WHAT IS FLAT-RATE SHIPPING? Advantages and Disadvantages


Many critical, practical issues must be addressed when starting an e-commerce firm. One of the most obvious is a good shipping strategy that will help you to successfully deliver your products to customers without losing your mind or taking too much time.
Your shipping approach should be both sustainable and cost-effective. It must also be customized to your business model and budget. You can choose flat-rate shipping when it comes to shipping things. The US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS all provide flat-rate shipping options at a price. Let us see.

What is Flat-Rate Shipping?

Flat-rate shipping, also known as linear-rate shipping, is a form of shipping that attaches a fixed value to parcels. In practice, this implies that the price of shipping is unaffected by a parcel’s size, weight, or dimensions.
Some sellers may be attracted to flat-rate shipping because of:

  • Shipping simplicity – one price ships everything
  • Possible marketing opportunities, enticing consumers to spend more

How Does Flat-Rate Shipping Work?

Because flat-rate shipping is unaffected by size, weight, or dimension, what counts most is how much can be packed into a flat-rate shipping box.
If you want to use flat-rate shipping, there are a few simple things to take:

  • Get Your Low-Cost Shipping Box: Instead of using your own branded boxes, you will choose from a variety of flat-rate shipping boxes offered by your preferred shipping company.
  • Your Box Should Be Prepared and Addressed: In the flat-rate shipping box, place all of the necessary products and the packing slip, then address it.
  • Send the Items: Take the flat-rate shipping envelope to your shipping partner, which is sealed and addressed.

Factors Influencing the Flat Rate Shipping Method

Flat Rate Shipping is generally advantageous for businesses that deal with frequent or consistent delivery. Before we get into the benefits of Flat Rate Shipping, it’s important to understand how organizations decide their flat rate. What considerations are taken into consideration when setting the flat rate? Despite the fact that everything is self-explanatory, it is a good idea to utilize a shipping calculator to understand your costs. We now know that Flat Rate is best suited for businesses that deliver within the same time zone and have a particular weight slab.

#1. Weight

In general, shipping companies have established a weight limit in order to simplify and uncomplicate affairs. As an example, suppose the slab is set at 50 pounds. All boxes or parcels weighing less than that amount are thus eligible for flat-rate shipping. Now for some real-life examples. Most shipping firms set the weight limit at 70 pounds. As a result, flat-rate shipping is available for any purchases weighing less than 70 pounds.

#2. Measurements

For each type of box—small, medium, and large—most shipping companies have established specific specifications. This way, even the consignments are constant, making it easy to load, arrange, and unload. They even offer containers that are the correct size. Only certain dimensions or sizes are eligible for Flat Rate Shipping. As a result, eCommerce businesses can bring their packages and use those containers. Sets of clothes, books, small metal objects (accessories and gadgets), bedsheets, and other items that can easily fit within their given dimensions boxes are the greatest examples.

#3. Time zone

Time Zones are also crucial in establishing whether Flat Rate Shipping is appropriate for you. Prices will be lower the closer the time zone is to your origin point. The shipment will be more expensive depending on the time zone. As a result, always ensure that you have more clients in a simple time zone and in your immediate vicinity. You will undoubtedly benefit from having several orders and multiple consumers in the same time zone.

Shipping Options with Several Shipping Companies at Flat Rates

#1. Flat Rate Shipping Services from FedEx

FedEx One Rate refers to FedEx flat-rate shipping. FedEx charges varied costs depending on the size of your item and the distance your shipment must travel. The weight of the packages, as long as it falls within the weight restriction, is the only factor that has no bearing on shipping costs.

#2. Priority Flat-Rate Shipping with USPS

USPS is the United States Postal Service. The two services that allow you to ship at set pricing are USPS Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. Shipping charges are determined on the size of the items rather than the weight or shipping zones. The use of USPS boxes is required for USPS Priority Mail flat-rate shipping.

#3. UPS Basic Rate

UPS offers you to use your own box in their flat-rate service, which is an appealing choice for many businesses. However, there are some restrictions on the size and weight of the shipments imposed by the carrier. When utilizing your own packing, you must determine which UPS Simple Rate category your goods fall within. Shipping zones and product weight have no bearing on shipping charges.

Flat Rate Shipping Price for Major Freight Carriers

Flat rates are available from all three main freight companies. Nonetheless, the services provided by each are rather diverse. The US Postal Service, FedEx, and UPS all provide flat-rate shipping options.

