The USPS offers great rates for shipping letters, parcels and packages anywhere in the US. Their Priority Mail service is fast, efficient and fairly priced.
Priority Mail rates rose slightly in January this year, so make sure you’re aware of the new prices.
Here’s everything you need to know about USPS Priority Mail rates in 2021.
Priority Mail Commercial Rates (updated 2021/01/24)
We’ve summarized the costs for the most common mail weights when shipping to Zones 1-8:
|Max Weight||1 & 2||3||4||5||6||7||8|
Priority Mail Commercial Plus Rates
For businesses with high-volume mailing needs, the USPS offers discounted ‘Commercial Plus’ pricing. To qualify for Commercial Plus rates for any of their shipping services, you need to send a minimum number of pieces each year:
Volume Thresholds for Commercial Plus Pricing
|Shipping Service||Volume Threshold (per year)|
|First Class Packages||5,000 pieces|
|Priority Mail||50,000 pieces|
|Priority Mail Express||5,000 pieces|
|International||$100,000 in postage value|
With Priority Mail Commercial Plus, prices start from $6.35 per piece.
What Factors Affect USPS Priority Mail Rates?
Three factors affect Priority Mail prices:
- Box/envelope type
Let’s take a closer look at each one:
You can ship anywhere in the US with Priority Mail, but the greater the distance, the more it costs. The USPS splits pricing across eight ‘zones’. Zone 1 covers areas beyond your zip code but within a 50 mile radius, while Zone 8 covers distances of 1801 miles and over (coast-to-coast shipping, essentially). Zones aren’t fixed areas, but rather are defined in relation to your location. So, if you live in Washington, you’ll pay Zone 1/2 prices to ship to customers in neighboring Oregon, whereas a business based in New York would pay Zone 7/8 prices to ship to the same customers.
|1||Non-local zones within a 50 mile radius|
|2||51 to 150 mile radius|
|3||151 to 300 mile radius|
|4||301 to 600 mile radius|
|5||601 to 1000 mile radius|
|6||1001 to 1400 mile radius|
|7||1401 to 1800 mile radius|
|8||1801 miles and over|
The USPS is happy to ship letters and boxes with both standard and non-standard dimensions, charging a premium on heavier packages.
But if all your mail tends to be of a similar size, you could save a ton of money if you use USPS’s Flat Rate boxes and envelopes. For a fixed fee, you can ship as much weight as you like (up to 70 lbs) for no extra cost. The trade-off is that your mail has to be small enough to fit inside USPS’s special Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, but it's usually more than enough for most companies’ mailing needs.
The maximum weight allowed for letters and packages sent by Priority Mail is 70 lb. If you’re using Flat Rate packaging (discussed above), you’ll pay the same whether you’re sending 1 lb or 70 lb. But if you’re using your own packaging, or if your packages exceed the maximum dimensions for Flat Rate shipping, then you’ll pay an additional amount for every extra pound of weight you send.
If speedy shipping is a priority for you, you can’t go far wrong with Priority Mail. The USPS even throws in free Flat Rate packaging as an extra incentive to use their mailing services.
A good way to cut down time spent sorting and weighing your mail is by leasing a postage meter. Postage meters make it easy to calculate accurate mailing costs, and are designed to scale with your business.
To find out more, compare quotes from top postage meter suppliers.