When you’re trying to mail items over a long distance in the US, you often need to use a flat rate service to avoid getting hit with really big charges – but how do you choose the right one? Let’s find out about Medium Flat Rate Boxes! A Medium Flat Rate Box is provided by USPS, and it’s a mid-sized package that can be sent anywhere in the US for a fixed rate, regardless of what the package weighs or where it is going. It is often cheaper if you are sending packages across the country, rather than to nearby locations.
What Is A Medium Flat Rate Box?
A Medium Flat Rate Box is a box that can be used to ship items via USPS’s flat rate service. The flat rate service allows you to send mail to any part of the US for one cost, regardless of how much the package weighs. Flat Rate is often used when sending heavy items over a long distance, because it is cheaper than paying according to the weight and the zone. If you have a mid-sized item to send, it’s generally worth checking out the prices of Flat Rate, compared with zoned prices. If you don’t use the Flat Rate, you will pay according to the distance your package is traveling and how much the item weighs. A small, light package that is only being sent locally is likely to cost less, but if your package is heavy or going further afield, it’s definitely worth checking out the flat rate prices to ensure you are getting the best deal.
What’s The Cost Of Mailing A Medium Flat Rate Box?
There are two kinds of Medium Flat Rate Boxes: you can have a top loading box (type 1) or a side loading box (type 2). The mailing cost is the same, regardless of which you are using, and should be $16.10 for retail customers. Commercial customers will pay around $14.25. If you can get your item into a Medium Flat Rate Box, it is therefore often an excellent choice, and because it is a generous size, it will fit many different items. Lots of people use this service for getting mail out to friends, family, and customers. Mailing items this way is often significantly cheaper than mailing them using the standard Priority Mailing service, especially if your item is heavy. As an example of this, it would cost you $16.10 to send an item with the Medium Flat Rate service, even if the package weighs as much as 70 lb.
Sending the same item via the standard Priority Mail service could cost as much as $317 if you are shipping it over a long distance. The Flat Rate service is therefore an excellent way to reduce your costs for certain kinds of mail. However, it is important to note that flat rates are not always cheaper than zoned mail. For example, the Priority Mail service might cost as little as around $8 for a package only weighing 1 lb., depending on its destination. You would be paying double this to ship the same item using the Flat Rate service, so it’s important to choose your shipping service carefully.
How Fast Do Medium Flat Rate Boxes Travel?
Flat rate mail is sent using the Priority Mail service, so a Medium Flat Rate Box should reach its destination in 1-3 working days. Your receipt at the time of mailing should tell you the expected delivery time, but this is only an estimate based on when you’ve sent it and how far it is traveling. It is not a guarantee. Packages that are being sent further using this service will generally take longer to arrive, so if you’re only sending something locally, it may arrive within 1 day or possibly 2. For mail that is traveling further, expect it to take at least 2 days, probably 3. The Priority Mail service is generally a good option for all but the most urgent mail, and will get your item to its intended destination in a good amount of time.
How Do You Get Medium Flat Rate Boxes?
USPS provides its Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Boxes for free, and you can either order them online, or pick them up at your local post office if they are available. If you order them online, they should be delivered to your home, so this is a great option if you rarely go into post offices. Do note that the Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate boxes must be used for their intended purpose. You cannot alter what kind of shipping you want if you are going to use one of these boxes. It will have the words “Medium Flat Rate Box” printed on it, and it must therefore be used for this purpose. Do not try to cover up the words or use the box for another purpose; this is fraudulent.
How Big Are Medium Flat Rate Boxes?
As mentioned above, there are two kinds of Medium Flat Rate Boxes, and you will need to decide whether a top loader or a side loader better suits your needs. A top loading box has internal dimensions of 11 inches x 8.5 inches x 5.5 inches. A side loading box has internal dimensions of 13 5/8 inches x 11 7/8 inches x 3 3/8 inches. As long as your item will fit into either of these box sizes, you can send it using the Priority Mail Flat Rate service. If your item is too big, you’ll have to pick a larger box, although you can still use the flat rate option.
How Much Can Medium Flat Rate Boxes Weigh?
Flat Rate boxes are not charged by weight, but there is an upper limit of 70 lb. for the items. Any items weighing more than 70 lb. cannot be sent using the flat rate service at all, so you will have to choose another mailing service if your item is too heavy. This is true even for the Large Flat Rate boxes. No matter the size, they cannot weigh more than 70 lb.
