How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

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knightrider
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How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by knightrider »

Been selling on ebay for years, but am always confused when to go with flat-rate envelopes. USPS doesn't make this easy. To add to the confusion they have other size flat rate boxes and also regional boxes.

Is there some rule of thumb for how dense an item is to make it worthwhile? For sure sending something made mostly of steel is better flat-rate.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by bob60014 »

Though not recently, I've shipped some odd sized things in a flat rate envelope without issue, even it was about to burst at the seams. Fishing reels, large books, tools, etc... IIRC, and it may have changed, USPS just indicates a weight limit. So basically, if it fits, it goes. Ymmv!
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Taylor Larimore
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by Taylor Larimore »

knightrider wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:38 am Been selling on ebay for years, but am always confused when to go with flat-rate envelopes. USPS doesn't make this easy. To add to the confusion they have other size flat rate boxes and also regional boxes.

Is there some rule of thumb for how dense an item is to make it worthwhile? For sure sending something made mostly of steel is better flat-rate.
knightrider:

I once went to the central post office in Miami for a friend to ask how much a large "junk letter" mailing would cost. I was given a booklet (must have been +20 pages) which was so complicated I could not decipher it. Having worked for the Internal Revenue Service I should not have been surprised.

Good luck with your endeavor.

Best wishes.
Taylor
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Cheez-It Guy
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by Cheez-It Guy »

Cast iron frying pan density.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by Big Dog »

bob60014 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 9:54 am Though not recently, I've shipped some odd sized things in a flat rate envelope without issue, even it was about to burst at the seams. Fishing reels, large books, tools, etc... IIRC, and it may have changed, USPS just indicates a weight limit. So basically, if it fits, it goes. Ymmv!
Yup. Was in a USPS line last year and a person had a few things that she was looking for advice to ship. The postal clerk said smash it into a Flat Rate envelope. The envelope was basically pulling apart at the seams, so the clerk whipped out her tape dispsneser and circled the envelope with tape to hold it together. 2nd day Air.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by runner3081 »

Flat rate envelopes - Compare anything over 1 pound
Flat Rate Boxes - Compare anything over 2 pounds.

Also, make sure to have a stock of Regional Rate A Boxes.
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knightrider
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by knightrider »

runner3081 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 10:15 am Flat rate envelopes - Compare anything over 1 pound
Flat Rate Boxes - Compare anything over 2 pounds.

Also, make sure to have a stock of Regional Rate A Boxes.
Any tips on when to use regional rate boxes vs. the flat rate small/medium/large boxes?
runner3081
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by runner3081 »

Same rules apply.

It is so easy to compare all prices, across FedEx, UPS and USPS on eBay. It is all on one screen.

Put in dimensions and weight, go with the cheapest.

I have pre-made medium, Regional A and envelopes for a test measurement to see if they fit.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by skjoldur »

Not really answering your question, but there was a fascinating twitter post recently on USPS flat rate boxes:

https://twitter.com/PaulMSherman/status ... 3769801734

It is physically impossible to exceed the 70-pound domestic weight limit for a small flat rate box.

The interior dimensions (8 5/8" x 5 3/8" x 1 5/8") are ~75.333 in^3.

If you filled the box with pure osmium, the densest substance known to man, it would weigh ~61.48 lbs.
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knightrider
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by knightrider »

runner3081 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:40 am Same rules apply.

It is so easy to compare all prices, across FedEx, UPS and USPS on eBay. It is all on one screen.

Put in dimensions and weight, go with the cheapest.
That's what I do but it always shows cheapest as Parcel select and regular priority mail. Not once has it ever said a flat rate or regional box is cheaper. Maybe I am doing something wrong?
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by runner3081 »

knightrider wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:46 pm
runner3081 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:40 am Same rules apply.

It is so easy to compare all prices, across FedEx, UPS and USPS on eBay. It is all on one screen.

Put in dimensions and weight, go with the cheapest.
That's what I do but it always shows cheapest as Parcel select and regular priority mail. Not once has it ever said a flat rate or regional box is cheaper. Maybe I am doing something wrong?
The example you give is not a real comparison. Standard Parcel Select is not meant to compare with Priority (which all of the flat rate boxes are).

Not much I can add, other than, there is no magic wand. Just learn by trial and error. You will get to a point, where you don't even need to think about it anymore. I see an item, and can roughly estimate how much it costs to ship across the country.

Also, there are three main variables:
-Size (most important these days)
-Weight
-Distance it is going
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by runner3081 »

knightrider wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:46 pm
runner3081 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 11:40 am Same rules apply.

It is so easy to compare all prices, across FedEx, UPS and USPS on eBay. It is all on one screen.

