Online Shipping - Saving Yourself a Headache (and Money!)
Note to our readers: This post is more focused on our US members, as I exclusively looked at using the USPS for shipping. All rates were compiled on 26 Jan 2020, the date the new rates came into effect, and were gathered from their respective websites.
What’s the first thing that comes to mind about having to go to the post office and send out some packages? Probably some traumatic flashbacks to waiting in line forever, while the undermanned front desk personnel act like you’re making their life miserable just because you want to ship something that day. What if I told you that you don’t have to go through that misery anymore and save money at the same time?? You can avoid all of this madness by doing it all online through the USPS’ website, and they used to be the only game in town, but now there are now other online shipping providers as well that let you print your own USPS shipping labels.
Aside from saving money on the shipping costs, the true cost savings comes in the amount of time you don’t have to spend in line at the post office, as you can easily schedule at home pick up with the post office, or you can easily just drop off your packages at the post office without having to wait in line.
To help educate you, I took at look at four different shipping services that have been used by other Star Wars Autograph Universe members, and those services are Click-N-Ship (USPS), PayPal Shipping, PirateShip, and Parcel Monkey. The way that I evaluated each of the services and the potential savings of each one is using 4 different types of items that ranged in size and weight, and was sent to different locations domestically and internationally. The four different types of items I used as test subjects are a #0 Padded Mailer, a #4 Jiffy Rigimailer used to ship 11x14s, a box, and a square shipping tube.
To not bore you and sum it all up nicely, Click-N-Ship will save you a small amount versus physically going in to the Post Office, Parcel Monkey no one should ever think of using for shipping via USPS because their prices are some how higher than what the USPS charges (and there’s definitely some shadiness going on in their cheapest options, as the best I can tell they won’t tell you who the carrier is until you buy the shipping label), and PayPal Shipping and PirateShip are equal in price across the board and offer you the best savings overall. What will set them apart from each other is the features that they offer to the end user, and I’ll discuss them briefly in a little bit. If you really do want to see the price breakdown and savings, scroll all the down to the bottom of the page to see that information.
Something worth noting right off the bat is that the USPS’s Click-N-Ship service does not (both PayPal and PirateShip do) let you have the option of using First Class Shipping, which is a cost saving option for anything under a pound when compared to Priority shipping. So that is definitely one reason to skip out on using Click-N-Ship, and I completely just ignored ParcelMonkey in this feature comparison, because there’s no savings to be found there, and too many unanswered questions about their services to recommend them at this time. Below are the features I looked for that would make one stand out from the other, and here are the results:
When comparing the features between PayPal Shipping and PirateShip, there was three key features that set PirateShip apart from the others.
First is the ability to save dimensions of packages, is especially handy for me, as I tend to ship padded mailers or 11x14s most of the time. This means that I don’t have to remeasure each time I want to ship a common item, I just need to weigh it to validate the weight.
Next, is the ability to copy and paste addresses and have them turned into a shipping label. It seems like something small and trivial, but how often have you wished that you could turn an address from an email or a message into a shipping label? Something so simple is amazing.
And last is the ability to create a whole batch of labels from an excel spreadsheet, without having to repeatedly input addresses and navigate menus for each label. Once you do the initial validation of the values with the website, it’s off and running, and pretty soon you’ll have everything ready for printing.
Regardless of who you choose for an online shipping provider, I hope that this post has opened your eyes up to a world of cost and time savings through online postage printing, because no matter who you choose, you’re going to come out ahead.