03 June 2015

Save Money on Overnight Freight Charges by Using UPS or FedEx's Transit Maps

UPS Shipping Map
Do you remember the old FedEx tagline, “When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight...”? I certainly do and the ability to give a package to someone at point “A” and have it magically delivered to point “B” overnight is a powerful tool for any business. Of course the “magic” part of overnight delivery quickly evaporates when you reach for your wallet to pay for the modern version of the Pony Express. There is a neat little trick to get around some of those overnight freight bills that’s easily accessible from UPS and FedEx.

The UPS or FedEx websites will generate a transit time map for any zip code in the continental United States at these links. (UPS transit map FedEx transit map) All one has to do is enter the inbound or outbound zip code and after hitting the submit button a transit time map will generate. Above we’ve posted the image of the UPS transit time map for our headquarters in Nashville, Tennessee. The areas in baby puke yellow on the map are places we will get one day shipping by sending a normal ground shipment. So for us, sending packages to the major cities of Atlanta, Birmingham, Chattanooga, Knoxville, Memphis, and Saint Louis are one day shipping with regular ground. So if you live in Nashville and you’re paying for next day shipping to any of these cities, you might be paying too much.

There are a few caveats to relying on one day normal ground shipping. The biggest is that you don’t get the guarantee that regular ground shipments will actually get there in one day. There’s also no guarantee of a delivery time on normal ground shipments. So if you really have to have something in someone’s hands by 10:30 am, paying for the next day rates to cities in your one day shipping radius is your best bet. From what we’ve seen, the estimates on both UPS and FedEx ground shipping times are as spot on as anyone in the logistics business can promise. If you have wiggle room on delivery time and your package’s delivery isn’t hypercritical, use the regular ground option. Also, check out the inbound map in the delivery zip code. While it might take a day to get to the zip code you're shipping to, it might not be the same day the package hits your destination. This seems counter-intuitive, but not all freight hubs are equally equipped to turn around freight once your package hits the dissemination hub. This is especially true in rural areas and warrants a look at the inbound maps.

Some final warning on using this option. Find out what the no later than pickup time is for your freight carrier of choice when shipping in the one day delivery radius. Next day deliveries usually have a later "you have to get your package in our hands for next day delivery" time than regular ground shipments. Also home pickups could delay your shipment by a day, so dropping your package off at a service center is the best practice when using regular ground. Finally, during holiday times all bets are off using one day regular ground shipping.

With the extra hoops you have to jump through to get one day regular ground shipping, this option might not be worth it to you. However, if you just need a package there next day with a high certainty of delivery, don't discount the cheaper option.

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