Put in dimensions and weight, go with the cheapest.
That's what I do but it always shows cheapest as Parcel select and regular priority mail. Not once has it ever said a flat rate or regional box is cheaper. Maybe I am doing something wrong?
I use padded flat rate mailers ALL of the time. For only $8.20 each, it beats all other shipping options for something that fits and weighs >1 lb.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by Sandtrap »

We often use the "flat rate priority mail boxes" in small, medium, and most often large, where the weight of the box is far greater than a "non flat rate box" of the same dimensions but very light in weight.
The "Priority Mail Flat Rate Box" has no weight limit. So, IE: a box of rocks. for example type of weight.

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knightrider
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by knightrider »

runner3081 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:54 pm
Not much I can add, other than, there is no magic wand. Just learn by trial and error. You will get to a point, where you don't even need to think about it anymore. I see an item, and can roughly estimate how much it costs to ship across the country.
What would be the cheapest option for shipping something like used golf balls? It's hard to predict how many will fit inside each flat-rate size package. I think 20 can fit in a flat-rate padded envelope. Or will I get much cheaper shipping per unit if I ship in flat-rate box or regional box?
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knightrider
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by knightrider »

runner3081 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:54 pm Also, there are three main variables:
-Size (most important these days)
-Weight
-Distance it is going
Next time I ship through ebay I will play closer attention to these variables. For some reason I have never seen it suggest a flat rate box as a cheaper option..
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by runner3081 »

knightrider wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:35 am
runner3081 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:54 pm
Not much I can add, other than, there is no magic wand. Just learn by trial and error. You will get to a point, where you don't even need to think about it anymore. I see an item, and can roughly estimate how much it costs to ship across the country.
What would be the cheapest option for shipping something like used golf balls? It's hard to predict how many will fit inside each flat-rate size package. I think 20 can fit in a flat-rate padded envelope. Or will I get much cheaper shipping per unit if I ship in flat-rate box or regional box?
Can't answer that if I don't know how many balls, but I have sold a fair number of them. You can actually fit 20 balls in a Flat Rate cardboard envelope, this is the cheapest.

Otherwise, I would always use a regional rate A or medium flat rate box for golf balls.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by runner3081 »

knightrider wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 8:37 am
runner3081 wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:54 pm Also, there are three main variables:
-Size (most important these days)
-Weight
-Distance it is going
Next time I ship through ebay I will play closer attention to these variables. For some reason I have never seen it suggest a flat rate box as a cheaper option..
Every time I ship in eBay it shows every single option available from USPS, UPS, FedEx and eBay shipping (only for sports cards, etc on the eBay side).

You just have to look through the prices and see what makes sense. Takes less than a minute and can save a ton of money.

Not to make it harder, but I also compare to PirateShip as they offer cubic rate priority mail shipping.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by retire2022 »

Op

I received a damaged sewing machine which was poorly packed using air cushions. Package was thrown around and got credit refund from seller.

The carrier was UPS and NOT USPS, point here is make sure your package has adequate packing ie styrofoam.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by CAsage »

knightrider wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:46 pm That's what I do but it always shows cheapest as Parcel select and regular priority mail. Not once has it ever said a flat rate or regional box is cheaper. Maybe I am doing something wrong?
I use a regional rate B (and will now go order some "A" boxes) to ship Darling Heir a college care package every quarter - it's a tad smaller than the larger priority mailboxes and the cheapest I've found for a box chock full of cookies, toothpaste, fun socks, whatnot. The priority mailboxes are sort of priced by size, so it really depends on what you are shipping. I've never tried the envelopes, I truly thought they were restricted to flat paper shapes.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by Onlineid3089 »

skjoldur wrote: Tue Jun 21, 2022 12:16 pm Not really answering your question, but there was a fascinating twitter post recently on USPS flat rate boxes:

https://twitter.com/PaulMSherman/status ... 3769801734

It is physically impossible to exceed the 70-pound domestic weight limit for a small flat rate box.

The interior dimensions (8 5/8" x 5 3/8" x 1 5/8") are ~75.333 in^3.

If you filled the box with pure osmium, the densest substance known to man, it would weigh ~61.48 lbs.
I spent way more time scrolling through that twitter thread than I should have. Interesting stuff!
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by ClevrChico »

I second the recommendation to use PirateShip. They make it easy to find the best method and have the best USPS discounts. Also, the padded flat rate envelopes are excellent for the right item.
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Re: How dense does something have to be for USPS flat rate envolopes/boxes to make sense?

Post by kacang »

Learned something new today. Same as someone else, I had thought flat rate envelopes were for flat things lol. Good to know about Pirate ship, will check rates there in future, had always defaulted to flat rate boxes when I shipped care packages to DS2.
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