Shipping Rates

sfrank57

New member
Dec 22, 2005
6
0
Leesburg, FL
This is a question for those who have either web-based sales, or retail sales which they ship. Which company have most of you found to have the best rates and service, USPS, FedEx, or UPS? I am setting up a web site and I am trying to determine which would be the best to use. I currently have a retail shop but with gas prices going up some of my customers would rather order it over the internet and this would allow me to downsize to just roasting and filling orders and maybe doing a few drinks on the side out of a smaller space
 
Jan 18, 2008
704
1
MASS.
Orders 2 lbs or under, USPS
Orders over 2 lbs, FedEx


I used UPS for years and had too many bad experiences with damaged or lost packages.
The rates were a little higher than FedEx, but they offered better pick up service for multiple packages.

Been using FedEx 8 months now, not a single complaint from a single customer. Their rates are lower than both USPS and UPS and their customer service is always on point.

Big thumbs up for FedEx.
 

PinkRose

Super Moderator
Staff member
Feb 28, 2008
5,222
6
Near Philadelphia, PA
Hello,

Mr. Biscotto gave FedEx a big thumbs up, and since he has a lot of experience and he really knows his stuff, I'd lean towards FedEx too.

If you want to compare shipping prices, these website will be a great help and give you an idea about the costs.

http://shipgooder.com/

http://www.shippingsidekick.com/

I've noticed a lot of DHL trucks around lately. Some businesses use DHL to get the items to the person's local post office, and then the post office delivers it from there. I don't know how the arrangements are made for that, but there probably is a cost savings in the deal somewhere.

Rose
 
Jan 18, 2008
704
1
MASS.
You're right, I get charged $2 extra for residential orders with FedEx. UPS also charges a residential fee. Over all though, Fed Ex charges have been better than UPS for me.

An example of an actual shipment going to a coffee shop in New Haven, CT from Massachusetts today:

11 lbs. FedEx Ground was $6 but he wanted it shipped to his residence, charge increased to $8.

I also ran the package specs through UPS..... $11.26!

I should update what I posted earlier, above: Orders over 3 lbs go FedEx now. Under 3 lbs, USPS Priority is the better deal.
 

ourcoffeebarn

New member
Nov 8, 2004
174
1
Wisconsin
We found UPS to be the easiest to print the labels and to validate the address as well as the pickup is at the end of the day on his way back to his local UPS shipping center. We tried Fedex but where we are the pickup was bad and the labels had to be printed via the Fedex website. UPS is on my desktop.

We use USPS also and we get live price quotes from USPS and UPS so our site has accurate rates and estimated delivery dates too!
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,553
2
Des Moines, Iowa
ourcoffeebarn said:
We found UPS to be the easiest to print the labels and to validate the address as well as the pickup is at the end of the day on his way back to his local UPS shipping center. We tried Fedex but where we are the pickup was bad and the labels had to be printed via the Fedex website. UPS is on my desktop.

We use USPS also and we get live price quotes from USPS and UPS so our site has accurate rates and estimated delivery dates too!

Have you ever tried Spee-Dee for local delivers to the Midwest?
www.speedeedelivery.com

I get all of my packages next day from Minneapolis, MN using Spee-Dee. Last time I shipped via ground with UPS to Minneapolis it took almost 3 days.

I also like the fact that instate shipping is only runs a few dollars. Trying to ship anything with UPS for under $10 can be a challenge.
 

Bill Laine

New member
Jan 5, 2008
43
0
New Orleans
My little e-commerce business has been running for about 12 years. It is not coffee related but we ship 50-100 orders a week. Our packages are small but I can only wish they could be as consistent in size as coffee.

I started with Priority mail. It was fine but when they went to zone rates it caused me to reevaluate and I went with FedEx. I had a good sales rep and got a special deal for really cheap 2-day. I used that for a few years. I was happy, my customers were happy. One day I started getting $700 adjustment invoices. They had decided I wasn't going to use the special loophole any more. I tried to contact my rep for weeks. She's on vacation, she'll call back right away. All this time the adjustment invoices keep coming.

