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Lower Shipping Costs with Priority Mail Flat Rate Packages

Did you know that you don’t have to pay more to ship heavier items through the US Postal Service? Using the Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping option, you can send items for one flat cost using free boxes that the Post Office provides. You can mail anything that you can reasonably fit in each USPS flat rate box while allowing it to close properly and staying under 70 pounds. Here’s what you need to know about each of the containers offered from the USPS:priority-mail

Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelop and Box Sizes:

• The Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope is 12.5 inches by 9.5 inches, which will hold standard copy paper, certificates, contracts and other important documents. It will cost you $4.80 to mail it using Stamps.com or $4.95 if you visit the Post Office. Your envelope must weigh less than 25 pounds.

• The Priority Mail “Small Flat Rate Box” is just large enough to mail a DVD, CD or a small book. It also will cost you $4.80 to mail it using Stamps.com or $4.95 if you visit the Post Office.

• The Priority Mail “Regular Flat Rate Box” (11-by-8.5-inch) is about the size of a shoe box. In addition to sending shoes, you could fill this box with baked goods, pictures, a mug and more for only $9.85 through Stamps.com or $10.35 if you visit the Post Office.

• The USPS offers a second larger version of the Priority Mail “Regular Flat Rate Box,” which is 13-by-11 inches, and is about the size of a clothing box from a department store. It’s the ideal choice to send clothes or picture frames for only $9.85 through Stamps.com or $10.35 if you visit the Post Office.

• The Priority Mail “Large Flat Rate Box,” which is 12-by-12 inches, can hold anything you can imagine. Stuff it full and send it for $13.50 through Stamps.com or $13.95 if you visit the Post Office. APO/FPO rates are $11.50 through Stamps.com or $11.95 if you visit the Post Office, ensuring that you have more money to send items to your deployed loved one.

The USPS also offers Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes for international shipping, although the rates do increase depending on your package’s final destination.

eBay Sellers Can Save Big with Priority Mail Flat Rate
If you are an eBay seller, Priority Mail Flat Rate shipping is a great option to make your products more appealing to buyers. Since eBay is constantly adding new posting and selling fees, many eBay sellers are using shipping and handling charges as a profit center. Providing your buyers with realistic shipping/handling charges that are not over-inflated (don’t forget, you get the boxes for free from the USPS) should allow you a distinct advantage over your competitors selling the same product but with higher shipping fees.

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  • http://spidership.com Alex Hennefer

    I have started using the flat rate envelopes instead of sending my documents over night with FedEx. I am paying about 25% less of what I used to pay.

    I love it!

  • KMD

    I working through shipping a 3lb item using Media Mail.

    What I found out was that the options I could use (Deliver conf, etc) is limited by what label type I use. For e.g., if I use the SDC-4100 (Narrow 2×7.5 label), I could have Delivery Confirmation for $0.19 within Stamps.Com, whereas if I use SDC-3110 (3-part Label), the Delivery Confirmation is $0.80, and I have to use the USPS Form 152 (Green label) and cannot use Stamps.Com for tracking! I thought that was kind of odd – which means I could only use one type of labels!

    Any comments or am I doing something wrong…

  • karen cregger

    Re Frank’s comment about not leaving a box for pickup… you said it could be dropped off etc.. most packages.. including flat rate boxes will not fit in a box or slot… so back to waiting. in my area there is one PO with a big box.. but it is in the lock up part of the PO during off hours.
    Re: Elizabeth comment… yes your picks are confusing regarding envelopes and packages and weights etc.. by the time one goes through all the choices.. you could have been done at the PO.. also if you switch back and forth to see what is the best way to send… your addressee doesn’t carry over, so you have to retype or go back and copy… not real friendly.

  • Eric Nash

    @Earl
    Hi Earl, Under the “Packages” tab, select “Priority Mail” in the “mail class” field and then look under the “mail piece” field — you should see the different options for Priority Mail Flat Rate.

    On our “International” tab, the process is a little different. You’ll first need to input the international delivery address into the software first. Once the delivery address is inputted, you should see a list of options under “Mail Class” tab including Priority Mail International Small Flat-Rate box.

  • Earl

    I only see one Priority Mail option (no flat rate options) on my packages tab and do not see the new “small” flat rate box option on my international tab. What do I need to do to see other options. I’ve been bombing out and going to the USPS website when I want/need to use other available options.

  • Eric Nash

    @Frank Giovaniello
    Hi Frank, One of the advantages of using a service like Stamps.com, considered a “known mailer” by the US Postal Service, is that you can drop packages off weighing more than 13 ounces in Postal Service collection boxes or Post Office lobby mail slots. You do not need to stand in line at the Post Office.

