If you just launched your eCommerce business, landing sales is just the beginning of your journey as an entrepreneur. Once customers place their orders online, packaging and shipping are the next crucial steps. Fledgling eCommerce stores often find it challenging to create an effective shipping system for various reasons. One common starting obstacle is choosing between standard shipping options. Regardless of your choice, packaging and shipping logistics should be both fast and economical, designed to exceed customer expectations.

Striking the perfect balance between shipping speed and cost-saving efforts is a serious challenge for eCommerce retailers. Hefty shipping fees discourage most online shoppers, with approximately 28% of would-be shoppers canceling their online purchases due to unexpected costs.

As such, you should consider partnering with a  shipping option that saves on cost, which will subsequently boost customer satisfaction. The guide that follows describes one of the options available, flat rate shipping. Additionally, integrating your shipping process with Easyship can simplify your logistics and leave your customers satisfied with a seamless experience.

Flate rate shipping

What is Flat Rate Shipping?

Flat rate shipping is when a single rate is charged for shipping a package, regardless of weight or size as long as the package weighs less than 70 lbs. Typically, shipping couriers charge different shipping fees for different products depending on their. size, shape, and weight.

Some couriers also consider dimensional weight, which is calculated by measuring the length, height, and width of the shipping box. This makes it difficult for eCommerce business owners to calculate the much they should pay for shipping.

Fortunately, you can eliminate the uncertainties of standard shipping by using the standard shipping option. As the name suggests, the flat rate shipping option charges a flat rate depending on the package's size.

eCommerce businesses can send orders of any weight and pay the same shipping fees provided the packages are of the same size. The weight of the package is not a determinant when calculating the cost of shipping. That said, it can be cost-saving for shipping heavy products, but expensive when shipping light products.

How Does Flat Rate Work?

Flat rate shipping prices are not affected by the shape, size, and weight of the package, but depends on the size of the boxes used in shipping. eCommerce businesses utilizing this option should follow the following steps:

  • Get flat rate shipping boxes from a shipping courier

Unlike standard shipping, where you can pack items in your boxes, you should purchase shipping boxes from local courier offices. You can choose between small, medium and large boxes. Large shipping boxes cost more than medium and small. However, the maximum shipping weight should not surpass 70 pounds.

  • Pack the items and address the box

Pack your items into the box you purchased and address the package accordingly. The address should include all the standard, necessary information for a seamless shipping process.

  • Send your package

The last step is sending your package with your preferred courier. You can drop the package in the nearest office or request for pickup.

Flat Rate Shipping Options & Costs

All three leading couriers provide cost-effective shipping options. However, the services of every courier differ. Below are the options from FedEx, USPS, UPS and Easyship

FedEx Flat Rate Shipping

Like standard shipping options, FedEx One Rate, which is their flat rate shipping option, has different rates depending on a package’s size and how far it’s travelling. The cost depends on the FedEx service chosen, the box or shipping envelope’s size — typically, the bigger the package, the higher the cost. Apart from the size, FedEx charges are also calculated based on distance. Expect to pay more if you are shipping to a higher shipping zone. Additional charges also apply if you need special services.

FedEx 3rd Day 2nd Day Overnight
Envelope $8.50 $18.90 $26.15
Small Box $9.50 $20.95 $34.60
Medium Box $12.35 $22.15 $38.90
Large Box $19.05 $24.00 $45.25
Extra Large Box $30.85 $34.00 $51.35

USPS Priority Flat Rate

USPS offers a flat rate shipping service for the priority mail express and priority mail shipping services. eCommerce businesses using the priority shipping option will have some restrictions on the size, with the maximum size being 70 pounds. USPS’ prices are entirely dependent on the size of the shipment  — shipping zones and weight are not factored in the pricing.

USPS Priority Overnight
Envelope $7.75 $26.35
Padded envelope $8.40 $26.95
Small box $8.30 N/A
Medium box $15.05 N/A
APO/FPO Large Box $19.60 N/A
Large Box $21.10 N/A

UPS Simple Rate

Unlike other couriers, UPS allows eCommerce businesses to use their own boxes or envelopes. However, the package shouldn’t exceed 50 pounds, and the size should be an equivalent of 12x12x12 cubic inches. UPS flat rate shipping prices do not change regardless of the shipping destination. The cost of shipping is purely based on the size of the package and the shipping service chosen.

