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Best Shipping Companies for Small Businesses

USPS tops our list for the best shipping companies for small businesses

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Shipping is critical for many small businesses, especially those who need to fill customers' orders. shipping companies help businesses deliver the goods their customers order. Retail e-commerce sales totaled nearly $231.4 billion during the first quarter of 2022, representing 14.3% of retail sales in the United States, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Shipping companies help small businesses maintain good customer relationships by delivering orders on time and at reasonable rates, and some even help businesses by providing logistical assistance and managing inventory. 

We evaluated over a dozen shipping providers to help small business owners choose the right one for their needs. We considered each company’s reputation, cost, speed, and customer service. Keep reading to find out which one might work best for your needs.

The Best Shipping Companies for Small Business of 2022

Best Shipping Companies for Small Businesses
Best Shipping Companies for Small Businesses

Best Overall : United States Postal Service


United States Postal Service

 United States Postal Service

Why We Chose It

The United States Postal Service is our pick as the best overall shipping company for small businesses because it ships goods both domestically and internationally, offers discounts and loyalty credits to small businesses, and delivers goods within 2 to 8 days on average. Also, the USPS has free application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow small businesses to easily add shipping tools to their websites.

You can even get some deliveries on Sundays and holidays in major U.S. markets for an additional fee.

The USPS has longevity in the shipping business. It's been around since 1775, and it's unlikely to disappear any time soon.

The USPS's shipping costs vary based on package size, delivery location, and delivery speed. For example, the retail rate for a Priority Mail small flat rate box shipped domestically with delivery in 1 to 3 business days is $9.45. Businesses can also receive discounted pricing and loyalty credits. For example, companies using the online Click-N-Ship service from the USPS can earn spending-based shipping credits.

Plan Loyalty Credits
Base Loyalty Program $40 credit/$500 spent (automatic enrollment)
Silver Tier $50 credit/$500 spent (enrollment with $10,000 or more spent on Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipping labels during the prior calendar year)
Gold Tier Commercial Base Pricing (enrollment with $20,000 or more on Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express shipping labels the prior calendar year)

It’s also easy for businesses to use free USPS APIs to integrate shipping tools into business websites, which is a plus.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Longevity in the shipping business

  • Volume-based discounts and loyalty credits are available

  • Shipping takes two to eight days

  • Free APIs are available to integrate shipping tools into small business websites

Cons
  • Deliveries on Sundays and holidays typically come with an added cost

Best for Small Packages : Sendle


Sendle
Sendle
Why We Chose It

Sendle is our pick as the best for small packages because of its competitive pricing to ship domestic packages up to 20 pounds. Plus, shipping is 100% carbon neutral.

Sendle ships small packages throughout the U.S., including Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. And the standard cost to ship a small package starts at $4.44. Sendle also offers volume-based discounts, with the cost being discounted up to 70% for businesses shipping at least 200 packages a month. There aren’t any contracts or subscription fees.

Although Sendle doesn’t offer an express shipping service, most packages are delivered within 1 to 4 business days. Sendle makes it easy for even low-volume e-commerce businesses to use its shipping, as it offers free integrations with Shopify, eBay, WooCommerce, and Etsy.  

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • No subscription fees or contracts

  • Price guarantee is available

  • Shipping is 100% carbon neutral

  • Rigorous certification as a B Corporation was achieved

Cons
  • International shipping isn’t available

  • Packages must be less than 20 pounds

  • Integration with Amazon is unavailable

Best for Large Packages : UPS


UPS

 UPS

Why We Chose It

We chose UPS as the best small business shipping company for large packages because it offers competitive rates, excellent shipping resources, and guidance on how to prepare your goods for shipment, including step-by-step instructions for palletizing your shipments. In addition, the company has a great reputation and tools designed specifically for small businesses.

The retail cost of a large flat rate box shipped domestically with UPS starts at $19.60 (varies depending on shipping speed). You’ll pay a retail price of $21.50 for a similar large flat-rate box from the USPS. Small businesses can get discounted pricing from UPS, with shipping incentives depending on the desired shipping speed and the small business’s average weekly shipping volume. 

