If you ship small parcels, you need to know about Commercial Plus Cubic
USPS launched Commercial Plus Cubic rates a few years ago. Unfortunately USPS has done a limited job of marketing and educating their commercial customers about who should be using it. After reviewing countless technical specs, pricing charts, and numerous discussions with USPS reps, here’s a breakdown of who should be using this new rate, and why.
Commercial Plus Cubic – Product Summary
- Rates are based on volume in cubic feet, rather than weight. Package weight does not factor into pricing.
- Must weigh less than 20 pounds and measure no more than 0.5 cubic foot.
- Commercial Plus Cubic is a USPS Priority Mail product so you get tracking, insurance, and delivery in 1 to 3 business days.
- Customers must ship over 50,000 packages a year to qualify.
Ideal for small packages – the denser your package, the more you save
How it works, simplified.
- Determine your cubic volume. Cubic Feet = Length x Width x Height / 1728
- The length, width, and height measurements should be rounded down to the nearest 0.25”.
- There are 5 tiers for cubic pricing:
- Tier 1 – mailpieces less than .10 cubic foot
- Tier 2 – mailpieces less than .20 cubic foot
- Tier 3 – mailpieces less than .30 cubic foot
- Tier 4 – mailpieces less than .40 cubic foot
- Tier 5 – mailpieces less than .50 cubic foot
Time for the hidden savings!
- Let’s say you ship a 1 pound parcel in a typical 7″ × 9″ × 3″ carton. 7 × 9 × 3 / 1728 = 0.1094 cubic feet, which would be Tier 2.
- That same shipment packed in a 7” x 9” Small Best Mailer would yield a thickness less than 3”, allowing for Tier 1 classification.
- Shipping a 1 pound 7″ × 9″ × 3″ carton within Zone 1 costs $4.58. By comparison:
- $4.99 for USPS Commercial Plus Cubic Tier 2
- $6.65 for USPS Priority Mail
- $7.64 for UPS Ground
- $7.96 for FedEx Ground
- If we reduce the thickness of the package from a 3” box to a 1” thick Small Best Mailer, your package drops from Tier 2 down to Tier 1. So now you’ve saved $2.07 compared to traditional USPS Priority Mail. Compared to UPS and FedEx rates you are saving over $3 for a comparable level of service.