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MMD > Archives > November 2008 > 2008.11.15 > 05Prev  Next

USPS Mail & Parcel Services
By John A. Tuttle

Hi All,  I'd like to echo Lee Munsick's detailed posting and opinions
about the US Postal Service.  All I'd add to it is that I ship
worldwide and I've not been limited by any third party provider (like
eBay).  My customers pay what I pay for shipping, and I have a handling
charge of $1.75 per shipment.

If there was any confusion about what Lee said about "free Priority
Mail packaging", let me clear that up.  What he meant was that the USPS
provides a large variety of packing boxes and envelopes at no charge if
you have an account with them.

Another item is that when you have an account with USPS and use their
free on-line Priority or Express label making service, you get free
delivery confirmation and a 2% discount on the cost of the postage due.
It might not seem like much unless you're sending a 13-pound parcel to
Australia or Norway, which generally costs around $80.

I should also point out the USPS still offers their Mail Bag (M-Bag)
service, but the bags no longer travel by boat -- they travel by air.
And, when you do the math, you find out that once you reach a certain
weight (as I recall it's 18 pounds), it becomes less expensive to use
Priority Mail International than M-Bag service.  Also, M-Bag service
does not offer any insurance or tracking.  While this method does sound
almost scary, every M-Bag I've sent overseas reached its final
destination unharmed.

Having written in this forum about the importance of proper packing
techniques, I won't go into that matter again.  I'll only say that if
there's a weak spot in the parcel, _all_ carriers seems to find the
weakness at some point during its travel to the customer.  So the word
to the wise is make sure your 'filler' material is at least as strong
as the items being shipped, and always leave a minimum of two inches
of free space (packing material) between the inside of the shipping
container and the product, if the product is relatively fragile.

Regarding DHL, I received the following from FedEx yesterday:

  "If you're concerned about the effect that DHL's downsizing will
   have on your business, rest assured that FedEx will be there
   for you to deliver peace of mind."

Unfortunately, it's been my experience that FedEx is much more costly
than UPS, which is more costly than USPS.  And unlike UPS, I have (knock
on wood) yet to have a parcel "lost" through USPS.  The same is not true
of UPS, which is why I no longer use their services unless the customer
'demands' that UPS be used.

In closing, bear in mind that the weight of the parcels I ship never
exceed 33 pounds.  If they do, I split the order into two shipments.
My logic is that if I can't easily handle the parcel by myself, chances
are that it won't be handled carefully by someone else.

John A Tuttle 
Brick, New Jersey, USA

(Message sent Sat 15 Nov 2008, 15:03:26 GMT, from time zone GMT-0500.)

Key Words in Subject:  Mail, Parcel, Services, USPS

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