The Ultimate Guide to UPS Simple Rate
Flat rate shipping is incredibly popular amongst e-tailers for its convenience and predictable pricing. The term “flat rate” means the cost of shipping isn’t connected to the item’s weight, shape or size but rather is based on the size of the envelope or box being shipped. It was previously only offered by the USPS and FedEx, but UPS is here to take its slice of the shipping pie with a new shipping option: UPS Simple Rate.
Now, e-tailers can send heavy packages to any destination in the continental U.S. for a set price, taking out the cumbersome step of determining shipping costs based on height and weight. You’ll save time, you’ll save money, and you’ll make your customers happy by not charging exorbitant fees for shipping out their orders.
UPS Simple Rate is still relatively new, so you probably have plenty of questions. Good news: ReadyShipper is the industry leader of ecommerce shipping solutions, so it’s our job to have the answers. Consider this your ultimate guide to this game-changing shipping option and start using it right now with our UPS Simple Rate shipping software solution. Here’s what you need to know.
What Is UPS Simple Rate?
Simple Rate is the new flat shipping rate service offered by UPS.
This is a familiar service for e-tailers and consumers who have shipped packages using USPS Flat Rate and FedEx One Rate, and it’s a simpler solution than the shipping pricing that takes multiple factors into account.
Users who choose Simple Rate can ship packages up to 50 pounds anywhere in the U.S. for a fixed fee that corresponds with the size of the packaging. There are currently five package sizes available. Alternatively, you can use your own packaging, which USPS and FedEx do not allow.
What Does UPS Simple Rate Cost?
UPS Simple Rate costs start at $8.80 and depend on the following:
- The size of the packaging
- The destination (mainland or not)
- The speed of delivery
Certain standard surcharges do not apply, though it’s important to note rates are different between shipping to the continental U.S. or Alaska/Hawaii.
There are five sizes of Simple Rate boxes ranging from Extra Small to Extra Large.
UPS Simple Rate applies to packages of various shapes and sizes, but the limit is 50 pounds in weight and 1,728 cubic inches in volume.
Once shippers have determined the size of their packages, they then pick from four service options.
- UPS Ground: 1-5 business days
- UPS 3 Day Select: Within 3 business days
- UPS Second Day Air: By 12:00 PM of the second business day
- UPS Next Day Air Saver: By 4:30 PM the following day to commercial addresses; same-day delivery to residential addresses
Here’s a quick breakdown of the rates for the mainland states. They’re comparable to what you pay for USPS Flat Rate Shipping and FedEx One Rate, and unlike USPS, delivery is guaranteed.
If you’re shipping to metro Alaska or Hawaii, you have fewer options. Choose between UPS Ground and UPS Second Day Air:
And if you’re sending packages to remote areas of Alaska or Hawaii, you can expect to pay about $10 more than the metro rates for ground shipping and $30 more for second day shipping.
If your package measures more than 1,728 cubic inches or weighs over 50 pounds, you can ship the package using standard UPS rates based on dimensional weight and zone.
What Sizes Are UPS Simple Rate Boxes?
There are five size categories for UPS Simple Rate boxes: Extra Small, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large. Each category covers a range of cubic volume, so there are multiple box dimension options per size.
Extra Small: 1-100 cubic inches ($8.80+)
- 8 x 6 x 2
- 6 x 4 x 4
- 11 x 9 x 1
- 4 x 4 x 4
Small: 101-250 cubic inches ($11.50+)
- 8 x 6 x 5
- 12 x 9 x 2
- 9 x 7 x 3
- 6 x 6 x 6
Medium: 251-650 cubic inches ($13.90+)
- 13 x 11 x 2
- 12 x 9 x 6
- 13 x 12 x 4
- 8 x 8 x 8
Large: 651-1050 cubic inches ($18.40+)
- 12 x 12 x 7
- 15 x 11 x 6
- 14 x 10 x 7
- 10 x 10 x 10
Extra Large: 1051-1728 cubic inches ($22.85+)
- 16 x 12 x 9
- 12 x 10 x 9
- 18 x 12 x 6
- 12 x 12 x 12
These dimensions are helpful for shippers who want to use their own packaging materials for UPS Simple Rate.
What Makes UPS Simple Rate Different from USPS Flat Rate and FedEx One Rate?
There are subtle but important differences between UPS Simple Rate and the other flat rate shipping services provided by other carriers.
Maximum weight. Shippers using UPS Simple Rate are limited to sending 50-pound packages, as are those using FedEx One Rate. If you need to send something heavier, USPS Flat Rate caps their packages at 70 pounds.
Maximum volume. Volume, rather than weight, is where UPS Simple Rate shines; boxes up to 1728 cubic inches can be shipped for a fixed fee. This is nearly double the volume offered by USPS Flat Rate boxes (900 cubic inches) and also exceeds FedEx’s 1452 cubic inches.
Delivery options. Simple Rate customers can pick from four delivery speeds: UPS Ground, 3 Day Select, 2nd Day Air, and Next Day Air Saver. Once again, UPS has the advantage because FedEx One Rate only uses express air services, and USPS Flat Rate packages travel 1-3 business days via Priority Mail.
