I was a bit slow to notice the regional flat rate boxes the postal service has added to their options. At first the boxes seemed like more trouble than benefit. Now I see real cost cutting possibilities.
Regional shipping is different than the regular flat rate boxes that have the same rate for all zones. It is also different than the regular postage rates that increase with each pound. Regional A boxes cost the 2 pound rate and have a 15 pound limit. Regional B boxes cost the 4 pound rate with a 20 pound limit.
The destination zones are based on the zip code that you are shipping from. I ship from Indiana, so places like California and Washington are more costly than Illinois or Michigan.
The boxes each come in two sizes. I don’t think these will be available at the post offices, so be sure and order yours online from the USPS. Also, the shipping labels must be printed online. The rates are no good at the post office counter.
If you ship small items that weigh over 2 pounds the smaller regional A boxes may save you some postage expense. My jigsaw puzzles won’t qualify because puzzles aren’t heavy for their size. Most of my puzzle inventory will require larger boxes or the weight will already be under 2 pounds. However, the regional boxes will be cost effective for shipments of books when they aren’t traveling far and need to arrive quickly.
The zone chart based on zip codes is the key to understanding how much money you can save. I am keeping a copy at my desk, along with the regional box rate chart so I can quickly determine when a regional box will be beneficial. The rate chart is easy to understand once you know the number of the zone you are shipping to.
|Boxes||L 1 2||Zone 3||Zone 4||Zone 5||Zone 6||Zone 7||Zone 8|
You will find a much prettier chart on the postal web site. It is listed under Priority services and it is easy to print.
Unfortunately, the regional boxes are not an option in the eBay shipping calculator yet. I think there are plans to add the new boxes very soon. In the mean time it will be a matter of watching for the opportunities to save my customers some postage.
I learn best from experience, so I may have some regional rate lessons to learn. Have you had a chance to use these new boxes?