When discussing virtual mailbox services, it is not enough to see each provider in its own bubble.
While they will differ in costs, features, and to some extent reliability, there is one variable that won’t change.
USPS will very often be part of the process in you receiving your mail. USPS will likely deliver the original physical mail to your virtual address.
USPS may also be used to forward your mail to the location of your choosing. If so, you will have a choice of which USPS mail service to use. In other words, the company plays a part in the overall efficiency of your mailbox.
With that in mind, today we will take a look at USPS and its Priority Mail service, and how it differs from the regular mail shipping service.
What is USPS Priority Mail?
USPS’ Priority Mail service is a very popular choice for customers due to the fast delivery times and the fact a tracking code is added to the item so that it is possible to keep updated with its progress.
The devil is in the details as they say, and here, the name tells you all you need to know. Priority Mail, that when all else is equal, your item will be delivered faster than standard mail items.
Another added benefit of USPS Priority Mail is the fact the service includes free package pickup from your home or office, (and in the case of a mailbox service, from the location of the mail).
This is very beneficial and has been used by millions during the pandemic when getting to the post office was not possible. It is also a time saver for businesses, and as already mentioned, helps to streamline the virtual mailbox service too.
The service runs 6 days a week, which means there is no delivery or pick-up on Sundays.
How Much does USPS Priority Mail Cost?
As with the majority of mail items and services you might use to deliver them, the cost of Priority Mail is dependant on size.
However, in this case, it is the dimensions of the envelope rather than the weight.
This helps to make the service very transparent in terms of cost.
Once you know how much a particular envelope or box costs to send via Priority Mail, as long as your item fits inside, that is the price you will pay. (Note: if the item goes over 70lbs there will be additional charges.)
It is a good idea to check the USPS Priority Mail webpage for updates, however, at the time of writing the prices structure is as follows:
USPS Priority Mail Pricing Structure
- Priority Mail prices for envelopes (12.5” x 9.5”) start at $7.70 and packages start at $8.45 (8 11/16″ x 5 7/16″ x 1 3/4″). Both increase based on size.
- Priority Mail’s Flat Rate pricing, means all items under 70 pounds ship in line with the price of the envelope or package.
- The package’s maximum combined length and girth is 108”.
- Flat Rate envelopes & box flaps must be able to close to be valid.
It is also possible to use your own packaging too. You can then go online to purchase shipping labels that you print out and attach to the mail item. (This is called USPS’s “Click-N-Ship”.)
You can also obtain labels at the post office if you are using your own packaging.
How long does USPS Priority Mail take?
Delivery times of Priority Mail items vary slightly due to potential distances involved. East coast to west coast is likely to take longer than delivery within the same state for example.
That being said, USPS does guarantee delivery of Priority Mail within 1-3 business days for shipments within the U.S.
If you need to expedite the shipping process and need even faster-guaranteed delivery times, you can also opt for USPS Priority Mail Express
What is Priority Mail Express?
Priority Mail Express is the fastest delivery service that USPS currently offers.
Instead of guaranteeing a 1-3 business day delivery window, Express mail will arrive either the following day or within 2 days by 6 PM if traveling a long distance.
Furthermore, USPS includes a money-back guarantee if the delivery time is not met, as well as $50 insurance on the package. Proof of delivery signature and package pickup is also included with the fee.
Priority Mail Express also provides an option for Sunday and Holiday delivery. This will incur an additional fee, however.
Priority Mail Express prices are not cheap, however. The lowest amount you will pay for this service is $26. As the mail item’s weight increases, so do the cost.
USPS Priority Mail Tracking
When you choose to use USPS Priority Mail you will be provided with a tracking number. This will give you status updates on your mail item so that you know where it is.
By logging in to your dashboard with the tracking number you will see where and at what time the item was shipped, where it is housed between delivery points, and when it has reached its location.
USPS Priority Mail & Virtual Mailbox Services
Essentially, choosing to have your item forwarded by your mailbox service using USPS Priority Mail, means your package will arrive at its final destination faster.
You will also have more detailed tracking information and a transparent pricing structure for the delivery.
Bear in mind that the cost of the USPS service will be on top of whatever your mailbox provider charges for forwarding packages, (they have to take their administration fee).
This will vary depending on mailbox service and the plan you are on, so be sure to be aware of this.
I’m a 25 year veteran of USPS. I’m retired now, but as the editor of Mailbox Master, I can’t quite remove myself from the carrier industry just yet. 🙂