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eCommerce Tips & Trends

The Guide to UPS Simple Rate (aka Flat Rate)

UPS Simple Rate is the newest flat rate shipping option. Read the blog to learn about this cheap new way to ship, plus flat rate box sizes and rates.
The Guide to UPS Simple Rate (aka Flat Rate)
Ian Heinig

By Ian Heinig

 

March 10, 2021

Flat rate shipping is a popular option with eCommerce merchants.

UPS now offers a flat rate shipping option: UPS Simple Rate. Previously, flat rate shipping was only available from USPS Flat Rate or FedEx One Rate.

The benefit of flat rate shipping is being able to ship 50+ lb. packages to any domestic US location for a fixed price. This combination of weight and cost predictability makes flat rates an appealing way to ship heavier packages over greater distances.

Use this article to learn all about UPS Simple Rate, what it costs, and UPS flat rate box sizes. At Easyship, we're here to help you simplify and save on shipping at once. This post also offers a free tool for helping you compare all available courier prices in just seconds.

Table of Contents

What is UPS Simple Rate?

Simple Rate is UPS’s version of flat rate shipping.

Simple Rate lets you ship to anywhere in the US for a flat fee based on package size. The maximum weight for Simple Rate packages is 50 lbs. You can also use your own packaging with Simple Rate, unlike USPS Flat Rate and FedEx One Rate.

Currently, UPS flat rate shipping is only available in the US.

How Much Does UPS Simple Rate Cost?

Pricing for UPS Simple Rate corresponds to five box sizes, from extra small to extra large.

The chart below shows the base prices for Simple Rate shipping within the contiguous (lower) 48 States.

Base prices for Simple Rate shipping within the contiguous 48 States

Prices start at $8.80 for an extra small package and $22.85 for an extra large package. Prices for Simple Rate also depend on your choice of delivery speed, including:

It’s important to note that Simple Rate prices are different to Alaska and Hawaii. Prices also differ depending on whether you’re shipping to a metropolitan area in Alaska or Hawaii.

In fact, Simple Rate via UPS Ground to metro Hawaii and metro Alaska costs almost $20 more than in the lower 48.

Simple Rate prices for Alaska and Hawaii

Prices jump about another $10 per shipment if we’re shipping to remote locations in Hawaii or Alaska, as seen below.

Simple Rate prices for remote location in Alaska and Hawaii

Prices for UPS Simple Rate are based on box sizes, but also whether you’re shipping within the contiguous US. Remote deliveries in Alaska and Hawaii cost more.

Learn More About Alaska and Hawaii Shipping

What Are UPS Flat Rate Box Sizes?

UPS Simple Rate uses boxes of five sizes, from extra small to extra large. You can also use your own boxes or packaging, if you prefer.

Below we explain UPS Simple Rate box sizes in terms of total inches. For context, we've provided examples of what these boxes can comfortably hold.

Extra Small – From $8.80

Maximum size: 1-100 cubic inches.

Example: a pair of sunglasses or a ceramic mug.

Small – From $11.50

Maximum size: 101-250 cubic inches.

Example: a hardcover book or a tissue box.

Medium – From $13.90

Maximum size: 251-650 cubic inches.

Example: a shoebox or a hoodie.

Large – From $18.40

Maximum size: 651-1050 cubic inches.

Example: a basketball or a medium laptop.

Extra Large – From $22.85

Maximum size: 1051-1728 cubic inches.

Example: a tennis racket or a small microwave.

Here are a handful of common box dimensions you could use for UPS Simple Rate shipment.

Common box dimensions by UPS Simple Rate

How is UPS Simple Rate Different From FedEx and USPS Flat Rate?

Subtle differences exist between Simple Rate and other flat rate shipping options.