UPS Ground 3-Day 2nd Day
Xtra Small $8.25 $13.75 $16.75
Small Box $10.75 $16.50 $19.95
Medium Box $13.00 $23.50 $25.50
Large Box $17.50 $31.50 $45.50
Extra Large Box $21.75 $40.00 $59

Easyship Flat Export Rate

With Flat Export Rate from Easyship, you can use your own packaging, with a maximum combined length, height, and width of 36 inches. We've consolidated multiple shipping solutions into one service to provide cost-effective, reliable cross-border shipping for sellers. Rates are based on the weight of the package and destination, with special rates for Canada. The maximum weight is 20 lbs, and the maximum value is $400.

Easyship Flat Export Rates Canada Rest of the World
1/2 lb $8.89 $10.89
2 lb $13.89 $17.89
5 lb $28.89 $39.89
10 lb $33.89 $44.89
20 lb $54.89 $72.89

How Long Does Flat Rate Shipping Take?

Flat rate shipping time varies depending on the courier used. FedEx one rate shipping is available for FedEx express saver, second day and overnight deliveries; the service is not applicable for those who want to use FedEx ground.

As for USPS, the packages are delivered in less than three days, regardless of the shipping zone. On the other hand, UPS flat rate can be used with UPS Ground, 2nd-day air, and 3-day select shipping services.

How much do Flat Rate Boxes Cost to Ship?

As mentioned, flat rate shipping prices are based on the package's size and distance for FedEx one rate. Couriers provide small, medium, and large flat rate shipping boxes with varying prices. That said, FedEx's small envelope approximately costs $8.50 while the large box goes for $34.90. UPS offers five different sizing options and charges $8.25 for the small package and $21.75 for the large package. On the other hand, the USPS flat rate shipping option costs $7.15 for the small package and $8.30 for the large package.

Flat Rate Shipping and International Rates

eCommerce businesses can use flat rate shipping options for both domestic and international shipping. Note that international shipping prices with FedEx vary depending on the shipping zone. However, the courier has fixed shipping rates within the contiguous United States and higher rates for Hawaii and Alaska. Flat rate shipping prices for all couriers are also dependent on the package's size and service chosen.

Benefits/Drawbacks of Flat Rate Shipping

Some of the benefits for eCommerce merchants include:

  • Send packages up to 70lbs without worrying about the shipping cost
  • Provide automatic insurance
  • Drop off at any courier store
  • Couriers offer tracking services

Downsides include:

  • eCommerce businesses lose branding opportunities from using the courier's box
  • Potential to be expensive for lightweight packages
  • Will be expensive to ship domestic orders

Is Flat Rate Shipping Right for Your Business Needs?

Considering the right shipping option for your business depends on several factors. You should consider this particular route if your products are small and heavy, if you are shipping majorly from a coastal location across the US or ship fewer products and complete order fulfillment individually. For these situations, the convenience of free packaging from the courier and standard shipping prices may save your business from incurring a lot in completing order fulfillment.

Flat Rates for eCommerce Businesses

Flat rate shipping is among the various ways that eCommerce businesses can reduce their shipping costs. However, it is beneficial for companies shipping packages of the same weight and size. Additionally, it does not suit companies sending packages heavier than 70lbs.

Flat rate shipping saves on time and money as business owners don't have to stress about the cost of packaging, package weight, and other intricate tabulations that come with shipping. However, before choosing this option, you should compare the flat rate shipping rates with standard shipping costs.

That said, if this is the right choice for your business, Easyship makes it easy by partnering with major global couriers, giving online merchants access to 250+ shipping solutions with discounted rates of up to 70%.

Sign up for an Easyship account today to see which shipping option works best for your company!

Flat Rate Shipping FAQ

Does Flat Rate Shipping Include Tracking?

Yes. Tracking is among the few eCommerce shipping essentials. As such, couriers include tracking in their shipping services.

What Cannot Be Shipped with Flat Rate Shipping?

Couriers have several restricted items that cannot be shipped regardless of your shipping method of choice. Some of the common items that cannot be shipped with flat rate shipping include firearms, gasoline, airbags, explosives, and alcohol.

Where Can I Purchase Flat Rate Boxes?

As USPS and FedEx require eCommerce businesses to use their provided boxes, you can purchase the boxes at the courrier’s stores. UPS allows customers to use their own shipping boxes or use their packaging boxes for flat rate shipping. However, they must adhere to specific measurements.

Is Insurance Included for Flat Rate Shipping?

Couriers provide a limited insurance cover for flat rate shipping. You can save on costs instead of purchasing insurance separately. USPS, for instance, provides shipping insurance of up to $50.

Is there a Weight Limit?

Yes. Different couriers have weight restriction. USPS has a limit of 70 pounds, while FedEx and UPS both cap at 50 pounds

Can I Use my Own Box For Flat Rate Shipping?

Only if you are shipping with UPS. If you’re going with USPS or FedEx, you must purchase boxes from the company.