Can You Drop Off USPS at UPS?

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November 16, 2023

The United States Postal Service (USPS) has over 31,000 facilities across the U.S. But choosing the primary package delivery service in the country to handle your shipping needs comes with downsides.

For one, dropping a mailpiece off at any post office may not always be possible. While there are a staggering number of USPS facilities nationwide, they usually have long wait times and limited operating hours, which can cause problems for high-volume shippers.

With this information in mind, you may wonder whether you can leave your valuable USPS shipments with other carriers like FedEx (Federal Express) and UPS (United Parcel Service) and still have peace of mind that they’ll reach their destinations safely.

Fortunately, the general answer is YES. This article explores the convenience of drop-off options and the collaboration between USPS and UPS. It also answers other lingering questions about leaving a UPS parcel with another mail carrier.

Are you looking for a convenient postal service location where you can reliably drop your mail items off? Visit FindPostOffice.org and use the USPS facility locator tool.

Introduction

Being a government agency responsible for providing reliable shipping services to every American, USPS (U.S. Postal Service) comes with various benefits, such as affordable postage rates, fast delivery options, and even free shipping supplies.

Unfortunately, these advantages come with a catch – long lines at some post office locations, especially during peak office hours in areas with high foot traffic.

In a single day, the postal service processes around 23.8 million packages, or roughly 4,877 mailpieces per second. And with some USPS locations having limited operating hours, making time to wait in line can create problems, especially if you’re an eCommerce business.

Where Can I Ship USPS Packages?

Fortunately, USPS offers alternative shipping options that help you avoid the inconvenience of visiting a post office. Here are other ways to send your USPS packages:

  • Use USPS’ Click-N-Ship service: Visit the USPS website and use the Click-N-Ship service. This option lets you pay the postage price online, print shipping labels, and have USPS pick up your mail items from your home or business.
  • Use another carrier: Some mail delivery services allow you to ship USPS parcels. For instance, FedEx (Federal Express) and its SmartPost, also known as Ground Economy, shipping option sends your packages to their final destination’s nearest post office location.
  • Visit a post office: Postal service facilities may not always be the most convenient option. Fortunately, FindPostOffice.org’s post office locator tool lets you find facilities in your area that may accommodate your shipping needs.

Available Options for Dropping the USPS Parcel

USPS has several convenient options for package drop-offs, including the following:

  • USPS collection boxes: While it’s difficult to say exactly how many there are, estimates say that over 150,000 USPS drop boxes exist across the United States. These blue USPS mailboxes let you leave packages without waiting in line at a post office.
  • UPS Stores: Some United Parcel Service (UPS) stores accept USPS mail items and offer USPS drop-off services. But because UPS Stores are locally owned, offerings can vary wildly across different facilities. 

You can use the UPS Store finder to determine if your local UPS facility accepts USPS packages.

  • Third-party shipping services: Parcel Monkey, Mailing Facts, and other third-party mail delivery services provide USPS parcel drop-off at the post office and UPS locations. However, these drop-off options typically come with fees.

That said, some USPS drop-off locations may have limitations like USPS mailboxes not accepting stamped mail weighing over 13oz. 

For more information on USPS drop-off options, contact USPS customer service at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777) or visit a post office location.

Narrow the list of over 31,000 USPS facilities to the most convenient ones in your area using FindPostOffice.org’s postal service database and finder tool.

About UPS in the U.S.

Since its founding in 1907, UPS has become one of the world’s largest package delivery services, serving over 11 million customers and handling 20 million packages daily.

A significant factor in UPS’ success in handling high-volume shipments is its UPS Stores. With over 5,500 stores, UPS can offer reliable delivery services, including dropping off USPS packages, to every American.

What Happens if You Leave a USPS Package in a UPS Drop Box?

Whether you accidentally or deliberately left a USPS-labeled package in a UPS drop box, you don’t have to worry. Your package isn’t in the void. UPS typically sets these parcels aside and forwards them to USPS for proper handling and delivery.

Unfortunately, how soon UPS hands USPS packages off to a post office can vary depending on the UPS Store. 

For example, your mailpieces may take a few extra business days to enter USPS’ system and network. However, they will have tracking numbers you can use to monitor them once they do.

It’s best to leave your USPS packages at designated drop-off locations to avoid potential confusion or delays. Visit FindPostOffice.org to find your area’s nearest post office facilities.

Do UPS and USPS Work Together?

While you can easily mistake one for the other, with UPS and USPS having very similar-sounding names, they’re separate entities and are competitors.

UPS is a private company, whereas USPS is a government agency. However, they’ve collaborated to offer customers better distribution, delivery, and pickup services.

What Is a UPS Access Point?

UPS Access Points are where UPS drivers will leave packages and hold them for seven business days. They’re also where UPS customers can collect them, a perfect option if you travel frequently.

Say you ordered an item from an online retailer like Amazon but will travel to a different state on the delivery date. You can request UPS to deliver your mailpiece to a participating Access Point location near your destination and collect it from there.

You can find UPS Access Points by visiting the UPS website. Alternatively, you can talk to a USPS representative at your local post office for your area’s UPS Access Point locations. You can use FindPostOffice.org’s facility locator tool to find a postal service office quickly.

Can You Put USPS Package in UPS Access Point?

While UPS Access Points serve as UPS drop-off and pickup locations, they specifically cater to UPS packages. In other words, you can’t leave a USPS package at a UPS Access Point.

If you accidentally drop off a USPS-labeled parcel at one, UPS may hand it over to a postal service facility. However, this process may lead to delays, which can significantly affect your reputation as a business.

