Shipping: Service Choices

Shipping Service Choices

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Go To Great Panes, Kathryn Maloney ©2009
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You need to choose what service works best for your business, I can only speak to what works for us. We use First Class whenever possible–it’s fast and inexpensive.

When a domestic package is over 13 oz (the First Class rate cut-off), we generally ship Priority Mail. International First Class goes up to 4 lbs, we rarely have an international package that goes over that, but when it does the package has to go Priority.

First Class is generally handled the same as Priority Mail, except during the busiest seasons when Priority Mail is put on the truck first, and if they run out of room for slower service packages, the non-Priority packages have to wait for the next truck. The only other time I hear that Priority is handled better than first class is when it is being shipped to APO/FPO addresses, Alaska and Hawaii.

If you don’t ask for First Class at the post office, the clerks are supposed to just give your Priority Mail, so be sure to ask about your options.

First Class Mail Domestic: Up to 13 oz
The rate is the same across the US no matter how far the destination. It is the least expensive you can ship, even less than Parcel post–and yet the service is much faster than Parcel Post.

First Class Mail International: Up to 4 pounds
The rates are variable but they don’t change much except for Canada and Mexico being much less expensive than anywhere else–we’re neighbors after all. See here for more: International Shipping

Priority Mail for domestic shipping is covered here: Priority Mail
You can get boxes free when using Priority Mail, but we can still ship most items cheaper in our recycled boxes or in bubble mailers using First Class Mail. They have great “flat rate” boxes–same price no matter what shipping US zone your package is going to but it’s only a good deal for heavier items, that’s covered in the link above. There are different prices for the Priority International Flat Rates, though you use the same boxes.

Parcel Post
We don’t often use Parcel Post because it is significantly slower, and usually not much less expensive than Priority Mail–especially if you pay for postage online.

Once you’ve got your items shipping figured out, you’ll probably want to use shipping labels you print from home–once you start you’ll wonder how you ever did without it! See the “Shipping” page for links to posts for help with printing labels and even more shipping help.

For more shipping tips see our main “Shipping” page–see the gold links on the right or click here:
Shipping Basics

2 thoughts on “Shipping: Service Choices”

  1. Thanks SO much for posting all this shipping info–it’s so helpful. My mom and I are starting an etsy shop and it’s been a little overwhelming to try and decipher the USPS website. Now I know where to start. Thanks again!

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