For many Americans, the work week ends on Friday. But for e-commerce business owners, the work week seemingly never stops. Orders can come in during the weekend and orders placed before then are also assumed to arrive on the weekend. But weekend shipping isn’t quite the same as shipping during the week.
Different carriers have different rules and capabilities regarding Saturday and Sunday delivery. They also differ on whether or not they can even accept packages during those days.
We’ll give a quick overview of how weekend shipping works and how you can use it to best satisfy your customers.
Saturday Delivery Options: USPS, UPS, and FedEx
USPS Saturday Delivery
Shipping with USPS Saturday delivery is an option for online sellers and is included in the label fee for certain services. This means that you don’t have to pay extra to deliver on Saturdays or go out of your way to select Saturday delivery when creating a shipping label.
However, it’s important to note that USPS does not offer any day-certain delivery services. This means you can not specifically request USPS to deliver a package on Saturday. Each service level comes with a standard estimated transit time, but there is no guarantee that the package will be delivered within that time frame or on a specific day.
Priority Mail Express is the only guaranteed product of the USPS. Products shipped using this service level can be expected to arrive at a customer’s delivery address within one to two days, depending on their zip code and when the package is tendered to USPS. However, even with Priority Mail Express, shippers can not specifically request a Saturday delivery.
While there is no specific way to tell if your package will be delivered on a Saturday before handing the package off to USPS, tracking is still available throughout the shipment’s journey. This can help you communicate to your customers when they may be able to expect their order.
Remember that the USPS does not deliver on Saturdays when a federal holiday falls on that weekend.
UPS Saturday Delivery
After recent expansions, shipping with UPS Saturday delivery is now available to 90% of the U.S. population. On top of that, UPS is the only major carrier that offers pickups on Saturdays and is the only one offering Saturday ground deliveries to businesses. Packages are delivered until 8 pm on Saturdays.
For Air (except UPS 3 Day Select®) and UPS® Ground Commercial services, one important note about UPS Saturday delivery is that you’ll have to specifically request it for a package to arrive at a customer’s doorstep on Saturday.
For example, let’s say you select UPS 2nd Day Air® and try to ship out something at the end of the day on Thursday. By default, this package will be sent in two business days, so the package won’t arrive to your customer until Monday. Both UPS® Ground Residential and UPS 3 Day Select® Residential services do not require a Saturday delivery option and will simply be delivered if the delivery zip code is eligible.
When it comes to UPS® Ground Residential and UPS 3 Day Select® Residential, there is no fee for delivering with UPS on Saturday, in select areas. For all other services, delivering on Saturdays is a value-added service and is something that will be added to the cost of the shipping label. The retail rate for a Saturday delivery surcharge is $4 when shipping to a UPS® Ground and UPS 3 Day Select® commercial address and $16 when using a premium air service such as UPS Next Day Air® and UPS 2nd Day Air®.
The service levels in which you can apply for Saturday delivery include:
- UPS® Ground Commercial
- UPS 3 Day Select® Commercial
- UPS 2nd Day Air®
- UPS Next Day Air®
- UPS Next Day Air® Early
- UPS Worldwide Express®
- UPS Worldwide Express Plus®
- UPS Worldwide Express Freight®
FedEx Saturday Delivery
Shipping with FedEx Saturday delivery is available for free when using FedEx Home Delivery®. With this service, customers can get day-definite residential deliveries with no extra cost applied to the shipping label rate. Parcels are usually delivered by 8 p.m. local time. FedEx Home Delivery® can also reach over 98% of the U.S. population on Saturday.
It’s important to note that you will have to select Saturday delivery when creating the shipping label. Otherwise, the parcel will be delivered the following business day.
However, your options are slightly different if you’re trying to ship to a commercial location or need a faster shipping option.
FedEx Ground®, which delivers to commercial addresses, only does so Monday through Friday. On top of that, if you choose a different shipping service such as FedEx Overnight® or FedEx 2nd Day, you can expect about a $17 surcharge on top of the cost of the label.
Which Carriers Offer Shipping On Sunday
Each of the three major national carriers offers Sunday shipping, though in a limited sense. This isn’t a common weekend shipping option so be weary of how you communicate this to your customers.
USPS Sunday Delivery
The USPS delivers on Sunday, but only for Priority Mail Express packages and certain packages from Amazon. There isn’t any extra cost for Sunday delivery through these methods since the cost is included in the initial shipping label cost.
USPS does not offer pickup on Sundays, and stores are closed on Sundays as well. You may be able to drop off packages in drop boxes, but that option will vary depending on your local post office.
FedEx Sunday Delivery
FedEx will deliver packages on Sunday at no extra cost for FedEx Home Delivery shipments. This service can reach about 95% of the US population and delivers specifically to residential addresses. FedEx Ground (which delivers to commercial addresses) does not deliver on Sundays.
Other FedEx delivery services may also not come with the option to select Sunday delivery so you’ll need to check individual services to find out if they qualify.
Drop-Off Locations and Pick-Up For Weekend Shipping
For certain e-commerce merchants, the weekend might be the one time you’re able to get away from your workspace and drop off shipments. The times and dates you’ll be able to do that vary depending on the carrier you’re trying to ship with.
USPS Drop-off Locations and Weekend Pickup
When it comes to shipping with the USPS on the weekends, you may be able to drop off your packages at your local post office. USPS locations are only open on Saturdays, and hours will vary depending on your local post office. Outdoor mailboxes are also possible dropoff locations that are available throughout the weekend, although they’re only available for smaller shipments.
USPS also offers free package pickup on Saturdays though you’ll need to make sure you let the USPS know before then. Package pickup is not available on Sundays.
UPS Drop-off locations and Weekend Pickup
The UPS Store® is open seven days a week, depending on the location. Hours will vary depending on the day and the individual store. Stores typically open earlier and stay open later than the post office. You can drop off your packages there or drop them off at one of the more than 9,000 UPS Access Points® locations in the US. Air and International packages are subject to a processing fee on Saturdays, since they are advanced in the UPS network for earlier day of the week delivery.
UPS Access Points® are retail locations such as grocery stores or gas stations that have partnered with UPS to accept shipments and returns if they come with prepaid labels. There are also over 29,000 of these locations located across the world. Drop off pre-labeled packages at nearby stores including The UPS Store®, Michaels, CVS, Advance Auto Parts, and local independent retailers.
However, UPS does offer weekend pickup if you don’t have time to make it to any of these locations over the weekend. You can schedule a UPS Saturday pickup via ups.com or by calling 1-800-PICK-UPS.
FedEx Drop-off Locations and Weekend Pickup
FedEx offers plenty of options for dropping off packages on the weekends. You can choose from 1 of thousands of FedEx Offices, FedEx Ship Centers, Drop Boxes, or Authorized Ship Centers. You can even go to authorized Walgreens, Dollar General, or other grocery stores within the US. Hours of operation will vary depending on the location but some methods, such as drop boxes, are open 24 hours a day.
Regarding package pickup on the weekend, Saturday is the only day offered and is only for specific services. These services include U.S. Express package services such as FedEx 2nd day, FedEx International First, FedEx International Priority, and several express and international freight services. Saturday pickup for freight services come with a $210 charge per shipment, while US express services come with a fee of $16 per package and international services come with a fee of $16 per shipment.
With all of these options, e-commerce merchants can see that weekend shipping is a viable option in the event you don’t have time to drop off packages during the work week or if your customers prefer to have their deliveries arrive during the weekend.