#1. FedEx One Rate Flat Rate Shipping Price

FedEx One Rate is the name given to their flat-rate shipping option, which is actually a collection of prices. The cost is determined by the FedEx service you select and the size of the box or envelope used to transport the order. FedEx’s flat-rate shipping service requires you to use FedEx packaging.

Furthermore, FedEx’s flat rate service prices are based on distance. The higher the destination’s shipping zone, the more expensive One Rate shipping is. You may also be charged extra if you require any special services.

Your shipping prices are not affected by the weight of the shipment, which is what makes this service a “flat rate.” You can ship using One Rate pricing as long as your products are under the weight restriction. The weight restriction for envelopes is 10 pounds and 50 pounds for cartons and tubes.

#2. UPS Flat Rate Shipping Price

The UPS flat rate option is known as UPS Simple Rate. You can still take advantage of flat-rate shipping with UPS if you utilize your own box or mailing envelope. Your package must not exceed 50 pounds. Also, the volume must be 1,728 cubic inches or less (the equivalent of 12 x 12 x 12).

Because you utilize your own packing, you must do some math to get your UPS Simple Rate category. Based on the volume, your box will be classified into one of five sizes. 100 cubic inches, for example, is extremely little. A medium box has a volume of 251-650 cubic inches.
UPS Simple Rate charges a flat fee regardless of destination, unlike FedEx. Alaska and Hawaii are charged at a greater rate than the rest of the contiguous United States. The size of the box and the service you select will determine how much shipping will cost you. The price is unaffected by the package’s weight and shipping location.

Priority Mail Flat Rate Shipping
Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express are two services provided by the US Postal Service at a flat rate. You must use a Priority Mail box or envelope labeled “Flat Rate” to use this service. The maximum size that can be shipped flat rate is limited as a result.
Based on the size of the package, USPS Priority Mail flat rate shipping rates apply. Weight and shipping zones are not taken into account while calculating prices. The weight limit is 70 pounds.

What Is the Flat-Rate Shipping Delivery Time?

There is no common delivery time for flat-rate shipping, therefore it’s worth investigating what specific carriers offer in this regard. Flat-rate shipping typically takes less time than ordinary shipping, it is worth noting. The fulfillment process with many carriers takes no more than three business days (including international shipments).

Is Flat-Rate Shipping the Best Shipping Option for Online Stores?

There is a reason why flat-rate shipping is one of the most popular shipping alternatives for businesses. When you have a larger firm with numerous customers who live in different parts of the county or the world, this shipping approach will be the most effective.
It’s an effective solution for organizations that send a large number of shipments of varying weights and wish to reduce shipping costs while also streamlining the shipping process. There is no simple answer to that issue because other considerations come into play while determining the optimal shipping method.

How Much Time Does Flat Rate Shipping Take?

Overnight, second-day and FedEx Express Saver FedEx flat rate shipping are all available. FedEx Ground does not support it. UPS Ground, 3-Day Select, and 2nd Day Air all offer flat-rate shipping for customers. Regardless of distance, all USPS Priority Mail packages are typically delivered in three days or fewer.

Can You Use Your Own Box For Flat Rate Shipping?

For flat-rate shipping, both USPS and FedEx require you to utilize their packaging, however, there is a range of size options. UPS is the only company that allows you to utilize your own packaging.

Benefits of Flat-Rate Shipping

Despite the fact that we are all aware that flat-rate shipping is ideal for the same time zone and has the same set costs. Let us also go through some of the benefits of Flat Rate Shipping.

#1. Price Consistency

Whichever type of parcel you have, whatever its dimensions or weight, it will always be the same price. Check with your logistics partner to see what kind of slabs they’ve got set up for dimensions and weights. For goods weighing less than 70 pounds, USPS offers a flat rate shipping fee. Standard shipping, on the other hand, can be more expensive because it takes into account elements like dimensions, sizes, time zones, and other factors.

#2. Transparency and clarity

Clients are always happy with the clear self-explanatory breakdown of shipping costs with Flat Rate Shipping. Just the predetermined weight and dimensions affect the shipping calculation. As a result of the transparency they provide on their shipments, eCommerce enterprises prefer dealing with flat-rate shipping companies. Also, flat-rate shipping has no additional expenses or hidden costs. This level of transparency generally wins the hearts of their customers and builds trust among them.

