How Much Is Overnight Shipping? | [Price Guide] By Carrier
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Sometimes you need a package delivered quickly. For whatever reason, that package must reach its destination the next day. This is where overnight shipping comes in. Most major carriers offer overnight shipping options, but the specifics of each vary a little. One thing is certain — overnight shipping costs are not cheap. Due to the cost of the service, you will probably only want to use this option when absolutely necessary. If you need a package delivered quickly, then keep reading as we tell you how much it will cost depending on which carrier you choose.
How Overnight Shipping Works
Overnight shipping works just like the name implies. If you ship a package today, then it will travel overnight and be delivered the next business day. In some cases, you can even pay an additional fee to have your package delivered on Saturday or Sunday. There are a few criteria that must be met for your package to qualify for true overnight shipping. First, you must meet the cutoff time for shipping that day. Do not expect to hand over your package to your carrier at 10:00 PM and have it delivered the next day. You waited too late, and the package is likely to take at least two days in that case because it will not really be shipped until the following day. Most carriers have a cutoff time for overnight shipping of around 2:00 PM in the afternoon.
Many carriers also offer a guaranteed delivery time with their overnight service. For instance, overnight delivery might be guaranteed by 10:00 AM. This means that if your package does not arrive by 10:00 AM the next morning, then you will be entitled to a refund of a portion of your shipping costs. You should check with your specific carrier for their policy on guarantees and refunds.
Finally, your shipping location and the package destination will determine whether overnight service is available. Most overnight package deliveries travel by air to their destination city, so a package being delivered to a very rural area might not qualify for overnight shipping. From a logistical standpoint, it might be impossible for the carrier to get the package to its destination that quickly. If you are shipping from a large city to another large city, then that should not be an issue. However, if the carrier does not have room in the cargo bay for your package, then it might be delayed.
USPS Overnight Shipping Costs
USPS really only offers one overnight mail option. This is their Priority Mail Express service. While Priority Mail takes 1 to 3 business days, the Express service guarantees next-day or two-day delivery, depending on the shipping location and destination address. Most addresses in the United States, including P.O. Boxes, will qualify for next-day delivery. This service guarantees delivery by 6:00 PM local time, and it delivers seven days per week and 365 days per year with minimal exceptions.
As you might expect, this service is not cheap. The best option when using this service is to utilize a USPS Priority Mail Express flat-rate box or flat-rate envelope for USPS next-day delivery. If your item will fit into the box, there is no need to weigh it as long as it weighs under 70 pounds. Prices for one of these boxes start at $26.60, which is not bad considering the level of service provided. You can pay for the postage and print your label through the USPS website or visit your local post office to provide your shipping details.
FedEx Overnight Shipping Costs
FedEx offers three different overnight shipping services depending on what time your package needs to arrive the next day. FedEx First Overnight is the quickest option available. This service will ensure that your package is delivered by 9:30 AM local time in most areas. FedEx Priority Overnight will deliver your parcel by 10:30 AM to most places and noon to most rural locations. Finally, FedEx Standard Overnight is the cheapest of the three options. This provides next-business-day delivery by 4:30 PM to a business address and 8:00 PM to residential addresses. These services include a money-back guarantee on delivery speeds.
These services include delivery on business days only. Saturday delivery is available in some areas for an additional fee, although it is not available everywhere. The FedEx Rate Finder will help you determine exactly how much these delivery options will cost you, but they are not cheap. FedEx Overnight service starts at about $50 for a small package traveling a short distance, and the cost increases as the weight of the package increases. The rate also goes up the farther the package must travel. On average, you can expect to pay $80 to $100 to ship a package with one of these services. However, if you need a guarantee that your package will be delivered early the next morning, then these FedEx services can be a great option.
UPS Overnight Shipping Costs
Similar to FedEx, UPS also offers three different shipping options for overnight service. These options are UPS Next Day Air, Next Day Air Early, and Next Day Air Saver. Next Day Air Early is their premium service that will have your package delivered early in the day. This is a guaranteed next-day shipping service that will allow you to get a refund of your shipping costs if the package is late. Next Day Air is their standard overnight service that will typically have your package to its destination around mid-day. Lastly, Next Day Air Saver is the least expensive of the three, but the package will arrive at the latest time. Delivery is guaranteed by the end of the day, but that could be as late as 8:00 PM. UPS also offers a same-day delivery service called UPS Express Critical.
