If you send a lot of mail, it’s important to get to grips with the different kinds of shipping that you may need to use, and what the pros and cons of the various options are. There are many offerings from couriers, but most will have some overlap with each other, making it easier to compare them.
Standard shipping is a term used by many couriers, and it usually refers to their basic, cheap, relatively slow shipping option, as opposed to overnight and expedited shipping options. It is normally inexpensive and is a preferred option for packages and mail that do not need to move around the country too quickly.
What Is Standard Shipping?
Standard shipping is often among the cheapest shipping options offered by couriers, although it isn’t necessarily the cheapest of all. Some couriers will offer slower options, making standard shipping the average mailing service that they offer.
This mailing choice tends to be the go-to for many items that get shipped, because it represents a “middle ground.” It is inexpensive, but also travels at a reasonable rate, rather than taking weeks to arrive. Because of its popularity, most of the couriers offer this in some form or another, although it isn’t always referred to as standard shipping.
What Else Is Standard Shipping Called?
Standard shipping comes with a whole host of names, and you’re likely to encounter many variations if you ship with different couriers at times. For example, you may see it referred to as “economy,” “regular shipping,” “standard ground shipping,” or “ground.”
The use of “ground” is intended to indicate that the package will not (usually) travel by air at any point; it is transported entirely by trucks and other vehicles. This is why it costs less but travels more slowly. If you need to specify, “ground” is often a recognized term that indicates you don’t want the more expensive airmail options.
You may see other terms for this kind of mail, as almost every courier has alternative names for it. It’s worth learning what it is called with the couriers that you use most frequently, but on the whole, staff members should recognize what you want if you say the word “standard” or “ground.”
Always double-check that you are getting the kind of shipping you want before you purchase your shipping label.
What Items Can Be Sent Via Standard Shipping?
Standard shipping can usually be used for small or large packages, although very large packages may fall into a different category. It tends to be flexible, and often has several weight or size bands that will affect the price you pay.
You can send almost any package via standard shipping, which helps many small businesses and individuals to keep their mailing costs low. Finding the best courier for your item can be a challenge, but the standard shipping option does make it easier to compare the different offerings.
How Fast Do Standard Shipping Items Get Delivered?
In general, standard shipping items that are being sent nationally will be delivered within three to five business days, but you should be aware that this is not a guarantee, and if you are sending items further afield, they may take longer.
Even if your item is remaining within the USA, it may take longer than five days for the item to arrive if it is traveling to a remote location. Packages that need to travel quickly tend to be loaded onto a plane for the majority of their journey, but items sent with standard shipping are not flown, and therefore take longer.
The more remote your package’s intended destination is, the more likely it is to take a long time, because a driver has to make the journey. Sending a package with standard shipping locally should not take as long, and usually, local packages will only take about three days.
There are no guarantees about the delivery time for standard shipping, so you should use another service if you need the item to arrive by a certain time. The three to five days is only a guide.
Do All Couriers Offer Standard Shipping?
Almost all couriers within the US will offer some variation of standard shipping, yes. However, they may have a different term for it, which you may need to find out online or by asking employees.
A few unusual couriers may not offer standard shipping, possibly if they specialize in overnight shipping or only in very slow shipping. However, this is not the norm, and most couriers should offer some form of ground transportation as their “standard” option.
Is Standard Shipping Signed For?
This will depend on the courier that you choose, but usually, standard shipping won’t include a signature by default. However, many couriers allow you to add this option for an additional fee. A few couriers might even provide it for free.
You may prefer not to have a signature request on your shipments, because it means that the recipient must be at home to receive the package, and this is annoying for low value items. It’s best to choose standard shipping without this option, unless you are sending high-value goods. For some high value goods, faster shipping services may be preferable.
Is Standard Shipping Insured?
Most standard shipping comes with some insurance, although this does depend on the courier you are using. The insurance will usually only be up to $50 or $100, because most items sent this way are not high value or urgent.
It’s important to check what the insurance limit is when you send a package, rather than just checking that it has insurance. If you are sending a more valuable item, you may wish to purchase additional insurance, or choose another shipping option.
You may feel that you don’t need insurance at all, but if your standard shipping option comes with it, you are unlikely to be able to remove this to save money; it is usually a fixed price. You may have to look for a courier that doesn’t provide this if you don’t want insurance for your item.
