All Things Shipping
Aug 28, 2020

A Cheat Sheet on USPS Cubic Pricing

USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing can be one of the most cost-effective options for e-commerce businesses. But, what is it exactly, and how do you qualify for it? Check out this cheat sheet to learn more now. 

What is USPS Priority Mail Cubic Pricing?

USPS Cubic pricing is a lesser-known part of USPS’s Priority Mail program that is generally only accessible by businesses that ship more than 50,000 packages a year. USPS Cubic pricing rates are determined by package size and distance traveled as opposed to weight. So, for companies that ship smaller, heavier items, it can be a great option.

How Do You Qualify for USPS Priority Mail Cubic Pricing? 

As mentioned above, normally you’d have to be a large company that ships at least 50,000 packages per year, but if you use Shippo, you will not only qualify, but can save up to 89% on USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing. That’s because Shippo is able to combine all of its package volume to allow users to take advantage of significant savings without needing to meet the traditional volume of shipping required.

Are There Package Requirements?

Packages must:

  • Weigh less than 20 pounds
  • Measure up to 0.5 in cubic feet
  • Have sides that are less than 18 inches; if a side is too close to this measurement, it might be disqualified
  • Fit the quantity requirements of 50,000+ packages shipped annually, unless using Shippo

Steps to calculate your package’s cubic feet include:

  • Measuring its length, width, and height
  • Rounding down to the nearest quarter inch (if applicable, and already under 18 inches)
  • Multiply the three measurements (length, width, and height) and divide by 1,728

This is your package’s cubic feet size. Is it less than 0.5? If so, then it passes that particular requirement for USPS Cubic rates. 

Here’s an example. Say you have a package that is 8 x 5 x 6.6 inches in size. First, you’d round down to the nearest quarter inch for any sides that are over; so it would be 8 x 5 x 6.5 inches. Then, you’d multiply those numbers, bringing it to 260. Now, divide by 1,728. The result? A cubic feet value of 0.150—which means this package qualifies. 

Although these packages are often square or rectangular in shape, they don’t have to be, as long as they meet size requirements. They can, in fact, be envelopes. In that case, you’ll need to measure the item before putting it into an envelope. The longest dimension (meaning length, width, or height) can’t be more than 18 inches, with the smallest one needing to be two inches or smaller. When you add up the longest dimension and the next longest one, the sum can’t be more than 36 inches. Note: tubes or rolls will not qualify. 

USPS Cubic Rates and Savings

There are five different pricing tiers in this shipping program. To figure out your rate, pick the appropriate tier:

  • 0.1: up to .10 cubic feet
  • 0.2: more than .10 and up to .20 cubic feet
  • 0.3: more than .20 and up to .30 cubic feet
  • 0.4: more than .30 and up to .40 cubic feet
  • 0.5: more than .40 and up to .50 cubic feet

Using that info, you can find your USPS Cubic rate by using these charts

Now, compare that rate to what you’ve been paying to find your cost savings on this package. Estimate how many packages of each pricing tier you’ll likely ship during a year, and you’ll have a strong sense of your potential annual savings. 

Examples of Items That Benefit from USPS Cubic Pricing

If your business, for example, provides customers with subscription boxes that contain relatively small but often heavy items, USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing could be a great option. Or, let’s say that you sell antique reference books, paperweights, hand weights for exercising, personalized stones for patios (under 20 pounds, of course), and you get the idea. Small. Heavy. Traditionally expensive to ship, but not with cubic pricing.

Benefits for Businesses of All Sizes

We see it all the time—big companies leveraging volume discounts that smaller businesses simply can’t take advantage of. But with Shippo, the USPS Priority Mail Cubic pricing program levels the playing field, allowing e-commerce companies of all sizes to benefit from some of the lowest shipping rates available for packages that fit the size parameters. Plus, delivery is fast, too—generally within one to three days in the USA.  

How Can Shippo Help?

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Kelly Boyer Sagert
is a full-time freelance writer living in the Cleveland area. Her range of expertise spans business, finance, logistics, automotive, e-commerce and more.

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