When it comes to shipping packages, I am known as the expert (at least in my family). I have been in this industry since 1976—too many years to add up in my head. I can almost intuitively look at a package, guess its weight, and declare what the best carrier and service will be. Who needs rate shopping software?
So, when my wife asked me to ship a “care” package to our 25 year old son in South Carolina, I knew the best way to ship it. I made the following assumptions:
- The package was light—weighing 5 pounds.
- It was being shipped residential.
- It was going a relatively short distance, from New York to Charleston (as compared to a zone 8 which would be cross country).
So, based on what you know about shipping, which carrier would you choose?
My choice was the US Post Office. We all know that the USPS is the best way to ship light-weight, residential packages; right?
I went to www.usps.com and selected the option to calculate postage. Here are the results:
Can you imagine that I was shocked! I couldn’t believe that this package was $20! So, I did the next thing a savvy shipper would do, I went to www.fedex.com to compare rates. Here is what I found:
My cost was $11.86 with FedEx Home Delivery for the same level of service as USPS Priority Mail at $19.50 (with my discount for paying for postage electronically).
I saved $7.64 or 40% by choosing the carrier that I assumed would be more expensive!
Now, my dear readers, who can figure out why this happened? Please comment your thoughts on why the USPS was 40% more for this light-weight residential package. In my next post, I will share the answer. There was a reason my assumption was wrong.
In the meantime, don’t assume that you know because what you don’t know about shipping, could cost you plenty!