First-Class Package is a popular shipping option offered by USPS that allows businesses and individuals to send lightweight packages that weigh up to 15.99 ounces. Many artists and photographers we know who do their own shipping use this service to ship their prints. What they may not know is this service will be changing in July of 2023. Here are some things you may want to be aware of if you are using this service.
First, we should know what we are talking about. First-Class Package is a popular and more budget-friendly shipping option offered by USPS that allows businesses and individuals to send lightweight packages that weigh less than 1 lb. As a result, a lot of e-commerce companies (including us at FinerWorks) use this service to ship orders in instances when a customer does not require expedited or more entailed shipping.
While the USPS First-Class Package service is a popular and cost-effective shipping option, there are some potential problems that can arise when using this service. Here are a few examples:
- Delivery time can be unpredictable: While USPS provides estimates for delivery times (around 3 to 7 days) there is no guaranteed delivery date. This can be frustrating for businesses or individuals who need their packages to arrive by a specific date.
- Unreliable tracking: While USPS does provide tracking information, it may not be as detailed or accurate as with other shipping options. This can make it more difficult to track the package’s progress and ensure that it arrives at its destination on time. From our experience, it is also not uncommon to see the first instance of a tracking scan, midway through the package’s journey.
- Weight and size restrictions: First-Class Package service is limited to packages that weigh less than 16 ounces and have dimensions that fall within certain parameters. This can make it difficult to ship larger or heavier items using this service.
- Limited insurance coverage: USPS provides limited insurance coverage for First-Class Package service, which may not be sufficient to cover the full value of the package in case of loss or damage. Additional insurance can be purchased, but this adds to the overall cost of shipping.
Overall, while First-Class Package can be a useful and cost-effective shipping option, it may not be the best choice for every situation. Depending on the size, weight, and value of the package being shipped, other USPS services or shipping carriers may be a better choice.
Possible Good News on The Horizon
Apparently, the USPS has heard people’s complaints and decided to take proactive measures. Beginning in July of 2023 they are going to merge the USPS First-Class Package service with USPS Parcel Post and call it USPS Ground Advantage which is essentially a more budget-friendly option but that can handle larger packages.
One of the primary benefits planned USPS Ground Advantage is that it is supposed to offer affordable rates for shipping packages that weigh up to 70 pounds and smaller packages (less than 1 lb) will keep similar rates seen with USPS First-Class Package service. The USPS also says packages will have a more reliable 2 to 5-day transit time and more accurate tracking. Additionally, USPS Ground Advantage plans to provide free package pickup at your location, which can save time and money compared to dropping off packages at a USPS location.
Overall, USPS Ground Advantage sounds like a great shipping option for businesses that need to ship large or heavy packages and want a reliable, cost-effective, and convenient solution but we will soon find out.