For those of you who ship frequently - UPS or USPS and why? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 27 Old 09-24-2009, 07:53 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a small business (hopefully getting bigger ) and I ship baby and kids t-shirts and clothes. I am setting up my online store and trying to figure out which shipper to use.

I talked to UPS and although I love that they have the tracking feature, their shipping starts at $9! I don't know that my customers are gonna want to pay $9 to ship a shirt that cost them $24 - especially when it only costs $1.88 to ship it Parcel Post with USPS. I know I wouldn't want to pay $9. The guy at UPS told me that they are great for shipping bigger things, but not really geared towards smaller items (their rates START at a pound and a lot of my stuff is .25 pounds, so I'm paying for weight I'm not even shipping).

I checked out USPS (US Post Office) and they have tracking too, but only with Express Mail, which is already more expensive than the cheapest UPS. So scratch that off the list. They do have something else called "Delivery Confirmation" which is not quite tracking, but at least tells you when and (and hopefully not if) your customer got it. It's only 75 cents (on top of that $1.88). I'm hoping that even though it's not technically tracking, they try harder to not lose those packages, but who knows.

So, there doesn't seem to be a clear choice here. I either go with more expensive and lose some business because of it or I go with cheaper but it has more of a chance of getting lost (not that it's high chance, but...) and then I'd have to deal with the headache of that whole thing.

What do you use and why? Thanks so much!
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#2 of 27 Old 09-27-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I used to manage a small, online religious goods gift shop for my parents. We shipped almost exclusively USPS. The store sells things like books, pendants, rosaries, medals, small crosses, prayer cards, bookmarks, small statues. Generally things which dont weigh much.

For items weighing less than 13 oz. we just put stamps on it and mail it.

For items weighing more than 13 oz, we have an account with stamps.com It costs 15.99/month but it allows us to ship things media mail and parcel post along with priority mail and express mail. USPS regulatations dictate that all packages weighing more than 13 oz. must have a shipping label on it or be mailed from the post office.

We ship EVERYTHING from home, even international orders. You can go to USPS.com website and order cutoms forms, priority mail flat-rate envelopes and boxes all for free.

We request carrier pick-up of packages on the USPS.com website and store outgoing packages in a clear, plastic, covered bin in front of our garage.

You can also use "click and ship" on the USPS.com website, but you can only use it with priority and express mail. That is why *we* have the stamps.com account, we do lots of media mail shipments. If we didn't do that, we probably would just use click and ship on USPS.com

Occasionally we might have something really large like a custom-ordered cross or something that we will ship UPS, but that is pretty rare.

We haven't had a problem with not having tracking of our packages. We keep records of when everything is shipped and if someone inquires as to the status of their package, we let them know that it was shipped on X date and how it was shipped (priority, express, media, parcel post, regular mail). We let them know how long they can expect shipping to take (3-5 days for priority, up to 7 days for regular mail or 14 days for media mail) and if they haven't received it by (insert date a few days after those limits..ie. for priority mail, 7 days after shipment) to let us know and we will send a replacement at no charge.

I think in the 3-4 years I have done this, we have only had to send maybe 1 or 2 replacement orders.

Hope this helps!

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#3 of 27 Old 09-27-2009, 02:01 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thank you! This is exactly what I was looking for - some anecdotal info about using USPS That's great to hear that you didn't get many lost packages - that was my only worry. And thanks for the stamps.com tip
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#4 of 27 Old 09-27-2009, 06:54 PM
 
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I use USPS thru Paypal for items under 4 lbs. Beyond that, it is more cost effective to use UPS via Paypal (it's cheaper than using UPS outright). You can also do multi-ship on Paypal which saves a lot of time.

You might want to consider shipping sending all of your stuff USPS Priority Mail. Items under 1 lb cost $4.95 which includes delivery confirmation. You could even offer Flat Rate Shipping for your customers....they love that!

Parcel Post (or 1st Class Mail) takes FOREVER to get to customers. I lost several orders thru the mail that way last year, and have vowed to never use 1st Class again because of that.

HTH!

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#5 of 27 Old 09-27-2009, 07:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Carrin View Post
I use USPS thru Paypal for items under 4 lbs. Beyond that, it is more cost effective to use UPS via Paypal (it's cheaper than using UPS outright). You can also do multi-ship on Paypal which saves a lot of time.

You might want to consider shipping sending all of your stuff USPS Priority Mail. Items under 1 lb cost $4.95 which includes delivery confirmation. You could even offer Flat Rate Shipping for your customers....they love that!

Parcel Post (or 1st Class Mail) takes FOREVER to get to customers. I lost several orders thru the mail that way last year, and have vowed to never use 1st Class again because of that.

