Getting the Lowest Price When Shipping Packages
In this section, we offer a few tips on how find the cheapest way to using each the major carriers without having to get on the phone and negotiate with any of the carrier's account representatives.
To get discount rates such as Commercial Base or Commercial Plus prices, you'll need an account at an online service that lets you purchase postage (you pay the most at the post office counter). Here are a few easy options to get discounted shipping labels:
- Shippo (BEST OPTION) - Shippo is our choice for buying shipping labels because not only do you get the discounted USPS commercial pricing, you are also able to print labels from other carriers like DHL, UPS, and FedEx from the same web interface. Their basic account requires no monthly fees, and a label is only 5 cents per shipment plus postage costs. If you only ship occasionally, like during the Christmas season, this is ideal. You get discounted postage that you can print with your own printer, all without a monthly fee. Even though they also offer a shipping API and e-commerce integration if you need to automate your shipments, there is also a simplified web interface to allow you to buy labels. It's a powerful service that anyone can sign up to and use. You don't need to be a company. Skip going to the post office entirely by scheduling a free pickup from USPS online after you print your label.
- Paypal (Better Option) - You heard right, you can buy discounted postage directly from Paypal! Chances are you already have an account, but the postage option is a bit hidden and hard to find amongst all the menus, so here is a direct link. From there, you can buy your postage and print it out on your home printer. If you have a package that is less than 16 ounces, you can print a First Class Package label! You'll need to sign-up for a Paypal account if you don't already have one (it's free). It's pretty convenient for one or two labels at a time, but the user interface can start to get cumbersome if you need to print a bit more.
- USPS Click-and-Ship(Good Option) -
Signing up at the official United States Postal Service site allows you to buy labels online. They will be slightly less expensive than buying from the physical post office location, and you get to avoid standing in line at the post office line by printing out your shipping label at home. You don't need a self-adhesive label, just simply print the label on regular printer paper and tape it to your shipping box. One drawback is that the USPS site only lets you print Priority Mail labels. You will not be able to buy first-class postage labels.
FedEx and UPS discount rates can be applied to your account if you ship enough volume. You just need to call a representative that services your region and negotiate a bit. However, if you only ship out packages occasionally, like only during the holiday season, here are some options that let you get discounts for free:
Ebay - Associating your UPS account with ebay can provide up to 34% in savings. You'll need an eBay and UPS account (both free).
Sign up to eBay here. Learn more about the UPS program here.
- Your local shipping center may be offering a deal through Yelp.com. Buying a deal through Yelp will get you a voucher that you can then use in-store. Discounts vary by location. Shipping prices will also vary wildly as some shipping and mailbox centers will add their own service fees on top of carrier fees. The screenshot below shows the results of the search "shipping centers" after a filter is applied to only show locations that are offering a deal.
Free Shipping Labels
If you have a ROLLO label printer
, you can use any of the free labels shipping carriers often offer their account holders. ROLLO printers accept all types of thermal labels. You are not forced to buy proprietary labels from them.
FedEx supplies free shipping labels of various sizes when you have an account with them.
UPS offers free shipping labels when you have an account with them.