Understanding Flat Rates and Shipping Methods September 25 2020
Printkeg offers many discounted shipping methods and flat rate options to help reduce the burden of shipping expenses to our customers. We've experimented with free shipping in the past, but that just hasn't been something we could maintain. Since that is the case, we have developed an attractive blend of shipping options. We offer the following services:
- Flat Rate Shipping
- USPS Priority Mail
- USPS First Class Package
- UPS Ground
- UPS 3-Day Select
- UPS 2-Day Air
- UPS Next Day Air
- FedEx Ground
Each shipping method has advantages and disadvantages, and each should be researched and understood - especially if you have a deadline. We discount every service by sharing our bulk rates with customers. We do not make any money on shipping and refuse to increase our prices to accommodate shipping expenses. Instead, we try to be as reasonable as possible. Here is a breakdown of each service:
How COVID19 Affects Shipping
Both UPS and USPS do not guarantee transit days for any service. We are still not sure when this policy will stop. USPS has never guaranteed their 2-day or 3-day Priority service. The number of days in the USPS naming schema is more of a guideline than a commitment.
Flat Shipping Rates
These are discounted rates provided to help keep your shipping costs down. Most of the time, flat rates offer huge savings. If you select a flat shipping rate, our shipping department will choose the least expensive shipping method, including UPS Ground or any USPS service (including Priority and First Class). The method of shipping is at our discretion. The service we use generally depends on the weight of the package.
We do not employ UPS SurePost and FedEx SmartPost since those services usually hand off packages to USPS for final delivery, confusing customers. Flat rates are unavailable for some areas and generally start at $10.99 (based on order amount and location).
$0 - $99.99 = $10.99 - $14.99
$100.00 - $249.99 = $12.99 - $14.99
$250.00 - $349.99 = $21.95 - $24.99
$350.00 - $499.99 = $29.99
$500.00 - $999.99 = $39.99
$1000+ = $59.99 - $69.99
* These ranges may vary, and they are based on a number of factors. Orders to some states may cost an additional $1 to $5 more. Outer lying areas and international locations may or may not qualify. Flat rates change based on location and weight.
Packages under one pound may be offered a low USPS First Class Package or flat rate option (usually $7.99 or $8.99). This service may not yet be offered to all states while we experiment with it.
USPS Priority Mail
While selecting a shipping method, we may present a USPS Priority Mail option. The fantastic opportunity will read either "Priority Mail 2-Day" or "Priority Mail 3-Day" but usually not both. For lighter weight packages, USPS Priority Mail is often the least expensive method for expedited delivery and can sometimes be cheaper than even the flat rates. Priority Mail is the most superior shipping method for light packages since it is inexpensive and fast.
The main problem with this service is that USPS's transit periods are not guaranteed. USPS Priority 2-Day is not comparable to services like UPS 2-Day Air since the transit time is about 30% less reliable (at the time of this writing). Despite reading "USPS Priority 2-Day," that package may not reach you in two days. Some customers have better experiences than others. USPS Priority Mail is usually not cost-effective or ideal for heavy packages over ten pounds or stringent deadlines.
USPS First Class Package
First-class is by far the cheapest shipping rate available for packages under one pound. If your cart's total weight equals less than 16 ounces, this shipping option will become available. According to Stamps.com, the USPS First-Class Package Service offers fast nationwide delivery to any U.S address within three days. Again, USPS does not guarantee transit times. For now, we are still experimenting with this service and are only offering it to the forty-eight contiguous states.
The slowest and most basic UPS service aside from UPS SurePost (which we do not use) and UPS Economy, UPS Ground is an excellent choice for heavy packages. Once you hit fifteen pounds, this option will become far more economical than a USPS Priority Mail option. We recommend looking through this map that shows how many days UPS Ground would take to reach you from our facility. Many customers choose a flat rate over UPS Ground for the savings.
UPS 3-Day Select
For a reasonable price, you can purchase a coast-to-coast shipping transit time of three days rather than the standard five or six days offered through UPS Ground. If you are located in central or eastern USA, this service will not be beneficial since UPS Ground will likely make it to you within the same time period. Again, we urge you to look at our UPS Ground map.
UPS 2-Day Air
If your items ship on Tuesday, there is a 99% chance your package will arrive on Thursday no matter where you live or work in the United States. UPS 2-Day Air is a premium expedited service by UPS, but we recommend checking our UPS Ground map to ensure you're not wasting money. Many states are only two days away from us via UPS Ground. Many of our customers opt to use USPS Priority 2-Day over this service since it is usually much cheaper. However, it is essential to understand that UPS generally guarantees their transit times. Even during the pandemic, UPS transit days are more accurate than USPS.
UPS Next Day Air
This is the only service we provide that offers next day delivery. We actually select "UPS Next Day Air Saver" since most customers do not need the delivery by a certain time of the day. If you require an early delivery time, please contact our customer service. Early morning delivery options and prices vary depending on the area.
Some outsourced orders such as wrapped canvas, 3x3 cards, outdoor banners, and business cards may ship by FedEx Ground or UPS Ground. This applies even if you select USPS Priority or UPS Ground. This is a very rare occurrence since we work with USPS and UPS for almost everything.
For lightweight packages, USPS is the cheapest method of shipping. However, the service has a significant disadvantage: USPS is late with deliveries more than any carrier. They do not guarantee any transit times no matter what service you select.
UPS is the king of heavier packages, yet expensive for smaller, lightweight containers. Despite longer transit times for UPS Ground, the service is pretty consistent. Expedited services such as "UPS Next Day Air" are rarely ever late.
Flat rates are great ways to save on shipping. We pick one of these inexpensive delivery methods: USPS First Class, USPS Priority, or UPS Ground.
Read These Notes
We offer different UPS and USPS solutions for Canadian and other international orders.
Flat rates are not available in all areas including Canada, Ireland, UK, Puerto Rico, Hawaii, and Alaska. For lower costs, alternative shipping methods are available for these areas.
Recipients of deliveries outside the domestic U.S. states may be responsible for import charges of customs fees.
Flat rates may not be available for custom orders and/or large orders which cannot be processed through our website due to weight restriction.
If your shipment requires more than one large box or an extra tube, we may contact you about additional shipping. This is mostly a concern when expedited shipping services like UPS Next Day and UPS 2-Day are selected.
Important Message About Shipments Requiring Multiple Boxes
We work very hard to keep shipping prices low. If the shipping seems high, this is probably because your items must ship using more than one package. For instance, large posters ship in tubes, and small prints ship in flat boxes. If your order contains large posters and another print type, we are charging based on two packages.
Shipping for bulk orders may not be accurate. Orders that reach thousands of dollars are heavier and require more packages than what our online shipping calculator can handle. We will inform you before printing if extra shipping fees are required.