Sending packages with the United States Postal Service can get expensive in a hurry. Luckily, though, the USPS has found a way to cut costs for their customers looking to ship packages if they are willing to send them via (slightly) slower delivery methods. This delivery service, USPS Parcel Select Ground, has quickly become one of the most popular ways for businesses (particularly small businesses) to send their merchandise to their customers throughout the United States.
Giving individuals and organizations an opportunity to save upwards of 70% off of traditional shipping costs, the service guarantees to get your package where you need it to go within 2 to 8 business days (very rarely any longer than that) – not a bad trade-off at all! At the same time, though, not everyone is completely familiar with everything that USPS Parcel Select Ground brings to the table. That’s where this detailed guide comes into play. Below we cover everything you need to know about this affordable and reliable service, shine a light on the benefits it offers, and even cover some of the postage and shipping costs you might expect when you choose to send packages this way, too.
Shall we get right into it?
USPS Parcel Select Ground 101
While the USPS Parcel Select Ground program is still (relatively) new, the truth is this service became a bit of a spiritual successor and replacement for the USPS service called Parcel Post – a now defunct service that offered many of the same benefits but was even slower than Parcel Select Ground is.
The whole idea behind this program was to provide merchants (especially online e-commerce operations shipping physical products) an opportunity to save big on their shipping costs. Not only does this provide these companies with a reliable and cheap way to send merchandise to their customers, but it also helps the USPS secure business that they might have lost to companies like FedEx and UPS. Really ideal for packages that are larger and heavier (thanks to the dramatically reduced shipping costs), merchants that are looking to send packages that weigh up to 70 pounds are going to fall head over heels in love with everything that Parcel Select Ground has to offer.
The only trade-off (as we highlighted a moment ago) is that packages take a little bit longer to get to their ultimate destination. The USPS does not prioritize these kinds of packages, though they do guarantee delivery between two and eight business days after a package has been dropped off at a post office or USPS partner facility. Sometimes delivery takes a little bit longer, sometimes it gets there even faster, but as a general rule expect anywhere between three and seven business days (or so) for your package to get to your customers. This makes the service slightly less reliable than some of the other options available on the market today, but the unbeatable price point more than makes up for that slightly slower delivery window.
Shipping Coverage for USPS Parcel Select Ground
It’s also important for USPS Parcel Select Ground customers to understand that their packages are only able to be sent to addresses in the domestic United States (the “Lower 48”) or Alaska and Hawaii. Sending packages to international destinations – even to Canada and Mexico, for example – will have to be sent via some other service. Parcel Select Ground from the USPS is not able to be used to get packages to international customers.
If you are sending packages to Alaska and Hawaii, though, know that the eight business day delivery window is likely going to be extended a little bit – sometimes by as much as four or five days. More remote locations in Alaska and Hawaii will (obviously) take longer for their packages to arrive. Still, being able to save 70% (or more) off of traditional shipping rates for your packages helps to take a little of the sting out of those longer delivery times.
Breaking Down USPS Parcel Select Postage Prices
USPS Parcel Select Ground rates are calculated almost entirely off of three core factors:
- The dimension of the package that is being sent (length, height, width)
- The total weight of the package that is being sent and
- The distance between the origination address and the delivery address
Different regions across the United States are broken into different “zones” (one through nine), each of them with their own unique pricing structure.
Zone rates begin at $7.22 when packages are being shipped within the same zone, but as soon as you start to move out from that zone – and addresses get farther and farther apart – the price of Parcel Select Ground shipping from the USPS goes up.
Current USPS Parcel Select Ground rates are available from the USPS directly on their website. These rates don’t change during the year, though every year (when other postage prices get updated) there may be an update to these prices as well. For the most up-to-date information about these pricing breakdowns visit USPS.com for more details.
Delivery Timelines for USPS Parcel Select Ground
Like we talked about a second ago, it’s generally going to take packages sent via this USPS delivery service to take anywhere between two business days and eight business days to reach its ultimate destination. When people are sending packages throughout their own “zone” the packages are going to arrive much sooner than they would if they were being sent clear across the country. But that’s no surprise!
Customers using USPS Parcel Select Ground should also understand, though, that the more remote the final destination the longer it’s going to take for these packages to arrive. Some of the truly far-flung addresses in Alaska and Hawaii are going to require longer than eight days for packages to arrive. It usually doesn’t take any longer than 10 days to get even those most remote addresses, though certain circumstances (like inclement weather, for example) may necessitate a two week delivery timeline. That’s something that will have to be considered when thinking about moving forward with USPS Parcel Select Ground to deliver packages at these deeply discounted prices.
