Trimming shipping costs with the Postal Service

In this economy, many of us are re-examining every purchase: do we need it, what does it cost and what are we getting for our money? If you are sending packages, here is one way you may be able to save money.

In this economy, many of us are re-examining every purchase: do we need it, what does it cost and what are we getting for our money?

For anyone sending packages — individuals and commercial shippers — the Postal Service can help you stay on budget.

One reason the Postal Service is a better deal than other shipping companies is no matter the final destination — rural or city — a delivery is a delivery. There are no hidden surcharges.

For example, other shipping companies levy a delivery area surcharge (DAS). According to USPS competitors, DAS reflects the higher cost of providing service to less populated and less accessible areas of the country. The surcharge applies to more than a quarter of all domestic deliveries.

In addition to the residential surcharge, DAS ZIP codes — residential or commercial — are subject to an additional DAS. These charges can add $1.60 for a commercial delivery and up to $2.65 for a residential delivery.
With USPS prices, what you see is what you pay. The Postal Service picks up and delivers across America, six days a week, every week for no additional cost.

Then there are fuel surcharges. Up to 100 percent of customers’ shipments, using another shipping company, will receive a fuel surcharge. Fuel surcharges fluctuate monthly and are assessed on both the base price and delivery surcharges.

And residential surcharges are added to approximately 80 percent of domestic addresses.

USPS address correction is included in the price for expedited shipments and is offered as a low-cost option on other shipping products. On average, 14 percent of the U.S. population moves every year. That’s more than 46 million address changes.

Surcharges — fuel, residential delivery, DAS, Saturday delivery and pickup, and address correction — are added on top of other shipping companies’ published rates, which are higher than USPS prices to begin with.
More information about all USPS shipping options, check the website

Commercial shippers can now take advantage of new volume price incentives with Commercial Plus, an up-front price incentive for qualifying shippers using domestic Express Mail and Priority Mail, who meet established volume requirements.

On average, Commercial Plus prices for Express Mail are 14.5 percent less than USPS retail prices and Priority Mail prices are 7 percent less.

To qualify for Commercial Plus savings, customers must ship 6,000 or more pieces of Express Mail per year — about 25 pieces a day — or 100,000 or more pieces of Priority Mail per year — about 420 a day.

International shippers also can take advantage of online incentives for Global Express Guaranteed (10 percent below retail), Express Mail International (8 percent below retail) and Priority Mail International (5 percent below retail).
Customers who prepare their international shipments online also have the convenience of completing only one form that includes both mailing and customs information.

Shippers who use Express Mail International and Priority Mail International may also qualify for a global expedited package discount if they send more than 5,000 pieces annually.

Express Mail Corporate Account holders automatically receive an 8 percent price reduction. They can qualify for 10 or 12 percent reductions by meeting higher-volume thresholds.

For more details about Commercial Plus, customers can e-mail [email protected] or call the Commercial Plus Hotline at 202-268-7669.

About the Author

Marilyn Jones has been a journalist for more than 30 years and is currently a freelance feature writer specializing in travel. Her articles have appeared in major newspapers including the BostonGlobe, Akron Beacon Journal and Chicago Sun-Times as well as regional travel magazines.

Visit her website at

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