USPS Ground Advantage: Pricing, Insurance, and Requirements for Retail and E-commerce

Table of Content

USPS Ground Advantage
0 comments

USPS Ground Advantage™ is a key component of the United States Postal Service's effort to modernize, simplify, and improve its shipping services across the US. This USPS shipping method delivers packages within 2 to 5 business days, supports shipments weighing up to 70 pounds, and covers all 50 states, U.S. military bases, territories, and possessions.

All these and other features make Ground Advantage from USPS an attractive option for merchants and e-commerce businesses. Shopify, Magento 2.4.7, and more popular web platforms already support this new shipping service. 

Do you consider leveraging it but want to get the full picture first? This deep dive into the benefits, requirements, and pricing of USPS Ground Advantage should help.

What is USPS Ground Advantage?

USPS Ground Advantage is a new shipping service from the United States Postal Service that has replaced USPS Parcel Select Ground, USPS Retail Ground, and First-Class Package Service, combining the strong suits of its 3 predecessors. The new method, first introduced on July 9, 2023, offers large package dimensions (130 inches), lower prices (~0.7%–3.2% decrease), and fast delivery time (2-5 business days).

The primary goals of launching USPS Ground Advantage include:

  • Providing a more reliable and simplified shipping option that reduces the confusion of choice between the 3 (now discontinued) options.
  • Offering competitive USPS Ground Advantage: Commercial pricing tier for cheaper high-volume shipping by organizations and businesses.
  • Including PO Boxes and APO/FPO/DPO addresses in the coverage. 

Benefits of USPS Ground Advantage

USPS Ground Advantage especially benefits businesses, offering them specific features for reduced costs, simpler operations, and higher customer satisfaction. Here’s a closer look at what makes this service an excellent choice for merchants among other shippers:

  • Free USPS pickup is available at your specified time and location.
  • Insurance coverage of $100 is included to protect your shipments. Additional USPS Ground Advantage insurance of up to $5000 coverage can be added if necessary.
  • Hazardous materials (aerosols, perfume, Lithium batteries, etc.) are eligible for shipping with this method.
  • USPS Ground Advantage tracking is included free of charge, allowing you and your customers to monitor the progress of shipments in real-time. 
  • There are no additional costs for services like return to sender (RTS), forwarding, or undeliverable as addressed (UAA).
  • USPS Ground Advantage time of delivery is 2-5 business days, including Saturdays.

How USPS Ground Advantage Shipping Works

An important thing to keep in mind is that USPS Ground Advantage is a fitting option for boxed and rigid shipments rather than flat and flexible envelopes. USPS also mandates that all letter-like pieces that are less than 1/4 inch thick have a minimum of 5 inches in length, 3-1/2 inches in height, and 0.007 inches in thickness. Here are some more facts about Ground Advantage USPS workflows:

  • No minimum number of pieces is required for entry.
  • Accepted packages must fall within the weight limit of up to 70 pounds.  
  • Dimensional weight pricing applies to packages over 2 cubic feet.
  • Click-N-Ship services can be used to buy postage and get shipping labels online.
  • The return system combines First-Class Package Returns and Ground Returns.
  • Packages are sealed against inspection (for Retail customers only).

USPS Ground Advantage Pricing

The pricing for USPS Ground Advantage is based on the weight of the package and the shipping zone it is being sent to. Zones are determined by the distance between the origin and destination, from 1 (the closest to the shipper) to 9 (the farthest from the shipper).

The weight ranges are:

Up to 4oz
Up to 8oz
Up to 12oz
Up to 15.999oz
Each additional pound up to 70lbs

USPS Ground Advantage provides affordable rates for both retail and commercial customers, catering to each separately:

USPS Ground Advantage Shipping Rates: Retail

Ground Advantage USPS shipping costs for Retail are available for individuals, one-man companies, and small businesses. Prices increase with weight, starting from light packages (4 ounces) to heavier ones. Zones range from 1 to 9, with prices generally increasing as the zone number increases.

Estimated shipping cost  for USPS Ground Advantage (Selected Weights):

4 oz – Zone 1 (the closest): $5.00; Zone 9 (the farthest): $5.55
1 lb – Zone 1: $8.00; Zone 9: $9.00
20 lbs – Zone 1: $19.20; Zone 9: $58.55

See more in the USPS Shipping Rates By Weight chart.

USPS Ground Advantage Shipping Rates: Commercial

Commercial pricing offers lower rates for businesses that use specified shipping software and meet the following USPS Ground Advantage requirements:

  • A USPS business account.
  • A minimum of 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail per mailing.
  • USPS-approved software or services for mailing.
  • USPS-approved IBI (Information-Based Indicia) postage meters that electronically transmit transactional data to USPS or permit imprint.
  • Compliance with USPS mailing and preparation requirements.

The Commercial pricing is also based on weight and zones but at a discounted rate compared to retail:

Estimated shipping cost  for USPS Ground Advantage (Selected Weights):

4 oz – Zone 1 (the closest): $3.79; Zone 9 (the farthest): $4.36
1 lb – Zone 1: $6.83; Zone 9: $8.91
20 lbs – Zone 1: $14.50; Zone 9: $31.72

See more in the USPS Shipping Rates By Weight chart.