Finally I get frustrated enough to call UPS. They were very responsive. They want my business. The rep is local, the tech support is local. This is very attractive. I go with UPS.

We use Macs in the store. I bought a cheap Windows laptop to run their software. It made things easier. At first there were some letdowns when we had to change an address or lost a package. Over time they have fixed a lot of things and now they are as good as FedEx about problems. I am very happy with UPS.

After I had been with UPS for about a year I had a call from a new Fed Ex rep: "I saw you still have an account with us. Can you tell me why you aren't using FedEx now." I told him. He saw my point. Said my old rep had left rather abruptly and I had been one of the loose ends that didn't get addressed. He said my account was open and if I ever wanted to switch back he would be glad to work with me. He calls about twice a year.

The point, I guess, is that there is more than just rate charts to choosing a shipper. Logistics is a dynamic thing and you need support inbetween you handing the package over to the driver and the package being delivered to your customer. You need support before and after, too. UPS is good. FedEx was good but one person put me in a bind.

We still use the post office for International and AK/HI/APO. You can't avoid it. The others are way too expensive. We started with the Endicia mail service and it has gotten really easy.

If you are just starting out the Post Office is a really good choice. Their priority rates are competitive and they are quite reliable. The down-side has to do with problems and the back end. If you loose a package or have to change an address the universal answer to everything is "fill out a form and wait six weeks." Meanwhile you need to ship another item to your customer. Plus; the USPS staff is not always fun to work with.

Fed Ex and UPS have discount schedules based on volume. If you start with the PO and build then when you approach the 3rd party carriers you will have a track record to negotiate with.

I guess this has been enough on the subject. I have spent a lot of time wrangling with logistics issues. There are significant elements to the services that don't show up on rate charts.

Bill
New Orleans
 
Jan 18, 2008
704
1
MASS.
Well, FedEx also offers easy shipment tracking, estimated delivery dates (which so far have been on target) and accurate price quotes.

I dropped UPS after having so many customer complaints of damaged or missing packages, among other problems that I won't mention here.

I did enjoy the UPS thermal label printer though, self adhesive too and wish I had one for FedEx, versus printing from the website and inserting the copy into the plastic sleeve.

As I mentioned before, I have accounts with all three and often compare rates between them. FedEx always comes in under UPS and I'm satisfied with my local rep and customer service, so I'm sticking with them for now.
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,553
2
Des Moines, Iowa
You do realize UPS & FedEx has had shipping software for about as long as the worlds been turning.

http://www.fedex.com/us/solutions/software/

They both use the little Zebra thermal printer. If you still have your old one from your UPS account it will work with the FedEx software.

But if you have money laying around you can junk that slow, little, obsolete toy and upgrade to something a little bigger like this http://www.barcodesinc.com/zebra/140xiiii.htm.

One of the last places I worked had this style but it was about 3 years older. It will print 3 times faster. Fun if you have a lot of packages to do.
 
Jan 18, 2008
704
1
MASS.
CCafe, we have various label printers, mostly dinosaurs, including:

Zebra 140 (1)
Intermec 4100 (2)
UBI EasyCoder 501 E (1)
Genesis LA 3000 (1)
Impact Automation (1)

All make great dust collectors in my office, due to me not being technologically inclined or inspired to do anything with them. We just use Epson Stylus printers (CX6400 & C88) for labels.

Are you familiar with any of the above listed printers???

Thanks! :D
 

CCafe

New member
Aug 11, 2004
1,553
2
Des Moines, Iowa
And I thought dirt was old! :shock:

If I was you I would look at a the Zebra LP 2844-Z. You can buy one new off the net around $580 or pick one up from eBay for as low as $150.
 
Jan 18, 2008
704
1
MASS.
Well what can I say except that it ain't easy bein' older than dirt.

Hey, I can post old printers for sale in this section of the forum right??

Heheh, just kidding big guy, I read the stickies.

Thanks for the advice as usual. :wink:
 
Jan 18, 2008
704
1
MASS.
For now, they sent me a bundle of self adhesive labels that work with a regular printer. There's one label per 8 1/2 x 11 page. It's been much nicer to use them than the bags. Looks cleaner too.
 
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