Small business owners who deal in e-commerce have a great deal of competitive options when it comes to shipping.
For domestic shipping in particular, the United States Postal Service offers numerous services, like Priority, First-Class Parcel and Parcel Select.
But what exactly is Parcel Select? Well, it could be the best option for your small business. Let me explain further below!
What Is USPS Parcel Select In 2023?
USPS Parcel Select is a Postal Service package shipping option that is geared toward medium-to-large shippers. With a delivery range of 2-8 days, it is USPS’s slowest parcel shipping service, but also their most economical. Parcel Select can only be purchased via an online postage vendor, like Stamps.com, not on USPS.com or in Post Offices.
You probably have a lot more questions about how Parcel Select works, how much it can save you and how it compares to USPS’s many other shipping services. I’ll get into the nitty-gritty, so keep reading!
How Does USPS Parcel Select Work?
The United States Postal Service started offering USPS Parcel Select in 2013, when it dissolved the Parcel Post service.
Parcel Select is an online-only, postage vendor-only service that offers 2–8-day shipping and the lowest parcel shipping prices from USPS.
For this reason, it is an ideal choice for small business owners and others who ship regularly and frequently, but who find other shipping options eating into their profits.
(Surprise – even competitors like UPS and FedEx may use Parcel Select for the “last leg” of delivery.)
Accessing Parcel Select
To access it, however, you cannot find it online at USPS.com or even in your local Post Office.
Parcel Select is offered through postage vendors only; examples include Stamps.com, Shipping Easy and SendPro Online.
Thus, you will have to have an account with one of those vendors to take advantage of Parcel Select.
Pricing And Shipping Know-How
Prices may be calculated by weight, dimensions (for nonmachinable packages), and destination.
Overall, though, the starting price is just $3.30 for a one-pound package.
Machinable packages max out at 35 lbs. (starting price: just $6.84!), while nonmachinable packages may run up to 70 lbs., for $9.24, or oversized parcels for $13.97.
In my opinion, Parcel Select is at its most economical for packages between 1 and 35 lbs., which are traveling from the DDU, or destination delivery unit (the “Last Mile” of delivery).
Parcel Select also comes with built-in USPS Tracking, which is a nice feature for such an economical service.
How Long Does USPS Parcel Select Take?
USPS Parcel Select takes between two and eight business days, substantially longer in some cases than, say, Priority, which ships between one and three business days.
Just like all their services, Parcel Select does deliver on Saturdays, as Saturdays are considered “business as usual” for the Postal Service.
They do not deliver on Sundays, and as far as I can tell, Sunday delivery cannot be purchased for Parcel Select, as it can be for some other services.
The bottom line is: Customers who use Parcel Select are not choosing it for speed; they’re using the service for the low prices.
How Much Is USPS Parcel Select?
USPS Parcel Select will always be its least expensive for packages under 35 pounds, shipping from the DDU (destination delivery unit), or the “Last Mile” of the delivery journey.
A 35-lb. machinable package set from the DDU, costs only $6.85 to ship, which is half the cost of shipping a medium Flat Rate box (and cheaper even than a small Flat Rate!).
For the full graph of Parcel Select fees, check out this page.
Does USPS Deliver Parcel Select On Sunday?
According to this chart on Stamps.com, USPS does not offer the special option to deliver Parcel Select on Sundays.
This service is only available for Priority Mail Express, Priority and First-Class Package for a $12.50 fee.
So if your package has made it to your Post Office on Saturday but hasn’t gone out for delivery yet, it won’t be coming on Sunday, and it is likely to come on Monday instead.
Will USPS Pick Up Parcel Select Ground?
USPS Parcel Select is not eligible for pick-up by the Postal Service.
You can calculate, print, and affix your postage at home via postage vendors like Stamps.com.
But you will have to hand-deliver the parcel(s) to a street letterbox (if it will fit) or a Post Office (if it won’t fit in a letterbox). You can also give it to your mail carrier.
What Is The Difference Between USPS Retail Ground And Parcel Select?
To look at them, the difference between USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select seems minimal – if not nonexistent.
And it’s true – there are some similarities, like the delivery rates, which are identical – two-to-eight business days, as well as included USPS Tracking.
But apart from that, the two services are actually quite different.
For starters, you can purchase Retail Ground on USPS.com or in Post Offices. But you can’t purchase Parcel Select at either of those locations.
Parcel Select can only be purchased via a postage vendor like Stamps.com or Shippo.com.
Parcel Select is also significantly cheaper than Retail Ground in some cases. The former is actually kind of a “secret special” service available only to a select group.
USPS offers the super-low shipping rates only to mailers who have accounts with third-party postage vendors.
What Is The Difference Between USPS Priority Mail And Parcel Select?
There is a world of difference between USPS Priority Mail and Parcel Select.
Here are a few of the biggest contrasts:
- Parcel Select is only available via postage vendors like Stamps.com; Priority Mail can be accessed both online and in Post Offices
- Parcel Select is significantly cheaper than Priority Mail; even a Priority Mail Flat Rate small box costs more to ship than a 35-lb. box with Parcel Select
- Priority Mail is much faster, shipping in as little as one day in some cases; Parcel Select’s fastest is two days, but delivery can extend up to eight days
- Priority Mail can be delivered on Sundays, for an additional fee; this option is not available to Parcel Select shippers
- Priority Mail is eligible for Scheduled Pickups by USPS; Parcel Select is not and must be hand-delivered to a letterbox, mail carrier or Post Office
To know more about USPS, you can also read our related posts on how long does USPS holds packages, if USPS updates tracking, and the USPS click-n-ship.
USPS Parcel Select is an economical option for regular, frequent shippers who aren’t as concerned about speed.
Though it is a USPS service, Parcel Select can only be accessed via postage vendors like Stamps.com; it cannot be purchased online at USPS.com or even in Post Offices.