The is always a debate on UPS vs. USPS as the best method to ship. I am not discounting other companies such as DHL, but for this guide, I will be giving the pros and cons of only UPS and USPS.
PROS OF USPS
Cost: USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope. As much fits in the enevlope, regardless of weight. For example, a coast to coast shipment would be approx. $14.70 UPS as compared to $4.05USPS. USPS Priority Mail for packages is excellent for for up to 10lbs. After 10lbs, you will gain a benefit from switching to UPS.
Delivery: Transit times for USPS Priority Mail is often less than than UPS. In fact, UPS Ground to coast to coast can be as much as 6 days compared to 2-3 days for Priority Mail.
FREE Materials: You can order several envelopes and box types from USPS. The Flat Rate material can hold as much weight as you can fit!!! If you are sending to the US Military, you can ask for a military care kit which also comes with tape.
Delivery Options: also include media mail for manuscripts, books, cds, vhs and other media. It is the least expensive way to ship these materials. Additionally, USPS Air Mail Parcel Post is excellent for delivering to Canada and Hawaii.
THE CONS OF USPS
Confirmation number: The CN only allows you to track if the package has been delivered, not where it is in the shipment process. Also, I have seen lag times in notification of delivery. There are also additional tracking options you can purchse which is included in UPS.
Insurance: if you plan to use insurance with USPS, think UPS! Insurance for USPS is much more expensive.
Lost/Damage Claims: May rank amongst the worst processes in the industry and can take weeks. (Must read below)
THE PROS OF UPS
Tracking: Excellent ways for the buyer and seller to find out when they are getting a packaeg compared to a range of days.
Cost: Perfect for packages over 10lbs, and even more so if you can open a merchants account. A 16 lb package coast to coast can save you $4-$7 depending if you use EBAY to print labels or if you haev a shippers mechants account with UPS
Lost/Damaged Claims: Due to its tracking capabilities, UPS far exceeds USPS in correspondance and customer service to resolve these claims
THE CONS OF UPS
Rural Environment: if you live in a rural area, you may not have a UPS store or location near you. This may increase INTERNAL HANDLING times in getting your package out to a customer.
Small Parcels: UPS is only beneficial for parcels over 10lbs.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT LOST/DAMAGE DISPUTES
(see my first hand experience on my - Me Page)
If you send a package USPS and it fails to be delivered, you must fill out a form that is sent to the Postal Inspector for the area you sent the package and the area you delivered the package too. They will look into the issue for you- a mostly manual process. USPS policy is that they do not call you to let you know the status, especially if the package is not found. WHAT!!!!!!!!!!!!! WHAT A GREAT POLICY!!!!!!!
As well, once you place a claim, and IF the package is found, the package is rerouted back to you and not sent to the recipient. I have yet to get a sussinct answer on what happens to the paid postage and if you can get it back.
Conversely, UPS is much more finely tuned. Its their electronic process that is all the difference. Also, they keep in contact with you regarding the status of your inquiry.
Now, it is difficult to file a claim with either UPS or USPS and good luck getting you money back from USPS in a timely manner. UPS is difficult when it comes to damaged goods as they will first accuse the shipper that they did not pack the parcel to UPS specifications. You have to be prepared to defend yourself vehimently.
Ask for managers then supervisors and dont back down from your laurels. Persistence is the key to getting reimbursed.