  • Lower maximum weight than USPS: UPS Simple Rate carries a max weight of 50 lbs, as does FedEx. USPS Flat Rate, though, offers a higher maximum weight of 70 lbs.
  • More volume: UPS Simple Rate offers more space, up to 1728 cubic inches for an extra large package. This exceeds the 1452 cubic inches available from FedEx, and the 900 cubic inches in USPS Flat Rate boxes.
  • More delivery options: UPS lets you pick from four delivery speeds: UPS Ground, 3 Day Select, 2nd Day Air, and Next Day Air Saver. FedEx OneRate only offers express services (no ground), while USPS Flat Rate only travels via Priority Mail (1-3 business days).
  • Use your own packaging: UPS lets you use your own packaging, unlike FedEx and USPS. Flat rate packaging is always free, but using your own branded packaging helps to improve the customer experience.
  • Fixed shipping rates: Simple Rate offers a national flat rate that varies by size alone, as does USPS. By contrast, FedEx One Rate pricing varies by size and by one of three destination zones.
  • Better insurance than USPS: UPS Simple Rate automatically insures packages valued up to $100. FedEx does the same, but USPS only insurance Flat Rate shipments up to $50. Shipping fragile or valuable items? Easyship can help you insure your shipments up to $5,000.
  • Delivery guarantee: UPS offers guaranteed delivery for the date quoted or you money back. FedEx also offers a delivery guarantee though USPS does not.
The Benefits of UPS Simple Rate

The Benefits of UPS Simple Rate

Flat rate shipping is a go-to for online merchants. But which service is right for you? UPS flat rate shipping may be a better choice than USPS or FedEx. Here’s what to consider when making your pick between flat rate shipping services:

  • Branding opportunities: UPS lets you ship in your own boxes, meaning you can use branded packaging. Branding is vital in the crowded eCommerce space because it helps differentiate you from competitors while fostering a memorable post-purchase experience.
  • More volume: UPS Simple Rates lets you ship in larger boxes. If you’re sending packages that are lighter-weight but want extra space, this could be your best option.
  • Cost predictability: It’s important for merchants to predict their shipping costs. Simple Rate offers a flatter price structure than FedEx One Rate, helping you get a clear sense of what you spend on shipping per order.

How to Find The Cheapest Flat Rate Prices

Say we want to ship a 5 lb. medium-sized box from Brooklyn, NY to Miami, FL. To do this, we’ll need to first visit UPS.com to get a Simple Rate quote. Then we visit USPS and FedEx afterward.

With UPS, the price for a medium box starts at $13.90 for UPS Ground. Or we can pay up to $36.80 for UPS Next Day Air Saver.

At FedEx, One Rate gives us a medium box rate starting at $16.73 for ground delivery. We can rush it there for a little over $137. (Yikes).

USPS.com shows us paying $15.50 for a medium flat rate box arriving at one speed in four working days.

Seems that UPS Simple Rate is the cheapest flat rate option. But can we find something cheaper?

Now let's use Easyship’s free shipping calculator to look up all available rates for our medium 5 lb. box from Brooklyn to Miami.

Easyship free shipping calculator for rates for our medium 5 lb. box from Brooklyn to Miami

Turns out, you can save about 50% on shipping by using USPS Priority Mail.

By way of explanation, Easyship partners with all major domestic carriers to save you up to 70% on shipping rates. Plus, the shipping calculator makes it super easy to find all these rates directly. Next time you’re comparing shipping rates, try our shipping calculator for free. You could save a bundle.

UPS Simple Rate: The Flat Rate Newcomer

With Simple Rate, USPS joins USPS and FedEx as a domestic flat rate shipper. Make sure you compare rates before purchasing, as there appears to be some major discrepancies in the cheapest rates.

But who wants to visit each courier site to research rates by weight and size?

With Easyship, it’s fast and easy to compare prices for all shipment types. Just hop into our free shipping rate calculator. You’ll always find the best rates – fastest, cheapest, best value – listed out and matching your specific shipment.

You can also create a free Easyship account. This allows you to use our Get A Quote feature, the more sophisticated version of the shipping rate calculator.

UPS Flat Rate FAQ

Are UPS Flat Rate boxes free?

UPS allows retailers to use their own custom packaging for UPS flat rate shipping. But you can still order UPS shipping boxes and tubes if you don't want to use your own packaging.

How much is  a UPS flat rate envelope?

You can order UPS express envelopes from the UPS website for free. The minimum order quantity is one pack of 25 envelopes.

How much does it cost to overnight a UPS flat rate box?

The cost depends on the box size and the delivery service you select. For example, it will cost you $36.80 to overnight a Medium size box via  UPS Next Day Air Saver.