All Things Shipping
Jan 13, 2022

How FedEx Overnight Shipping Works For E-commerce Businesses

Overnight shipping is a great way for businesses of all sizes to accommodate their customers’ needs for fast deliveries. Online sellers in particular benefit from FedEx’s speedy shipping solutions, as they allow you to build trust with customers who may not be able to visit your company at a brick-and-mortar location.

But before you dive in, it can be helpful to have a solid understanding of the way FedEx overnight shipping services work, as well as what you and your customers can expect. Here’s what you need to know to get started:

What are the FedEx Overnight Shipping Services?

FedEx offers more than just one overnight shipping service. In fact, there are three individual services you can choose from – First, Priority and Standard.

Each of these comes with its own delivery window and rules to match a variety of business needs. Shipping labels for each of these FedEx shipping services can be selected on Shippo.

The first of the three overnight shipping options guarantees the fastest deliveries, but that doesn’t mean that Priority and Standard are slow by any means. All three services make for true overnight deliveries, so long as you follow the guidelines given by FedEx.

For example, FedEx overnight shipping services do have weight and size limitations you’ll need to keep in mind.

  • At present, packages you plan to send overnight can’t weigh more than 150 lbs, unless you use FedEx First Overnight shipping.
  • The dimensions of your shipment must also be less than a total of 165 inches in length plus girth. To calculate the length plus girth of your package, use the following formula: length + 2 x width + 2 x height.
  • It’s also important to note that this service is only available for most locations in the U.S. since international overnight shipping isn’t yet a possibility with FedEx.

FedEx’s individual overnight services have their own requirements and limitations as well:

FedEx First Overnight®

With this option, your items can be delivered the very next business day, by 9:30 a.m. in most areas (or 2:00 p.m. at the latest, in certain areas). This is the most expensive overnight shipping option offered by FedEx, but it’s also the fastest, and it includes Saturday pickups.

FedEx First Overnight shipping also allows you to ship significantly larger orders than the other overnight options. Because this shipping option sets higher limits, sending shipments in excess of 150 lbs in weight is a possibility.

For instance, you can send items on skids up to 2,200 lbs without prior approval via this service, though all First Overnight shipments require advance confirmation.

FedEx Priority Overnight®

FedEx Priority Overnight can get your items to their destination by the next day, though not quite as early as First Overnight. With this service, you can expect your package to reach its destination by 10:30 a.m. (or 4:30 p.m., at the latest), on the next business day after it’s been picked up or dropped off at a nearby FedEx location (drop-off time limitations apply).

FedEx Standard Overnight®

Standard Overnight shipping is the slowest of the three overnight options on offer from FedEx, but that doesn’t mean it’s slow. You can expect your shipment to arrive at its intended destination by 4:30 p.m. (or 8:00 p.m. at the latest), as long as you’ve dropped your package off at a FedEx office before the cutoff time. You can also arrange to have Standard Overnight packages picked up from your location to save time.

How Does FedEx Overnight Shipping Work?

To use an overnight shipping service from FedEx, you’ll need to arrange to have your shipment picked up by FedEx or drop it off at a nearby FedEx location. As noted above, this must be done before the cutoff time for overnight shipment requests.

Cutoff times vary by location, so you’ll need to reach out to your local FedEx office for more information on their exact cutoff times (holiday season shipping restrictions may also apply).

Arranging for your package to be picked up is relatively straightforward – it can even be done online via FedEx’s pickup application or through their Ship Manager platform when you create a label for your package.

If you regularly send out shipments, give FedEx’s recurring pickup options a try. Both the FedEx Express and FedEx Ground Automated Pickup services make it possible to trigger a pickup precisely when you need it – no more wasting money on scheduled pickups that you have no shipments ready for.

Does FedEx Overnight Shipping Deliver on the Weekends?

Those using FedEx’s First and Priority Overnight shipping options can opt for Saturday pickups or deliveries, but will incur an additional fee for doing so. Standard Overnight packages can be picked up, but not delivered, on Saturdays, though they can be held at FedEx locations for no additional cost. Charges may apply for Standard Overnight packages picked up on Saturdays.

No FedEx overnight services can be picked up or delivered on Sundays.

When is the Cutoff Time for FedEx Overnight Shipping?

FedEx Overnight shipping services all have specific cutoff times by which you’ll need to drop your parcels off at a nearby pickup location (or have them picked up from your business or residence). However, these vary widely by location.

In select states, cutoff times can be earlier than others, though they can be between individual branch locations as well. To find out the cutoff times at a location near you, use FedEx’s branch location discovery tool.

How Much Does Overnight Shipping with FedEx Cost?

Although FedEx Overnight shipping options are arranged in tiers with different rates, they’re almost always going to be more expensive than slower shipping services. FedEx calculates the cost of each shipment according to multiple factors, including:

  • Delivery time
  • Delivery location (including the distance traveled to reach the destination)
  • Package dimensions and weight

You can calculate your shipping costs with FedEx’s online tools, but keep in mind that you may be able to use FedEx packaging for free. FedEx Express provides free packaging in a variety of dimensions and types for overnight shipments. Cold shipping boxes are not provided for free, but they can be ordered online at prices ranging from $40 to $200.

How to Compare FedEx Overnight Shipping Rates

Comparing shipping rates can be a tedious task, as rates and options can vary by location. FedEx Overnight shipping rates, for example, can vary by branch location, shipment date, and more, making matters all the more complicated for those looking to get items out the door at a reasonable rate.

Fortunately, Shippo can help. Those with a FedEx account can connect their account to Shippo to start comparing rates for FedEx overnight shipping services as well as overnight services from other carriers as well. Those looking for a shipping API solution to integrate into their current tech stack can do so with ease through Shippo’s FedEx API.

Shippo users who don’t yet have a FedEx account may be eligible to sign up to the FedEx Advantage® program to get discounts on certain FedEx shipping services such as up to 50% off FedEx Express and up to 25% off FedEx Ground®.

Ready to start generating shipping labels for FedEx overnight shipments? Join Shippo for free today and connect your FedEx account in minutes.

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Hasan Nabulsi
is the Content Marketing Manager at Shippo.

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