USPS out to kill hobby shipping

Look at this - USPS just raised rates for flat rate shipping of small boxes by $7! Was $16.95, now $23.95.

http://ircalc.usps.com/MailServices.aspx?country=10150&m=13&p=0&o=1&mt=13

And yet iteadstudio can send me a set of cards via registered US Airmail for $8.

Gonna have to see if small padded envelopes are any cheaper ...

WTF USPS! Not even an advance warning. 40% to 54% increase!

BTW, Thanks Crossroads for this headsup. I need to raise my shipping rates ASAP!

CrossRoads: Look at this - USPS just raised rates for flat rate shipping of small boxes by $7! Was $16.95, now $23.95.

http://ircalc.usps.com/MailServices.aspx?country=10150&m=13&p=0&o=1&mt=13

And yet iteadstudio can send me a set of cards via registered US Airmail for $8.

Gonna have to see if small padded envelopes are any cheaper ...

We should privatize the post office and normalize the salaries of the lazy employees. We have MANY shipping options now, there's no need for a government postal service. I'm sure Ron Paul would agree.

Tim

Their pension costs are out of control. That's what's killing them.

I am just so mad about this. I didn't expect increases will be this large for International shipping. 40 to 50+%%% WTF. This will affect my International sales. FUUUCCCKK!!!

vasquo:
Their pension costs are out of control. That’s what’s killing them.

Exactly! Eventually, everyone will vote conservative, once they’re no longer ignorant.

Just went to the PO today. SLOW, FAT, LAZY… And probably make twice I do, with a pension when I get ZERO pension. Yet, they work for ME? Insanity! You liberals out there can BITE ME! :wink:

Tim

Eventually, everyone will vote conservative, once they’re no longer ignorant.

One way to defeat an unsustainable scheme is to expand it as fast as possible, so it collapses quickly.

@$!, I have two ready-to-ship international orders. There goes my margin.

Also, I see the propaganda machines are working in full force. "Something bad happened, quick, find a way to blame it on the other guys!"

The key is misdirection, Stanley.

This is great news, undoubtedly we'll all be getting 40% increases too! Woohoo! :stuck_out_tongue_closed_eyes:

I'm not aware of the pension issue but definitely don't see my local PO workers lazy. They face a long line of customers and always handle business professionally. I just wish they open for more hours on Saturdays. During the middle of a business day, that joint is filled with people (lots seem to be small business shippers).

Guys/gals in USA, do you know about the USPS regional rate boxes? Post offices don't always carry them but you can order them at USPS.com free of charge and free shipping. Isn't that what's great about USPS, free priority/express supplies? Regional rate box rate is cheaper especially for me since I'm in the middle (longitude, not latitude). Purchase postage on USPS.com for regional rate box. I can ship a decent amount of stuff in regional rate box A for $5+ while the flat rate small box can only fit a couple of tooth picks. I hate how the small box closes too.

For international shipping, done that a lot. Hate the rates. No way to insure except for express mail at like $30 a pop. I'm not made of money.

CrossRoads, get a box of 250 bubble mailers from the place you got the really useful boxes. It's the cheapest I can find but you will need some extra wide tape.

http://www.officedepot.com/catalog/search.do?Ntt=bubble+mailer+pack+of+250

I think I have the 6*10. Use the officedepot coupon to get a deal. PM me if you can't find any coupon. I also bought a digital scale off ebay so I know exactly how much padding I can add to not get to the next ounce.

Updates: Shipped a 1 oz envelop to New Zealand, $6.55 Wasnt this expnsive before. Priority small box is $6, not $7. Does the rate depend on region?

@CrossRoads If you're shipping a lot of items Internationally I recommend dumping the International Priority option. International Priority has been nothing but a head ache to me as the package is not insured, the tracking information is not valid once the package leaves the US and it's not really any faster than First Class International. I would switch to something like Stamps.com and send everything International First Class Mail and insure the package. Through the Post Office, you can't insure International First Class but through Stamps.com you can. The cost is based off item price and is usually only a few bucks. So you can now ship something overseas, insured for usually around 7 bucks.

Thanks Wayne, will look into stamps.com

I have to disagree though on the Priority shipping for INTL customers. To me, they're more reliable than First Class mail. I'd pick Priority Mail over First Class.

The tracking # is helpful, and while it doesn't offer detailed tracking once it leaves the country, it can still be traced if it got lost or delayed. Just need to call USPS and they''ll start a trace/conduct an investigation/request status from the receiving country if it's been delayed for more than 10 days and recipient still hasn't received it. .... and more likely the package will be returned to you if it's undeliverable!