While not all of the UPS APIs can be used on customer-facing websites, UPS has other services tailored for small businesses. These services include dashboards to give you insight into your shipments and tools built explicitly for e-commerce businesses. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Retail cost of a large flat rate box starts at a low rate of $19.60

  • Tools designed specifically for small businesses are available

  • Same-day delivery available in some cases

Cons
  • Some APIs can’t be used on customer-facing websites

Best for International Shipping : DHL Express


DHL Express

 DHL Express

Why We Chose It

We chose DHL Express as the best shipping company for international shipping because of its expertise in this area and the fact that it has a wide variety of resources specifically designed to help small businesses engage in global trade.

Its service and rate guide provides detailed information about how much shipping costs with DHL. Costs vary widely based on your package’s size, whether it’s an import or export, the shipping speed, surcharges, and any optional services you choose. You’ll need to get a quote or use DHL’s rate guide to calculate your shipping costs. Pay attention to the details, including the terms of your shipping agreement, so you’re not hit with any surprises. 

DHL’s shipping speed varies depending on the shipping details and how much you’re willing to pay. However, if speed is what you need, DHL Express has several plans to make the delivery by the end of the soonest possible business day.   

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • International shipping expertise

  • Excellent resources to help businesses ship internationally

  • Detailed service and rate guide

Cons
  • Many surcharges and optional service fees

Best for e-Commerce Business : ShipBob


ShipBob

 ShipBob

Why We Chose It

ShipBob is our choice as the best shipping company for e-commerce because it offers a full suite of e-commerce logistics services. It will also take care of warehousing and inventory management. Plus, small businesses may pay less for shipping than if they would on their own since ShipBob has negotiated bulk discount rates with the four major carriers.

After obtaining a quote, you’ll pay a one-time implementation fee to sign up, plus fees for ShipBob to receive your inventory (e.g., $25 per person per hour for the first two hours), warehouse your inventory (e.g., $5 per bin a month), and ship each order (discounted carrier rates, with free packing after the first five orders). Plus, shipping boxes are free. This makes ShipBob great for e-commerce businesses, particularly those needing logistical help.

Orders placed before noon are shipped the same day, with two-day delivery available. ShipBob has negotiated discounted bulk rates from USPS, UPS, FedEx, and DHL for domestic and international shipping that might be less than you could get on your own. And ShipBob will give you a quote from all the major carriers for each order, making it easier to find the best shipping rate.    

The e-commerce software offered by ShipBob is free, with integrations to many key e-commerce applications. This includes integrations to e-commerce platforms and marketplaces like Walmart, eBay, Shopify, WooCommerce, Squarespace, Wix, and more.

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Includes a full suite of fulfillment services

  • Provides bulk shipping discounts from the four major carriers

Cons
  • Company has only been in business since 2014

Best for Quick Shipping : FedEx


FedEx

FedEx

Why We Chose It

We chose FedEx as the small business shipping company best for quick shipping since it makes standard home deliveries every day of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays. With every day delivery, packages might be delivered up to two days quicker than with other carriers.

FedEx not only ships both internationally and to all 50 U.S states, including home deliveries on Saturdays and Sundays, but domestic FedEx Ground delivery takes 1 to 5 days in the contiguous United States and 3 to 7 days for Alaska and Hawaii.

Shipping costs vary depending on delivery speed, which FedEx clearly displays on its website. Although you’ll need to get a quote to figure out precisely what it’ll cost you to ship your goods, we found the cheapest rate to ship a small box was $12.05 with 3-day delivery. Although this cost is slightly higher than the retail rate of $9.45 you would pay with USPS, your packages could be delivered faster since FedEx makes home deliveries on both Saturday and Sunday.

Other value-added services small businesses receive from FedEx are tools to help them set up and grow their online businesses, streamline the fulfillment and shipping process, and provide customer support. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Home deliveries available every day in the U.S.

