How do I send a package within the US? | Domestic parcels

Sending packages within USA is fairly simple procedure, which is available for everybody. In fact, all you need is to transfer your package to the postal service; however, there are a few things that you will have to do yourself.

Please make sure before shipping that the content of your package are not included in restricted and prohibited items list.

How to send a parcel in USA?

To send a package within the USA you need to do the following:

  1. Pick up a box.
  2. Pack the parcel.
  3. Address it to the recipient.
  4. Choose the delivery service.
  5. Pay for the carrier’s services.
  6. Take the parcel to the post office or call a courier.

For more information about international packages read our article “How to send a parcel from USA?”.

Let’s look at each step in more details.

Step 1. How to choose a box?

You have several options: to order a branded box of the postal service or to reuse the box you’ve already got. The main thing is that the selected box fulfills the following requirements:

  • Appropriate size. It must provide enough place for safely fit what you’re sending. It would be better if you’ve used box with enough room to add cushioning (especially if you’re sending fragile items) and to prevent goods from shifting.
  • Specific configuration of the content. Depending on what shape your items have it is important to choose right kind of packaging. For example, different postal companies can provide ready-made boxes for laptops, bikes, golf clubs and other goods.
  • Packaging reliability. Try to prefer a sturdy box, which has all its flaps intact.
  • No unnecessary information printed on the box. Make sure, that all old notes including logos, shipment markings, shipping labels and addresses are covered or blacked out. Pay attention to this if you are reusing a box

Some postal services (for example, USPS and FedEx) provide boxes free of charge if you use their services, although there can be some limits.

Step 2. How to pack a package?

While packaging it is better:

  • to tape parcel so that it closes flat on all sides and reinforce the flaps with wide packing tape (plastic or nylon tape);
  • not to use cord, string or twine (to avoid cases when it get caught in equipment);
  • to wrap all items in the box separately and to use cushioning materials for fragile or/and precious cargo protection.

If you are not sure that you will pack the parcel with high quality or there are no packing materials, it is better to contact the postal operator for help.

Step 3. How to address a package?

One of the most common questions senders meet with is how to write address on package. Everything is quite simple, because the address format for parcel box is the same as for letter envelopes. There are only these 3 rules:

  1. Address of sender is written in the top left corner, while the delivery address (the address recipient) is located in the bottom center.
  2. Details are specified in the following sequence: full name (first line), street name (second line), city, state and ZIP code (third line). Here you can see your current ZIP code.
  3. Both sender and recipient addresses must be put on the same side of the box.
  4. Address labels must be written or printed clearly. You should use ink that doesn’t smear (for example, permanent marker).

How to address packages

 

What ZIP codes means in US, read in our article “What is a ZIP code?”.

Step 4. What US company has the best postal service?

It all depends on your personal preferences and needs. The most popular postal companies are USPS, FedEx and UPS, and they all provide high-quality delivery services. When choosing between them, pay attention to the location of the post office, the availability of additional services that you may need and other nuances. In addition all of these companies have a variety of mail services, which may vary in delivery speeds, package sizes limits and extras like tracking and insurance.

Much easier to determine, what is the cheapest way to send a package within the USA. There are many comparisons of price lists of these companies on the Internet, and most of them confirm that USPS is typically the cheapest option out of the three major carriers. FedEx services often ranks as the most expensive (yet arguably most reliable).

Step 5. How to pay for the carrier’s services?

There are different payment methods:

  • Customers of USPS may pay by cash, pin-based debit card, a personal check or money order made payable to the sender.
  • Customers of FedEx can pay online by the invoice number, pay by bank transfer, credit and debit card and direct debit. Cash accepted just in some FedEx staffed locations.
  • Customers of UPS have an opportunity to pay by card or PayPal when making a label online or pay in store at a UPS location.

Step 6. How to ship package, when it is ready?

The companies mentioned earlier offer several solutions for your choice, depending on the type and dimensions of the package.

How to ship a package? USPS FedEx UPS
Offer to pick up your package from your home or office For free (by request), but only for packages which are less than one-half inch thick and less than 10 oz For an additional fee For an additional fee
Drop off your package at the drop box Available in your mailbox for carrier pickup, in a blue collection box or post office lobby mail slot Available at FedEx Drop Boxes Available at UPS Drop Boxes
Take the parcel to the nearest post office Available Available Available

 

After shipping you can track the package by your track number.

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