HTH!
Thank you for this! I am sold on the USPS, but wasn't sure about Parcel vs. Priority, but this kind of info is exactly what I wanted to hear.
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#6 of 27 Old 09-27-2009, 08:47 PM
 
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I use Endicia to print USPS postage. I it

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#7 of 27 Old 09-27-2009, 10:31 PM
 
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I'd stick with USPS - even if you have to pay to replace occasional items for your customers, you are more likely to HAVE customers if you can provide affordable shipping! Good luck!

Laurie wahm (virtual paralegal) of 3 wonderful boys (11, 9, 5). 1st by c-section for breech, 2 by VBAC (one miscarriage between child #1 and #2).

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#8 of 27 Old 09-27-2009, 10:31 PM
 
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I've heard great things about Endicia!

If you're printing labels from home (which I highly recommend!) then the delivery confirmation is only 19 cents! It's automatically added when you order postage online. I use paypal for domestic orders. It's just the easiest for me, since I already have money in the paypal account from people using it to pay for their orders. And if they paid using paypal, the address is already in there for a shipping label!

A lot of my orders are under 13 ounces, so I use first class mail a lot. I personally don't care about things coming priority mail, so if I'm only buying one thing, I'd rather have first class mail as an option. Everyone's different on that one!

Kimberly, in love with Hannah Rose! (04/08) EC grad!
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#9 of 27 Old 09-28-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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I definitely vote USPS. No way would I pay $9 for S&H for one shirt. I use paypal to do all my shipping except international packages which I go to the post office for. The delivery confirmation is much less online and then you will know if the package is delivered to your customer. I have been using this system for about 6 years now and never had a package lost or damaged in the mail. I love USPS! Great rates as well if you do it online on paypal and you can do first class mail on the paypal site.
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#10 of 27 Old 09-28-2009, 08:05 PM
 
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We generally ship 20-30 orders a day via USPS. I have started using UPS for some of our very large orders. I'd be happy to talk with you about it if you end up with specific questions. Just PM me (I'm having a hard time keeping up with threads right now).

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#11 of 27 Old 09-29-2009, 12:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all of your help

Another question about USPS Flat Rate Priority - for those of you that have online stores, how do you determine which flat rate box (or envelope) size to use? There are about 4 or 5 different sizes and price choices. For example, I could just say that shipping is $4.90 flat rate, but what if someone buys enough stuff that necessitates the bigger box which is around $9... does your flat rate shipping price change depending on the number of items ordered or by weight? And if so, is there a way you have this figured out in your cart set-up? Or, do you just say $4.90 flat rate shipping and if you have to pay $9, you just eat that other $4.10?

I hope that makes sense!
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#12 of 27 Old 09-29-2009, 10:50 AM
 
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I find that the Flat Rate boxes from USPS aren't really a great deal unless you are shipping something like a brick. I never spend more than $7.50 with USPS, because once I get up to something that heavy, it makes more sense to use UPS or FedEx.

A lot of time I do eat the extra cost, but it all averages out since I can send some stuff 1st Class (scratch my above comment on 1st class....I was tired, I always ship 1st class, just never Parcel Post on heavier items).

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#13 of 27 Old 10-03-2009, 10:51 AM
 
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Your business sounds like mine and I use USPS. The only exception is when I had a wholesale order that was big I shipped Fed-Ex which is always cheaper than UPS if you have an account and dropping it off at my local Kinkos after I do everything else at home is really easy.

 Keri wife and Mama to  Cory 17,  Brendan 15,  Kerianne 8,  Avery 7,  Lilia 3
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#14 of 27 Old 10-03-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Carrissa View Post
Great rates as well if you do it online on paypal and you can do first class mail on the paypal site.

Good point....yes, you can NOT print 1st Class postage on the usps.com site, only at Paypal.

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#15 of 27 Old 10-03-2009, 12:18 PM
 
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We use both. USPS is our default, but anything over 2 pounds and going west of the Mississippi River goes UPS. Anything over 4 pound, regardless of destination, is considered as possible for both. We charge by weight so heavier items are charged a higher shipping cost. Stamps.com is fantastic for the USPS stuff and we use the UPS system for their orders.

We offer 3-5 day shipping and 1-2 day shipping. 1-2 is based on USPS prices and ships USPS; 3-5 can be either USPS priority or UPS ground. Customers choose the speed but not the carrier.

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#16 of 27 Old 10-03-2009, 02:05 PM
 
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Oh....also, don't ever use Pitney Bowes! I just had the WORST experience with them. I was going to use their service but changed my mind, and went through the biggest nightmare to cancel my account and return a printer.

