While shipping makes people think of companies like Amazon or FedEx these days, the United States Postal Service is still a reliable and affordable option for both individuals and businesses.
Nearly 13 million businesses in the United States rely on the USPS for their shipping and receiving, especially small businesses. In fact, it’s estimated that more than two-thirds of businesses with 10 or fewer employees use the USPS on a daily basis.
The post office has been rated by several independent companies to be the best overall experience for small business shipping. Between providing shipping supplies that every business needs to boosting marketing, the postal service can do just about anything.
Any business can find post office locations to take advantage of these great services that the USPS has to offer, and these services are among the most advantageous.
Bulk Pricing Discounts
The USPS offers commercial prices for businesses that are shipping in bulk. To obtain these commercial prices, a business must obtain a mailing permit and pay an annual fee. There’s a minimum quantity for shipping, as well, including 500 pieces for first class mail and 300 pieces for media mail.
The USPS advises that commercial mail may not be right for every business, suggesting that those with only a couple of mailings per year seek another route.
While no business wants to have their items returned from customers, it’s a process that’s almost impossible to avoid. With that, businesses will want to make sure that there’s a return process in place, and the USPS makes that process simple. There are multiple ways to set up returns, including the use of cloud technology and business websites. Businesses can also include labels in their shipments in the event that customers need to make a return.
Free Shipping Supplies
While shipping itself isn’t free, businesses are still able to obtain the supplies that they need for shipping without cost from the USPS. This includes flat rate boxes and envelopes, commercial invoice forms, and priority mail express boxes just to name a few.
Taking advantage of these free supplies will save businesses a lot of money, and employees won’t have to waste time looking for the right-sized boxes in their building.
There are several advertising options that the USPS offers to businesses, including something as small as a postcard or a full brochure. This service allows businesses to use their custom branding such as logos to really make it their own.
These advertising pieces are top of the line in terms of quality, and businesses can include reply mail as part of their advertising to increase customer engagement.
PO Box Rental
For those that run a business, they know how difficult it can be to keep their personal mail and business mail separate. With that in mind, the USPS offers PO box rentals, and the process is very simple. Business owners will just need to apply online or in person and pay for the box rental.
From there, two forms of ID are needed in person, and the USPS will hand the owner the keys to their personal mailbox. PO boxes are incredibly flexible, allowing business owners to get the mail on their own time while also keeping their mail private and secure.
One of the reasons why some business owners begin to groan at the thought of shipping is because of the trip to the post office where they have to lug around several packages at once. For small businesses, the USPS offers what’s called Click-N-Ship, making things incredibly easy for businesses.
With just a few clicks, business owners are able to pay for shipping and print off the labels needed for the packages. From there, a business can still choose to drop off those packages or schedule a pickup.
Small business owners know just how much time is needed to keep everything running smoothly. Because of that, not all owners will be able to check their mail at home at a reasonable time.
If they’re expecting something that should be private and secure, they won’t want the mail sitting in their personal mailbox for several hours. Thankfully, the USPS offers a service where mail can be forwarded daily, weekly or monthly to a business address. The enrollment fee doesn’t cost an arm and a leg either, with a fee of $21.95.
Some business owners know that customers might be trying to scam them by saying that they never received an item that was shipped. Thankfully, the USPS provides advanced tracking services on packages, confirmation signatures to ensure that the package was received and even a certificate of mailing.