What’s more frustrating than waiting for the USPS to actually deliver mail and packages to your address that have been scheduled for delivery that day? Not much! It always feels like our mail arrives later and later in the day when we are particularly eager or excited to have something delivered, even if that is always necessarily reality.
Still, it’s nice to know that mail (as a general rule) isn’t going to arrive much later than 5 PM local time most of the time. The USPS does a fantastic job at getting mail out before dinner on a regular basis, though every now and again (especially during the holiday season) mail carriers are working a lot later in the day to make sure that packages, parcels, and pieces of mail get where they are headed as quickly as possible.
Below we highlight some of the information you need to know about when does the USPS stop delivering mail each day, shining a light on the “traditional” delivery hours for the US Postal Service as well as highlighting when they are most likely to continue delivering mail well after dark. Let’s jump right in!
When Does USPS Stop Delivering During the Week?
In the overwhelming majority of localities and municipalities across the United States, the U.S. Postal Service mail carriers are going to be delivering mail right up until 5 PM (local time) or shortly thereafter. Obviously, if the mail volume for any one particular day is a little bit larger than expected (or outside of the norm) it’s not unusual for the USPS mail carriers responsible for delivery to go out beyond that 5 PM local “cut off”. This is why you probably see USPS mail trucks out on the road as late as 5:30 or 6 PM on a pretty regular basis!
In some circumstances, however – like in more rural areas, where there aren’t quite as many mail carriers as needed to get the mail out efficiently, or during “mail rush” seasons like the holiday season when package and parcel overflow is extreme – and may not be unusual to see USPS mail trucks out there well past dark (maybe as late as 10 PM). For the most part, though, the USPS likes to do everything it can to make sure that their mail carriers are off the road and have made all of their deliveries (Monday through Saturday) by 5 PM or 6 PM local time.
What About on the Weekends?
Weekend mail schedules can be a little bit off, especially when you start talking about Sunday delivery which are almost always the exclusive domain of Amazon deliveries – at least when you’re talking about the USPS, anyway. Saturday delivery timelines are pretty much identical to everything that you’ll see through the weekday, with the USPS trying to get everything out to customers by the time that dinner rolls around. Saturday deliveries sometimes go out a little bit later in the morning than they would during the weekday, too.
Most USPS mail carriers start to deliver their mail on Saturday around 9 AM or 10 AM, which is considerably later than the 8 AM (or even earlier) that USPS mail carriers start their deliveries Monday through Friday. This isn’t necessarily true in all areas or municipalities, though. It may contribute to later deliveries in the day, though – especially if mail volume that day is particularly high. Don’t be surprised if you see USPS mail carriers out on a Saturday well past 5 PM, getting to 8 PM (or sometimes even later).
On Sunday, though, the USPS is delivering only two specific types of mail – either Priority Mail Express or Amazon packages. Priority Mail Express packages are given the utmost priority by USPS mail carriers, with most local post offices trying to get those pieces of mail to USPS customers as bright and early in the day as possible. We are talking about deliveries anywhere between 8 AM and 11 AM for Priority Mail Express whenever possible.
In some circumstances, however, Priority Mail Express may not be delivered until later in the day on Sunday (anytime afternoon is considered a little late for Priority Mail Express). The actual post office itself isn’t going to be open for business on Sunday, but the support staff responsible for loading vehicles, sorting mail, and handling any backlog like to be out of the post office by the time 3 PM rolls around. Mail carriers that are actually facilitating the delivery of Priority Mail Express and Amazon packages, however, may be out a whole lot later in the day the 3 PM (local time) on Sunday. They will generally keep going until all of their packages have been delivered, though since they only have Amazon payloads and the rare Priority Mail Express envelope this allows them to get things done by 5 PM or 6 PM (local time) more often than not. Still, if there are still packages on board that need to be delivered on Sunday in the sun has gone down the odds are good that the USPS mail carrier will continue on their route until the truck is empty.
How Much Mail Does the USPS Deliver During a Normal Day?
As highlighted earlier, a big determining factor in how late USPS mail carriers might be out delivering mail on anyone specific day is the amount of mail volume that they are handling at that point in time specifically. According to USPS, the average amount of mail that an average sized post office is going to deal with on a “regular day” is about 55,000 mail pieces or so. A “light day” for the USPS may be around 30,000 pieces or so, and “heavy days” can get up to 70,000 mail pieces or much more!
That average sized post office may have 50 individual mail routes that need to be handled, too. Depending on the amount of mail carriers that a post office has each person may be responsible for five or more individual routes, too. During the light and regular days, the USPS mail carrier will generally have more than enough time to get all of their mail delivered to addresses along their route and knock out any route maintenance necessary before 4:30 PM (local time).
