How to Ship With Private Parcel Services

Private parcel services are a fantastic way to ship packages--quick, easy, and inexpensive. However, most businesses try to wheedle every last penny out of you during a sale and the UPS Store is no different! Without revealing any 'inside secrets', here is a compilation of lessons learned while shopping at the UPS store. The consumer should not be cheated out of money--a business should be run fairly.


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    SIZE MATTERS. It's true. The pricing of a package depends on several things; size, weight, and destination. If you pack an item yourself, select the smallest possible box (including any room for padding). Also remember that most stores round UP in sizing boxes! 12.3 inches (31.2 cm) will be rounded up to 13 inches (33.0 cm). Often this makes no difference, sometimes it does.
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    HEFTY IS PRICEY. This should be fairly common sense. Items which weigh more also cost more to ship. When shipping through UPS Ground, the weight is often negligible (up to a certain weight.) If shipping through Air (next day or second day), weight is much more important on price. Always try to pack the box as light as possible.
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    DESTINATION. The destination usually can't be changed. The further away it is, the more expensive it is to ship. You really can't do much about this; however, a Rural Surcharge will be given if a house is not on the regular UPS route. In this case, try to find somewhere on route to ship to (such as a PO Box). When shipping a $5 package to a rural area, a charge of ~$4 is added!
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    TOGETHER OR APART? If you're shipping packages to the same place, it'll often be cheaper to consolidate all the packages into one box--the price of the box would be less than the fuel surcharge of each individual package. This is not always the case. Try using common sense--if you have only three packages, it's probably cheaper to ship them individually. If they're pre-boxed, you may be able to have the boxes taped together. This negates redundant fuel surcharges and the price of an additional box! Just watch out for being charged for over-sized packages.
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    TAKING YOU FOR A FOOL. That's right. What you don't know can't hurt, right? When shipping Air or Second Day, multiple times are given. If you really don't care what time it gets there, always ask for the latest time ('End of Day delivery.') This will save you just a few dollars, but it's better than losing a few!
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    POSTAL SERVICES COST MORE. Want a letter stamped and mailed? It'll cost more than it will at the post office. Want to buy some stamps? It'll still cost more. If it's a service of the USPS, go to the USPS office. It'll save you money.
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    PADDED ENVELOPES. The average cheapest price of a UPS package is about $5. If you put, for example, a CD in a padded envelope, it'll cost at least $5 to ship it. The post office will ship it for $2 or less.
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    CUSTOM BOXES. Sometimes your item to be shipped is irregularly shaped. Sometimes they just don't have the box you need. Either way, paying for two or more boxes isn't usually fun. If you can, buy another box elsewhere or even make your own out of scrap boxes.
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    DON'T ACCEPT A HIGH PRICE. Sometimes employees at the UPS Store will try to knock a few dollars off for you. If you say, "Go ahead and try, but if you can't, that's OK" then you have given them permission to ship your package as is, despite the employee having offered to try to lower the price.


  • Don't complain. Besides skimping on the weight and dimensions, there isn't much an employee can do about the cost to ship things. Shipping is generally expensive no matter what company you go through. Complaining will just result in both parties becoming disgruntled and less attention paid to your beloved package.

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Categories: Postal System