“Which shipping company should I use?” is a question that many people ask.
The three major companies to choose from are FedEx, UPS, and USPS. They have advantages and disadvantages, depending on what you need. There is no perfect shipping carrier. A mix of USPS, UPS, and FedEx is beneficial depending on different factors.
Three factors are; how often you ship, the type, and the weight of your shipment. We have gone through the advantages and disadvantages of the three popular shipping companies. All these companies offer services for individuals and businesses. First, we will give an overview of these shipping companies.
FedEx is an American multinational conglomerate holding company that focuses on transportation, e-commerce, and business services. Their main office is in Memphis, Tennessee. FedEx Ground and FedEx Express are their 2 types of shipping. FedEx Express delivers packages from 1-3 days depending on location. FedEx Ground delivers between 1 to 5 days. FedEx started as Federal Express Corporation in 1971. The name FedEx comes from Federal Express.
What FedEx Is Best For & Why
FedEx is best for businesses that require quick and dependable delivery. It specializes in air shipments and next-day deliveries. FedEx offers several worldwide delivery choices to suit a wide range of pricing levels and desired delivery times. It is ideal for large shipments, express deliveries, and companies that need to keep track of their packages.
- FedEx customers can use their powerful tracking system to monitor their shipments. You can check every stage of your delivery. The Delivery Manager service lets customers hold packages at a FedEx office or schedule delivery for a specific time. You can keep parcels at a FedEx office or arrange delivery for an exact date and time.
- When you register for a personal or business account with FedEx, you automatically get discounted rates. To participate in the FedEx rewards program as a business, you must open a business account (even if you are a single proprietor).
- Special Saturday Shipment: When you ship by FedEx Home Delivery, Saturday shipment is available at no additional cost.
- High shipping rates: FedEx shipping rates tend to be more expensive than USPS. This increase is partially due to delivery area and fuel surcharges.
- Cost for package pickup: FedEx does not offer a free package pickup service.
- Limited Offices: Compared to 5,000 locations worldwide of USPS, FedEx has only 2,000. UPS has a staggering 34,000 retail locations.
FedEx pays close attention to delivery time. Except in unusual situations such as severe weather and holidays, they guarantee that your delivery will arrive on time.
Delivery by Drone
In 2019, FedEx launched its drone delivery trial in the USA for commercial, residential, and e-commerce. This year, FedEx announced the completion of its first scheduled drone last-mile delivery flight in Ireland.
What is USPS? USPS is the oldest American postal service that traces its roots back to 1775. According to Wikipedia “The United States Postal Service(USPS) is an independent agency of the executive branch of the United States federal government responsible for providing postal service in the United States, including its insular areas and associated states.”
USPS is the only shipping company legally allowed to deliver to every mailbox in the USA. USPS® international mail services deliver to more than 180 countries, including United Kingdom, Japan, Canada, Australia, and Mexico. USPS promises to deliver different mail types at the lowest rates.
- Domestic Mail & Shipping
- International Mail & Shipping
- Free supplies for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express
- Free shipment pickups
- Ship to military (you can send to APO, FPO, DPO)
- Free shipping insurance(up to $50 on Priority Mail and up to $100 on Priority Mail Express)
- Tracking, Certified Mail, Return Receipts, and money order purchasing
- Custom mail, stamps, and envelopes.
- Good in handling small, lightweight packages under 20 pounds.
- USPS is typically the most cost-effective delivery option for businesses that want small items shipped. It is especially true for packages under 20 pounds.
- USPS Priority Mail flat rate options allow you to ship products of any weight across any distance for one price.
- USPS is now more reliable with no fear of lost packages and better on-time delivery.
- It is legally allowed to deliver to every mailbox in America. USPS controls all of the mailboxes and post office boxes, allowing you to deliver your goods as well as regular mail.
- Delivery available on Saturday
- Lower Shipping Rates
- Poor Customer Service: When packages go missing, it is difficult to file a claim and receive a refund. The customer service is hard to use with long hold times.
- Comparatively Poor Tracking System: The flawed tracking system does not assist when deliveries are delayed or lost.
