Do you need to send a package or letter urgently? If so, overnight shipping is your best option for making sure that it arrives with the recipient in time. You might be wondering what your options are.
USPS does not offer an overnight shipping service, but the Priority Mail Express service is close to overnight shipping in most cases. It often arrives the next day, but in some cases, it may take 2 working days – so be aware of this when you choose it as your shipping option.
What Is USPS Overnight Shipping?
USPS’s closest option if you need overnight shipping is the Priority Mail Express service. This provides you with next day shipping for the majority of the US, but in some cases, it will take 2 days for your package to be delivered.
This is more likely if your package has to travel a long way, especially if the destination is rural. To allow time for the package to be shipped there, USPS tends to provide a 2 day guarantee, not 1 day. This means that the service is not exactly “overnight shipping,” although it is close.
Because there are no faster options, you will have to use the Priority Mail Express service if you wish to ship overnight using USPS.
There are other couriers that provide overnight services to everywhere in the US, so if you definitely need overnight shipping and your package has a long journey, you may wish to look at what other couriers can offer you.
How Much Does It Cost To Mail A Package Overnight With USPS?
The price varies enormously depending on the weight of your package and the distance it needs to travel. You may find the below information helpful:
- A 0.5 lb. package costs $26.95 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $56 to send to Zone 9.
- A 5 lb. package costs $29.25 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $107.55 to send to Zone 9.
- A 10 lb. package costs $44.10 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $158.55 to send to Zone 9.
- A 20 lb. package costs $65.45 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $221.95 to send to Zone 9.
- A 30 lb. package costs $90.55 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $308.15 to send to Zone 9.
- A 40 lb. package costs $115.75 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $398.25 to send to Zone 9.
- A 50 lb. package costs $140.80 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $494.15 to send to Zone 9.
- A 60 lb. package costs $167.50 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $593.30 to send to Zone 9.
- A 70 lb. package costs $195.15 to send to zones 1 and 2, and $688.20 to send to Zone 9.
As you can see, a package that is traveling further quickly becomes a lot more expensive to send overnight, so bear this in mind. The weight also makes a big difference, so only send items that are urgent using this service. It may be more economical to split packages up if some items are urgent and others are not.
To get an accurate idea of what your package should cost to mail, take it along to your post office to weigh it, or use an online shipping calculator. This should tell you exactly where it falls; the above information is only intended to provide you with some general costs, and does not represent all shipping weights or zones.
Is There A Flat Rate Overnight Service?
USPS does offer some Flat Rate options when using the Priority Mail Express service, but only 3. You can choose a Flat Rate Envelope for $26.95, a Legal Flat Rate Envelope for $27.10, or a Padded Flat Rate Envelope for $27.50.
USPS doesn’t offer Flat Rate shipping on any boxes that are sent with overnight services, because the service is too expensive for them to do so. You will have to use the zoned Priority Mail Express service if you want to send items that are too large for the envelopes.
Should I Choose An Overnight Service?
You should only choose an overnight service if you are mailing items that are urgent. Overnight services cost a lot more for shipping companies to operate, because they are far less efficient than standard, slower services.
They also almost always involve flight, meaning that you are paying to send your package by air. This is inherently more expensive for the shipping company because planes require so much fuel, and need skilled staff in order to operate them.
These costs are all passed on to the customer, which is why you will end up paying so much if you want to send something overnight. You should certainly do so if your package is urgent, but otherwise, make sure you stick to slower, more economical services to save money.
What Is The Cutoff Time For Overnight Shipping With USPS?
It is always wise to check this with your local post office in case there is any variation, but in general, the cutoff time for Priority Mail Express is 6 PM. This is when postal stores close and the USPS vehicle collects the packages for the night to transport to the sorting facility.
It is best to view the cutoff time as 5:45 PM (unless you know that it is earlier than this) so there is no risk of missing it.
You might get caught in traffic or end up waiting in an unusually long queue in the post office, and if your mail misses that delivery, it will not go until the following day – defeating the objective of using the overnight service.
Make sure you meet the cutoff time and get your mail in as soon as you can. You can also use a pickup service, as this is included in the Priority Mail Express costs.
Will Overnight Shipping Be Delivered On A Sunday?
Overnight shipping with USPS is not delivered on a Sunday as a standard, but the great news is that you can have Sunday delivery if you pay an additional fee. This usually costs $12.50.
