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Ina Steiner on EmailIna Steiner on LinkedinIna Steiner on Twitter
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner
Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). She is a member of the Online News Association (Sep 2005 - present) and Investigative Reporters and Editors (Mar 2006 - present). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to ina@ecommercebytes.com. See disclosure at EcommerceBytes.com/disclosure/.

3 thoughts on “Online Sellers Guide to Flat Rate Shipping”

  1. The biggest rip off that the USPS does is the A and B boxes. Most of the time flat rate boxes will beat that price each time and sometimes just a plain ordinary package is cheaper if light weight. The post office is pricing its self right out of business. We used to ship 50 to 75 priority mail items each day. Even had a special pick up because the regular carrier drove one of those little matchbox cars. Now we are down to maybe 3 to 4 packages a day. The saying in our house now is. IF IT DOESN’T FIT INTO A FLAT RATE ENVELOPE OR PADDED ENVELOPE WE DON’T SELL IT. We now ship hundreds of things that fit into an envelop. Just lick and stick a stamp. No tracking or any other crap.

  2. I disagree about the value of Regional Rate boxes! RRA can be a great value depending on location. RRB not so much 😉

  3. Respectfully, the three “criteria” you stated does not include the one I find the absolutely most important: “Will my item get there safely with no damage?”

    Based on my own personal experience, my own choice is USPS, without a second thought.

    With the possible exception of maybe one package every 2 – 3 years, I do not use FedEx Ground because the drop off point is 30 miles away (no more “Ground” drop off boxes now, for security reasons) and I never have enough packages for a pick-up. Packages that I receive do seem to arrive in good condition, though.

    RE: UPS, I had a UPS account for a while a few years ago until I read the fine print on the back of the waybill about what is (more importantly, what is NOT) covered by their “insurance,” and my own as well as friends’ long time experience is that it seems to be in their best interest to fight claims. Packages that arrive at my house by UPS often arrive damaged, while USPS packages are almost never damaged. (The trick being, of course to pack anticipating damage so hopefully the item will be OK regardless of what happens to the box.) I WILL use UPS for an occasional very large, HEAVY item, but their flat rates and smaller packaging are simply nothing I will ever use.

    I seldom use USPS Flat Rate because what I ship usually doesn’t fit well into those boxes or envelopes (regular rates or Regional being cheaper), but I surely am grateful for the free Priority supplies!!!! I find Regional A and B boxes and rates often very helpful. And I REALLY wish they had not discontinued Regional C, which helped me significantly !!

    I don’t understand why anyone might complain about any of the individual service or packaging choices, because having all those choices gives us the opportunity to pick the most cost effective and best protection of the bunch.

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