- Parcel post is expensive for sending large amounts of goods.
- The maximum weight of a parcel permitted is 20 kg with a max length of 1 meter.
- The speed post service is costly and available only at a few locations.
Delivery by Drone
The US Postal Service is looking at using drones to help it deliver mail and collect geospatial, sensor, image, and other data.
United Parcel Service of America (UPS) is an American multinational package delivery and supply chain management company. UPS is the largest parcel service in the world. UPS has branch offices in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide.
- Freight services: Air, Ocean, Trucking, and Worldwide Expedited Ground Freight.
- Delivery confirmation, collect on delivery, change of request for delivery, direct delivery, hold for pickup, and Saturday delivery.
- Notification services
- Shipper release
- Customs brokerage
- UPS delivery intercept
- Daily pickups
- UPS Returns
- Offer both ground and air service.
- Wide range of business services including copying, faxing, shipping, and mailbox rental.
- UPS is the top carrier for large, heavier packages with a maximum weight of 150 pounds, compared to USPS 70 pounds. Heavier packages are cheaper to ship.
- Discounted rates for shipping large volumes with proof of your previous shipments.
- Offers a variety of express services at reasonable prices for e-commerce shipments.
- UPS offers same-day and next-day delivery.
- UPS offers a wide range of tracking services.
- UPS offers a 24-hour emergency delivery service with its UPS Express Critical emergency service.
- Expensive: Ups cost to ship are high because of fees, fuel surcharges, extended area surcharges, and more.
- Price for Package Pickup Service compared to free like with USPS.
- There is no basic plan for Saturday delivery. You will need to select a delivery service that qualifies and pay an extra fee for Saturday delivery.
Drone Technology Adoption
UPS Drone Service called Flight Forward has recently delivered COVID-19 vaccine in America. The drone airline of UPS received approval for the first time from the FAA (Federal Aviation Association) to carry alkaline and lithium batteries to power temperature monitoring devices required by the CDC for COVID-19 vaccine transport.
Let us now compare FedEx vs UPS vs USPS rates for the following services:
Starting Flat Rate of Packages up to 50 pounds
- UPS FedEx USPS
- Small Box $11.50 $9.50 $7.65
- Medium Box $15.50 $12.35 $13.50
- Large Box $12.00 $19.05 $18.30
- Extra Large Box $25.00 $30.85 N/A
Guaranteed by all these couriers
Delivery (by weight)
USPS is ideal for first-class packages weighing under 10 pounds and delivers within 1-5 business days.
To give you an example, for shipping of a 65-pound package
- FedEx Home $94.29
- UPS Ground $96.10
- USPS Priority Mail $99.84
The difference is that priority mail has a max limit of seventy pounds.
Hours of Operations
- FedEx 7 Days a week from 9 am to 8 pm
- UPS Monday thru Friday 9 am to 7 pm
- USPS 7 Days a week – 24 hours a day
- FedEx Automatically up to $100
- UPS $100 coverage for every undeclared package.
- USPS up to $5,000 for merchandise that is lost or damaged
Pick up Services
No free pick-up by UPS and FedEx.
USPS provides free pick up from anywhere regardless of how many packages
American customer satisfaction index scores for consumer shipping companies in the United States from 2017 to 2021
Courtesy of Statista.
May 10, 2021
The difference between the three companies comes down to cost and speed of delivery. UPS and FedEx should be your first choice for delivery speed because of services such as UPS Express Critical and FedEx Same-Day Delivery.
USPS is the best for packages of smaller dimensions and weight with flat rate shipping and free pickup services. Use USPS to ship small parcels within the U.S. Use FedEx for international shipping. UPS is used to deliver large packages, including medical supplies.
The shipping and logistics industry is changing rapidly. With new technologies like drones, we can expect an even more competitive landscape in the coming years.
For that reason, you should do your research before choosing a provider for all of your shipments – from small packages to heavy freight. We hope you found our research helpful in selecting the correct courier. Stay updated about changing prices and policies. In the meantime, check out more of our blogs at Productivity Land.