It is the official postal service used in the United States and has a number of shipping options for both individuals and businesses.
It’s the latter we will look into today.
Choosing the Right USPS Mail Service for Your Business
The postage options available through USPS do mean you should think about what you need before slapping a stamp on your envelope and sending it on its way.
While the flat-rate option might work for a standard mail item, what about if you need express delivery or signature on arrival, maybe even insurance? Cost can also be a factor.
Your needs here will determine which of the USPS shipping options to choose from. So, what are these options…?
Choice of USPS Mail Services
USPS categorizes its shipping options in classes. There are 6 mail classes available, offering different delivery times, weight limits, prices, and incentives.
- Priority Mail
- Priority Mail Express
- First-Class Mail
- USPS Marketing Mail
- USPS Media Mail
- USPS Retail Ground/ Package Services
While the first 3 will be familiar to individuals, enterprise users are more likely to be users of the latter options.
Price of USPS Mail Services
1. Priority Mail
We have allocated an entire article to USPS Priority Mail here. It is currently the best-selling USPS mail service, with 1–3 business days delivery on U.S based shipments and 6–19 days for international shipments.
Its popularity stems from its affordability and easy-to-understand pricing structure.
The service includes Flat Rate envelopes and boxes. You pay for one of these and as long as your items can fit inside, (and do not weigh over 70lbs), the shipment is valid and that is the price you pay.
This has proved very beneficial for businesses with such a standardized approach. The service is used for packages, merchandise, documents, and other business-sensitive materials that need to be reliably shipped.
2. Priority Mail Express
Priority Mail Express is USPS’s fastest shipping service and another favorite with businesses.
This service means you can get important documents sent to a location using overnight delivery on a money-back guarantee policy. The service operates throughout the year, even on weekends and holidays.
$100 of insurance coverage is also included in the price.
Understandably, the faster delivery time and other add-ons mean this is more expensive than Priority Mail. Prices start at $26.35 and will vary on distance and weight.
3. First-Class Mail
If your business sends single-piece lightweight items such as invoices, contracts, etc, First Class Mail is a very good option.
The delivery speed is from 1 to 3 business days. Envelopes can weigh up to 13 oz. or less and packages are up to 3.5 oz and prices are based on weight and distance.
The value of the contents of the envelope should not be $400.
4. USPS Marketing Mail
This service is popular for businesses that send out flyers, newsletters, catalogs, etc. The maximum weight is 16 ounces.
The pricing structure of marketing mail prices is based on a minimum quantity of 200 pieces or 50 lbs. in weight.
On items sent out you have access to tracking and bulk insurance. USPS also offers return receipts for merchandise.
5. USPS Media Mail
USPS Media Mail is another business-based shipping option that caters to what is known as Periodicals.
Essentially, this is for the delivery of printed media such as newspapers, magazines, and catalogs. Prices start at $2.80 per envelope sent.
Strangely enough, USPS is quite particular about the items that can be sent. Restrictions are in place so that you can only send books (at least 8 pages), printed music, test materials, play scripts, medical loose-leaf pages, and binders.
The educational sector is also catered to with allowances on educational reference charts, video or sound recordings, and computer-readable media.
Packages need to be 70 lbs. or under. As with the likes of priority mail, price is based on the weight with delivery speeds ranging from 2 to 8 business days.
6. USPS Retail Ground/ Package Services
Finally, we have USPS Package Services.
This also has a delivery speed ranging from 2 to 8 business days and is a lot cheaper than priority mail because of this fact.
If you are a business looking to save money on shipping and have no urgency about what is being sent, you can definitely reduce your costs using this method.
Prices start at $7.50 with a weight limit of 70 lbs. or under. The price is set based on weight, distance, and shape.
- Related Content: What Does “USPS in Possession of Item” Mean?
Which is the Right USPS Mail Service for Your Business?
When choosing shipping options for your business, the three main variables to consider are speed, weight, and cost.
How urgently does your item need to arrive? If very, then your option should be priority mail or priority mail express.
If it’s a single item envelope you could also get away with First Class assuming you do not need overnight delivery.
If you are delivering mailouts or brochures with enough volume, the Media and Marketing mail options will suit you in terms of being cost-effective and efficient.
Finally, if you have time for your package to arrive at its destination, you should aim to save money by using the slower, but cheaper option of ground package services.
Importantly, USPS offers a completely flexible and easy structure for all types of mail. This means you can choose whichever class is most suitable for the individual need that you have.
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. 🙂