For companies in North America that rely on shipping to conduct business, finding reliable service providers to receive supplies and fulfill orders on time can be a headache, and the pandemic has made things worse. Regardless of the realities surrounding reliable shipping and delivery options these days, staying competitive means meeting customer demands. From e-commerce companies like Amazon to local mom-and-pop stores looking for the cheapest overnight shipping option to get their products to their customers, a shipping company can make or break a business. The three major carriers in North America are USPS, UPS, and FedEx, and they all have pros and cons when it comes to their overnight shipping services.
Reading: Best overnight mail service
As we discuss what to consider when choosing an overnight delivery service, keep in mind that from time to time the terms for delivery in Canada and Mexico (including guarantees) may change, and the terms of all carriers may change due to the volatile nature of the pandemic.
One more caveat: As a business owner or manager, it’s possible to negotiate prices with the carrier of your choice, and discounts are often available based on shipping volume. You can often find an approximate discount rate online, but there are specific, beneficial discounts available based on your volume history, the typical size and weight of the products you ship, and the like.
what to consider when choosing an overnight shipping company
Usually, the reputation of the overnight shipping service you choose can be determined through online reviews and word of mouth. That said, sometimes the reliability of a shipping service can vary by location, and there are generally more delivery issues in large urban centers. For example, New York City is notorious for undelivered packages. According to a New York Times report, 15% of deliveries never reach their destinations in New York City, let alone on time.
The good news is that all shipping providers treat overnight packages a little more carefully. still, some carriers are better than others. Companies can determine shipment reliability by keeping a record of customer complaints regarding breakages, delays, and non-delivery. the three major North American carriers have similar reliability ratings for their overnight shipping services.
There is no such thing as cheap overnight shipping, but there are price differences between carriers based on the type of shipment (air or freight), the size of the package, and the weight of what is being shipped. most carriers ship by dimensional weight and price accordingly. If your packages are small, heading to the post office and using USPS is the least expensive option. Both UPS and FedEx have tiered overnight shipping options for different sizes, weights, and dimensions, so if your shipping needs are varied, they may be your best option. You can find consumer prices on each shipper’s website, but calling your business contact at the carrier of your choice is the best way to get volume-related overnight shipping discounts.
All major carriers offer overnight delivery, but for shipping to be successful and on time, you must be aware of and adhere to the carrier’s cut-off times. in many cases, overnight shipping cutoffs are earlier than general late-day shipping times. Some tips to meet deadlines are:
- If you are taking packages to a carrier, please arrive an hour before the deadline to account for lines.
- Arrange for on-time pickups with the overnight shipping carrier that you’re using from your warehouses or other storage facilities, and make sure you always have packages ready to ship before they arrive.
- For unexpected or last-minute overnight packages, contact your carrier directly and most early in the day as possible to find out your options.
Shipping to different North American countries may mean different cutoff times, so please pay special attention when shipping to Mexico or Canada.
safe delivery is where you’ll find big discrepancies between carriers. UPS and the United States Postal Service have the highest rates of damaged packages. while fedex isn’t perfect, its damage rate of just 7% is the best among major shipping lines according to one study.
In addition to getting your package to its recipient on time, you need a delivery guarantee. Not all carriers guarantee their services the next day, but the Big Three do (USPS, FedEx, and UPS), which is why we’re highlighting them in this post. With USPS, the only guaranteed option is Express Priority Mail. USPS will refund your money if you miss the deadline overnight. fedex will too. FedEx claims that they will refund your money even if the delivery is delayed by 60 seconds. If you are using a smaller carrier, you will need to inquire about guarantees and what they offer as compensation when a delivery is late. The pandemic has created some issues with delivery guarantees on top of shipping delays, especially with the US. uu. to canada deliveries, so be sure to get current warranty and delivery time information from your carrier. ups posts its updates online.
best overnight shipping services
improves overnight shipping options
ups has three levels of shipping options. for delivery times and current prices you will need to check their website. These are the options they currently offer:
- ups next day air early: next day delivery
- ups next day air: next day delivery
- ups next day air saver: next day delivery
fedex overnight shipping options
fedex also has three-tier shipping options. for delivery times and current prices you will need to check their website. here are your current options:
- Fedex Prime Next Day – Next Business Day Delivery
- Fedex Priority Next Day – Next Business Day Delivery
- Fedex Standard Next Day – Delivery next business day
usps overnight shipping options
usps offers overnight service, Priority Mail, which is guaranteed and insured up to $100. you can purchase additional insurance and services if your items are worth more. if they don’t deliver on time, you also get your money back. Please note that with USPS, overnight shipping is limited to 70 pounds. for heavier items you will need to use ups or fedex.
best overnight shipping options in north america
usps priority mail express is the best overnight shipping service overall, as long as your packages always weigh less than 70 pounds and you don’t ship anything dangerous or need refrigeration. USPS is also the least expensive way to ship overnight letters (about $26 at the time of this writing). USPS is also the most reliable shipping service. If your business ships to rural areas, USPS is also the best option, as many other carriers, not just UPS and FedEx, will not ship to areas they deem to be unprofitable, while the entire US will not ship to rural areas. uu. At least USPS has to deliver everywhere, no matter the cost to them.
Other delivery services have longer business hours than USPS, however, if you want to ship something later in the day or on Sundays, you will need to choose another shipping service. USPS delivers some packages on Sundays, but they don’t do pickups. At the time of this writing, fedex is the only major carrier that does pickup on Sunday.
Finally, keep in mind that as a business you may be able to negotiate higher volume discounts with UPS and FedEx than you can with USPS.
worst overnight shipping options in north america
thanks to covid, shipments to or from anywhere have become more precarious and volatile. That said, hands down the worst overnight shipping options in North America are those carriers that don’t have the reach of the top three carriers. while there are regional or local shipping companies that may work for your business, if your shipping needs are consistent and extend beyond the region where your business is located, go with one of the big three.
Note, too, that the best test of reliability is to check your own non-delivery/damage records from your sales records, as these will provide you with the most accurate data on your customer base and any delivery history adverse.
Since the pandemic, shipping has become increasingly unreliable as hours and options change frequently due to labor shortages and other issues. prices and warranty times vary, even for overnight shipping. Companies should contact shipping companies directly for the best available rates. Still, in terms of reliability and affordability, USPS is the best overall service as long as the weight of the packages you ship is less than 70 pounds. fedex and ups offer the largest volume discounts, however, if price is your only concern and you regularly ship large packages.
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