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6 Package Delivery Services: Cost, How They Work, and More

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Much of our shopping in modern times takes place online.

That is only possible through dynamic, user-friendly delivery services that carry packages right to your door.

Due to the pandemic, parcel shipping services are surging in popularity and growing in number.

How do you know which package delivery service is best for you?

Understanding the limitations, valid shipping locations, weight requirements, and fees of each is critical for answering that question.

Familiarizing yourself with many services could save you time, money, and a lot of hassle.

Let’s talk about what a package delivery service does and how they work.

Then, we will discuss six of the best modern options, their typical costs, how they operate, and how they are different from other choices.

Best Package Delivery Services: The Basics

Before you can choose the ideal service for your needs, you must understand the basics of what delivery systems are.

vector graphic showing miscellaneous package delivery jobs

What is a Package Delivery Service?

A package delivery service or courier is a business that caters, ships, and delivers to clients.

Both individuals and companies are potential clientele, so residences, offices, stores, and any other buildings are valid shipping locations.

Parcel services like these also typically allow the establishment of recurring shipments.

This is a useful feature for businesses that require a constant resupply of goods and resources.

Some of the businesses in this article are same-day delivery services that exclusively cater within or close to 24 hours.

This is possible through warehouse networks across the country that dispatch parcels to nearby clients.

How Does a Package Delivery Service Work?

There are several types of delivery services that work in various ways.

In some services, clients buy and reserve collection dates or take their packages to shipping stores.

This is done online or through an app.

Once collected, packages are sorted and transferred to airlines for domestic and international delivery.

Upon landing, the parcels are taken to distribution centers which drive them to your specified address.

Online and app services usually require payment before collection, and in-store varieties accept pay before your packages ship.

With other services, goods you buy are shipped from retailers to your home or specified address.

Registration and shopping happen online and a delivery person carries your items to you.

What are the Different Types of Package Delivery Services?

Postal services like UPS and DHL are companies that ship parcels internationally.

They accommodate large items and orders, and shipment usually takes a few business days to complete.

In contrast, some delivery services like Shipt and Roadie pride themselves on their express transit.

These typically do not ship outside of the United States, but they serve most clients within 24 hours of order placement.

While some services let you ship or receive anything, some are grocery delivery systems.

These bring purchased items from registered partner stores straight to your home.

Some delivery services fulfill the same function as a competitor but don’t service certain areas.

For instance, Spee-Dee caters to the Midwestern United States.

Shipt covers major US cities, while Roadie accommodates smaller towns.

With so many different types of package delivery services, there’s bound to be at least one that’s ideal for you.


Looking to make money on package delivery services?

Then check out our guide to the best package delivery jobs that you can sign up for today.

What are the Top Package Delivery Services?

In this list, we have identified six of the best-performing delivery services in the United States.

While some have served reliably for decades, others are recent startups that have grown in popularity.

Let’s briefly describe each delivery service, where they are available, and how much they cost.

vector graphic showing miscellaneous package delivery jobs

1. UPS

United Parcel Service (UPS) is a large-scale international delivery service that ships over 20 million packages each day.

How Does UPS Work?

Clients submit items at registered centers or by calling to schedule a one-time pick-up service that will claim freight from your home.

Domestic packages traveling via UPS Ground typically take one to five business days to arrive, but international shipments and freight take longer.

Where is UPS Available?

UPS is available in all 50 United States as well as Washington D.C.

In addition, the company delivers internationally to countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Caribbean, Central America, and South America.

For more information on approved countries within those regions, please look at the UPS global directory.

How Much Does UPS Cost?

UPS has three payment systems within the United States: Daily Rates, Retail Rates, and Flat Rates.

Daily Rates apply to customers with accounts online who schedule package pick-ups.

Clients using this system pay in advance for pick-up and shipping.

Base costs scale with package weight and shipment zones, starting at around nine dollars for UPS Ground services.

Retail Rates allow users to save some money by bringing their packages to UPS packing sites.

From there, they pay standard rates at the counter according to the package’s weight and destination.

Finally, any customer can take advantage of Flat Rates.

Starting at $9.45 for extra small packages, you can pick the right size and shipping option you prefer for a flat fee.

For certain areas, this saves money over standard freight shipment choices.

Related: Sign up to become a UPS Personal Vehicle Driver and earn delivering packages with your own vehicle.

2. FedEx

FedEx is an international shipping service delivering to over 200 countries and territories.

How Does FedEx Work?

Like with UPS, FedEx customers can either schedule pick-ups online or drop parcels off at designated packing stores.

Additionally, frequent FedEx users like businesses can schedule regular pick-ups for automatic shipment.

Registered members can enjoy free packing supplies in advance of parcel retrieval.

FedEx offers overnight shipping options as well as two-day and ground choices.

Where is FedEx Available?

FedEx shipping stores and delivery centers operate in all 50 US states and Washington D.C.

They also ship internationally to 219 other countries and territories across Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, and Latin America.

How Much Does FedEx Cost?

FedEx offers both Retail Rates and a special One Rate for parcels that use express packaging.

Retail Rates start at around $10.50 for one-pound items and scale based on weight, distance, and packing material.

Scheduling a pick-up incurs extra fees which you can avoid by taking your package directly to a FedEx shipping location.

FedEx Express Saver (one of many One Rate selections) costs around $9.80, which does not include the cost of the mandatory FedEx packaging that you must use with the offer.