During heavier days, however, the USPS mail carrier will generally be out until at least 5 PM local time – and sometimes a lot later than that, too. During anticipated heavy mail volume seasons (like the holiday season) though the USPS brings on extra support staff to speed things up and get their people home at a reasonable time each day. Sometimes during heavier mail volume days, though, individual mail carriers will break down the access mail into “pivots” that are shared across the post office.
Mail carriers working together with these “pivots” will help deliver mail that wouldn’t normally be on their route if it’s more efficient for them to do so. This is done instead of having other mail carriers bounce around town (especially if that would have meant delaying delivery and also keeping everyone out past dark most of the time, too).
When are Mail Carriers Most Likely to Deliver After Dark?
The overwhelming majority of situations that have USPS mail carriers out delivering mail and packages after dark will occur during the lead up to the holiday season and immediately after Christmas. Unsurprisingly, late November, the month of December, and into early January is when the USPS is absolutely overloaded and inundated with mail, packages, and parcels zooming all over the country.
It’s not at all uncommon for mail volume to double (or more) during the “silly season”. The USPS recognizes that this is going to start to ramp up around the middle of November, though, and generally hire seasonal support staff to make sure that they are prepared to get mail out as quickly and as efficiently as possible.
Even with all of those extra hands on deck, though, it isn’t at all unusual for USPS mail carriers to be delivering pieces of mail to addresses beyond 6 PM, 7 PM, 8 PM or even later. In fact, during this time of year you might even see USPS vehicles out and about closer to 9 PM and 10 PM just to get right back at it again the next morning at 6 AM to start the cycle all over again!
How Late in the Day Will the USPS Deliver Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express?
Priority Mail from the USPS is intended to be an expedited shipping service, guaranteeing delivery between 1 to 3 business days in most situations.This mail is going to be delivered during normal business hours, which means it’s usually going to land in your mailbox (or the mailbox of your intended recipient) by about 5 PM local time.
Priority Mail Express, on the other hand, guarantees that your mail will be delivered within 1 to 2 days or you get your money back. This means that the USPS is going to do absolutely everything in their power to make sure that that envelope gets to its ultimate destination within that two day window of time, even if it means sending someone out for delivery much later in the day.
The USPS will also deliver Priority Mail Express packages and envelopes every single day of the year – without exception, even on holidays – if they have to. If you’re expecting something sent via Priority Mail Express and the delivery window on the second day is closing, don’t be surprised if you see or hear a USPS mail vehicle lumbering down your street well after dark. They want to make sure they live up to their guarantee!
I Was Expecting Mail By the End of the Day But It Didn’t Come – What Should I Do?
If you were expecting mail to be dropped off in your box on a specific day and it wasn’t, the overwhelming majority of the time you’ll want to just wait another day and cross your fingers that it finds it way to you tomorrow.
If, on the other hand, you’ve paid extra for special delivery (or expedited delivery, like Priority Mail Express) and it hasn’t shown up when it was intended it might not be a bad idea to reach out to the USPS and see what’s going on. At the very least they’ll be able to tell you what’s going on with your letter or package, as well as where it is. They should also be able to tell you when it is actually scheduled for delivery. On top of that – especially in the case of Priority Mail Express – they should be able to provide you with a refund. The USPS takes that guarantee very seriously and they will make sure that you get any extra money you paid for Priority Mail Express guaranteed delivery refunded to you ASAP if the delivery window has been missed.
Is There a Way to Time My Deliveries from the USPS?
If you have the opportunity to be home when your mail arrives on a regular basis it may not be a bad idea to have a look at the clock for a whole week, jotting down when your mail arrives and then “averaging out” what you are expected delivery window is. Outside of that, though, there’s really no way to really “time” deliveries from the USPS with any real consistency.
Even letters and packages that are sent from the same location to your address on a frequent basis may take longer (or less time) to get to you depending on a variety of different factors, including local mail volume like we highlighted above. Just know that most of the time (maybe 80% of the time or more) your mail is going to be in your mailbox by 5 PM local time each and every day!
Always Know the Minute Your Mail Arrives with US Global Mail
Of course, if you’d like to know exactly when letters, packages, and parcels arrive at your mailbox you might want to consider creating an account with US Global Mail. As a virtual mailbox customer they’ll provide you with instant notifications every time something shows up to your mailbox – and usually will include digital photos of the box, envelope, or (when instructed) scans and pictures of the contents within!
To learn more about the benefits and features of US Global Mail virtual mailbox services, or to create an account, check out their website today!