USPS VP Offers Tips for Saving on Shipping for eBay Sellers & Small Business

At the National Conference on Operations & Fulfillment, I asked Jim Cochrane, the Vice President of Ground Packages for the United States Post Office, if he could provide some tips for eBay sellers, online merchants, and small business. In this video, Jim speaks about some of the unique opportunities for saving money that the US Post Office has to offer.

Jim specifically mentions in this video three exclusive services where shippers can gain significant savings.

The first service is the USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Box in which you can pack in as much weight as will fit in the box and ship your package anywhere in the United States for a flat fee. These boxes come are at two price points: the new large flat rate box is 50% larger than the original Flat Rate Boxes (12″ x 12″ x 5.5″) and is $12.95 for domestic shipments, $29.95 when shipped to Canada and Mexico and $49.95 for all other countries.

The original Flat Rate Boxes come in two sizes, the shirt box size (11″ x 8.5″ x 5.5″) and the shoe box size (13.625″ x 11.875″ x 3.375″) for $8.95 domestically, $23 when shipped to Canada and Mexico and $37 for all other countries.

I have put as much as 20 pounds in this box. The same weight with another service (Parcel Post) or carrier would be twice as much. This is a GREAT deal because you don’t have to worry about fuel surcharges, residential delivery charges, or delivery area surcharges. See Taylor’s Tip #7.

The second great tip is First-class Mail Packages. The USPS is the only carrier to offer ounce based rates. UPS, FedEx, and DHL charge by the pound. This means if you have an eight ounce package that you will be billed at the carrier’s one-pound rate. For packages weighing less than 13 ounces, this is the one of the least costly shipping services available. For example, the rate for an eight ounce package is $2.36! First-Class mail is delivered in four days or less. An 8-ounce package costs only $2.32 to ship compared to the Priority Mail rate of $4.60 – a 50 % savings.

You can also add Delivery Confirmation.

Jim’s third tip was for eBay and Amazon sellers that ship books and CD’s. The USPS has a special category called Media Mail. The delivery standard for Media Mail is 2-9 days. Media Mail is a service offered by the U.S. Postal Service for shipments of books, films, manuscripts, printed music, printed test materials, sound recordings, play scripts, printed educational charts, loose-leaf pages and binders consisting of medical information, videotapes and computer-recorded media such as CD-ROMs and diskettes. The cost to send a one-pound box from New York to California using the USPS Media Mail rate is $2.13 compared to $4.60 using Priority Mail, a savings of 54 %. The package may take up to seven days to arrive, but at that price, the delay may not matter. In addition, if you want confirmation that the package was delivered, you can purchase Delivery Confirmation.

Thank you Jim!

Jim Cochrane was named Vice President of Ground Services for the United States Postal Service in February 2008. In this role, he reports directly to the Postmaster General. A 33-year postal veteran, he was previously manager of Package Services, directing product development and strategy for the Postal Service’s $11 billion portfolio of domestic and international package products.


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