A Priority Mail Savings Opportunity


Did you know you can still use Priority Mail Package service (PM), with free boxes, free insurance up to $100, and still save money over flat rate box rates for a lot of shipments? Keep reading.

USPS offers many sizes of free boxes for PM shipments that are not “Flat Rate” boxes.

The most popular size of a PM flat rate box is the “medium” which comes in two sizes: 11”x8.5”x5.5” and 11 7/8” x 13 5/8” x 3 3/8”. If you buy the label and postage on line the cost for shipping is $11.30. It allows you to ship anything that fits in either box anywhere in the US for that cost. A free box with a decent shipping cost. Not a bad deal.

What is not commonly known is that the USPS offers free PM boxes in addition to flat rate boxes. These are for general PM usage and are subject to standard weight and distance- based pricing. (In other words, they are not flat rate boxes). In many cases the price of a shipment is significantly less than if you used a flat rate box, especially for shipments in the 1-7 pound weight range and traveling to a nearby state

The additional free PM boxes come in these sizes:

11.5” x 13 1/8” x 2 3/8”
12”  x  12”  x  8”
7”  x  7”  x  6”
9.25” x 6.25” x  2”
15.25” x 12 3/8” x  3”
13 3/8” x 12 1/8” x 2.75”
14 3/8” x 7.5” x 5 1/8”
37 11/16” x 6 1/8” x 5 1/8”      (Medium Tube)
25” x  6”  x  5 7/8”                   (Small Tube)

This selection of box sizes makes the use of PM even more attractive and all these sizes can be ordered on the USPS website with free delivery to your door.

If you compare the $11.30 PM Medium Flat Rate charge against the standard PM charges, you’ll find that a standard PM shipment is less expensive for a number of weights and zones – sometimes a lot less. These savings range from $4.79 to $6.75 for a one pound shipment depending on the shipping distance and can be nearly a dollar less for a short-distance, 10 pound shipment.

To sum up, before you automatically reach for a flat rate box, weigh your shipment in one of the other PM boxes to see if there are savings available! Same service, free box, lower price. What a deal for you and your customer!

By the way, using these free boxes for non-Priority Mail shipments is a big no-no.”

Priority Mail Changes – Some Positives



I wrote in earlier posts about the USPS plan to offer free insurance on Priority Mail shipments. That change, along with a few other others are now in place.

As I see it, here are the changes they have made to their “premium” services:

  • USPS Express service has been renamed USPS Priority Express and includes  up to $100 of insurance  in the price.  It is still a one-day service to most domestic locations with delivery guaranteed.
  • USPS Priority Mail offers up to $50 insurance included in the price and now has an “expected delivery time” map available on the USPS website for each origin zip code.  Transit time is 1-3 days depending on destination zip code.  Transit time is not guaranteed.
  • Both services have new box designs, but the older boxes can be used until the supply is depleted.
  • Both services have what the USPS calls “improved tracking”.  It is hard to determine what that enhancement includes, if anything.
  • The pricing for the services remains unchanged.


This is a step forward for the USPS – the free insurance for the two Priority Mail (Regular and Express) services will help reduce the cost for some shippers who routinely have paid $1.95 for $1 to $50 and $2.45 for $51 to $100 of insurance in the past.

The service map for Priority Mail (regular service) is also a helpful aid for shippers to determine how long it will take for a package to reach their customer – although it is not guaranteed. In the past the service commitment was a non-specific “one to three days”.

For most internet shop shippers, the regular Priority Mail will remain a good option, especially on shipments under three pounds in boxes less than one cubic foot. Also, for higher weights to far-away destinations, the flat-rate boxes are an excellent choice, if your products can be safely packed in one of them.

FedEx Home Delivery and UPS remains a great option on weights over three pounds and boxes larger than one cubic feet.

Shipping Tool Beta-Test Offer


2013 F shipping tool_1

As I have hinted in earlier posts. I put together a shipping price tool to help my wife price shipments and choose carriers for boxes sent to customers. I would like to make it available free for a limited number of users. I only ask that you give me feedback on how it works for you and any thoughts you might have for improvement. I ultimately plan to offer it for a small charge to customers, complete with rate updates when rates change.

I will offer it between now and August 20 for the first 100 requests. The free package will include the Excel file along with a PDF instruction sheet and carrier guide. They will be attached to my reply email to you.

I have two options available:

Regular (full) price FedEx Home Delivery pricing
ETSY- discounted FedEx Home Delivery pricing

To receive your copy, please request it by email. Send requests to:


I will email it back to you.

When requesting, please include your name, email address, and city, state and zip code. Also indicate whether you want the ETSY Pricing or regular pricing.

I believe that the pricing reflects current service offerings, but with all “Beta Testing”, please allow for rounding errors and/or small glitches. With several months of testing and everyday use, I think it is pretty accurate.

I hope it is helpful and I look forward to hearing from you.


Dwight, aka shippingexpert