More than eight years ago, the US Post Office decided to stop offering what they called Parcel Post mail completely – instead creating two different mail delivery services that customers could take advantage of. One of those services, Standard Post, is available for USPS customers that are looking to purchase postage directly from their local post office.
The other service, Parcel Select, is a USPS service provided for online postage customers only – and Postal Select Lightweight is a division of that postal offering. Throughout this guide we dig a little bit deeper into everything that you need to know about leveraging Parcel Select Lightweight from the USPS.
You’ll learn exactly what Parcel Select Lightweight is, the kinds of postage expenses you can expect to deal with when you use Parcel Select Lightweight, the delivery timeline for this service, and more. By the time you finish this detailed guide you’ll be an expert on everything that Parcel Select Lightweight has offer! Shall we get started?
What is Parcel Select Lightweight?
Right out of the gate, it’s important to understand that Parcel Select Lightweight is a “sub service” under the umbrella of Parcel Select from the United States Postal Service. Parcel Select itself is a postage program designed specifically to be taken advantage of by small and medium-sized businesses that are looking to ship a lot of packages (on a regular basis) via the most economically sound ground delivery offers from USPS.
This is not the kind of program that you’ll want to look into if you are sending letters on a regular basis or packages sporadically. There’s not a lot of benefit to Parcel Select or Parcel Select Lightweight if you’re going to go down that road. On the other hand, if you have a business that ships merchandise every single day – and wants to deliver via ground shipping services through the USPS without spending a small fortune – it’s not a bad idea to look into everything that Parcel Select and Parcel Select Lightweight in specific provide.
The main difference between Parcel Select and Parcel Select Lightweight has to do entirely with the weight of the packages that you are sending. Parcel Select Lightweight is specifically intended for packages that weigh less than a single pound, packages that are used for order fulfillments, and packages that are already pre-sorted and ready to enter into the USPS logistical mail stream at either a DDU, SCF, or NDC designated mail entry point.
That has a lot more to do with how your local post office is set up or how your online postage account is created, and is something that you can discuss with your local post office representative in depth later on. There are other Parcel Select options available as well, including:
- Parcel Select Non-Presort, service available directly through third-party vendors like Stamps.com
- Parcel Select Destination Entry, specifically intended for those that are shipping 50 packages (minimum) at a time
- Parcel Select NDC/ONDC Presort, another Parcel Select program that requires you to be sending at least 50 packages at a time through specific mail stream entry points
What Kind of Prices Should I Expect?
There are a couple of different price points you can expect to pay when you are taking advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight specifically, though these price points are going to differ a little bit depending on a couple of factors.
For one thing, you’re only going to be able to take advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight (or any other Parcel Select services) when working with a third-party online vendor. You’ll have to go through something like Stamps.com or another 100% authorized USPS business partner for PC Postage vendor. More information about that can be found online (via the USPS website) or you can call your local post office for more details, too. Prices are going to bounce around a little bit depending on the specific service that you choose. A lot of people go with Stamps.com because they have such a fantastic reputation, fair prices, and a streamlined overall online experience. But it might be worth shopping around to find a better deal, too.
Secondly, the price you have to pay to take advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight services will usually be dependent on the overall weight of the packages you are sending as well as the volume of packages that you are moving, too. Heavier Parcel Select Lightweight packages that are closer to the 1 pound limit are going to be a little more expensive, as well as those that send more sporadic deliveries through this program. Lighter packages that are sent at higher volumes usually entitle you to the best possible prices when you’re looking to use Parcel Select Lightweight services. All in all, you shouldn’t find this kind of delivery system set up to be all that expensive. That’s a big part of why so many people love to take advantage of this program from the USPS the first place.
How Long Will Parcel Select Packages Take to Be Delivered?
While actual delivery times will be entirely dependent on where you are shipping your packages from and where they are going to be delivered, on average you can expect Parcel Select Lightweight packages to take anywhere between two days and eight days to reach their final destination. This delivery timeline is for USPS business days, of course (which means mail isn’t going to be moving that much on Sunday). It’s also only applicable for packages that are going to be delivered to addresses in the Lower 48 states of the US.
If you are having Parcel Select Lightweight packages sent to addresses in Alaska, Hawaii, or any other US territory you can expect delivery timelines to be stretched out a little longer than the eight days we mentioned above. In fact, it’s not at all unusual for packages sent via Parcel Select Lightweight to be delivered to Alaska, Hawaii, and other US territories to take anywhere between 10 days and 14 days (or more) to arrive.
