The new USPS flat rate shipping is changing the way people do business and use the postal service. If you are looking to get post office flat rate boxes free, you are in luck. One of the primary elements of the USPS flat rate program is making sure that only flat rate boxes created by USPS are used. You are not allowed to use your own box, but they do provide them for free. Before you get started, it’s always smart to learn more about what is flat rate shipping, so you can make the best choices for your online store.

Why Does The Box Have to be Made by USPS?

When USPS was researching the feasibility of creating a standard flat rate for shipping they found that being able to predict the size and weight of the packages was essential. The formula they created for the size and weight of the boxes also allows them to coordinate their shipping network so they can offer the flat rate delivery time frames. The flat rate time frames are the same as the old Priority mail service. There is also a Priority Express flat rate service, but note that there are different box size requirements.

Getting Free USPS Boxes Online

The United States Post Office allows you to order post office flat rate boxes free online. While at first it may not make sense to order empty boxes online, because this is flat rate shipping you can also pre-purchase the postage. Once your free boxes are delivered, pack them up and print the label with the postage already done. Then you can drop the packages off, or call your local post office to arrange for a pickup.

One thing you should make a habit of is tracking the weight and size of the packages you are sending. This type of tracking will provide you with an estimate of the volume of shipping that you do each month. Not only is that important for planning and budgeting, but it could also be what allows you to apply for a commercial shipping account with USPS.

Picking up Flat Rate Boxes Locally

You can also opt to stop into your local post office and pick up free boxes for flat rate shipping. If you are just sending one or two packages then you can get the boxes from the display stands in their waiting area. If you need more than that, you will have to talk to the service representative.

It can be to your advantage to call in advance if you need a large number of boxes. If you are doing a lot of Priority shipping of the same sized box, you may want to consider opening a Commercial or Commercial Plus account with USPS.

Why You Should Consider Having a Commercial Account

The United States Post Office has another tier of flat rate shipping that is based upon volume. This is used for their Commercial and Commercial Plus accounts. They don’t have a standardized cost chart as each of the accounts are negotiated on an individual basis. If you have a high shipping volume, this may be the best choice for you. You can email a commercial account representative with your information from their main website and they will call you to discuss the details of the account.