You must pay this at the time of mailing your package; you cannot add it later. If you have forgotten to add it, you will need to wait until the following working day for the mail to be delivered. There is no way to speed it up once it has been accepted into USPS’s system.
If you are likely to forget this at the counter, you may wish to organize your shipping online. This will give you time to review the information before you submit it. If you get the label wrong, you may have to buy a new one, so make sure you check everything is correct before purchasing the label.
Can I Request An Overnight Package Be Delivered On A Holiday?
As with Sunday delivery, you can pay an additional fee to have your package delivered on a holiday. A holiday is any day that USPS does not deliver standard mail on, such as Christmas.
Talk to USPS staff if you wish a package to be delivered on a holiday, as this may not always be possible – but it generally is. The fee is again $12.50 on top of your ordinary mailing costs.
Be aware that if your package is not delivered on time and you request a refund, you may not be refunded this additional fee, although you will get the base cost of sending your package back.
What Happens If My Package Doesn’t Get Delivered On Time?
When you mail a package, you should be given a delivery estimate that tells you whether it will take 1 or 2 working days for it to arrive. If it does not arrive by this estimate, you may be entitled to claim a refund for your shipping costs from USPS.
This depends on the circumstances that caused the delay, however. If something outside of USPS’s control resulted in the package being late, you will not be entitled to a refund. A couple of examples include severe weather and natural disasters, which may make it impossible for mail to be delivered safely.
However, if the delay is USPS’s fault, you can request a refund by calling the customer service line or using the company website. You will need to input your tracking number or your purchase receipt in order to request a refund, as this shows proof of purchase and lets them identify the package that you are referring to.
You will be told immediately if you are due a refund or if it has been denied. If you do get a refund, note that it will be for the base shipping cost, and not for any additional services that you purchased.
What Is The Next Fastest Shipping Option With USPS?
If you decide that you don’t need overnight shipping with USPS, you might be wondering what the next fastest option is and how much it costs. The Priority Mail is the next best service, and generally takes 3 to 5 working days.
Priority Mail starts from $8.70 for a 1 lb. package going to Zone 1 or Zone 2, and costs $19.40 for Zone 9. Like Priority Mail Express, the price goes up with weight and zone, so a 70 lb. package to Zone 1 or 2 would cost $50.45, and as much as $364.85 for Zone 9.
As you can see, Priority Mail is a much cheaper service than the Express option, because USPS can use more economical shipping methods and increase their efficiency. You should therefore use this service for packages that do not need to arrive too quickly.
There are also more Flat Rate options if you use the Priority Mail service, so you may find that this is a lot cheaper. You can send a Large Flat Rate Box of any weight (under 70 lb.) to Zone 9 for just $21.50, so it’s clearly more attractive if the item isn’t too urgent. It will still arrive within 1 working week.
What Packaging Is Available For Overnight Shipping?
If you are sending items using USPS’s Priority Mail Express service, did you know that you can order packaging from them for free? This can be requested on their website to be delivered to your home, or picked up at your local post office.
There are boxes, envelopes, tubes, stickers, and more. All of these are intended for use by USPS Priority Mail Express customers, but note that you can only use them for shipping with this service. They are not available for other uses.
They do have the advantage of being very clearly printed for Priority Mail Express, meaning that your mail will be clearly marked and differentiated from other packages while it is traveling to its intended destination.
What Other Couriers Offer Overnight Shipping?
If USPS’s overnight shipping option doesn’t suit you, you have a couple of other choices. Both FedEx and UPS offer a variety of overnight shipping options, and these will arrive within 1 working day of being sent (rather than the 2 that USPS sometimes offers). However, they tend to be more expensive.
You should compare the 3 services if you aren’t sure which one best suits your needs.
Shipping and receiving mail is often a frustrating process, and everyone is looking for ways to make it easier. US Global Mail has one great solution: a Virtual Mailbox. This provides you with a permanent and secure US address that you can direct all your mail to.
Packages will be accepted and signed for and then stored securely, and you can request scans of your letters so you can read them virtually and at your convenience. You can have packages forwarded, and junk mail shredded, making the whole process of handling mail smoother, easier, and clutter-free.
This is a great solution for anyone who is rarely at home and finds their mailbox too insecure – so give it a try if that sounds like you!