Confused about a good logistics partner? Buzzle provides you with some important details of three of the most popular logistics giants―FedEx, UPS, and USPS―and a quick comparison, to ease your decision.
Did You Know?
Although strong competitors, UPS and FedEx are in collaboration with USPS. When it comes to postal services, both UPS and FedEx consult USPS, while USPS seeks their help in cases of international and freight deliveries.
The main objective of these companies is to transport goods from one person/organization to another person/organization. Basically, all these companies run on a hub-and-spoke distribution system. Picture a bicycle wheel, and you can visualize hub-and-spoke quite easily. Think of the center as the hub (the main facility), and the spokes as the channels which bring in and take out parcels.
USPS (United States Postal Service)
There was a time when USPS was known as U.S. Mail, and was completely operated and managed by the United States government. Being the oldest of the three, USPS came into being on 1st July 1971, and is headquartered in Washington DC. The roots of this agency can be traced back to 1775, when Benjamin Franklin was appointed the ‘Postmaster General’. Currently an independent agency of the U.S. federal government, USPS, along with mail deliveries, also ships and delivers cargo and shipments. It has collaboration with other logistic companies such as UPS and FedEx, and provides assistance in regards to delivering mails and letters; it also receives assistance from them in cases of international deliveries. All the letterboxes in the U.S. belongs to this organization, making it the sole entity to look after the country’s postal communication. As per the latest records, in 2013, this organization employed 522,144 people; it owns the largest fleet of civilian vehicles in the world, which accounted to 211,654 in 2013; and is obligated to serve all the citizens of America at a uniform price and quality. It had a revenue of $66 billion in 2013, but suffered a heavy loss of $5 billion in the same year.
FedEx (Federal Express Corporation)
Established by a former soldier, Fredrick W. Smith, FedEx or Federal Express Corporation is an American global courier and logistic company, with its headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee. The company was founded in Little Rock, Arkansas, in 1971. Its employee count as in 2013 exceeded 300,000, and it had a total revenue of $44.29 billion at the time. It had a total equity of $17.4 billion, and earned a net income of $1.56 billion.
UPS (United Parcel Service)
The UPS is headquartered in Sandy Springs, Georgia, and has one of the largest networks in the courier and logistics segment. The company was founded by James E. Casey, on August 28, 1907, and is based on the motto ‘best service and lowest rates’. It had an annual revenue of around $55.4 billion, an equity of $6.47 billion as recorded in 2013, and its net income in the same year was around $4.37 billion. It is known for its brown delivery vehicles, and hence, the nickname ‘Brown’; this can be also seen from their advertising slogan, “What can brown do for you?”.
The company has changed its logo thrice; the current one being a golden and brown shield with UPS written on it in golden. UPS strives to make deliveries more fuel efficient, economical, and fast, with greater emphasis on customer satisfaction.
FedEx Vs. UPS Vs. USPS: Comparison
- Priority Mail Express (For urgent overnight deliveries across the U.S.)
- Priority Mail (For deliveries that can wait for 2 – 3 business days after dispatch)
- First Class Mail (For postal envelopes and small packages not exceeding 13 oz, at affordable prices)
- Standard Post (Economical way to deliver non-urgent packages)
- Global Express Guaranteed (Fast international deliveries, with FedEx being the carrier)
- Priority Mail Express International (Deliveries cross-country in 3 – 5 business days)
- Priority Mail International (Deliveries cross-country in 6 – 10 business days)
- First Class Mail International (For small packages up to 4 lb, ideal for letters, postcards, and large envelopes)
- First Class Package International Service (To send large non-urgent packages at economical prices)
- UPS Domestic Services (Deliveries anywhere within the country)
- UPS International Services (Air deliveries to foreign countries)
- UPS Freight (Cargo shipping on both domestic and international grounds)
- UPS Express Critical (Efficient and faster shipping in case of emergencies)
- UPS Mail Innovations (Delivering mail in collaboration with USPS)
- UPS Hundredweight Services (For shipping cargo in the range of 100 – 500 pounds)
- FedEx SameDay (Delivers intercity or cross-country within hours)
- FedEx Ground (Economical ground delivery to businesses)
- FedEx Home Delivery (Economical ground delivery to homes)
- FedEx SmartPost (Low-weight packages delivered to residences)
- FedEx Freight (Includes overnight, 1-day, 2-day, or 3-day deliveries of freight shipments)
- FedEx Office (Formerly FedEx Kinkos is the company’s store for FedEx Ground and FedEx Express, which provide, copy-and-print services, computer rentals, delivery services, and office supplies.)