What Other Flat Rate Services Are There?
If the Medium box doesn’t quite suit your requirements, there are plenty of other services that are still Flat Rate mail. For example, you might want to use:
- Flat Rate Envelope ($8.95)
- Window Flat Rate Envelope ($8.95)
- Small Flat Rate Envelope ($8.95)
- Padded Flat Rate Envelope ($9.65)
- Legal Flat Rate Envelope ($9.25)
- Small Flat Rate Box ($9.45)
- Large Flat Rate Box ($21.50)
- Large Flat Rate Board Game Box ($21.50)
As you can see, the prices for these services vary significantly, with the larger boxes costing more than the smaller boxes and envelopes. Make sure you choose the cheapest service for your kind of package so that you can minimize the cost.
Why Is The US Divided Into Zones?
Have you ever wondered why the US is split into multiple zones? The zones are designed to help USPS figure out how far your package is traveling so the company can work out what it will cost them to deliver it. Zones 1 to 8 refer to the continental US, and places like Hawaii, Alaska, and other US territories.
Zone 9 refers to the Commonwealths, US Territories, and Freely Associated States such as the Northern Mariana Islands. The zone depends on the origin of the package, too. For example, if you are in Portland, the surrounding zip codes will be in Zone 1, while zip codes on the opposite coast, such as Jacksonville and New York, will be in Zone 8.
The zones therefore change based on where you are mailing an item from. Zone 1 will be different if you are mailing an item from Alaska than it would be if you were mailing the same item from Los Angeles. It’s therefore not possible to say X state is in Zone 5; the zones change according to the location of the shipper. This can make it very complicated to work out what packages are going to cost without taking them to be priced, especially if you have recently moved to a new area. You will need to look up a zoning map for your area or get mail priced at a post office so you can check the costs. The Flat Rate service gets rid of all of this headache and simply delivers mail for the same cost wherever it is going.
What Are The Advantages Of Flat Rate Mail?
There are a few things that make Priority Mail Flat Rate such an attractive service, and these include:
- The mail is shipped quickly
- You get free tracking and up to $50 of insurance in most cases
- There are no surcharges for rural deliveries
- You can enjoy Saturday deliveries
One of the biggest advantages, however, is the fact that you don’t have to calculate shipping costs. If you are running an ecommerce business, this can save you a lot of complexity, especially if you have customers all over the US.
If you don’t use the Flat Rate service, you will find that the mail costs different amounts depending on where you send it – which can make it difficult to charge customers accordingly. You will have to buy software that is capable of calculating shipping costs at the checkout, and this can be expensive and complicated. It also means you can’t give customers a simple price for mailing, and they will only find out the cost at the checkout stage, which many customers find annoying. If you instead choose the Flat Rate service, all your customers will pay the same mailing fees and you never need to worry about getting the address right before you can estimate these costs.
Even if you are only shipping to friends and family, using the Flat Rate service takes the headache out of sending mail, and ensures there’s a simple amount that you pay each time. You don’t need to weigh the item, and you can use the packaging that has been made available for free. Unless you are sending light mail locally, the Flat Rate Priority Mail will often be the cheapest service too.
Can You Modify Flat Rate Boxes?
You should not attempt to modify a Flat Rate box; it needs to stay in its original form if you wish to send it using the Flat Rate service. If you change the box, you will be charged according to the item’s weight and zone, rather than at the Flat Rate. It is important to be aware of this, because ordinary Priority Mail boxes can be modified without penalty. This is because you are paying by weight, so it doesn’t matter to USPS what the size is (within reason; the box must be able to close).
For the Flat Rate service, however, you must use the designated sizes and you may not modify the packaging. The box must retain its original dimensions and close using the proper seals, or you risk facing additional shipping charges when you mail it. This is partly why it is important to choose the correct kind of medium box; if your item fits into a top loading box better, make sure you select this over a side loading box. You may want to get several boxes of each type so you can see what works best for you.
If you’re a recipient of a lot of mail, you could benefit from getting a Virtual Mailbox from US Global Mail. This gives you a permanent, secure US address that packages and letters can be delivered to at any time of day. The mail will be scanned on the outside, and pictures will be uploaded to email notifications so that you can decide what action you want to take – whether to have the inside scanned so you can read it online, or whether the mail should be shredded. You can also have packages forwarded to you at your own address at a time that suits you.