Ina Steiner EcommerceBytes Blog
News and insight focusing on ecommerce.
by Ina Steiner, Editor of EcommerceBytes.com
Mon Sept 5 2016 21:10:21

Would You Use a Flat Rate Service from UPS?

By: Ina Steiner

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Many small sellers find USPS Priority Mail and Media Mail to be viable options, especially since UPS and FedEx moved to dim-weight (dimensional weight) pricing - and since UPS and FedEx impose fuel surcharges and surcharges for Residential delivery. (Larger sellers can negotiate better prices with the two carriers than lower-volume sellers.)

But now, UPS is testing a flat-rate service in stealth mode. 

Packages weighing up to 70lbs and measuring under 900 cubic inches can be shipped for $11.35 for 3-day delivery with no surcharges, and there's a rate for Ground service at under $10. One caveat: your package must not exceed 900 cubic inches or you'll be slapped with a very big penalty fee.

We broke the story in Monday's inaugural issue of EcommerceBytes 411, which provided more details.

Would you be attracted to a UPS service that let you ship small, heavy items for one flat rate, with no surcharges? Would Ground be fast enough - would your customers spring for the 3-day service?

There's something to be said for the simplicity of knowing that as long as your item fits inside a certain size box, it doesn't matter how much it weighs. That said, it appears these are early days of testing for UPS, and there's nothing to say the ultimate service it launches looks like this pilot program, if it proceeds.




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Perminate Link for Would You Use a Flat Rate Service from UPS?   Would You Use a Flat Rate Service from UPS?

This user has validated their user name. by: Ming the Merciless

Mon Sep 5 22:35:40 2016

No. If they had several Priority Mail flat rate tiers, picked up at residences free of charge, eliminated fuel and residential delivery surcharges, and provided free shipping supplies all of which USPS does, I might consider it.

This great deal for some sellers, though.

UPS started out being significantly cheaper than USPS. Not now. The salaries they pay make
USPS salaries look like pauper wages. This why they add these usurious charges and surcharges.

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by: castlerob This user has validated their user name.
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Mon Sep 5 23:20:22 2016

I'd look at it, but it's unlikely. Even most USPS flat rate boxes don't work for me, as most of my products aren't that heavy.

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by: Sierra This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 00:11:53 2016

Not likely. The post office is MUCH closer for me.  

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by: menco This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 00:18:22 2016

Sure, look at everything. But as Ming observed, there's lotsa charges twixt the base rate and the total cost.  

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by: Silverdog This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 00:19:55 2016

Ming the Merciless and I are 100% on this, word for word !!!  

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Sep 6 00:23:44 2016

@ Ming

You said: "eliminated fuel and residential delivery surcharges"

From above: "Would you be attracted to a UPS service that let you ship small, heavy items for one flat rate, with no surcharges?"

You said: "provided free shipping supplies"

Rumor is UPS is coming out with Flat Rate Boxes.

And do UPS employees really make more then USPS employees?

My brother is a mail carrier, he makes almost $30 an hour and will get 85% of his base pay for retirement.

Can UPS match that for it's employees?

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This user has validated their user name. by: tanzi

Tue Sep 6 00:36:12 2016

Sure. I have shipped with ups many times in the past and never had a problem. They are closer to my home than my post office is also.  As long as there were no surcharges or other fees, i would use it

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by: handmedownheaven This user has validated their user name.
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Tue Sep 6 01:15:58 2016

NOPE...Those rates are still ridiculous.  Hate to say it but USPS still beats the other carrier hands down.  Why should I pay that much for a package that may only be 15 ounces.  And what finished me with UPS, they added the fuel surcharge when gas prices sky rocketed.  Why is there still a fuel surcharge when prices are the lowest they have been in decades?

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This user has validated their user name. by: toolguy

Tue Sep 6 01:47:40 2016

"Packages weighing up to 70lbs and measuring under 900 cubic inches can be shipped for $11.35 for 3-day delivery with no surcharges"

The US Postal Service CANNOT match this price!

Not even close!

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by: donald This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 03:16:21 2016

 


Probably not. Looks like USPS does it for less. Plus with UPS you have to be careful with all their surprise fees and surcharges.  I stop using them for that reason.







