Money Talks: Cheapest Overnight Shipping: FedEx, UPS or USPS?

By: Stacy Johnson
By: Stacy Johnson

Getting stuff from A to B is part and parcel of life in America. When it comes to sending packages, especially overnight, there are several services that compete for your business. The three most popular are the Post Office, UPS and FedEx. Think they’re all about the same price? Not even close.

Consumer Reports recently did a survey by sending a paperback book overnight to 16 recipients in 12 states using recommended packaging from all three services.

Results? The Post Office charges a flat fee of $16.50 for a letter-sized envelope anywhere in the lower 48. But the other two charge based on weight and distance… so FedEx was $27 to $55 and UPS was $30 to $63. So depending on distance, they were up to 4 times more.

They also shipped a five-pound package cross-country. Again, when it came to overnight, the Post Office was cheaper. Although on ground shipping, FedEx was basically the same.

So who you use depends on your needs. But the bottom line here is don’t assume everyone’s the same price. Get online and do some homework before you send anything: then maybe you won’t be sending money down the drain.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Jolie Location: Tallahassee on Oct 28, 2011 at 11:13 AM
    USPS is the worst service I have ever dealt with. Not only have I not gotten a package shipped over 6 business days ago, but my license plates shipped overnight have not arrived, and the post office can't even give me an idea as to where they are! For $26 you would think they could deliver something on time, and at the very least not lose it. Now it's my %^% if I get pulled over for having expired plates. Thanks for nothing USPS!
  • by Lorie Location: Georgia on Dec 10, 2008 at 11:07 AM
    The Postal Service delivers 98% on time plus they NEVER charged a fuel surcharge when the gas was so high. Everybody else charged anywhere from 20 to 30%. Who needs fair weather friends like that??
  • by Jesse Location: South Dakota on Dec 9, 2008 at 10:45 AM
    IBM Global Systems is correct over 98%. But if it does not get there when guaranteed you get your money back! As for New Jersey comments, you need to look at the usps not just a regional area.
  • by Jason Location: Montana on Dec 9, 2008 at 07:20 AM
    Another point: Big Sky District of the USPS has been rated #1 or tied for #1 in the country with over 98% on time deliver as rated by IBM Global Systems.
  • by Carl Location: New Jersey on Dec 9, 2008 at 06:07 AM
    Those figures are not true. So far this FY the USPS delivered 3,619,778 domestic Express Mail pieces, of which 96.79 percent were on time.
  • by Cory Location: Grinnell, Ia on Dec 8, 2008 at 03:50 PM
    Keep in mind that USPS is on time somewhere around 75% of the time and UPS and FedEx are on time 99% of the time.

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