USPS Ground Advantage Shipping Rates: Commercial Cubic

USPS Ground Advantage Commercial Cubic pricing offers a cost-effective way for eligible commercial customers to ship small but heavy packages. Since the rates are based on dimensions and shipping distance (zone) rather than weight, this pricing model provides an affordable option for reducing shipping costs.

To qualify for cubic pricing:

  • Each mailpiece must measure 1 cubic foot or less.
  • The weight must not exceed 20 pounds.
  • The longest dimension must not exceed 18 inches.
  • Rolls and tubes do not qualify for cubic pricing.

Cubic rate charts are divided by zone and cubic tier. USPS Ground Advantage includes ten tiers from 0.1 to 1.0 cubic feet. To determine the cubic tier for rectangular and nonrectangular parcels as well as soft packs and padded envelopes, follow the instructions provided by USPS.

Additional Fees to Ground Advantage USPS Shipping Cost 

Ground Advantage charges no additional costs for tracking, Saturday delivery, as well as forwarding, undeliverable as addressed (UAA), and return to sender (RTS). However, some additional fees may apply in specific scenarios.

For example, packages with combined length and girth over 108 inches but not exceeding 130 inches, receive an oversized price regardless of weight. Packages over 22 inches but not exceeding 30 inches require a charge of $4.00 and packages over 30 inches – $8.40

What’s more, packages exceeding one cubic foot (1,728 cubic inches) are charged based on the greater of actual or dimensional weight. For packages exceeding 2 cubic feet, a Large Package charge of $18.00 applies.

USPS Ground Advantage vs. Other Shipping Services

As you can already see, USPS Ground Advantage is a versatile, customer-centric, and cost-effective shipping option. But how does it compare to other services, including those discontinued by USPS? 

USPS Ground Advantage vs. First-Class Package Service (discontinued)

USPS Ground Advantage is considered to be a new iteration of First-Class Package Service with the additional benefits of USPS Retail Ground and USPS Parcel Select Ground. Unlike the old First-Class Package Service, USPS Ground Advantage includes $100 of insurance coverage and has a significant maximum weight increase from ~1lb to 70 lbs.

USPS Ground Advantage vs. Priority Mail

USPS Ground Advantage is generally more affordable than Priority Mail, especially for heavier packages. Besides, while Priority Mail has a size limit of 108 inches in combined length and girth, USPS Ground Advantage accommodates larger packages up to 130 inches. However, Priority Mail delivers packages within 1-3 business days (due to using air transportation), which makes it faster than USPS Ground Advantage shipping time of 2-5 business days.

Here’s a table with the features breakdown to help you understand where USPS Ground Advantage stands among the USPS, UPS, and FedEx alternatives.

Feature

USPS Ground Advantage

First-Class Package Service (discontinued)

USPS Priority Mail

UPS Ground

FedEx Ground

Delivery Time

2-5 business days

2-5 business days

1-3 business days

1-5 business days

1-5 business days

Max Weight

70 lbs

15.999 oz (~1lb)

70 lbs

150 lbs

150 lbs

Max Size

130 inches (length + girth)

108 inches (length + girth)

108 inches (length + girth)

165 inches (length + girth)

165 inches (length + girth)

Included Insurance

$100 (up to $5,000 optional)

None

$50 – $100

Optional (extra cost)

Optional (extra cost)

Tracking

Included

Included

Included

Included

Included

Package Pickup

Free

Free

Free

Extra cost

Extra cost

Residential Delivery Fee

None

None

None

Yes

Yes

Fuel Surcharge

None

None

None

Yes

Yes

Saturday Delivery

Included

Included

Included

Extra cost

Extra cost

PO Box Delivery

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

APO/FPO/DPO Delivery

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

No

Hazardous Materials

Yes (if mailable by ground)

No

Limited

Yes

Yes

Commercial Pricing Available

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

Delivery Service Standard

Reliable, coast-to-coast

Economical, small/light items

Fast, air-based shipping

Reliable, extensive ground network

Reliable, extensive ground network

How to Check if USPS Ground Advantage Shipping Fits You?

When deciding between USPS Ground Advantage and other services, consider the following factors: delivery timeframe and coverage, package size and weight, and – finally – your budget.

  • Delivery Speed – USPS Ground Advantage is ideal if you need reliable 2-5 business day delivery across all 50 states.  
  • Saturday Delivery – Included at no extra charge, Saturday delivery is beneficial for businesses that want to ensure free weekend deliveries.
  • Delivery Coverage – If you frequently ship to PO Boxes or APO/FPO/DPO addresses, USPS services are your best option as UPS and FedEx do not deliver to these addresses.
  • Weight Limits – USPS Ground Advantage accommodates packages up to 70 pounds.
  • Size Limits – USPS Ground Advantage supports packages up to 130 inches in combined length and girth.  
  • Cost Considerations – USPS Ground Advantage Commercial Pricing, available for businesses, offers additional savings for bulk shipments.
  • Hazardous Materials – If your shipments include hazardous materials, USPS Ground Advantage is designed to handle these safely and efficiently.