  • Discounts and perks

  • Small business grants are issued annually

Cons
  • Small package shipping costs are higher than USPS

Best Affordable Option : EasyPost


EasyPost

 EasyPost

Why We Chose It

EasyPost is our winner for the best affordable option for small business shipping because it’s a platform that allows you to compare the shipping costs and speeds of more than 100 carriers. EasyPost’s API is free to use for up to 120,000 shipments per year, making it easy for small businesses to find the most affordable shipping option.

There’s no cost for businesses shipping 120,000 or fewer packages a year.

Creating an account with EasyPost is free, and the APIs can be set up and integrated in a day. You will, however, need to build an integration to access the API.

The base Developer package offered by EasyPost is free and allows you to check prices, review shipping speeds, create shipping labels, and track shipments for 120,000 packages a year. If you have a higher shipping volume, you’ll need to get a quote from EasyPost on its Enterprise package. However, the package volume included in the Developer package should be sufficient for most small businesses. 

Pros & Cons
Pros
  • Free API for up to 120,000 shipments per year

  • Ability to shop prices with 100+ carriers

  • Helps simplify, automate, and control the shipping process

Cons
  • Doesn’t directly ship goods

  • Quote required for 120,000+ shipments

Final Verdict

We evaluated over a dozen providers to find the best shipping companies for small businesses to meet a variety of needs. Shipping costs vary based on the package’s size, where it’s being sent, and how quickly it needs to be delivered. Most carriers can get packages delivered within one to five business days, and some will even deliver packages to homes in the U.S. on Sundays.

While all of the small business shipping companies on our list are good options, we chose the USPS as the best overall shipping company for small business because it has a long history of operations and typically offers the best rates and quickest speeds to meet the shipping needs of most small businesses.

Compare Shipping Companies

Shipping Company Why We Picked It Domestic Delivery Speed
United States Postal Service Offers the best rates and quickest speeds for most small business shipping needs 2 to 8 days on average
Sendle Competitive with the retail price of the major carriers for small packages up to 20 pounds 1 to 4 business days on average
UPS Offers lower pricing than other carriers for large packages 1 to 5 business days is standard
DHL Express Shares its international shipping expertise with small businesses who need to ship globally Time-critical next-day delivery available
ShipBob Provides a full suite of logistic solutions to e-commerce businesses, including shipping 2-day delivery available
FedEx Delivers domestic shipments to homes every day of the week, including Saturday and Sunday 1 to 5 business days is standard
EasyPost Allows small businesses to find the most affordable price from 100+ carriers As fast as carriers allow

Questions & Answers

How Do Most Small Businesses Ship Goods?

Ground shipping is the most common way for most small businesses to ship their goods. The major carriers in the United States used by most small businesses to ship their goods are the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, and DHL. 

In 2021, the USPS had 7.6 billion in shipping and package volume. UPS delivered about 6.4 billion packages in 2021.

How Much Do Shipping Companies Cost?

The costs charged by shipping companies vary based on the package’s size, where it’s being sent, and how quickly it needs to get there. You can expect to pay an average retail price of $8 to $12 to ship a small package and $17 to $21 to ship a large package domestically, with delivery speeds ranging from one to five business days. 

Shop around and carefully weigh your options to find the best possible shipping rate.

What Shipping Options Do Small Businesses Have?

Small businesses should use a shipping company when they sell goods that need to be shipped to their customers. Although the United States Postal Service, UPS, FedEx, and DHL are the largest carriers in the United States, there are other options. Small businesses can find companies offering APIs that make it easy to compare shipping prices across multiple carriers, so they’re better able to reduce their shipping costs.

How We Chose the Best Shipping Companies for Small Business

To find the best shipping companies for small businesses, we reviewed over a dozen providers to learn how much their shipping costs, how quickly you can get your goods shipped, and how easy it is to do business with them. We also evaluated the reputations of each small business shipping company. The best shipping companies offer affordable rates and quick shipping speeds, plus they have tools and resources specifically designed for small businesses.  

All of our small business shipping company selections are reputable companies that can help you get your goods shipped affordably, quickly, and reliably.

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