Cheapest Overnight Shipping: FedEx, UPS or USPS?

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Getting stuff from A to B is part and parcel of life in America. When it comes to sending packages…especially overnight…there are several services that compete for your business. The three most popular are the Post Office, UPS and FedEx. Think they’re all about the same price? Not even close.

Consumer Reports recently did a survey by sending a paperback book overnight to 16 recipients in 12 states using recommended packaging from all three services.

Results? The Post Office charges a flat fee of $16.50 for a letter-sized envelope anywhere in the lower 48. But the other two charge based on weight and distance… so FedEx was $27 to $55 and UPS was $30 to $63. So depending on distance, they were up to 4 times more.

They also shipped a five-pound package cross-country. Again, when it came to overnight, the Post Office was cheaper. Although on ground shipping, FedEx was basically the same.

So who you use depends on your needs. But the bottom line here is don’t assume everyone’s the same price. Get online and do some homework before you send anything: then maybe you won’t be sending money down the drain.

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Comments & discussion

We welcome your opinions, but let’s keep it civil. Like many businesses, we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone. In our case, that means those who communicate by name-calling, racism, using words designed to hurt others or generally acting like an uninformed bully. Also, comments that include links to email addresses or commercial websites typically aren't posted. This isn't a place to advertise your business.

  • Gerald Marsh

    I found a company that saved me 30% off of what FedEx had been charging on it’s published rates at fedex.com. The company was Cold Freight Services in Austell, GA and they even let me print the FedEx label on my computer! They saved me 30% on an overnight priority package and they told me that I could save 25% on a 2-3 day express package. Amazing! I just wanted to pass that on. I think their website was http://www.coldfreight.com

    I found that USPS was the cheapest when sending ground packages.

  • Gerald Marsh

    I found a company that saved me 30% off of what FedEx had been charging on it’s published rates at fedex.com. The company was Cold Freight Services in Austell, GA and they even let me print the FedEx label on my computer! They saved me 30% on an overnight priority package and they told me that I could save 25% on a 2-3 day express package. Amazing! I just wanted to pass that on. I think their website was http://www.coldfreight.com

    I found that USPS was the cheapest when sending ground packages.

  • Alberto Solano

    I thought I’d comment. Here.
    The article ignores UPS overnight envelope rates.
    If you can fit it into a UPS overnight envelope UPS will ship the package.

    So sending a small item overnight can be done for about 15 dollars.

    I used to ship hundreds of packages a week with UPS. Use this tip to save some money during the holidays. :)

  • Alberto Solano

    I thought I’d comment. Here.
    The article ignores UPS overnight envelope rates.
    If you can fit it into a UPS overnight envelope UPS will ship the package.

    So sending a small item overnight can be done for about 15 dollars.

    I used to ship hundreds of packages a week with UPS. Use this tip to save some money during the holidays. :)

  • Kris

    I would not use the Post Office if you have a business, because we attempted to use them twice to mail packages of our products to customers, and both times they lost the package, even wihen I bought delivery confirmation. We lost two good customers because of the post office, they lost the packages and they did not even attempt to give us our money back, or anything. I would caution a new business against the post office because it ended up costing our compnay the price to reship with UPS, the extra product we had to package and ship, our time, and our integrity