By: Hunter Hartman, Industry Insider
Our goal at Move Method is to make sure customers are as cost effective as possible when shipping. We have the ability to give our customers best in the industry USPS rates, but we also look for other areas in the warehouse to improve the shipping process. I’ve spent a lot of time in warehouses when customers use Flat Rate Envelopes/Boxes and Regional A Boxes. This is a convenient way of shipping because it requires little thought on which box to utilize. It is easier for pick and pack and for batching processing, but is it the most cost effective way to ship?
The answer varies depending on several factors.
The benefits to Flat Rate Envelopes/Boxes and Regional A boxes are listed below:
- Free Packaging:
The only way to take advantage of Flat Rate or Regional A Boxes is by utilizing the packaging provided by the USPS. Avoiding the cost of a box or an envelope is a nice benefit.
- Mindless Shipping:
If everything is put into a Flat Rate or Regional Box, the shipping team will never have to consider other options and waste time in the process.
- Fast Transit:
Like all USPS Priority Mail products, it has the same 1-3 day delivery speed and has the same insurance benefit.
- Flat Rate Pricing:
A customer is allowed to put 15 pounds into a Flat Rate Envelope or Regional Box and pay one ‘Flat Rate’. I have seen many customers getting hammered with UPS or FedEx take advantage of Flat Rate boxes save tremendous amount of money.
The negatives to Flat Rate Envelopes/Boxes and Regional A Boxes are listed below:
- Some companies do not like to utilize the free boxes from USPS but rather brand their boxes/envelopes in an effort to strengthen their brand awareness.
- When a company is shipping everything in a Flat Rate or Regional A box, there likely is a significant opportunity missed to ship the product as ‘cubic’ with a tremendous savings.
- The assumption that because it is a ‘Flat Rate’ box or Regional Box it must be the least expensive way is simply not true.
- Regional A Box pricing is reflective of a two-pound rate for Commercial Base Pricing.
When does it make sense to use Flat Rate Envelopes/Boxes and Regional A?
When customers partner with Move Method, they get the best in the industry USPS rates by receiving Commercial Plus Pricing (CPP) as well as Cubic Pricing. The cost for a Padded Flat Rate Envelope with Move Method’s pricing is $5.35 and a Medium Flat Rate Box is $10.65.
I have some customers that exclusively use Padded Flat Rate Envelopes because of the cost. It is hard to beat the price, speed and free supplies for Padded Flat Rate Envelopes. However, I have customers that also utilize the Medium Flat Rate Box far too often. With the recent rate changes implemented by the USPS, zones 1-5 should not be shipped in a Medium Flat Rate Box to nearly 10 pounds. It will be less expensive to put the product in box and ship it based solely on the weight.
There are many ways to utilize the Flat Rate and Regional boxes within the USPS. Move Method has several eCommerce Shipping Consultants who can help you analyze your shipping patterns and incorporate best practices to meet your needs. One of the many areas we have helped customers save money is by limiting the amount of Flat Rate and Regional A boxes a customer uses while utilizing more Cubic Pricing. Please reach out to me for a complimentary analysis. You may be pleasantly surprised with the results and the savings.
Hunter Hartman is an eCommerce consultant for Move Method and is based in Orange County, CA. His focus is on small-to-large eCommerce companies that are shipping business-to-consumer. Through his shipping expertise he has helped hundreds of companies save money shipping small parcels and helped to integrate a more automated solution. For more information and a free consultation, please visit us at www.MoveMethod.com.