    This is confirmed by the USPS information presented here: http://www.usps.com/communications/newsroom/2007/pr07_058.htm

    Free Carrier Pickup is available for both Priority and Express Mail.
    For more information, you may access the following link: http://www.usps.com/pickup/welcome.htm

  • Elizabeth

    I was using the Priority Mail flat rate envelopes today. I discovered that to get the reduced rate of $4.80, I clicked on the “package” button and selected the Priority Mail flat rate envelope. The postage and delivery address are printed on a plain sheet of paper. Note that when you select the “envelope” or “stamps” button with the Priority Mail flat rate envelope, the cost comes out to $4.95. I don’t know why that is, but you should try the “package” feature eventhough you are shipping an envelope.

  • M Emm

    Frank Giovaniello :
    I believe any parcel over 13 ounces still requires a trip to the Post Office (can not be left in mailbox). And the USPS only offers free carrier pick-up for Express Mail. Could you confirm or correct me if I’m mistaken? Thank you.

    Hasn’t been a problem for me for a while, but I believe was the rule was anything weighing more than 2 Lbs or anything with postage paid by stamps. We made that mistake with a priroity mail package going to NY in 2002. The dates were all documented, so we know it went by air to NY where they put a sticker on it saying it couldn’t go by air (because it hadn’t been through the PO) and sent it back to Denver by Air.

    Your carrier can pick up anything that does not require a physical postmark (e.g. certified, registered, etc). The click’n’ship program has a link for carrier pickup request and it DOES work for Priority Mail. But in many cases this “service” is all but meaningless. Your carrier gets a note in the morning that you have items to be picked up. He will pick them up during the ordinary course of his route, i.e. when he delivers your mail. The limited benefit is that technically your carrier does not have to pick up ANY mail if he is not delivering anything. That’s actually happening fairly often now that the PO is losing so much business, but unofficially your regular carrier on a business route will check for outgoing mail anyhow. He’s just not REQUIRED to, UNLESS you put in that carrier pickup request.

  • Denwood

    @Frank Giovaniello
    Yes, but I have no experience of this rule being enforced. Anyone else?

  • http://www.Stamps.com Eric Nash

    @Brooke
    Hi Brooke, The only way to see the discounted rate is by printing the label through the “packages” tab. If you choose “stamps” or “envelopes” icon to print the label, the discounted rate for Priority Mail will not appear.

  • http://www.Stamps.com Eric Nash

    @Pat Murphy
    Hi Pat, Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope is $17.50

  • http://www.Stamps.com Eric Nash

    @Berniece Galianese
    Hi Berniece, Priority Mail (including Priority Mail Flat Rate) ships to most cities in the US in 2-3 days. However, the USPS does not guarantee the delivery time for Priority Mail.

    Also, when selecting a mail class in our software, the software will show an ETA for each mail class.

  • http://www.aaaa.org Berniece Galianese

    What is the ship time for the package? overnight, two day, etc?

  • M Emm

    It’s true the USPS Flat Rate Priority Mail boxes can be a money saver, but they are far short of the perfect solution that is being promoted by the USPS and reflected by you folks at Stamps.com

    My business spends about $1000 a week on postage, so you can be sure we have looked at the alternatives. Unfortunately, the vast majority of our packages are mailed by ordinary rated Priority Mail because the flat rate box would cost more. Packages weighing more than one pound are rated by weight and zone. For example, a 4 pound item with a destination that is 500 miles from here will cost $7.62 by ordinary Priority Mail, a savings of $2.23 over the Flat Rate Box price (electronic rates in both cases). But if it going to Miami or Seattle (from Denver) the Flat Rate Box will cost less. The box is free in either case, but we do have to check the rates every time.

    For international packages (we do a lot of those, too) the break-even point is generally 5 pounds, for the standard flat rate box. At 4 pounds or less it is cheaper to use a non-flat-rate box. And there are some real oddities with the new “small” flat rate box. It has a weight limit of 4 Lbs, and a value limit of $400. If you check the USPS web site you will find that has been as a “letter.” I think it is actually replacing the old “small packet” rate which was so useful in years gone by.

    A local contract station got into big trouble (it’s actually closing in November) because the contractor was playing the flat rate game to defraud customers. She’d “charge” them the full rate, then repack the item in a flat rate box and pocket the difference!

    As with everything the Post Office does, Priority Mail and the Flat Rate Boxes are far more complicated than they appear to be, or need to be. (remember “2 Lbs, $2, 2 days?!”).

  • http://frank@themedia-works.com Frank Giovaniello

    I believe any parcel over 13 ounces still requires a trip to the Post Office (can not be left in mailbox). And the USPS only offers free carrier pick-up for Express Mail. Could you confirm or correct me if I’m mistaken? Thank you.

  • http://frank@themedia-works.com Frank Giovaniello

    I believe any parcel over 13 ounces still requires a trip to the Post Office (can not be left in mailbox). And the USPS only offers free carrier pick-up for Express Mail. Could you confirm or correct me if I’m mistaken? Thank you.

  • http://LuckmanLaw.com Pat Murphy

    There’s also an Express Mail Flat Rate Envelope. What is the postage on that one?

  • Brooke

    When I enter the Priority envelope in Stamps.com, it still charges $4.95. Is there something extra I should be doing to get the reduced rate?