS Priority Mail, you can ship in boxes with dimensions of 108 inches, both length, and breadth, and weighing up to 70 pounds.
7.6) How do I calculate shipping costs using the USPS shipping rate calculator?
All you have to do is enter the details of your package, such as dimensions, volume, origin, and the destination zip code, in the USPS shipping calculator.