Courier vs. Postal Service. Who Should You Use?

One hand holding a green apple while another holds an orange.

While the United States Postal Service and courier companies provide similar services, there are distinct differences between them. This first, and most obvious, is that the USPS is government run, while a courier company is privately or publicly owned.

Choosing one over the other truly depends on your delivery needs. Typically, postal service is a good delivery option for sending and receiving personal mail and minimal business mail. However, the more complex your business shipping needs are, or the higher your letter/package volume is, the more likely a courier provider would be your best choice. It’s not uncommon for businesses to use a combination of both. In some cases, couriers are employed to pick up and deliver mail to and from a post office. Here’s what to consider when deciding on the right delivery provider.

Delivery options.
If you need flexible and/or fast delivery, a courier company is the way to go. They usually offer 24/7 delivery service, while the postal service runs a steady Monday through Saturday schedule during business hours.

A courier provider offers multiple options including same-day and next-day delivery, routed delivery options and more. If you need your items picked up or delivered at a certain time each day, a courier company can accommodate. If you need deliveries made via specific routes, a courier would be able to create an optimized route based on your needs. If you have items that are more urgent, a courier company is a must because they can provide on-demand service within a needed time frame.

If shipping time isn’t a factor, then using the USPS can be a good option. You’ll just need to get it to the post office by a certain time in order to guarantee delivery by a specific date. Also, you’ll pay different rates based on small fluctuations in package sizes, where a courier is likely able to offer one rate for a variety of package specs.

Tracking.
In today’s delivery world, people want to know where their package is and when it will be delivered. Courier services offer better tracking options, often in real time. While the post office does provide tracking on packages, it charges an additional fee to track letters or large, flat envelopes, and often, tracking information is not provided in real time.

If your deliveries are not business-critical, then live tracking may not be necessary and shipping with the USPS may work. However, if you require strong tracking, such as when shipping directly to customers, then a courier company is the way to go.

Convenience.
When you use the USPS to send items, someone in your office may have to take those items to the post office to be mailed, especially if it’s not ready to give to your postal carrier during their daily arrival. A courier company can schedule pick-ups whenever the items are ready. This keeps your staff focused on their central job and not out running postal errands. Courier services offer the flexibility of working within your needed time frames, even if that’s outside normal working hours.

Cost.
Cost varies greatly depending on your needs. If you’re only mailing a few items here and there, and if those items aren’t business-critical, then the USPS service may be the way to go. However, if you have multiple items going out consistently, then a courier provider is likely your best choice because they can often offer cost savings by pricing in volume. Plus, they’re able to pick up a large number of items, whereas a postal provider can only accommodate a few items at a time, which means a trip to the post office for you. Of course, convenience and flexibility come with a cost, but based on your budget, the right delivery plan can be created.

Express Courier offers a variety of delivery options to fit your budget, and we can create a plan for you. Get a free quote today!

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