One of the most popular methods used by businesses to ship items domestically is United States Postal Service (USPS) flat rate shipping. Business owners gravitate towards it because it makes the shipping process simple and less time-consuming to execute.

What is flat rate shipping?

USPS flat rate shipping makes life easier for business owners because the cost to ship an item isn’t based on the shape, weight, or dimensions of the package. Instead, you pay a flat, standard fee based on the size of the envelope, box, pack, or tube you use to ship the item in. 

With USPS flat rate shipping, items are delivered in 2-3 days. USPS tracking is included, and with most shipments, you get up to $100 of insurance coverage in case your item is damaged, lost, or stolen during delivery.

Talking about some of our favorite cost-saving services - I can say with confidence that flat-rate shipping tops our list!


What are the benefits of flat rate shipping?

There are a host of business benefits to using USPS flat rate shipping.

  • Predicable shipping costs: there’s no calculating to do. It’s already done. You know exactly what it will cost to ship your item before you even put it in the package.
  • Weight doesn’t matter: if your item weighs 1 pound or up to 70 pounds, there’s no difference in cost. This can add up to big-time savings.
  • Gain efficiency: if you only need a few types and sizes of packages to cover all your shipping requirements, your fulfillment process will be quicker.
  • Increase productivity: put away the scale and tape measure. No more time wasted having to weigh and measure items so you can figure out how much they will cost to ship. 
  • Free packages: packages are included at no extra cost.
  • Boost profit margins: for most businesses, shipping is one of their biggest operating costs. Flat rate shipping will help reduce your overall shipping costs, which will increase your margins on goods sold.
  • Easier to offer free shipping: shipping costs will be more predictable which will make it easier to calculate how much to build into the purchase price of each of your items to provide free shipping to your customers.

When to use flat rate shipping

Use USPS flat rate shipping when you want to ship an item, which weighs from 1 pound to 70 pounds, anywhere in the United States. Remember, it doesn’t matter how big the item is, if it fits into a USPS flat rate shipping envelope, box, pack, or tube, it can be sent for the standard flat rate fee. As USPS likes to say, “If it fits, it ships.”

When NOT to use flat rate shipping

The majority of the time flat rate shipping will be the most cost-effective option for sending your items, however, there are a couple of circumstances where this won’t be true:

  1. If the item you’re shipping weighs less than a pound, delivering the item using regular shipping will be the more cost-effective choice than using flat rate shipping.
  2. If the delivery destination for the item is close by (referred to as ‘local’ or ‘short haul’) regular shipping will most likely cost less than flat rate shipping.

How much is flat rate shipping?

At the time this article was published, here’s how the costs for the various USPS flat rate shipping options broke down.

Domestic Priority Mail Service Flat Rate Packaging and Costs

Flate rate shipping costs

For the most up-to-date flat rate shipping costs, visit the USPS website.

How to get started with flat rate shipping

The good news is it’s very easy to use flat rate shipping from USPS. Just follow these steps:

Get your packaging

The first thing you need to do is get your flat rate shipping packages. Here’s more good news – they’re free from USPS. 

You can pick them up at your local post office or, if you prefer, order your packages online and have them delivered by USPS to your home or office. 

There are assorted sizes available – but remember, the bigger the package you use, the higher the flat rate shipping cost will be, so choose the smallest possible packages that will accommodate the items you need to ship.

Note: If you’re ordering flat rate boxes, you’ll have to decide between a 10-pack or 25-pack. If you’re ordering flat rate envelopes, you’ll have to decide between a 10-pack or 100-pack. 

Pack your item

Wrap and place your item (remember it can weigh up to 70 pounds) in your USPS flat rate shipping package. Tape the package closed so it’s flat on all four sides. Reinforce the flaps with packing tape.

Address the package

Print or write your address label clearly. Don’t forget to include your return address.

Choose your flat rate shipping service

If you’re sending your item in a USPS flat rate shipping envelope you can send it using one of two services: Domestic Priority Mail Service which takes 2-3 days to deliver or Domestic Priority Mail Express Service which delivers between next day and 2 days, guaranteed. Naturally, Domestic Priority Mail Express Service will cost more money.

Note: Domestic Priority Mail Express Service is not available if you are sending your item in a box, pack, or tube.

Paying for postage

There are a few ways to pay for the cost of USPS flat rate shipping.

  1. You can pay for the postage when you pick up your flat rate shipping packages at the post office.
  2. You can pay for the postage when you go to the post office to ship your flat rate shipping packages.
  3. You can pay for the postage online when you create a shipping label for your flat rate shipping package.

Shipping your package

When you’re ready to send your USPS flat rate shipping package, you have three options:

  1. Bring it to the post office.
  2. Drop it in a mailbox.
  3. Place the package in your own mailbox and a USPS mail person will pick it up. If it’s a large package, you can call USPS and schedule a pick-up.

Flat rate shipping is the simple solution

Shipping packages to customers across the country can be expensive and time-consuming for your business. By incorporating USPS flat rate shipping into how you fulfill orders you can simplify the process, gain efficiencies, free up resources and enjoy cost savings.

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