What Is the Mail Innovations Program From UPS?

Speaking of UPS-USPS partnerships, UPS offers the Mail Innovations Program, which combines the resources of the two carriers to provide cost-effective shipping solutions for individuals and businesses. 

In addition, the UPS Mail Innovations Program lets you ship to previously USPS-exclusive addresses like P.O. boxes.

The program streamlines shipping by handling the labeling and sorting processes and returns the savings to you. This unique service also aims to achieve transit times rivaling USPS’ First-Class Mail option, which boasts delivery within one to five business days.

Is Using UPS Mail Innovations Safe?

Shipping a package with UPS is relatively safe. You can monitor your UPS Mail Innovations mailpiece and receive real-time updates using its tracking information via UPS’ tracking tool.

Does the UPS Mail Innovations Service Cover Larger Mail?

What constitutes “large mail” depends on the UPS package type. Here’s a quick overview of the UPS Mail Innovations Program’s weight restrictions:

Package TypeMinimum WeightMaximum Weight
First-Class Mail0.1oz15.9oz
Priority Mail0.9lbs70lbs
BPM (BoundPrinted Matter) Flats0.1lbs15lbs
BPM Parcel0.1lbs15lbs
Irregulars1oz16oz
Machinable6oz16oz
Media Mail0.1lbs70lbs
Parcel Post0.1lbs70lbs
Standard Flats0.1oz16oz

Does the UPS Mail Innovations Service Provide International Delivery?

With a vast network of partners and facilities, UPS can handle shipments to postal authorities in over 200 countries worldwide. This extensive reach ensures your packages can reach their international destinations quickly and securely.

Will the USPS Accept a Non-UPS Mail Innovations Package?

While you can drop off USPS packages at some UPS Stores, the opposite may not always be true. The specific requirements and restrictions vary depending on the carrier and the package type.

However, if you leave a UPS Mail Innovations mailpiece with USPS, it’s a different story. USPS will ensure a UPS driver receives the package and travel through UPS’ network until it reaches a post office near the destination. The postal service will then be in charge of the last-leg shipping.

What Is the UPS Returns Flexible Access Service?

The UPS Returns Flexible Access service is a shipping option that lets you drop off your returns at any postal service location or USPS mailboxes- another partnership program with USPS.

Participating retailers will provide you with a unique shipping label whenever you make a purchase and lets you leave returns at designated drop-off locations. From there, a UPS driver collects and transports the parcels to the retailer through the UPS Ground network.

FAQS:

  1. Will the USPS mail reach safely if dropped accidentally to UPS?

If you accidentally leave a USPS package with UPS, it may still arrive at its intended destination. However, until USPS scans and processes the parcel, you cannot monitor its progress.

Additionally, because UPS will need to hand the package over to a postal service facility first or return the mail item to you, it may experience delays in reaching your recipient’s mailing address.

  1. Where to drop off a USPS package?

The postal service provides drop-off options for your mailpieces, including strategically located USPS mailboxes, participating UPS Stores, and third-party carriers offering drop-off services.

  1. Is there a particular weight category of mail that can be dropped in the box?

The weight and size restrictions for items you can leave in a USPS collection box depend on the package type. For instance, you cannot drop-off a domestic-stamped mail like Priority Mail Express weighing over 10oz and ½” thick.

For more information on USPS collection box restrictions, visit the USPS website or call its customer service hotline at 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

Alternatively, you can ask a postal service representative at your local post office, which you can quickly find using FindPostOffice.org’s USPS facility finder tool.

  1. Which is cheaper, UPS or USPS?

Unfortunately, answering who’s cheaper between UPS and USPS isn’t straightforward. Various factors influence the shipping cost, such as the package size, weight, travel distance, and the level of service.

That said, USPS generally offers lower prices than UPS. For instance, USPS’ Priority Mail service costs $8.55 for its small flat-rate box, whereas UPS charges $13.35 for a similar option.

Fortunately, both package delivery carriers offer calculator tools to help you determine whether shipping a parcel with one or the other is cheaper. Visit the USPS and UPS websites for more information.

  1. Can you wrap packages in brown paper to mail USPS?

USPS doesn’t recommend paper wrapping when preparing your shipments, as it can interfere with the postal service’s mail processing equipment and protocols.

You generally want your package’s tracking information, which includes barcodes, addresses, and postage stamps, visible for USPS personnel to ensure that your parcel reaches its destination promptly without issues. 

  1. Can I drop off a prepaid USPS package at UPS?

If you leave a prepaid USPS package at a UPS Store offering drop-off services, UPS will send it to a post office, allowing your mailpiece to proceed. However, not all UPS Stores accept USPS packages.

Visit the UPS website to find participating UPS Stores in your area. Alternatively, you can inquire about USPS drop-off locations at your local post office. You can find nearby facilities using FindPostOffice.org’s finder tool.

  1. Where can I drop off a prepaid USPS package?

You can ship a prepaid USPS mailpiece by scheduling a pickup, leaving it at a postal service facility, or dropping it off at a blue USPS collection box.

  1. Can I put a USPS package in my mailbox?

If it fits inside, you can leave a USPS package in your mailbox. A USPS carrier will pick it up and hand it to a postal service representative for processing and shipping.

However, USPS may not collect stamped USPS packages in mailboxes if they exceed ½” in thickness or 10oz in weight. In such scenarios, you must go to your local post office, which you can find by visiting FindPostOffice.org.

References

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