Packaging options. UPS is the only brand that lets you use your own packaging for flat rate shipping. Additionally, qualifying UPS customers can order free Simple Rate packaging through the UPS Customer Technology Program (CTP). USPS and FedEx also offer their flat rate packaging for free, but carrier-branded packaging interrupts the customer experience. Don’t believe us? Check out these branded packaging statistics:
- 30% of consumers make their buying decisions based on packaging
- Only 11% of consumers are impressed with the packaging they receive
- Attractive packages have a 74% chance of being shared on social media
- “Unboxing” has become 781% more popular on YouTube since 2010
Customized packaging creates an experience that will be remembered, and it’s an opportunity to showcase your brand’s personality and core mission.
Shipping rates. UPS offers fixed shipping rates to anywhere in the continental U.S. based on size alone. USPS also offers a national flat rate, but FedEx One Rate isn’t, in fact, one rate. Sizing and destination are taken into account—there are three destination “zones” that each cost a different amount to ship to.
Insurance. All UPS Simple Rate shipments are automatically insured up to $100, as are FedEx One Rate packages. However, USPS Flat Rate only insures packages up to $50.
Delivery guarantee. Best of all, UPS guarantees delivery of Simple Rate packages by the date quoted or they’ll give you your money back. USPS, on the other hand, has no delivery guarantee, but FedEx does.
What Are the Advantages of UPS Simple Rate?
E-tailers love the convenience, predictability and cost savings of flat rate shipping, which is what makes a flat rate newcomer an exciting prospect. With three carriers offering fixed shipping rates, you have to identify the pros and cons to determine which service is best for your business. UPS Simple Rate may be the winner, but USPS or FedEx may make the most sense.
Consider these benefits when weighing your options:
- As we mentioned earlier, custom packaging is a game-changer because it’s the first way customers experience your brand in real life. It provides a first impression, and it can differentiate your ecommerce business from the competition. UPS gives Simple Rate shippers the opportunity to use their own materials, which may be worth the price if you’re not yet a well-known business.
- If your online store’s products are on the larger size, UPS Simple Rate might be the winner. You get more volume to work with than if you try to ship with USPS or FedEx, which are capped at 900 and 1452 cubic inches, respectively.
- Cost uniformity. Not all flat rate shipping is created equal. UPS Simple Rate offers true fixed rates for 48 of the 50 states, whereas FedEx One Rate charges you based on the zone you’re shipping to. The flat rates UPS and USPS offer can help you more easily build your shipping budget and forecast your business’s cash flow.
Find the Cheapest Flat Rate Shipping Option
With all the factors that influence your final shipping cost, it’s easy to get lost in all the services offered by multiple carriers. Finding the cheapest flat rate shipping option is time-consuming and frustrating if you don’t know where to look.
Let’s walk through an example of shipping a midsize 5-lb box from Phoenix, AZ to Nashville, TN. You’ll first visit the UPS Simple Rate page to get a quote and then repeat the process with USPS and FedEx. (That’s already 3 tabs you have open.)
Shipping that box with UPS Simple Rate, once it’s deemed a medium, starts at $13.90 for UPS Ground. You can pay $25.20 for three-day air, $27.00 for second-day air or $36.80 for next-day delivery. Not bad. USPS offers a similar rate of $15.50 to ship a medium flat rate box that distance, but keep in mind delivery is not guaranteed, and insurance caps out at $50 of declared value.
Then, you look at FedEx. You can ship the box for $18.44 via FedEx Ground, but the next cheapest option costs $42.43 via FedEx Express Saver. The carrier does give you plenty of options, including guaranteed next-day delivery before 8:00 AM for a whopping $151.94. Wow.
UPS Simple Rate in Review
Even though UPS Simple Rate is a flat rate shipping newcomer competing with similar offerings from USPS and FedEx, it already has some major advantages. It is a lower cost and more predictably priced option for many e-tailers, and the higher volume limit literally gives you more room to work with. Additionally, there are enough options in regards to package size and delivery speed, but it’s not overwhelming. The insurance provides peace of mind, as does the delivery guarantee. And perhaps most reassuring is that the service comes from a well-known, respected shipping carrier.
UPS Simple Rate FAQ
How can I start using Simple Rate for my ecommerce business?
UPS Simple Rate doesn’t require an account or a contract. Simply follow this link to get started.
Where can I ship from?
Users can ship to and from anywhere in the U.S., but international shipping is currently unavailable.
Does Simple Rate have packaging requirements?
E-tailers can use their own boxes or poly mailers that are up to 1728 cubic inches in size.
Are there multiple pickup/dropoff options?
Once you generate your shipping label, you can give the package to your driver, use a UPS pickup option or drop it off at any UPS location or UPS-authorized shipping center.
Is there anything I cannot ship with Simple Rate?
Hazardous materials, shipments and non-prepaid shipments are not permitted to be sent with UPS Simple Rate.
Can I use account incentives or promo codes?
No, these do not apply to Simple Rate pricing.
Do Simple Rate shipments count toward my revenue tier structure?
Yes, these shipments apply to your portfolio tier incentive in your UPS account.
Can I use Simple Rate at UPS Marketplaces?
Yes, Simple Rate is an available service at these locations.
Can I ship returns with Simple Rate?
As of October 2020, Simple Rate customers can print return labels with flat rate pricing. This is a huge opportunity for e-tailers to turn one-time shoppers into repeat customers by implementing a hassle-free returns process with free return shipping. Like branded packaging, it’s a way to create a memorable experience—in a good way.