As we near our busiest shipping season of the year, many people wonder; Are flat rate priority mail boxes worth it?
Here’s the quick answer. Only sometimes – definately not always. It also depends on the zone (origin to destination distance).
For shipments traveling shorter distances, Zones 1-4, and weighing less than 20 lbs, using your own packaging for weight-based rates may be a better value. Across all zones, though, shipments weighing over 16 lbs will ship for less in a Flat Rate Medium Box.So how do you know what zones are? Below is a reference to what shipping zones refer to. A quick online search will give you this information and the best way to calculate shipping it to have the actual destination address, package dimensions and weight noted in advance.
USPS Zone Map
- Zone 1: 1- 50 miles from the shipping origin.
- Zone 2: 51- 150 miles.
- Zone 3: 151- 300 miles.
- Zone 4: 301- 600 miles.
- Zone 5: 601-1000 miles.
- Zone 6: 1001-1400 miles.
- Zone 7: 1401-1800 miles.
- Zone 8: 1801 miles or more.
Preparing packages and labels yourself will allow for adjustments that save you and your customers shipping costs. By weighing and measuring shipments in advance, you can get the absolute best rates available. It is easier than ever to ship packages from home or your office for the greatest savings!
I use a third party shipping site called Pirate Ship to prepare my package labels. Pirate Ship lets you purchase USPS® and UPS® postage and print shipping labels at the cheapest rates available with no markup, fees, or minimums.
Conclusion: Flat rate boxes do NOT always offer a better rate. The same weight package can ship to the same exact destination for LESS when using your own box or regular priority boxes (that do NOT say flat rate).