Once you enter the shipping data, you need to choose an appropriate package for your contents, including envelopes and boxes of small, medium, and large sizes. Likewise, they also give you the freedom of using your own packaging material, and ask you to specify the weight of the package (which in this case is 10 lb).
USPS has two major delivery types: Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail, and provides free pickup for both.
|Priority Mail Express Options (Money-Back Guarantee)||Delivery Date||Price|
|a) Priority Mail Express 2-day (Self Packaged)||2nd Day, 3:00 PM||$28.85|
|b) Priority Mail Express 2-day (Company Packaging)||2nd Day, 3:00 PM||$44.95|
|Priority Mail Options (Not Guaranteed)||Delivery Date||Price|
|a) Priority Mail 2-day (Self Packaged)||2nd Day||$13.18|
|b) Priority Mail 2-day (Company Packaging Options)||2nd Day||$5.25 – $19.89|
UPS provides service options, including overnight delivery, 1-day, and 2-day delivery. All 3 options have free packaging, except UPS Ground, which is a bit economical. All services are entitled for a pickup, with an extra fee of $10.32 for same-day pickup, or $9.19 for a future-day pickup, and the latest pickup time for the day can be seen on their website. The company provides custom-made packages, including boxes of small, medium, and large sizes, envelopes, UPS tubes for cylindrical objects, and UPS Paks for important documents and electronic media, which are watertight and hardbound.
|Service Name||Delivery Date||Price|
|UPS Next Day Air Early A.M.||Next Day, 9:00 A.M.||$96.14|
|UPS Next Day Air||Next Day, 10:30 A.M.||$62.99|
|UPS Next Day Air Saver||Next Day, End of Day||$57.02|
|UPS 2nd Day Air||2nd Day, End of Day||$30.66|
|UPS Ground (Self Packaged Only)||2nd Day, End of Day||$16.86|
This third delivery giant features overnight, 2-day, and 3-day deliveries. It also has a service termed as FedEx Home Delivery, which ships to residences in the United States in 1 – 5 business days, and are also functional on Saturdays without any extra charges. FedEx Home Delivery is very flexible when it comes to the timings of receiving the package. It has a provision wherein, the sender can quote a time convenient to the recipient. In addition to this, FedEx Home Delivery is also supported by a money-back guarantee. It charges an extra $4 for pickup. Take a look at the options FedEx provided for the said package.
|Service Name||Delivery Date||Price|
|FedEx First Overnight||Next Day, 8:00 A.M.||$96.36|
|FedEx Priority Overnight||Next Day, 10:30 A.M.||$62.42|
|FedEx Standard Overnight||2nd Day, 8:00 P.M.||$56.50|
|FedEx 2Day AM||2nd Day, 10:30 A.M.||$34.44|
|FedEx 2Day||2nd Day, 8:00 P.M.||$30.39|
|FedEx Express Saver||3rd Day, 8:00 P.M.||$25.90|
|FedEx Home Delivery||1-5 Business Days
Convenience and Reliability
With rapid progress in technology, a lot has changed in several segments, including logistics. Hence, this factor plays an important role when we have three services to compare. The basic motive of any courier company is, and should be, making the task of the customer as simple as possible with the provision of good quality service. Let’s see what these three companies have for us when talking about convenience.
Formerly U.S. Mail, the company has now transformed to an independent entity under the U.S. Federal government, and has expanded its avenues to meet the demands of all citizens. The company’s website has options to ship packages, send mails, shop supplies (shipping supplies, stamps, cards and envelopes, gifts, etc), and business solutions for bulk shipping. It also provides facilities to calculate the cost of shipping, scheduling a pickup of your package, tracking a package, and locations of the nearest post offices. Additionally, it has an application for your phone, which allows you to navigate their services in the absence of a computer. USPS also provides flat-rate shipping services, which means, a standard rate on shipping packages, irrespective of their weight or destination.