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by: topdog This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 07:48:55 2016

While I like the idea. it depends on the execution. FedEx's offering was simply too pricey - essentially it was a slightly cheaper version of their (expensive) express shipping, and not much of a bargain. UPS will have to compete with priority mail flat rate - I can ship 90% of my items in either their flat rate envelope or padded (which is about $6.25 to ship, and usually arrives in 2-3 days max). That's the bar that they need to clear in order to gain traction. Why should I pay nearly 2x the price? What extra value does UPS bring to the table? What might do it is the size of the package - especially if they offer free boxes for this. USPS's flat rate packaging doesn't allow for a square shaped item, so if UPS has a 10x10x9 (900") box, that's a real plus.  

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by: RAOTFLMAO This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 08:07:52 2016

No, it is not convienient to ship ups.  Postman picks up here every day including Saturday. I have to take ups to a drop off point 4 miles from my shop unless I have delivery coming from ups. Pickup on a regular basis is not free.

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by: ySirTinLee This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 08:26:56 2016

As a buyer, I personally really really dislike UPS.  They have mistakenly delivered to wrong address on numerous occasions in my area. When I notice a seller uses UPS, I look for a different seller.

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by: pace306 This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 08:52:53 2016

If MING =) would stop being correct all the time ..... !  (its hard to post follow ups after he hails it YET AGAIN !)

%99 of my sales are to end users. Between the fuel and residential surcharges - UPS has priced itself out of the small parcel etail marketplace - but then they did so ON PURPOSE ... aka Smartpost (which was the compromise in their eyes).

If the Flat Rate boxes were of useful sizes (I ship smaller items not 900 CU inch 70 pound items) and there were NO additional fees then MAYBE Id consider it.

The other question is (thats not mentioned) is whether or not you need to have a UPS daily pickup account ...... Ina?

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by: Barbbie This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 09:32:48 2016

They would have to get rid of phone number requirements, charging me for residential delivery, charging me later for misc reasons, eliminate any surcharges, provide free boxes, become convenient, or I would have to own a UPS Store. The one nearest me closed - so unlikely I would enter into a failed business.
I guess that about covers it.

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by: Tinker Belle This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 09:34:07 2016

NO I would not use UPS. Period. I used to have a UPS account until I read the fine print on the back of the waybills and scared myself.  I ship antiques/collectibles and realized how lucky I was not to have had to file a claim.

Our route drivers are terrific but they are delivring packages that are severely smashed and damaged, apparently by careless handling at sorting facilities where I have the impression that the goal is ''hurry-hurry-hurry.''

UPS is my last choice of shipper.

Ship a small package that will get lost amid furniture, car parts and tractor tires ?  NEVER.  

I have had such good luck with USPS - since 1997: ONE lost item, THREE insurance claims (all paid without a fight)and damaged containers are rare. They seem to give me the best balance between speed and careful handling.

FedEx is not a consideration. The closest drop off (for non-Express packages) is 30 miles one way and I can't afford their pick-up fees.  

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by: gizmo This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 09:35:53 2016

A lot to consider. The USPS flat rate boxes are like a calcium deprived child jumping off a roof. The boxes would be the biggest part. Most wont hold up to the 70 lb pressure , no matter how its packed , they blow out to easy. The way the USPS throws things around , its no wonder. USP may have the upper hand , in handling.

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by: Tinker Belle This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 09:47:30 2016

900 cu inches sounds huge but actually it's very close to the USPS Large Flat Rate boxes - 23-11/16'' x 11-3/4'' x 3'' or 12'' x 12'' x 5-1/2''

Those cost $18.75 ($16.75 to APO/FPO). Yes you can ship 70 pounds. If it's worth up to $50 insurance is included. NO stealth fees of any kind.

A couple of dollars more? Well worth it to me.

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by: Tinker Belle This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 09:49:24 2016

Re: packing heavy boxes I always use nylon strapping tape in addition to the standard clear tape.  Boxes taped well cannot burst, have never had a problem.  

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by: spooky This user has validated their user name.

Tue Sep 6 10:11:51 2016

I used to do 80% UPS and 20% postal; after the huge rate hike January 2015 when UPS changed all packages to dim weight charge I now do complete reverse with 80% plus postal

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