Important Restrictions and Prohibitions for USPS Parcel Select Ground
Before jumping for joy and taking advantage of everything that this shipping service from the USPS provides it’s important to understand that there are a number of restrictions and prohibitions on using this service that customers will want to be aware of.
For starters, packages that are being sent via this delivery method absolutely must weigh no more than 70 pounds. Right up to 70 pounds (we are talking about 70 pounds even) will fly with the USPS, but even just a handful of ounces over that 70 pound limit may mean that you have to pony up for more traditional shipping prices. If at all possible, consider breaking up those orders into multiple smaller boxes to get under that 70 pound weight limit. If it’s not possible, recognize that you’re likely going to have to spend more money on shipping than you were maybe anticipating.
Secondly, you should know that there’s a maximum combined length and girth measurements for packaging that comes in at 140 inches. If your box is larger than that when those measurements are combined you’re likely going to have to choose a different shipping solution, too. Obviously, the odds are pretty good that if your package weighs less than 70 pounds you aren’t going to need to take the full 140 inches. If you do go above that, though (the USPS usually lets you skate by an inch or two if you are under the weight limit) you’ll have to think about different shipping options.
As far as other restrictions and prohibitions are concerned, you won’t be able to send things like tobacco, firearms and ammunition, or other restricted items that the USPS has strict controls on via USPS Parcel Select Ground, either.
If you’re questioning whether or not something you’re looking to ship would be considered prohibited by the USPS (or prohibited by the Parcel Select Ground service in specific) it’s not a bad idea to reach out to a postal employee for more clarification. The easiest way to do that is to simply pop down to your local post office and talk to them about what you would like to ship via Parcel Select Ground. They’ll be able to let you know if your items are eligible, if you meet the weight limit, and if you are under the 140 inch combination measurement restrictions, too.
It really doesn’t get a whole lot easier than that!
Benefits of USPS Parcel Select Ground
The biggest benefit of using Parcel Select Ground from the USPS has to be the upwards of 70% off of traditional shipping prices that you get right out of the gate. There are a myriad of other benefits to using this service as well, though. Let’s break down some of the biggest ones right now!
Free Parcel Select Ground Insurance
If you are going to be sending valuable items through the Parcel Select Ground program it’s not a bad idea to check the box for extra insurance. A certain level of insurance protection is available on all of these packages, though you can also pony up for even more insurance to guarantee your shipment and to give yourself – and your recipient – are little more peace of mind.
Thanks to the slightly slower delivery schedule that USPS Parcel Select Ground services stick to it’s possible to more easily scheduled pickups than a lot of the other USPS shipping options. Recipients can schedule pickup by jumping online, creating an account with USPS.com, and then using the scheduling tools provided in the customer dashboard. You’ll have to use your tracking code to identify the package you want to schedule pickup for, but other than that the process is really simple and straightforward. Follow the prompts online and the whole process will take a minute or two to run through.
Free Premium Tracking
All packages that ship with the USPS include tracking information attached, but Parcel Select Ground shipments include premium tracking that allows merchants as well as customers to track their package every step of the way until delivery has been confirmed. This gives everyone involved a little more peace of mind in little more confidence to take advantage of this particular service. It definitely helps make the slower delivery timeline more palatable, too.
On top of all of those benefits you’re also able to enjoy:
- Free signature confirmation on all packages
- The ability to request adult signatures only on all deliveries
- Deeply discounted retail packaging prices
… And that’s just the tip of the iceberg!
US Global Mail Works with USPS Parcel Select Ground (And All Other Mail and Shipping Services, Too)
At the end of the day, US Global Mail customers are going to be glad to know that they’ll be able to have USPS Parcel Select Ground packages sent to their virtual mailbox with zero issue whatsoever.
US Global Mail has been the industry leader in virtual mailbox services for more than 20 years, providing customers with permanent physical mailing addresses, private and secure mailbox services, and a whole host of other benefits, too.
As a customer of US Global Mail you’ll enjoy things like:
- Digital notifications about all packages and mail as it arrives at your virtual mailbox
- Digital scans and photographs of the packages and envelopes when they hit your mailbox
- Free check depositing features that are 100% automated and secure
- Forwarding to any address on the planet at up to 80% off of traditional shipping rates
… And so much more!
For more information about everything that this virtual mailbox service provides, or to become a US Global Mail customer today, visit their website right now.
You’ll be able to reach out to customer service, get answers about any of the questions you might have, and learn about all the other benefits and features this amazing service provides – all at a great value! Visit their site today!