Be aware that you will then take a financial hit if your item gets lost in the mail. For many small businesses, it makes sense to have some insurance on items being shipped.
Is Standard Shipping Tracked?
In general, standard shipping is tracked, yes. This will again depend on the courier, but as tracking has become an increasingly easy thing for them to do, most couriers offer tracking information of some sort. This is not true of all of them, so do check if tracking is important to you. Normally, you can access tracking information on the company’s website.
Some couriers offer much more in-depth tracking information about packages, whereas others only provide a basic service.
Having tracking information can be particularly useful if you are running a business; you can provide the tracking number to customers. This allows them to watch their packages travel and plan accordingly for delivery.
How Much Does Standard Shipping Cost?
Standard shipping costs will vary enormously according to the size and weight of your item, where the item is going, and which courier you are using. For small, light items, USPS tends to be the most cost-effective courier, but for larger, heavier packages, another courier may prove cheaper.
You can use online shipping calculators to find the best deal for standard shipping, and these will usually let you know which option is fastest and which is cheapest, so you can weigh up the advantages and disadvantages of each and make a quick choice.
It’s worth shopping around for the best shipping prices, especially if you send a lot of packages, or if the sizes vary. The courier that is most cost effective for your small, light packages may not be the best option for your larger mail.
If you send a lot of packages, you may be able to get deals from some of the major couriers, so it’s worth looking into this. There are also websites that will get you cheaper shipping if you purchase through the site.
Who Should Use Standard Shipping?
Many people, both individuals and businesses, can benefit from using standard shipping. Any non-urgent items can travel this way, so if you are sending low priority items anywhere in the country, standard shipping is a great choice.
It is quick enough to be pleasing for customers, but not so quick that the shipping costs will climb. Businesses always need to balance the cost of shipping against how urgently they think their customers will want the item. Standard shipping usually offers the best of both worlds.
Businesses may also want to offer an expedited shipping option for customers that do not mind paying extra for the benefit of a quick delivery. This can make shipping more complicated, but does help to ensure customer satisfaction.
Is It Possible To Use Standard Shipping Internationally?
Yes, you can use standard shipping internationally, although it won’t meet the three to five day estimate, of course. It will take considerably longer for your item to reach its destination, depending on how far it is going. You will need to get more information from the courier you are choosing to ship with.
In general, the courier you choose will be working in conjunction with other international shipping couriers to get the mail handled and ensure that it reaches the correct place. Your item may end up being handled by multiple couriers before it reaches its destination.
The package is still likely to travel predominantly by roads while it is in-country, but it will probably travel by air in between countries. In some cases, it may travel by boat.
You will need to fill in paperwork if you want to ship items internationally, although what you need will depend on what you are shipping and where it is heading.
How Long Will It Take To Receive An Item Shipped Internationally?
This can vary enormously depending on where the item was originally shipped from. If your item was shipped from somewhere relatively close, such as Canada to the USA, it should only take a couple of weeks (or possibly less) for it to arrive.
However, if your item was shipped from further afield, it could take weeks to come, or possibly even a month or more. For example, if you are waiting for an item that has been shipped from China to the USA using standard international shipping, you should not expect it to arrive for at least two weeks, and it may take a month or two.
It’s best to contact the sender and request a more accurate update, or to check the tracking information so you know how soon to expect the package.
Can I Get Standard Shipping Boxes?
Some couriers offer standard shipping boxes that fit neatly into their size brackets, and you may be able to order them from the courier’s website. This can make packing and shipping easier, but you will need to check whether the packaging comes at a cost. For example, USPS only offers free packaging for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express, rather than for standard shipping.
It’s worth checking with the courier that you wish to use whether they will supply you with free boxes. If they will, you can save time and energy, and you’ll know that your items fit within the sizes stipulated by that courier.
Standard shipping can make your life easier; it offers a simple, straightforward option that is good in terms of both the price and the shipping speed. It’s also an option provided by almost all the couriers, so you can ask for it regardless of which business you are dealing with.
You can further simplify your shipping experiences by taking out a Virtual Mailbox with US Global Mail, making all of your delivery needs straightforward. This provides you with a secure address where packages can be delivered and stored safely when you aren’t at home to accept them. You can then collect them when it suits you.