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#17 of 27 Old 10-13-2009, 06:10 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Okay, so I just took all the time to get a stamps.com account and download the software and THEN they tell me it's only for PC and I have a Mac

How do those of you with Macs use online postage software? Any companies work with Mac?
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#18 of 27 Old 02-05-2010, 09:54 PM
 
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I use USPS for shipping most of my orders because they are so light (I sell my own jewelry) and USPS ends up being cheaper than UPS. UPS rates through Paypal are cheaper than the rates directly at UPS so sometimes I do us UPS.

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#19 of 27 Old 02-05-2010, 11:56 PM
 
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If you end up going with UPS be sure to get yourself an official business account, an account rep, etc. Much better pricing that way.

Also, insist on getting an account rep for USPS too (you can ask your carrier). I think they'll give you one once you average at least 20 parcels a day. It's really helpful to have someone to call when something goes wrong.

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#20 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 11:05 AM
 
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Originally Posted by dogmom327 View Post
If you end up going with UPS be sure to get yourself an official business account, an account rep, etc. Much better pricing that way.
Can you get an official business account and still do labels and pay thru Paypal, or do you have to do labels thru ups.com?

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#21 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 03:20 PM
 
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Can you get an official business account and still do labels and pay thru Paypal, or do you have to do labels thru ups.com?
I use stamps.com. They don't seem to care where you get your postage from--if you ship through them it's revenue for them. This whole thing started for me when my I mentioned to my carrier that the packages on the left side of the front porch would now be for UPS--I had post office people calling me the next day to ask how they could retain as much of our business as possible (and I have the UPS people asking how they can get as much as possible).

At least I feel loved and wanted

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#22 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 04:09 PM
 
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LOL dogmom!

I've always shipped USPS if something is under 10lbs and UPS if it's over that. In the past I've found that's about where they cross, but with recent USPS rate increases that may have changed some.
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#23 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 06:09 PM
 
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LOL dogmom!

I've always shipped USPS if something is under 10lbs and UPS if it's over that. In the past I've found that's about where they cross, but with recent USPS rate increases that may have changed some.

Really? Because I find that the price isn't worth going USPS once it's over about 5 lbs.

I'm thinking of doing a trial w/stamps.com. Dogmom, do you use corecommerce or digishop now? I wonder how the export feature works for people.

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#24 of 27 Old 02-06-2010, 11:11 PM
 
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Really? Because I find that the price isn't worth going USPS once it's over about 5 lbs.

I'm thinking of doing a trial w/stamps.com. Dogmom, do you use corecommerce or digishop now? I wonder how the export feature works for people.
Using Core Commerce. Export feature doesn't work well because it seems it only works if all your packages are exactly the same weight, etc. Seriously...how many businesses is that useful for? But with stamps.com it's just a box to enter the whole address so I've gotten really fast at copy and pasting the shipping address out of CC and into stamps.com. At this point the only thing that stinks is putting in the tracking numbers because I haven't quite figured out the import feature--but I also haven't tried too hard--too much other crap to deal with lately.

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#25 of 27 Old 02-07-2010, 11:41 AM
 
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Using Core Commerce. Export feature doesn't work well because it seems it only works if all your packages are exactly the same weight, etc. Seriously...how many businesses is that useful for? But with stamps.com it's just a box to enter the whole address so I've gotten really fast at copy and pasting the shipping address out of CC and into stamps.com. At this point the only thing that stinks is putting in the tracking numbers because I haven't quite figured out the import feature--but I also haven't tried too hard--too much other crap to deal with lately.

Right now, I have to cut and paste tracking numbers from Paypal into Digishop, so that wouldn't make any more steps for me. I just don't like that Paypal sends my customers and email to let them know the item has shipped. I know they are getting duplicate emails, one from me and one from paypal.

Carrin Mama to Sawyer 4/06 and TTC #2 I am a WAHM!
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#26 of 27 Old 02-07-2010, 02:32 PM
 
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Right now, I have to cut and paste tracking numbers from Paypal into Digishop, so that wouldn't make any more steps for me. I just don't like that Paypal sends my customers and email to let them know the item has shipped. I know they are getting duplicate emails, one from me and one from paypal.
Yeah that's one of the reasons I never used them. You can choose for stamps.com to send an e-mail but you can also opt out (which I do). I just let my CC software send the e-mail.

The one thing I would like to get rid of is that stamps.com's logo is on every blasted label I print....if anyone knows how to fix that?

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#27 of 27 Old 02-07-2010, 07:14 PM
 
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What a helpful thread- thanks for sharing your info!
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