How to Ship a Flat Rate Package

How to Ship a Flat Rate Package When you ship something, you are usually charged by the gross (actual) weight or by volumetric (dimensional) weight of the package. This means that the heavier or larger your package, the more you have to pay. However, some carriers offer another option called flat rate shipping, where you pay a fixed price regardless of the weight of your package. How to ship a flat rate package?

First things first. Let’s figure out how flat rate shipping works. Flat rate shipping means that the cost of shipping does not depend on the weight, size, or shape of the shipped item or items, as long as the weight does not exceed a certain weight limit (70 lbs for the USPS or 50 lbs for UPS and FedEx); it depends on the type of the carrier-issued box you can fit your item or items into. The bigger the box, the higher the price.

The main advantage of flat rate shipping over standard shipping is that it removes the need to measure and weigh your package. All you need to do is make sure that the items you’re shipping and cushioning material fit into the flat rate box of your choice. Since the price of shipping is fixed, you know how much you will have to pay in advance and can plan your budget accordingly. It is especially important for e-commerce businesses because it removes the hassle of dealing with multiple variables affecting the shipping cost and makes it much easier to run a business.

In addition, flat rate shipping is sometimes cheaper than regular shipping, though it’s not always the case. It is a more economical option when you need to ship small but heavy items, but when you’re using flat rate shipping for lightweight items, regardless of their size, you’re paying more than you would with standard shipping.

So, now that you know what flat rate shipping is and how it works, let’s figure out how to ship a flat rate package. The first thing you need to do is pick a carrier and get their flat rate box or envelope. What options to you have?

The United States Postal Service (USPS), FedEx and UPS offer a variety of envelopes and boxes for flat rate shipping, but if you need to ship a package, your choice will probably come down to one of these options:

  • USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate: Small Box, Medium Box (top-loading), Medium Box (side-loading), Large Box.
  • FedEx One Rate: Small Box, Medium Box, Large Box, Extra Large Box.
  • UPS Simple Rate: Extra Small Box, Small Box, Medium Box, Large Box, Extra Large Box.

It may be tempting to choose the smallest box possible to save money, but you need to make sure that all your items fit into the box and there’s still space left for cushioning. Overstuffed boxes often burst open or get damaged while in transit, and you really don’t want that to happen to your package.

Once you’ve chosen the carrier and flat rate box size, you can pick up the box from any carrier’s location or order it from the carrier’s website and have it delivered to you. Most carriers don’t charge extra for providing you with a flat rate box; it is all included in the postage.

The next step is packing. Well, you probably know how to pack a parcel, but if you don’t, we have a detailed instruction for you right here (although it’s titled “How to Pack for International Shipping”, the tips are just as applicable to domestic shipping). Some carriers can provide help with packing for an extra fee.

Once the package is taped shut, you need to address it. You can simply write the recipient’s address on the package, but in this case, you will need to drop off your parcel at the carrier’s location in person and pay postage.

Another option is printing a shipping label online on the carrier’s website or using a shipping label printing service such as PostageMaker. In this case, you need to choose your selected mail service (USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate / FedEx One Rate / UPS Simple Rate) and box size when filling out the shipping label form.

The final step is dropping off your flat rate parcel at a carrier’s location (and paying postage if you’ve chosen not to print a shipping label yourself) or arranging a package pick-up. That’s all! The carrier will take care of the rest and make sure your flat rate package is delivered on time.