Small business owners and other regular shippers who use the Internet to create, print, and pay for mailing labels know that the associated costs can eat away at your bottom line. Luckily, the United States Postal Service offers various options to help make mailing more affordable.
One of those services is Regional Rate shipping. But what is USPS Regional Rate shipping, and how can it work for you? If you haven’t heard of this before, or you’re just not sure what it is, see below for the answer!
What Is USPS Regional Rate In 2023?
USPS Regional Rate is a shipping option for commercial and online customers, which can be used to send parcels both domestically and internationally at a lower cost, using Regional Rate boxes A or B, as of 2023. Regional Rate shipping is similar to Priority Mail; however, the weight limit is smaller, just 20 pounds.
There is a lot more to this topic, including how Regional Rate works, how to know if you qualify to use Regional Rate, the difference between Regional Rate and Flat Rate, and much more!
How Does USPS Regional Rate Work?
If you’re a small business owner who ships mainly within a certain radius from your location, USPS Regional Rate shipping might be the service for you.
According to the USPS website, this service combines “the speed and convenience of Priority Mail and Priority Mail International shipping with zone pricing…to reduce costs.”
So, if you are already a Priority Mail Commercial Base or Cubic Pricing customer or intend to become one, you can take advantage of this special pricing.
Essentially, it “rewards” customers who create, print, and pay for labels at home (or at the office, etc.) versus coming into the Post Office.
Regional Rate Boxes
You can pick up the Regional Rate boxes at the Post Office; Box A and Box B.
That said, Box A has a maximum weight limit of 15 pounds domestically and ten pounds internationally.
In comparison, Box B can carry as much as 20 pounds maximum, both domestically and internationally.
Also, you can order these boxes (completely free, including free shipping) from USPS.com.
But, you must print the label from home or the office. In fact, if you bring your Regional Rate box into the Post Office to ship, you can incur a special fee.
To pay for the postage (i.e., the label), you can use several different online services, including:
- USPS’s Click-N-Ship
- Permit Imprint
- PC Postage products that are USPS-approved
- And several more!
How Much Is USPS Regional Rate?
Like Priority Mail, Regional Rate is priced according to your destination’s zone, which is relative to your zip code.
For example, someone in Los Angeles will see that Seattle is in a different zone relative to them than someone shipping from Topeka.
In any case, Box A shipping starts at $8.38 to Zones 1 and 2, all the way up to $26.37 for Zone 9. On the other hand, Box B starts at $8.88 for Zones 1 and 2, up to $44.02 for Zone 9.
And again, Box B has a higher weight limit of 20 pounds than Box A (only 15 pounds domestically).
Additionally, if you purchase postage at the Post Office for both Regional Rate boxes, expect to pay an extra $2.25 for Zones 1 through 4 and $1 for Zones 5-9.
Despite that surcharge, it’s worth mentioning that a 20-pound package sent via Priority Mail is already $21.95 shipped locally or to Zones 1 and 2.
Moreover, a 20-pound package via Priority Mail to Zone 9 is a whopping $161.40! Compare that to the Regional Rate price of $44.02 for a Zone 9 shipment of 20 pounds.
How Do You Know If You Can Use A USPS Regional Rate Box?
USPS Regional Rate is applicable if you are a Priority Mail Commercial Base or Cubic Pricing customer.
Basically, you ship a particular volume of parcels that would qualify you for the lower Regional Rate pricing.
Also, USPS used to offer a Commercial Plus program, but in 2019 it restructured its pricing policy and got rid of it, except for the Priority Mail Cubic Pricing service.
What Are The USPS Regional Rate Zones?
As mentioned above, there are nine different Regional Rate Zones, but your destination’s zone is determined relative to its distance from you.
So, if you’re using Regional Rate to ship from one zip code in Los Angeles to another in the same city, you will pay Zone 1 prices.
In comparison, someone in Florida would pay more to ship to that same zip code in LA because the distance is greater, so it would be a higher zone group.
Are you curious about the zones relative to your location? Check out this awesome interactive map from Pirate Ship!
What Is The Difference Between USPS Regional Rate And Priority Mail?
USPS Regional Rate and Priority Mail are actually very closely related.
For example, Regional Rate ships at the same speed as Priority Mail; the key difference is that Regional Rate customers pay less for zoned shipping.
As outlined above, a 20-pound package (Box B) shipped via Regional Rate to Zone 9 costs only $44.02.
That said, a parcel of the same weight shipped via Priority Mail to Zone 9 costs $161.40, so that’s a savings of $117 using Regional Rate!
What Is The Difference Between USPS Regional Rate And Flat Rate?
USPS Regional Rate and Flat Rate are two completely different services.
Whether Priority Mail or Priority Express, Flat Rate offers a set price to any applicable destination, provided the item being mailed fits in the box or envelope.
In comparison, Regional Rate follows a zoned pricing chart, where the further the destination from the starting point, the more expensive it is.
But, Regional Rate is still very competitively priced, particularly compared to regular Priority Mail shipping.
To know more, you can also read our posts on what is USPS Flat Rate, what is USPS Retail Ground, and what is USPS Tracking Plus.
USPS Regional Rate shipping is an excellent alternative to Priority Mail shipping, with the same quick shipping speed but lower zoned pricing.
So, while the weight limit is lower than both Priority Mail, with a max at just 20 pounds, for shippers of small-to-medium-sized and weighted items, Regional Rate can save you hundreds.