When you own a small business, you have many options for shipping: UPS, FedEx, DHL, and, of course, the United States Postal Service. Does that last one surprise you? It shouldn’t, as USPS has long offered mailing solutions for small businesses.
Is USPS for small businesses worth it, though? And what solutions does USPS offer that other shippers don’t? I’ve got the answer you seek, so keep reading!
Is USPS for Small Business Worth It in 2023?
USPS for small businesses is generally worth it, as the agency offers some of the lowest retail shipping rates to be found, in addition to resources like marketing campaigns, Every Door Direct Mail, package pickup, and package drop-off in 2023. Further, for businesses that qualify, USPS offers Commercial pricing, which features significant discounts on its Retail rates.
To learn more about the cheapest ways a small business can ship with USPS, if a Business account is free, some ways your business can save money on USPS shipping, and even how to get into Commercial pricing, keep reading!
What Is the Cheapest Way for a Small Business to Ship via USPS?
There are several cheap Retail shipping methods that USPS offers, which small businesses could take advantage of.
The first is First-Class Package, which is for smaller, lighter parcels that don’t weigh over 13 ounces.
First-Class Package starts at just $4.50 for parcels that aren’t over 1 ounce that is heading to Zones 1 and 2, and it maxes out at $5.
On the heaviest end, parcels that weigh 13 ounces start at just $7.05 to Zones 1 and 2 and cost just $7.65 to ship to Zone 9.
Another great option is Priority Mail Flat Rate, which includes envelopes and boxes, that you can get for free at your local Post Office or by ordering online at The Postal Store.
A regular Flat Rate envelope costs just $8.95 to ship, regardless of destination.
A small Flat Rate box costs $9.45, a medium $16.10, and a large $21.50.
If you’re mailing a lot of the same item or types of item, a Flat Rate can be a great choice, with a delivery window of one to three days, Tracking included, and $50-worth of Insurance.
Next is Regional Rate shipping, which combines the speed of Priority Mail (it is actually an offshoot of Priority Mail) with the affordability of Zoned pricing.
Basically, if you’re shipping medium-weight items (15 lbs. or less for Box A and 20 lbs. or less for Box B) less than 600 miles away, you can really save!
Finally, the fourth and fifth cheapest Retail methods of shipping are Retail Ground and Parcel Select.
These are slower, taking anywhere from two to eight business days, but they are terrific for heavier, larger parcels.
Retail Ground can be purchased at the Post Office and through Click-N-Ship; however, Parcel Select is only available through third-party postage providers, like Stamps.com.
Is a USPS Business Account Free?
The USPS business shipping services Click-N-Ship Business Pro appears to require a monthly payment of about $15 to keep the account active.
However, Click-N-Ship Business Pro is free to register as a business customer and download the desktop software.
The software provides database integration, package tracking, reporting, and even email notifications to recipients letting them know their package is on the way, with Tracking info.
There is quick label creation, doorstep pickup scheduling, and even potential customer targeting.
What Is Every Door Direct Mail With USPS?
Every Door Direct Mail, or EDDM, lets you target areas in your local community with Marketing Mail to promote your small business.
There is even an EDDM online tool you can use, which lets you narrow your search by ZIP code, age, income, and household size.
You can use EDDM Retail or if you have access to Commercial pricing, EDDM BMEU (Business Mail Entry Unit).
With EDDM Retail, you can send at least 200 and up to 5,000 mailpieces per day, per ZIP code, and you can drop off your EDDM mailers at your local Post Office.
There is no special permit needed, and you can opt to pay online or at the Post Office when you drop it off.
EDDM Retail costs just 20 cents per piece, while EDDM BMEU costs a mere $0.168 per mailpiece.
To learn more about EDDM and how it can help you get the word out about your small business, check out this link.
How Can You Save Money On USPS Shipping?
There are many ways you can save money on USPS shipping for small businesses. These include the following:
- Taking advantage of USPS services like package pick-up, which can save you time and money (gas money!) by limited trips to the Post Office
- Using USPS Click-N-Ship, which offers some discounted rates on shipping, versus going to the Post Office
- Use slower shipping classes; you’re not Amazon, so you don’t need to have the item to the customer in two days.
Using a slower shipping class can save you big, but if you want to offer your customers faster shipping, try fitting your item into a Flat Rate box.
- Consider shipping with a third-party postage provider, like Stamps.com, Pirate Ship, or Shippo.
These companies have negotiated lower rates with USPS, by promising volume of shipments, basically locking in Commercial pricing without all the hassle.
- If your business has the volume, consider getting a permit for Commercial pricing (I’ll cover Commercial pricing in the section below).
How Do You Get USPS Commercial Pricing?
Commercial mail pricing is a special tier of mail designed to meet the needs of businesses that move a lot of letters and/or packages.
By meeting volume requirements – e.g., 500 pieces of First-Class mail, 200 pieces of Marketing Mail, per year – customers can unlock special discounted pricing on mail classes.
However, it’s not only volume requirements; Commercial pricing customers must also undertake some serious legwork, namely printing postage and presorting mail.
It can be worth the hassle of obtaining a postage meter or learning the software and obtaining the permit and presorting hundreds of envelopes, for the right business.
To get Commercial pricing, you must decide how you’re going to pay for your postage – precanceled stamps, postage meter, or permit imprint.
Each has its own merits, but when you choose your postage payment method, you will also apply for your mailing permit (the annual fee can be paid for later).
Then, once you have your mailing permit, you can begin to take advantage of Commercial pricing.
If you’re doing a bulk mailing, you’ll presort your envelopes and bring them into the Business Mail Entry Unit (BMEU).
The BMEU clerk will make sure everything is accurate, and you might end up having to pay extra (or charge extra to your account) to make up for improper postage.
If it’s your first time and you haven’t paid your annual mailing fee, you can do that at the BMEU as well.
But once that’s all squared away, your Commercial mail can enter the system and begin its journey!
USPS absolutely can work for small businesses, with the Click-N-Ship Business Pro software leading the way to scheduled pickups, Tracking notifications, and more.
For larger small businesses or small businesses that deal in a lot of mailings per year, there is Commercial Mail pricing, specially discounted because the customer does some of the legwork.