We’ve all heard of packages being delivered late, due to inclement weather or machinery breakdowns, but what about your package being early?
So, does USPS deliver earlier than expected in some cases? Can their well-oiled machine work so well that your parcel arrives a day or two before it was planned? Here’s what you need to know!
Does USPS Deliver Earlier Than Expected In 2024?
The United States Postal Service can deliver mailpieces earlier than expected, under the right circumstances. It is not terribly common, as 95 percent of USPS’ deliveries occur right on time, but Estimated Delivery times are just that – estimates. The USPS tends to give itself some leeway on those Estimated Delivery times, too in 2024.
To learn more about how your packages may come early, how accurate USPS’s estimated delivery dates are, and how good USPS tracking is overall, keep reading!
Can USPS Packages Come Early?
USPS packages can absolutely come early, provided certain conditions have been met.
Those conditions include the following:
- The day it was mailed out: If you mailed out your package on a Friday or Saturday, you will have to contend with that non-business day, Sunday.
However, if you mail out your package on a Monday, you’ve got nothing but business days ahead of you.
- The time it was mailed out: The earlier you can get your package out, the better.
If you don’t get your package out until, say, 4 p.m., you might have missed the earliest window for it to be scanned in and on its way.
- The destination: If your package is going 100 miles, versus 1,000, your recipient might expect it a little bit early.
However, where they live can have an impact, too.
For example, if someone lives in a city center, they will likely receive their mail faster than someone who lives in a rural area, as post offices are quite prevalent in cities.
- USPS staffing: As a commenter on Quora noted, packages can get held up if the staff isn’t there to process them or deliver them.
“Attendance and vacation can also play a large part in when we can get there,” this commenter remarked. “Some staffing isn’t up to par and it can delay things…”
Overall, this can all come into play when it comes to your package arriving early, but note too that USPS gives itself a little bit of leeway when it comes to your Estimated Delivery date.
How Accurate Is USPS Delivery Date?
This news station did a small experiment to test the accuracy of USPS delivery times, and they found that 88 percent of the time, the packages arrived on the date given.
The news station sent out 33 packages, and while their spokesperson didn’t break down this number more specifically, 29 packages arrived “on time or early.”
While we would have loved to have known how many did arrive early, the fact is that overall, USPS knows what it is doing and has a good idea of when packages will arrive!
Can a Package Be Delivered Without Saying “Out for Delivery?”
We have seen anecdotal incidents where a package has arrived without ever being marked Out for Delivery, which comes down to simple human error.
That is, once the parcel has reached the Post Office and it has made onto the delivery truck, someone forgets to scan it as Out for Delivery.
Your mail carriers are human, and they’re going to make errors now and then.
Unfortunately, if this has happened to you, you likely went back to your Tracking information and saw, that where once it said In Transit, now it says Delivered.
This is because all of the Tracking information has been updated at once.
How Good Is USPS Tracking?
If you rely on USPS Tracking to keep you posted on your packages’ whereabouts, you’re in good hands.
While it’s not perfect, USPS Tracking is still very good.
Still, you might be wondering what’s going on if your Tracking hasn’t been updated in a few days.
Well, this could be for the following reasons:
- Your package is not moving because of inclement weather, labor shortages, or machinery breakdowns
- Your package hasn’t been scanned for its departure from the distribution center
- Unfortunately, your package could have been lost (but this is the least likely outcome)
If any of the above instances apply to your situation, give it a few more days and see if the Tracking doesn’t update on its own.
However, if it doesn’t move after at least a week, it might be time to reach out to USPS Customer Care.
Does USPS Have Live Tracking?
USPS does not have live tracking, like Amazon and UPS do, where once the package is out for delivery, you can follow the truck’s progress.
Rather, when packages are scanned, they update in Tracking within a few minutes or so.
Once a package is updated to Out for Delivery, there is also an Estimated Delivery time, usually a window of two to four hours.
USPS has been known to deliver earlier than expected, though it does not happen super often. Still, when the conditions are right, your package may arrive a day or two in advance, sometimes without the Tracking information updating until after it has been delivered.