When to Consider Other Options

  • If your business requires quicker delivery (1-3 days), USPS Priority Mail or even FedEx Ground shipping time might be closer to what you need. For overnight shipping, opt for USPS Priority Express, UPS Next Day Air, or FedEx Overnight.
  • If Sunday delivery is a requirement, you might need to look into other specialized services, as USPS Ground Advantage does not offer Sunday delivery.
  • For items exceeding 70 pounds or length-plus-girth over 130 inches, UPS Ground or FedEx Ground offer higher capacity (150 pounds and 165 inches).

How to Ship with USPS Ground Advantage

Shipping with USPS Ground Advantage is simple, transparent, and accessible. You can complete most or even all of the steps from the comfort of your home with the help of online resources – or drop by the nearest USPS office to get prompt professional assistance with postage.

Here are the 7 key steps to shipping an item via USPS Ground Advantage:

1. Select Packaging

Opt for smart packaging – a sturdy box that fits your items securely and ensures that the total length and girth do not exceed 130 inches. Choose a package that is larger than 1/4 inch in thickness for it to be mailable. Even if your item is small, you can meet the requirement by adding foam peanuts to increase thickness without significantly adding weight.

Popular USPS Ground Advantage boxes for relatively small items have 4x4x4 and 12x12x12 sizes. Ensure the box is in good condition and free from old markings or previous shipping labels. We also recommend going green with the packaging if you can.

2. Pack Items Safely

Wrap items with bubble wrap, packing peanuts, or other cushioning materials to prevent damage during transit. Ensure fragile items are well-protected. Fill any empty spaces in the box with packing materials to avoid shifting. This will help maintain the package's integrity and prevent damage. 

USPS Ground Advantage Shipping Tips

  • Measure the length, width, and height to ensure the combined length and girth do not exceed 130 inches.
  • Keep the weight of the package under 70 lbs.
  • Evenly distribute the weight inside the box to prevent overloading any single area, which could cause the box to break.
  • Avoid using boxes that are excessively large for their contents. Opt for a size that fits your items closely while allowing space for cushioning.
  • For especially fragile or valuable items, consider double boxing. Use a second, larger box filled with cushioning materials around the first box to provide extra protection.

3. Seal the Box

Use strong packing tape to seal all seams and edges of your USPS Ground Advantage packaging. Apply tape along all openings to ensure the box remains securely closed during transit. Reinforce any weak spots with extra tape, especially if the box is heavy or contains fragile items.

4. Calculate and Determine Postage

Use a scale to determine the exact weight of the package and measure the length, width, and height to calculate the girth by using the formula: 2 × ( Width + Height). Next, use a built-in shipping rate calculating tool or official USPS postage calculator to input the weight, dimensions, and destination and calculate postage. You can also just take the package to a USPS location where staff will complete this action for you.

5. Purchase and Address Postage

Online/Self-Service Option:

If you’re taking the self-service online route, purchase postage directly from the USPS Click-N-Ship service, which often provides a discount compared to buying in person. You can also use a self-service kiosk or other websites like Postcards.com. 

Print a shipping label that includes the recipient's street address, city, state, ZIP code, and return address, along with a barcode for tracking. Attach the shipping label to the largest flat side of your package. Ensure it is securely affixed and not covered by tape or other materials.

In-Person Option:

Alternatively, you can visit a USPS location to purchase postage in person. Make sure to bring the box with you so you can ship it immediately after buying the postage. If you have not already addressed the package, you can either print a shipping label at the location or write the recipient's address by hand. 

In the latter option, make sure to use a permanent marker or a ballpoint pen for better legibility and to prevent smudging. Write the recipient’s address in the center or lower left corner and your return address in the upper left corner of the package.

6. Drop Off or Let USPS Pick Up the Package

Go to the USPS scheduler and provide details for a pickup such as location and package quantity. Needless to say, you need to place the package in the designated pickup location before the scheduled time. You can also drop the package in a USPS collection box or leave it at an authorized USPS retail location. Or, perhaps, you’ve already shipped it off at step 5!

7. Track the Delivery

Retain the tracking number on the postage receipt or the shipping label. You can sign up for tracking notifications on the USPS website to receive updates via email or text or enter the tracking number on the USPS tracking website to view the package’s current status and estimated delivery date. Upon arrival, you’ll see a corresponding status or a prompt notification.

USPS Ground Advantage – The US’s Most Business-Friendly Shipping Method

USPS Ground Advantage is a fast shipping solution that caters to businesses of all sizes by providing lower rates to high-volume commercial clients. With a 2-5 business day delivery standard, the newest USPS shipping method also ensures reliable delivery times. 

As a merchant, an e-commerce company, or another business, you can take advantage of many USPS Ground Advantage’s perks. Free package pickup, convenient return service, included insurance and tracking, as well as reduced rates – all this makes USPS Ground Advantage an excellent opportunity to enhance your shipping strategy, reduce costs, and provide reliable service to your customers. 

June 29, 2024
June 19, 2024
June 19, 2024
Comments
Leave your comment

Your email address will not be published

This blog was created with Amasty Blog Pro

This blog was created with Amasty Blog Pro