Sunday, October 2, 2011

A USPS-FedEx Race!

A week or two back, I mentioned I was having some problems with my daughter's phone. The second one luckily was NOT broken, but when I was boxing them up to send back, I had the thought “I wonder which one would get back sooner?”

There was only one way to find out. Post them as close to the same time as possible, and see which one got back to Verizon the quickest. Was it the USPS flat rate system, or the FedEx 2 day return? Let's see.

First let's do a quick comparison. Both boxes were about the same size. Both were almost exactly the same weight (since they had identical contents). So the handling shouldn't be too different for either one. The biggest problem I had was finding drop-off locations. Mailboxes in the street no longer accept packages, while the Madison, Ga post office has no place to post parcels outside counter hours. It flummoxed me a bit.

Newborn Post Office to the rescue! They actually had a drop-off bin for parcels, and so off to the FedEx dropoff point.

So here's the details of the race.
Package sent via USPS
The USPS parcel, pictured here was posted at Newborn, Ga post office at 1:20pm on September 22nd with a listed pickup time of 15:45 (the day's only collection)
USPS, Newborn, Georgia

Package sent Via FedEx
The FedEx parcel was dropped off 20 minutes later with a posted pickup time of 18:30 (also the day's only collection) at a standalone drop-point (5211 Hwy 278 NE Covington, GA 30014)
FedEx Dropbox, Covington, Ga

Both were dropped off before their daily pickup on September 22nd, both heading from middle Georgia to fort Worth, Texas.

So, which one got there first?

It's actually a lot closer than you might think. Let's first of all compare on price. If I were sending it myself, the USPS service would cost me $10.95 for a Priority Mail flat rate package, Medium size.

For FexEx, the same sort of postage as was used, a 2-day parcel, would cost $20.09 (broken down by FedEx as $17.55 base rate and $2.54 Fuel Surcharge)

Now, both these parcels were merchandise return services, paid for by Verizon, so their prices will probably be cheaper than the retail rate, but it does help put things in perspective.

So, the results.
FedEx's parcel arrived at 05:44 on September 26th

USPS's parcel arrived at 03:24 on September 27th.

A flat rate USPS and a 2day FedEx, one takes 4 1/2 days, the other takes 3 1/2. A friend postulated today that it was the presence of a government sponsored entity, such as the USPS, that keeps prices low. However, if anything, this hasn't helped. FedEx had a 2 day parcel that took over 3 (ok, the weekend is included in that) but for half the price, the USPS only added a single day. I've also had bad experiences in the past with UPS (which my friend Ben wrote up at the time, for the delivery of a book)

I'll use USPS myself, best cost-effective way of mailing at present.

1 comment:

  1. in today's economy, it does makes sense to go with the cheapest... for non-priority stuff or for things that will only take one extra day to get to the destination. I know i do that as well to maximize my profits