As small shippers, we ship most of our larger boxes (one cubic feet +) to destinations Zone 5 and above via FedEx Home Delivery. It gives good service to the continental US and includes excellent tracking and $100 in free, hassle-free insurance.
For shipments to Zone 4 or less, the “bargain of the century” is Priority Mail. Why? Because USPS dos not charge dimensional weight on these packages because they can be run on their ground network and still meet the service standards. The packages do not see the inside of a plane.
My wife is sending a vintage piano stool from Tigard, Oregon, where we live, to Oakland California – a Zone 4 shipment. The weight of the total shipment is 19 pounds. FedEx would charge $24.66 for this 28” x 18” x 18” package. USPS Priority Mail service on the same package is — $11.82. That’s right, less than 50% of FedEx. Interestingly, USPS Parcel Select on this shipment — which offers slower delivery – is $29.97. Go figure.
The same package to Southern California (Zone 5) costs $57.77 on USPS Priority Mail and $29.92 on FedEx Home Delivery. The big box is charged a dimensional weight of 47 pounds on USPS, putting the rate through the roof. [You can get about the same price using USPS Parcel Select as FedEx Home Delivery on this shipment, but the delivery will take 2-5 days longer.]
Word to the wise – for shipments to Zones 2-4, look at the options carefully. You can save your customers and yourself a lot of money and possibly upgrade service at the same time.
Note: Prices quoted are on-line pricing using ESTY USPS system or ETSY FedEx rates.