4 Nuances of Overnight Shipping You Should Be Aware Of

4 Nuances of Overnight Shipping You Should Be Aware Of Overnight shipping is the best delivery option for time-sensitive shipments because it almost always guarantees that the recipient will receive their parcel on the following business day after it was sent. If you want to make the most of overnight shipping, there are a few nuances and pitfalls you should be aware of.

Overnight shipping, also known as next-day delivery or one-day shipping, is just what it says on the tin: all three terms refer to shipping services that deliver a parcel on the following day. All major carriers have developed transportation networks that allow them to offer one-day shipping options: the United States Postal Service (USPS) has Priority Mail Express, UPS offers three options (Next Day Air, Next Day Air Early and Next Day Air Saver), and FedEx has Standard Overnight, Priority Overnight and First Overnight.

It should be noted, however, that delivery on the following day is guaranteed only when certain conditions are met. This is why it is important to learn about the nuances of next-day delivery before you use one of the overnight shipping services offered by carriers. Here are a few things you should know about one-day shipping.

Overnight Shipping Is More Expensive Than Regular Shipping

The cost of shipping depends on a number of factors: the weight and dimensions of your package, delivery destination (shipping zone), time of delivery, and shipping carrier. All other factors being equal, next-day delivery will cost more than regular delivery because of a higher delivery speed.

Luckily, there are ways to save on overnight delivery, such as a) use a shipping calculator to compare rates offered by different shipping carriers, and b) print discounted shipping labels online (for example, with PostageMaker). It is also worth noting that USPS Priority Mail Express is typically cheaper than overnight shipping services provided by UPS and FedEx due to the fact that the USPS operates an extensive network of sorting facilities and post offices across the United States.

Overnight Shipping Has a Cutoff Time

Shipping carriers cannot guarantee overnight delivery if you drop off your package too late in the day, so they will have daily cutoff times for next-day delivery; they are usually between 6 PM and 7 PM. In other words, the arrival time of your parcel will depend on whether you’ve placed your order before the cutoff time or after it. If you place the order after the cutoff time, it may take two days to arrive at its final destination.

“Next Day” Usually Means “Next Business Day”

Even though some carrier sorting facilities may be open during the weekend, it doesn’t mean that deliveries are available on Saturdays and Sundays. So if you ship a parcel on Friday, the recipient will most likely get it on Monday (or on Tuesday after a long weekend).

The good news is that the USPS delivers Priority Mail Express packages on Saturdays and doesn’t charge extra for this. Private carriers, such as UPS and FedEx, can deliver on Saturday for a surcharge. As of 2022, the USPS Saturday Delivery surcharge was $16 per parcel, and the FedEx Saturday Delivery surcharge was about $17 per parcel. If you don’t select the Saturday Delivery option when you use UPS/FedEx overnight shipping services, your parcel will arrive at its destination on the next business day.

Shipments to Remote Locations May Be Delayed

Each shipping carrier will do its best to make sure your overnight packages get delivered the following business day. However, they cannot always guarantee next-day delivery when it comes to rural areas that are difficult to reach and the non-contiguous United States. For example, FedEx Priority Overnight offers delivery on the next business day by noon to most residences, but the estimated delivery time to some rural areas is 4:30 PM.