The company has one of the largest fleet of ground operating vehicles, last recorded to be 211,654 in the year 2013. USPS, unlike others, delivers on Saturdays at no extra charge, and provides more pocket-friendly services than its competitors. The company operates through post offices, post boxes, and several self-service kiosks, which reduce a lot of the manual work.
UPS is arguably the most popular logistics and shipping company, with a customer network in more than 220 countries and territories worldwide. The company delivers around 15 million packages per day to more than 9.4 million customers. It has a well-developed website which takes care of shipping, tracking, freight, business solutions, and other value added services. Like USPS, UPS too has a mobile application, allowing customers to access UPS from anywhere, anytime.
The company started off on bicycles, and is still doing its bit to preserve the environment, but without compromising customer satisfaction. It has started using Delivery Information Acquisition Devices (DIADs), that electronically record delivery information, which has resulted in saving 89 million sheets of paper annually. Similarly, the company has also introduced paperless billing and invoice, trying to induce paper saving in its customers too.
UPS has a fleet of 2,272 alternative fuel and hybrid vehicles worldwide, and around 101,900 ground operating vehicles. It is ranked as the ninth largest airline, with a fleet of around 237 aircraft, which include popular ones like Boeing 747 400F, Airbus A300-600RF, Boeing 757-200PF, McDonnell Douglas MD-11F, besides others. It provides pickup of packages right from your home, and also has a wide network of drop-off locations. The company has also set up around 4,800 ‘The UPS Stores’ and 39,000 parcel delivery drop-boxes in more than 40,000 locations. So if you’re lucky, there might be a store just on the street adjacent to your home. UPS also provides an additional service for its regular customers, known as ‘UPS My Choice’, which enhances the whole experience of package delivery. It includes features like,
- Online package signing, if signing in person isn’t possible.
- Rerouting or rescheduling home deliveries.
- Receiving proactive delivery alerts and a delivery planner.
- Delivery to a UPS access point.
- Freedom to specify ‘leave at’ instructions.
- Confirmed delivery window.
Apart from this, UPS also provides discounts on bulk shipments, usually beneficial to small businesses. It also has a responsive and effective helpline, and provides an array of value added services like Collect on Delivery, Customs Brokerage, Daily Pickup, Daily On-route Pickup, Day Specific Pickup, Hold for Pickup, Proof of Delivery, UPS Returns, UPS Returns Exchange, etc.
Like the other two, FedEx too has a website providing its services online and also a mobile application catering to customer demands. When it comes to environment-friendly deliveries, always remember FedEx. It has a fleet of 329 hybrid vehicles, and 19 electric vehicles, hence, promoting environmental conservation. The company owns a total air fleet of 649 jets, including major ones like, Boeing 757-200SF, Airbus A300F4-600R, McDonnell Douglas MD-11F, etc.
FedEx features a program called ‘FedEx Save Now’, which provides discounts to its customers on a variety of services. Likewise, it also hosts a service called ‘FedEx One Rate’, which is basically flat-rate fast shipping, wherein, customers have a choice of company-made packages, and are ensured with a money-back guarantee. The company also has over 45,000 drop-off locations and about 36,400 drop boxes, making package shipping simpler. A customer with an account on the website can enjoy a bunch of services, like ‘FedEx Delivery Manager’, which functions exactly the same as UPS My Choice. FedEx would definitely pick up a package from your home, but only for an additional charge. FedEx delivers approximately 3.9 million packages and 11 million pounds of freight per day, and serves more than 220 countries, besides covering every address in the United States. FedEx too provides additional services like FedEx insight, Customize your Delivery, Proof of Delivery, FedEx Desktop, etc.
So now, as we have seen the features of all three and compared them as well, it is time to determine which is the best bet. The best of the three depends upon each customer’s unique needs; some prefer cheap deliveries, while some require fast overnight deliveries which are comparatively expensive.
USPS is great for affordable and non-urgent domestic deliveries, especially in cases where the packages are small or medium in size.
UPS is a bit expensive when it comes to pickups, but is the best option when the deliveries are very urgent and need to be shipped the same day or overnight.
FedEx could be used for urgent international or domestic deliveries, as well as non-urgent deliveries if one has to target cost-effectiveness as well as quality.
Disclaimer: This article is for informative purposes only. Prices and services mentioned are true at the time of writing the article.