Standard Shipping within the United States

How long does it take? Here’s What You Need To Know

When it comes to delivery options, the quickest ones are usually the most expensive – and as a buyer, you’ll typically opt for the cheapest delivery option available as long as you get the product by the time you need it. Most online shops offer overnight, express and standard delivery speeds. However, they don’t always list which carriers they use, so it is difficult to know which service you are getting.

What is standard shipping?

The general rule of thumb is that an e-commerce site will refer to the slowest shipping option as their “standard shipping” service. This is usually also known as “ground service” (as opposed to Air). They’re usually the least expensive option for shipping, but it can take longer for your goods to arrive.

Additionally, standard or ground shipping means different speeds with different carriers like USPS, FedEx and UPS – it can be challenging to ascertain the exact delivery times and costs for each of these.

How fast is standard shipping?

It depends on the carrier used and the location of the sender and recipient. To get a more accurate idea of delivery days needed, use the shipping calculator on our home page. The calculator will take into account location and parcel information.

Shipping times are generally as follows:

  • USPS (Parcel Select or Retail Ground): 2-8 business days
  • USPS (First Class, for packages under 13 ounces): 1-3 business days
  • FedEx (Ground): around 5 days
  • UPS (Ground): around 5 days

How much does standard shipping cost?

Shipping costs depend on the destination and dimensions of the package. You can head over to our shipping calculator on the home page get some more accurate estimates.

Below are some general ranges for the large carriers.

USPS

For the USPS Retail Ground service, it takes anywhere from 2-8 business days to ship. It is reliable and economical, and it can reach many of the rural addresses other carriers will not deliver to. USPS Retail Ground and Parcel Select have the same delivery time frame, the difference is that you can only buy a USPS Retail Ground label in person at the post office, while Parcel Select is available online with services such as Shippo.

When an online store offers deliveries via USPS, they are referring to the USPS Parcel Select services for larger packages of 70lbs or less, and 130” girth and length combined.

If you go for Priority Mail from USPS, your package will get to you anywhere in the US in 1-3 business days. This method, like Retail Ground services, also has tracking and insurance included. The maximum package size for USPS priority mail is 70 lbs. and 108” combined length and girth, respectively.

The Priority Mail service does take less time, but it costs more compared to retail ground services from USPS. If your item fits in a Flat Rate Box, online shippers will often use this method over Parcel Select as it provides a better customer experience with the decreased shipping time. If you can manage to wait a bit longer and there’s no urgency, you’ll find the retail ground service to be more economical and cost-effective for your online buying needs.

You may also have noticed that online stores ask you to pay more for shipping "express" or "overnight" orders. That’s because the costs for these options can be quite high irrespective of the carrier; so they pass on some of that expense onto the customer.

The transit days and starting costs for USPS are as follows:

  • Priority Mail Express: Overnight for most US Locations – starts from $26.35
  • Priority Mail Regional: 1-3 business days
  • Priority Mail Flat Rate: 1-3 business days - $8.30
  • First-Class Package Service: 1-3 business days – starting from $3.80
  • Parcel Select: 2-8 business days – starts from $3.19 (commercial cost)
  • Retail Ground: 2-8 business days – starting from $7.50.

See our USPS shipping calculator on the home page for more accurate shipping estimates.

FedEx

FedEx has two primary services called FedEx Ground and FedEx Express. The latter is fast and expensive, but it also offers a money-back guarantee as well as a commitment to deliver at a pre-determined time.

Plus, shipping boxes and packaging are often included in the shipping costs if you use their branded box.

FedEx Ground shipping, on the other hand, is fast, but it won’t be delivered any time before the end of the next day after shipping. Most packages take 1-5 business days to arrive, except for when it’s from, or going to, Hawaii, or Alaska – in these cases, it can take 3-7 days to get your packages.

If you’re buying laptops, spare lithium batteries, or Juul pod refills (or some other liquids) online, then this might be the right option for you. It’s because these items may be considered dangerous for delivery by air services.

FedEx offers tracking for their ground services. Like USPS, you can get notifications of your package’s status via email, text or on FedEx’s tracking page.

Let’s take a look at an example. You want to ship a laptop from California to your friend in Florida. The package weighs in at 6lbs and has dimensions 19 x 14 x 5 inches. If you ship it through FedEx Ground, it will cost you $28.84 and if you sent it on its way on Friday, 28th February, it would arrive on Friday, 6th March.

Sure, this method may have taken longer, but the same package shipped through FedEx First Overnight would cost you around $203.36 – for Priority overnight, it would cost $170.57.

The later you’d want it to be delivered the less it would cost, demonstrating the relationship of shipping speeds against costs. The transit times and rates for your specific case can be calculated from the FedEx website or our homepage.

UPS

United Parcel Service (UPS) also has a ground service that’s economical and takes 1-5 business days to deliver, depending on the seller location and delivery destination.

It’s called UPS Ground; it’s cost-effective and primarily used for less urgent, routine shipments.

Like most other ground-based shipments within the United States, your parcels are transported via a delivery truck and the costs depend on how far you live from the seller. You can find out the transit times for your packages by UPS Ground Maps.

For instance, if you’re shipping from Malibu, California to Orange Park, Florida, UPS ground would take the longest at four days, compared to UPS Next Day Air Early (most expensive), which will deliver the next business day. Again, the cost for UPS ground would be much more economical than UPS Next Day Air Early.

In Conclusion

There’s no standard definition for shipping speeds; it all depends on how far the destination is from the starting location and what carrier is being used. However, you can expect the package to take around a week for shipping, and add a couple of days for picking and packing the item.

Generally, the more you pay for the delivery service, depending on whether the package you select allows it or it, the quicker it will be delivered to your destination.