Other One Rate options are much more expensive, scaling by immediacy and packaging price.

3. DHL

DHL is another international parcel delivery service.

Something that sets DHL apart is its use of ocean freight and railways for delivering items.

How Does DHL Work?

Customers can schedule a parcel retrieval online or manually drop off packages at any DHL service center.

After payment, they are shipped according to your payment terms.

Many packages pass through several distribution centers in Europe on their way to other parts of the world.

DHL is primarily a business postal service.

Some private customers and residential deliveries may incur extra fees or forego certain benefits.

Where is DHL Available?

DHL centers are available in all 50 US states and over 220 other countries and territories across Europe, Asia, Africa, South America, Central America, and the Middle East.

How Much Does DHL Cost?

Door-to-door parcel retrieval includes fuel charges, totaling about $10 for residential customers.

Shipping fees for personal use begin at around $20 and scale based on packaging, distance, and other configurations.

However, frequent customers, account owners, and businesses can enjoy regular discounts on these services.

4. Roadie

Roadie is a shipping company owned by UPS that specializes in same-day delivery.

They also focus on accommodating oversize, bulky, and difficult items like plants, food, and animals.

How Does Roadie Work?

Users register parcels for pick-up with Roadie online.

The system then connects the order with a Roadie driver in the vicinity.

If the transit is around 200 miles or under, the order is typically delivered on the same day.

If not, it is prepared for next-day shipping.

Note that with Roadie, customers do not need to pay for or provide packing materials.

Drivers are responsible for securing and delivering all items.

Where is Roadie Available?

Roadie is a domestic service that drives between all 50 US states.

However, they do not ship or drive internationally.

How Much Does Roadie Cost?

Parcels are picked up and delivered for prices as low as ten dollars.

Any additional costs are factored in to avoid hidden fees.

Calculations of exact prices are based on item weight, dimensions, and distance.

Interested in driving? View Roadie delivery jobs

5. Shipt

Shipt is a grocery delivery service that caters goods from partnered retailers straight to your door.

How Does Shipt Work?

After making a Shipt account, users simply need to check in online and shop for the items they want.

Then, delivery drivers bring your purchased items to your door.

Any items in the catalog are valid for this offer, including appliances, clothes, and food.

Delivery typically takes at least an hour.

Where is Shipt Available?

Shipt is available in 48 US States.

This includes Hawaii, but not Alaska or West Virginia.

Within the available states, this service is primarily found in cities.

As such, many rural zip codes are not supported.

Shipt is not available in other countries.

How Much Does Shipt Cost?

You can pay a one-time fee of $10 for grocery delivery with Shipt.

If you use the service often, you can purchase a membership allowing free deliveries (on orders of $35 or more) all year long for $99.

Alcohol may induce an extra tax of seven dollars.

6. Spee-Dee

Spee-Dee is a smaller-scale next-day delivery service taking root in the Midwestern United States.

How Does Spee-Dee Work?

Spee-Dee has 35 dropoff locations scattered around the Midwest.

Eligible zip codes can also call to request a pick-up.

After your parcel is collected, it should reach its destination within one business day.

Where is Spee-Dee Available?

Spee-Dee currently only services the states of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Wisconsin.

Certain cities in Missouri, Nebraska, and Michigan are also within range.

While its service area is small, Spee-Dee commits itself to great service and cheaper rates than competitors.

How Much Does Spee-Dee Cost?

On-call pick-up and shipment rates start at $7.66, and standard rates are as low as $6.13.

Package prices are consistent through five-pound loads.

After this threshold, they begin to scale by weight and delivery zone.

Which Package Delivery Services are Best to Work For?

Package delivery services are great to take advantage of, but they can be excellent work opportunities, too.

vector graphic showing a person working for package delivery services and looking at a clipboard in front of stacks of packages

Large postal services pay per hour.

Of the major companies on this list, DHL has the lowest salaries.

Employees working at DHL Express locations make as little as $12 per hour.

Smaller businesses like Roadie, Shipt, and Spee-Dee tend to pay per job rather than per hour.

They also require fewer qualifications and experience than larger companies.

Like Uber and other catering companies, money depends on work frequency and tips.

Large, widespread services will require shorter drives since they have more shipping locations.

However, they usually carry more items at a time.

Spread-out ones like Spee-Dee can expect longer drives, but with fewer parcels at once.

How Much Do Delivery Drivers Make?

According to Indeed, the average hourly pay of a starting delivery driver is around $17.

However, larger companies such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS pay more, with starting salaries up to $23 on average.

vector graphic of a man driving a car with packages in the side of his car - how much do Amazon drivers make post

Which is the Best Package Delivery Service?

The answer depends on your needs.

For domestic shipping all across the United States, UPS offers the best rates.

For international freight, UPS also has great rate options.

However, FedEx may provide a faster service for less.

If you need groceries delivered, Shipt is difficult to beat.

It is especially useful in cities where shopping can be difficult.

Roadie and Spee-Dee are great options for small-town parcel pick-up and delivery.

Spee-Dee offers the most economical rates on this list, but you can only take advantage if you live within their small service area.

Wrapping Up

Shipping services can make delivery more convenient and eliminate money and time spent traveling.

Whether you need a standard or oversize item sent, there are options almost everywhere in the United States.

Shipping services enable our need for convenience and quick package delivery so that we can make the most of our time.

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