If you have a small business or are simply shipping items on a smaller to medium-sized scale, you may have heard of Pirate Ship. Pirate Ship offers USPS Priority Mail shipping for less than even the commercial costs – and it’s done without monthly fees or markups.
But you might be wondering: is Pirate Ship the same as USPS? Is it just a branch of USPS or a rebranding of the company’s Priority Mail services? Here’s what you need to know!
Is Pirate Ship the Same as USPS?
Pirate Ship isn’t the same as USPS, as the former is its own business, providing cloud-based shipping software and lower rates than even Commercial Plus, likely achieved through lower negotiated pricing with the latter in 2023. Customers of Pirate Ship gain access to USPS Cubic shipping, which is perfect for smaller, but heavier, parcels.
To learn more about whether Pirate Ship is approved by USPS, if Pirate Ship pays USPS, what boxes you can use with Pirate Ship, and much, much more, keep going!
Is Pirate Ship Approved by USPS?
Pirate Ship doesn’t have an official seal of approval from the United States Postal Service.
But clearly, as the company has been in business since 2014, USPS nonetheless approves of the company’s business model, as Pirate Ship would be unable to operate otherwise.
This is because Pirate Ship ostensibly has worked with USPS to negotiate lower rates than what USPS offers themselves.
In return, USPS receives the high parcel volume that Pirate Ship (and other shipping companies like it) can bring in, thanks to its low rates and ease of use.
Does Pirate Ship Pay USPS?
Somewhere along the lines, Pirate Ship, the cloud-based shipping software that is available for free, must pay USPS.
However, in order to turn a profit, the company must do so at a lower rate than what its services are selling for.
Then, the company charges a slightly higher rate to its customers – which is still more affordable than USPS’s prices – and collect the difference.
Four Week MBA points out that the difference could be as little as pennies, so they have to move a lot of parcel labels.
However, as the company was founded in 2014 and is still going strong today, Pirate Ship has apparently found a business model that works.
What Shipping Method Does Pirate Ship Use?
Pirate Ship offers customers USPS Priority Mail, a fast and affordable shipping method.
The company offers four sub-services under the Priority Mail umbrella, including Priority Mail Cubic, weight-based Priority Mail, Flat Rate, and Regional Rate.
As well, the company’s Priority Mail shipping still comes with Tracking and Insurance included (though through Pirate Ship, you get $100-worth of Insurance, versus Postal Service’s $50).
The delivery window is within one to three days, which makes this the second-fastest shipping option USPS offers (the quickest is Priority Mail Express).
Can You Use USPS Boxes With Pirate Ship?
You absolutely can use USPS boxes with Pirate Ship, though the company recommends using your own boxes.
There are a few mail classes where you have to use USPS boxes, though – Priority Mail Flat Rate and Regional Rate.
If you’re using either of these shipping classes, you will have to obtain USPS boxes, which you can do for free at your local Post Office or online, using the Postal Store.
(When you order them online, you also get free delivery; your local mail carrier picks them up and drops them off at your front door.)
Does Pirate Ship Have Priority Mail?
Pirate Ship exclusively offers Priority Mail shipping to its customers, making it ideal for all sizes and weights of packages.
The max size is 108 inches when combining length and girth, and the max weight is 70 lbs. (though the max weight for Priority Mail Cubic is 20 lbs.).
Additionally, for Flat Rate and Regional Rate shipping, the max weight is 70 lbs, but the item being shipped must fit in one of the USPS boxes.
How Does Pirate Ship Make Money?
Because the deal worked out between Pirate Ship and USPS is private, we can’t know the exact details.
However, Four Week MBA suggests that Pirate Ship has negotiated super low rates with USPS, which receives a high volume of packages in its system in return.
Afterward, Pirate Ship charges just a bit more than its negotiated rate for customers, and the difference goes into the coffers.
Now, Four Week MBA is quick to point out that that difference might be mere pennies – so maintaining a high volume of packages will always be the top priority.
To learn more, you can also read our posts on whether or not USPS ship to Singapore, the fastest USPS shipping method, and USPS shipping restrictions.
Pirate Ship isn’t the same as USPS, as one is a cloud-based business, and the other is an independent agency of the federal government.
However, Pirate Ship has worked out a deal with USPS, which allows the company to offer Priority Mail shipping at a lower rate to customers, while still making money themselves.