Overnight shipping charges with UPS follow the same guidelines as the other carriers. The bigger and heavier your package, the more it will cost you. Likewise, the farther the package must go, the more your shipping charges will increase. UPS Overnight service costs start at around $50, although you can expect to pay around $100 to $120 for these services in most cases. UPS Express Critical prices are even higher. You can always use the UPS Shipping Calculator to estimate your cost. You should also remember that UPS only delivers on business days. If you are shipping a package on Friday and need it delivered Saturday, then you should consider USPS or FedEx.
Who Has The Cheapest Overnight Shipping Cost?
Overall, USPS usually has the cheapest overnight shipping cost. In fact, USPS prices start at about half the cost of similar services from UPS or FedEx. However, your specific needs will dictate which service you should use. USPS does not have an option for guaranteed early morning delivery. So, if you need your package delivered first thing the following day, you will have to choose between UPS or FedEx.
When choosing between FedEx and UPS, their costs are similar. However, FedEx tends to be slightly cheaper in most cases when comparing similar shipping services. You will find that many Amazon Prime sellers and eCommerce stores utilize USPS because they offer the cheapest options. When sellers like these perform bulk shipping operations, UPS can offer discounts that make their prices competitive.
How To Save Money On Next Day Delivery
Is there anything that you can do to help keep your next-day delivery costs as low as possible? The answer is yes! First, since the cost to ship your item is directly proportional to the dimensional weight, then you should keep that as low as possible. Use the smallest box you can find that your item will fit inside and use lightweight packing material. The smaller and lighter the package, the cheaper the shipping cost will be.
Next, think about the time that you need your package to arrive. If it doesn’t have to be there first thing in the morning, there is no need to pay for an express delivery that guarantees arrival before 9:30 AM. You could save money by using a service that still gets your package there the next day, but it might not arrive until 4:00 PM. This is still fast shipping, but not as expensive as other options. You can also consider printing your own shipping label. If you have an account with your carrier, you can save some money on postage this way. You can either drop off the package or schedule a pickup at your location.
Finally, consider using a flat-rate box. When you use one of those, you don’t even have to worry about how much your item weighs. As long as it fits inside the box, then the price to ship it is the same. Many shipping companies are now offering flat-rate boxes and envelopes, so you should check with your shipping provider for the details as flat rate shipping has become very popular lately.
The Bottom Line
The cheapest overnight shipping that you will find costs about $26 from the U.S. Postal Service. UPS and FedEx are nearly double that, but they provide services that guarantee delivery in the early morning of the next business day. Remember that Saturday delivery will require an additional charge, if available at all, from UPS and FedEx. Check with your shipping carrier for the specific services that they have available based on the shipping zone of your package. When comparing USPS vs. UPS vs. FedEx, the right carrier for you might come down to which one can get your package there on time.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost for next-day shipping?
The answer depends on the size and weight of the package, along with how far it must travel. The cheapest option is through USPS, and the price starts at around $26. When comparing who is cheaper between USPS and UPS, USPS is always about half the cost for small packages. UPS and FedEx offer several different overnight shipping options, and prices start around $50 for their service. In some cases, it could cost you over $100 to have your package delivered the next day.
Is overnight delivery expensive?
Yes, compared to normal delivery service, overnight delivery is quite expensive. The cheapest option that you will find costs about $26. In some cases, you might pay over $100 for overnight delivery with a guaranteed delivery time. This is an expensive service, but if you need a package delivered quickly, then you will have to pay for it.
Are overnight shipments guaranteed to arrive on time?
Generally, overnight shipments have a guaranteed arrival time. USPS guarantees that your item will arrive either the next day or the second day, depending on the shipping zone. UPS and FedEx offer three different options each. These options have different guaranteed delivery times on the next business day. The options are early morning, mid-day, and afternoon delivery times.