If after a trace, USPS still can't find the package and your package in insured, you get a check $$$ from USPS (after filing a claim).

First Class Mail is "hope to god it doesn't get lost" shipping. If you're just shipping something worth a few dollars, it may be worth the risk but when I'm shipping anywhere from $300 to $1000 worth of stuff out the country, I just couldn't take that risk.

I understand USPS needs to raise rates. But my beef with this is the amount of increase ... almost 60% for Flat Rate Priority Small package. That's nuts.

@Crossroads. I use Endicia.com, you may want to check them out also. It runs natively on OSX too.

Here you go… in black and white.

You're partially correct. The USPS only offers trace and insurance options on Medium Flat Rate and up boxes. Neither is offered on the Small Flat Rate Box/Envelope (I found this out the hard way after one went missing and I called the main PO and went to my local). Plus when you use Stamps.com (Endicia also I'm sure) you'll get free delivery confirmation tracking on the package while it's in the US just as you would with the Small Flat Rate box.

They can still conduct a trace for Small Flat rate boxes... and I have SFR boxes return to me when they can't deliver it to the recipient. With First Class packages, I think it just goes to the other country's dead mail section and I don't ever see it back again.

That's been my experience.

I'm not sure how you were able to do a trace on an Small Flat Rate (the only way possible is if you fill out the wrong customs form). Basically if your tracking number starts with LJ or LC (SFR and First Class International use the same customs form) then it's not an actual tracking number but instead a Customs form number which is not scanned anymore once it leaves US soil. If your tracking number starts with CP or CJ then you're using a different customs form designed for Medium Flat and up (along with weight based flat rate) and these numbers will continue to track through to the destination country and also provide a trace option. Not trying to argue or anything but I've been burned by this a couple of times already and I don't want to see anyone else fall into the same trap. I wish the PO did a better job advertising the restrictions with SFR but you have to really look at the fine print on their website to see it.

No, not trying to start anything here :)

Happens rarely, maybe 2-3x a year, a customer would fail to receive their package even after 4 weeks, so I call up USPS on the phone, asking them help in tracking the package. They'll give the usual answer... blah blah they don't track once it leaves the US, but I'll be insistent and then they'll ask me if I want to initiate or start a trace, they explained they'll ask the other country for information re: status of package. They said they'll send me a letter via postal mail of their findings, and what the receiving country said.

Just like clockwork, within a few days my waiting customer will email me telling me they got the package. Coincidence? Maybe... or maybe the call from USPS made the other country's customs work faster? Who knows... I don't care at this point, my customer got the package.

Or after a few weeks, I'll get a mail from USPS saying they and the receiving country can't find the package, blah blah blah. So I consider it a loss. But after a month or two, I'll get the my package with a "Return to Sender/Undeliverable" stamp. Either way, I'm happy. I got the contents of the package back and suffered no loss. (just wasted time).

UPS and Fedex for International shipping is another whole ball of wax. I rarely use them and avoid them as much as possible for International shipments.

What I don't understand is the whining about "let's privatize it all" - unless I selected the wrong options, comparing a flat rate box from USPS vs FedEx vs UPS, shipped internationally (I went with Phoenix, AZ to Tokyo, Japan) - USPS won hands down, being about a third of what the other two were. Now, I can see being upset with the hike on it's suddenness and being unannounced, but I would bet if the USPS was dismantled or privatized, the costs to ship a package would be greater - not less.

Finally, how much do you think it would cost to have a letter delivered to some areas of the country where it can only be helicoptered or otherwise brought in currently, which the USPS does routinely? Heck, they probably wouldn't deliver it at all - I guess those people in such remote areas can all just go ---- themselves, huh?

There's also this little matter:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Article_One_of_the_United_States_Constitution#Section_8:_Powers_of_Congress

vasquo:
Their pension costs are out of control. That’s what’s killing them.

The USPS pays into the FERS (Federal Employee Retirement System) like all federal agencies and USPS employees will receive retirement benefits identical to all other federal employees (*some exceptions, of course). Unlike other federal agencies, however, they’re being forced to pay in at a higher rate, or more generally they’re being required to generate a surplus in their retirement fund because the OPM (Office of Personnel Management, which manages FERS) has determined that the USPS is at risk of collapsing.

I also agree with cr0sh; if you dismantle the USPS it will just be replaced by other services (FedEx, UPS, etc.) at a higher cost.