As a general rule, you can expect packages sent through this service to have a similar delivery timeline to the original Parcel Post mail class. It’s also quite similar to what ground delivery through the USPS would be, or first-class mail (though sometimes it’s even slower than that). This definitely wouldn’t be described as an expedited delivery service. It’s much closer to standard delivery service than anything else!
When Should I Take Advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight?
As we highlighted above, the overwhelming majority of people that are going to want to take advantage of the Parcel Select Lightweight services available through the USPS are small to midsized businesses. You’ll want to have a decent amount of package flow each week to really capitalize on the volume discounts of this service, too.
A lot of the benefits of Parcel Select Lightweight only come into play when you are sending more than 50 packages out at a time. Any fewer than that and you just aren’t going to see as great a discount on your shipping that you would going with other USPS programs. You’ll definitely want to try and hit that 50 minimum limit every time you schedule Parcel Select Lightweight deliveries.
It’s also critically important that you check and double check that all of your Parcel Select Lightweight packages are actually under the 1 pound weight limit. Anything higher than that is going to ship via standard Parcel Select – and that’s going to cost a bit more than Parcel Select Lightweight would.
It might not look like all that much at first glance, but when you have to send 50 pieces of mail at a time those extra fees really start to add up – especially if you are sending a lot more than 50 packages through this delivery program on a regular basis! Because you are going to be ordering this service through the internet (through USPS approved business partners) it’s important to have your scale system optimized. That’s going to play a huge role in whether or not you are able to take advantage of Parcel Select Lightweight or not.
How Can I Leverage Parcel Select Lightweight Services?
The easiest way to get started with Parcel Select Lightweight services has to be to sign up for a free account with Stamps.com and familiarize yourself with their administrative backend. This is definitely the preferred partner of the USPS when it comes to online approved vendors, in large part because of how simplified and streamlined they’ve made their systems.
The administrative backend here is really easy to use (especially on your mobile device) and everything is set up to facilitate Parcel Select Lightweight deliveries right from the get-go. You won’t have to do a lot of fiddling around with the admin panel to get this kind of service up and running.
Obviously, other USPS approved vendors are going to offer the same kind of service – though they may not be quite as user-friendly (or as affordable) as Stamps.com would be. That’s definitely something worth looking into, though, especially if you are using a different mailing partner already.
Will I Get Free Tracking or Delivery Confirmation Services Included?
Every single Parcel Select Lightweight order is going to include 100% free delivery confirmation and tracking details on every individual package. Not only are you going to get delivery and tracking confirmation sent directly to your administrative backend on the platform that you choose to move forward with, but your customer also instantly gets tracking information for their order as well. This is all managed automatically for you every time a Parcel Select Lightweight label is generated by the shipping partner that you have selected, and handled by the logistical masterminds at the USPS themselves.
The cool thing is you don’t have to pay any extra for tracking or delivery confirmation. Those extra services aren’t all that expensive on their own (especially compared to some of the other package add-ons business owners like to use from the USPS), but again when you’re sending at least 50 packages at a time through this program costs and start to climb in a hurry. Just know that you’ll always get delivery confirmation and tracking information provided free of charge when you use the Parcel Select Lightweight USPS platform.
US Global Mail – A New Approach to Managing Your Mailbox
Using Parcel Select Lightweight as a small business owner is a huge advantage, particularly if you want to provide your customers with a relatively quick delivery service that isn’t going to cost a small fortune. The fact that you can use this program through any of the approved USPS business partners 100% online is another big advantage. You can integrate those tools directly into your business workflow without headache or hassle, particularly if you’re working with a company like Stamps.com that have a real intelligently laid out user interface.
The rest of your mailing needs, though, you may want to consider everything that US Global Mail has to provide. One of the premier virtual mailbox services on the planet today, US Global Mail has been around for more than 20 years now. They’ve helped thousands of customers with their residential and business mail needs, modernizing and updating the traditional mailbox experience in a way that the USPS can’t because of their governmental limitations.
With a US Global Mail account you get to take advantage of things like:
- A physical street address (and not a PO Box address)
- A virtual mailbox; access all your postal mail from your phone or computer, no matter where you are in the world.
- Digital mail scanning of every package, parcel, and envelope that comes in
- Mail forwarding services
- Package acceptance with all major shipping companies (including those that USPS won’t work with)
- The privacy and anonymity that a virtual mailbox service provides
- A 100% online digital administrative panel, complete with real time updates about mail incoming
- Check depositing solutions
… And so much more!
If you are interested in a much more modern mailbox, US Global Mail is the way to go! For more information and details, check out their website or contact customer service at your earliest convenience.