While you might assume that all shipping carriers are the same, there are key differences that you need to know about to make the best decision for your business. So before you automatically go with the cheapest or fastest option, you need to consider the whole picture. 

Here’s what you need to know to draw an informed conclusion after creating your custom boxes

The 3 Main Shipping Carriers

There are three major carriers in shipping solutions: FedEx, UPS, and USPS. Let’s discuss each one so that you can gain a better understanding of who they are and what parcel services they offer

Carrier #1: FedEx

FedEx is a large international shipping carrier that moved more than 18 million shipments each business day in 2020. FedEx can deliver to more than 220 countries and territories all around the world. 

FedEx is known for its air shipping services and, as a result, express shipping services. Since FedEx is designed to do this, it’s cheaper to send items with their standard overnight service than UPS. 

FedEx is also an ideal carrier option for shipping specialty items like perishable food items or temperature-controlled goods since they are known for speed. 

Carrier #2: UPS

UPS is another large international shipping carrier — in fact, the largest globally, with around 24.7 million deliveries each day in 2020 for a yearly total of 6.3 billion. UPS is known for its domestic ground service

UPS is also known for shipping larger and heavier packages since its weight limit is 150 pounds — substantially higher than the 70-pound limit set by USPS

Finally, UPS is ideal for ecommerce businesses since it offers a variety of different express options at relatively affordable rates. 

Carrier #3: USPS (United States Postal Service)

USPS is solely a domestic shipping carrier, although it is specifically designed and therefore able to reach every postage address in the nation. 

Since USPS is a government service, its shipping services usually come with more affordable rates than UPS and FedEx as for-profit corporations. 

However, since USPS is a government service, its services and capabilities tend to be limited compared to UPS and FedEx. 

For example, USPS is designed to handle small and lightweight packages that are under 20 pounds. However, even its priority mail and express services are not designed for speed or even tracking like other carriers. 

8 Factors to Consider When Choosing a Carrier

Here are eight factors to consider that will help you choose between the three: 

1. Shipping Rates

The most important factor to consider when choosing a shipping carrier comes down to the cost. After all, you’re a business that needs to make a profit — you can’t afford to spend tons of money on shipping costs that will quickly cut into your profits. 

And if you’re planning on offering free shipping to your customers to compete with big brands that offer this service, shipping costs are going to be even more important since you have to eat that entire cost. 

To find the most cost-effective shipping option, you need to explore all of the different services, shipping rates, and look out for surcharges from the different carriers to choose the one that works the best for your budget. 

2. Speed

Another factor you need to consider when choosing a shipping carrier is speed. These days, customers expect custom packages and freight that are delivered by next-day delivery

Giants like Amazon Fulfillment have set a two-day shipping standard for carrier services across the board that smaller companies struggle to meet. Most shipping carriers offer expedited shipping services — at a fee.

It’s up to you to weigh the cost of shipping versus speedy shipping that can go a long way toward converting one-time customers into loyal repeat customers. 

3. Location

You also need to consider location when choosing a shipping carrier and planning your logistics. First, you need to consider where you’re shipping out of. Some carriers have more capability in certain areas than others. 

For instance, if you’re shipping out of a more rural area, you may need to use local delivery services to ensure packages arrive the next day. Or if you’re shipping solely from one coast, you may need to use a national carrier with more capacity.

Second, you need to consider the destination of the package you’re shipping. If you’re shipping internationally, you need to work with a carrier that is able to do that. If you’re shipping primarily to one coast or location, you may want to consider using a local carrier. Also, ensure your local carrier provides delivery confirmation.

4. Type of Products

The type of products you’re shipping will also affect your choice of shipping carrier. You need to take into account the sizes, shapes, and weights of your products. 

For example, some carriers may have a size and weight limit that won’t work if you’re shipping large or heavy items. Some carriers also might not be able to safely ship fragile items — or charge substantial fees for doing so. 

Finally, some carriers refuse to ship certain types of items — both domestically and internationally. 

Potentially harmful substances are challenging to ship both at home and abroad, whereas products like perfumes and food supplements are challenging to ship abroad. 

5. Reputation

Of course, you also need to consider the reputation of the shipping carriers you’re considering working with. After all, your reputation will now be associated with theirs based on their performance. For this reason, you need to choose the right carrier not just based on rates but also on delivery performance. 

While you may find that a regional carrier offers affordable rates and no additional fees, you could actually end up losing money if they aren’t reliable. Delayed and lost shipments can cost you money and customers — costs that can be difficult if not impossible to recoup or even calculate. 

6. Convenience

Some shipping carriers offer more convenient services than others. As a business owner, you’re likely dealing with a hectic schedule. You don’t have time to drive to a store every day and wait in line to send out your packages. 

Instead, you should look for a shipping carrier that’s able to come to you and pick up your packages to save you valuable time. 

7. Tracking

Tracking services are beneficial for both businesses and customers. As a business, you’re able to monitor your shipments and easily troubleshoot any issues. For customers, they’re able to know when their package ships, when it’s expected, and when it’s delivered. These services provide everyone with valuable information that makes everyone’s lives easier. 

8. Insurance

Finally, you need to consider insurance offerings when choosing a shipping carrier. Contrary to popular belief, not all carriers offer shipping insurance — yet this is an important offering to protect your shipments. 

If something happens to your shipments, insurance can reimburse you for the value of the shipments instead of being out the money.

Making Your Decision

Remember, there are three major shipping carriers. Your shipping carrier is just one decision you need to make regarding your business shipments. You also need to decide on your packaging design and provider. 

If you’re looking for the best custom packaging solutions, check out Box Genie. Box Genie offers a wide range of different packaging solutions to custom design to match your brand aesthetic. 

So reach out to Box Genie today to get started. 



  1. UPS vs. FedEx: What's the Difference? | Investopedia
  2. FedEx vs UPS vs USPS: Shipping Rate & Reliability Comparison | Fit Small Business
  3. How to Pick the Best Shipping Carrier for Your Online Business | Forbes

Trusted by top brands worldwide. Dedicated to smaller businesses like yours.

Over 2,000 brands trust us to help them grow and build successful businesses. Find out how custom packaging can work to help take your brilliant brand to the next level!

  • Black & Decker logo
  • Bose logo
  • Canon logo
  • Ecologic logo
  • Sergeant's logo

“They can’t be beat for price, speed, and quality. We trust them with all our packaging needs!”

Megan D., CEO at SSBD

“They can’t be beat for price, speed, and quality. We trust them with all our packaging needs!”

Megan D., CEO at SSBD

Ready to design your own box?

Start building your custom box now to see a preview of how it will look!