As of July 9, 2023, Retail Ground, Parcel Select, and domestic First-Class Package Service will be combined into USPS Ground Advantage™. Visit our blog for more information!
If your business has a medium to high shipping volume, it’s important to find cost-efficient services. USPS Parcel SelectⓇ is an economy ground service offered by USPS for domestic shipments. The service does run a little cheaper than First Class and Priority Mail, but the delivery does take anywhere from 1-8 days. Parcel SelectⓇ also uses the weight, dimensions, zone, and rate class to calculate the price of your shipments, and weights are rounded to the nearest pound.
Parcel SelectⓇ currently has no shipment minimum, so it can be utilized for any business size. However, it is worth noting that the service doesn’t come with the same insurance as other USPS services, and there isn’t a guaranteed timeframe, so this service might be beneficial if your business doesn’t work with marketplaces with specific shipping timeframes requirements, such as Amazon Prime. Without further adieu, let’s dive into the world of Parcel SelectⓇ!
How Parcel SelectⓇ Rates Are Calculated
Parcel SelectⓇ uses several factors to calculate the shipping rates, most notably:
- The dimensions of your shipment
- How far your shipment is traveling
We’ve included how to determine the girth of your shipments as well as the different USPS zones to help you better estimate your shipping costs with Parcel SelectⓇ.
Calculating Package Dimensions for Parcel SelectⓇ
As we mentioned, there are several dimensional factors used to calculate those Parcel SelectⓇ rates. With the service, packages can weigh up to 70 pounds and can have a girth of up to 130 inches. The diagram below shows how to calculate the girth of your package:
As long as the weight and dimensions fall within these parameters, your shipment should be eligible for the Parcel SelectⓇ service. The only caveat is that, if the total measurements of the package (LxWxH) surpass one cubic foot (1,728 inches), the weight may need to be determined by the dimensional weight instead of the actual weight, depending on which is larger.
For more definitions, check out our Small Business Shipping Terms blog!
Here’s what to do if your package dimensions are over one cubic foot. If the volume of the package is over 1,728 inches, divide the volume by 166. Take this number, and round it to the nearest whole digit. This is the dimensional weight. Next, weigh your package and get the actual weight. Whichever weight is larger will be the billable weight, and this calculation should provide you with an idea of the potential weight charges. These charges will be determined by the carrier directly.
If those dimensions vary from the standards given, there is potential for nonmachinable surcharges, meaning that these shipments have to be sorted by hand instead of automatically sorted by the carrier. Some of these surcharges may take place if:
- A parcel is more than 27 inches long, 17 inches wide, or 17 inches high.
- A parcel is less than 6 inches long, 1/4 inch thick, or 3 inches high.
- A parcel weighs less than 6 ounces or more than 35 pounds, except if it is lightweight machinable.
For a more comprehensive list of all of those potential reasons for the surcharge, visit USPS’s site.
Feeling in the zone? Check out our blog about USPS zones!
Calculating Distance Through USPS Zones
In addition to the dimensions of your package, the distance the package must travel will impact those rates. USPS applies zones to packages that vary depending on how far the destination is from where the package was originally shipped. These zones are based on the first three numbers of the sender and recipient zip codes. Those nine zones can be seen below:
The USPS Domestic Zone Chart can be an exceptionally useful tool in locating the zone associated with your package as well.
Calculating Exact Parcel Select Rates
As you might have guessed from the instructions laid out above, calculating rates for Parcel Select isn’t simple. While it’s helpful to know how these rates come to be so that you can select the best carrier and service option for your package, the best way to determine the price to ship your package is with the help of technology.
ShippingEasy’s rate calculator helps businesses save time comparing and finding the best shipping rates for their packages. By entering information such as the sender’s zip code, the recipient’s zip code, and the package’s weight and height, you can compare the shipping rates for the carriers you have connected in your ShippingEasy account.
For services that aren’t listed within ShippingEasy, we recommend using USPS’s Retail Postage Price Calculator. Like ShippingEasy’s, you are able to select your shipping needs to calculate the best rate and service for your USPS shipment.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Parcel SelectⓇ
Parcel SelectⓇ can be a strong alternative for some medium to high-volume shippers because of its cheaper rates, and it allows for shipments to have a weight of 70 pounds and girth of 130”. When running your own business, any savings can prove essential. Parcel SelectⓇ shipments do have tracking provided, making it easy to provide your customers with information as their package is in transit.
However, Parcel SelectⓇ does have its disadvantages. For example, shipments can take anywhere from 1-8 days to arrive, and it isn’t a guaranteed service. This means it may or may not arrive within the provided timeframe and is subject to delays. In addition, like with most ground transportation services, there is more possibility for damages.
Parcel SelectⓇ can be beneficial because of its cheap rates. The service also provides tracking for packages and allows for shipments up to 70 pounds. While those are highly beneficial, Parcel SelectⓇ isn’t a guaranteed service and leaves more room for potential damages in transit. If Parcel SelectⓇ isn’t ultimately right for your business, it’s still important to explore the carriers and services available because saving time and money is essential when running your own business. We’ve included the 2022 Parcel SelectⓇ rates that have gone into effect as of January 9, 2022, to help make your research even easier!