#3. Time Administration

It is difficult to commit time to hobbies other than your primary work. As a result, many businesses are hesitant to contact different shipping companies and confirm shipping charges. Additionally, typical shipping costs take a lot of time because shipping companies calculate rates based on weight, size, and time zones. Flat rates, on the other hand, have already worked on weight and size. As a result, the process is streamlined and time is well handled.

#4. Less human error and faster response

Shipping businesses must compute shipping rates by measuring tons of boxes by dimensions and weight, which takes time for standard shipping. Human error and miscalculation are possibilities. Not to mention the time it takes to calculate each and every box. These kinds of errors are difficult to detect in flat-rate shipping prices. As a result, shipping costs can be calculated quickly, and few businesses experience issues caused by human mistakes.

What Are the Disadvantages of Flat-Rate Shipping?

  • You miss out on a branding opportunity. If you must ship in the carrier’s box, you forego the opportunity to send orders in unique packaging that promotes your brand.
  • If your products are light, shipping costs may be excessively high. Regular shipping services can frequently be used to ship eCommerce orders for cheaper.
  • Shipping orders near home may be too expensive. Flat-rate services may save you money on cross-country packages in specific circumstances. Shipping flat rate to destinations close to your warehouse, however, may cost you more.

Is Flat Rate Shipping Cost Effective?

If flat rate services will save your company money, the answer is, of course, it depends. If your products are tiny and heavy, you may save money by shipping flat rate.

  • You send a large number of orders from a coastal area across the United States. (But, this is only applicable if you choose the UPS or USPS flat rate options.)
  • You must charge your consumers a certain shipping rate.
  • You don’t ship many orders and handle your own order fulfillment. The convenience of flat-rate shipping, along with complimentary packaging from the carrier, could result in net savings for your company.
  • You’ll have more shipping alternatives once you reach a size where you can outsource your eCommerce fulfillment. A national fulfillment plan is required if you send a big number of orders across the country. Shipping your products from many strategically placed fulfillment warehouses can help you save money. This brings your products closer to your client’s homes. This allows you to ship cheaply and swiftly utilizing standard ground services.
  • Talk to your 3PL services provider no matter where you are in the growth of your organization. The fulfillment experts can advise you on the most effective shipping options for your business.

When Is Flat-Rate Shipping More Affordable?

So, under what conditions may you benefit from employing flat-rate shipping?

#1. If your company ships a lot of small, hefty things.

You can avoid being charged additional fees for shipping items with a high DIM weight by using flat-rate shipping.

#2. If you plan to use a centralized fulfillment strategy.

Flat-rate shipping saves you money if you have a single warehouse that ships orders all across the country.

#3. If you’re doing it in-house.

Flat-rate shipping benefits brands that self-fulfill since it reduces fulfillment expenses and streamlines the packing process.

When Does Flat-Rate Shipping NOT Save Money?

But, in other cases, flat-rate shipping is more of a nuisance than assistance. Flat-rate shipping is probably not the best option for your company if any of the following apply to you:

#1. When you want to have complete creative control over the delivery experience.

When you’re compelled to use carrier-supplied packaging, it’s difficult to turn the time of delivery into a critical touchpoint. Companies that want to provide a consistent, end-to-end consumer experience will have to choose a shipping method that allows for personalization.

#2. Your items are compact and light.

If a typical customer order is far less than the weight restriction of most flat-rate services, you’re effectively paying for the weight that your company isn’t using. Regular shipping services, where you just pay for what you ship, are considerably preferable in this situation.

#3. Orders are typically shipped fairly close to home.

If you’re a small business with a small customer base, flat-rate shipping isn’t going to save you money. As in the previous example, paying for short-distance deliveries within one shipping zone is far more cost-effective.

Flat-rate shipping might be a great way to save money for some e-commerce enterprises, but it can also drive up your shipping prices. That is why partnering with an e-commerce fulfillment company that can assist you in designing a shipping strategy that optimizes cost, speed, and customer experience is an excellent option.


Flat Rate Shipping is a very simple and straightforward method of shipping products. Fixed charges apply to all types of boxes and weights. In contrast to the usual shipping method, where shipping prices are determined by the type of product, its dimensions, sizes, and time zone.

Furthermore, Flat Rate Shipping is simple to grasp and is one of the finest solutions for businesses with continuous order deliveries and many orders. Having a large consumer base in the same time zone is also advantageous. Last but not least, it all comes down to choosing the best shipping partner and monitoring your purchases.


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