Ground Shipping Time

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November 15, 2023

In 2020, couriers and messengers in the United States generated $137.9 billion in operating revenue. During this period, United Parcel Service (UPS) had the largest share of the courier market at 35%.

Among the numerous delivery services that have contributed to the figures mentioned above, ground shipping ranks high as one of the most well-known and utilized services.

Major carriers like UPS (United Parcel Service), Federal Express (FedEx), and the United States Postal Service (USPS) offer ground shipping.

If you want to send mail or packages via ground delivery, delivery time is one consideration when choosing a courier. 

So, how many days does ground shipping take? How do the different couriers compare in their ground shipping service speeds?

This article addresses these questions and discusses how ground shipping works and how to calculate shipping costs. This article also explores the benefits of ground shipping and how to track your shipments.

Visit FindPostOffice.org to gain access to its online search tool to locate a post office by city, state, or ZIP code, especially when sending a package via ground shipping.

How Long Does Ground Shipping Take?

When sending a parcel to your recipient, consider the time it takes for your item to arrive at its destination. Shipping time depends on several factors, such as distance, mailing service, and whether the courier offers weekend delivery.

Knowing these factors can assist you in deciding which courier will deliver your item.

The following sections discuss the delivery times of various ground shipping services by FedEx, UPS, and USPS.

How Long Does FedEx Ground Shipping Take?

Suppose you use FedEx Ground to deliver your package. Delivery can take one to five business days within the contiguous United States or three to seven business days to Alaska and Hawaii, depending on the destination’s distance.

FedEx Ground delivery has a window from 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. If you need more information on this service’s transit times, check the FedEx Ground map on the company’s website.

How Long Does UPS Ground Take?

UPS Ground offers day-definite, cost-effective delivery within one to five business days, with Saturday delivery available to most residential addresses.

UPS Ground delivers to homes and businesses in all 50 U.S. states, including Puerto Rico.

How Long Does USPS Ground Service Actually Take Sometimes?

USPS Ground Advantage service is an affordable and reliable option to send packages across the U.S. in two to five business days.

This service ships to all 50 states, territories, possessions, U.S. military bases, and Freely Associated States.

USPS Claims Retail Ground Service Takes Anywhere Between 2 to 5 Business Days

Unlike USPS Priority Mail Express, which offers guaranteed next-day to two-day delivery or your money back, USPS Ground does not provide guaranteed delivery.

However, USPS Ground Advantage has a $100 insurance included. You can also add up to $5,000 in additional coverage against merchandise damage or loss.

USPS Ground Advantage combines the following USPS services into one:

  • USPS Parcel Select Ground
  • USPS First-Class Package Service
  • USPS Retail Ground

Top Ground Shipping Carriers Compared

Suppose you want to ship a small, 10-pound package from New York to Los Angeles. The following sections compare the performance and costs of various carriers’ ground shipping services using these delivery parameters.

UPS Ground Shipping

With UPS Ground shipping, your package will have an estimated transit time of four days. If you ship your package on a Tuesday, it will likely arrive on Monday. The estimated cost for this shipment is $33.22.

UPS Next Day Air offers guaranteed next-day delivery if you prefer a faster alternative. The cost to send your package through this service is $180.49.

FedEx Ground Shipping

With FedEx Ground, a package sent on a Tuesday will also arrive on Monday by the end of the day. The total cost for this service is $31.92.

A faster option is FedEx Priority Overnight, which delivers your item the next day by 10:30 AM. Sending a package from New York to Los Angeles using this service costs $197.98.

DHL Ground Shipping

DHL offers reliable door-to-door express document and parcel delivery for your time-sensitive shipment. If you book on a Thursday, your package’s delivery date should be Friday by the end of the day. The total cost for this delivery is $173.07.

USPS Retail Ground

If you choose USPS Ground Advantage and ship on a Wednesday, the estimated delivery date is Wednesday the following week. Shipping this package, whether retail or through Click-N-Ship, costs $31.45.

What Is Ground Shipping?

Ground shipping involves road or rail transportation and is among the most cost-effective ways to ship packages.

Suppose you’re an eCommerce operator. Offering ground shipping to your customers can be an effective domestic delivery method as it helps reduce your shipping costs.

In some cases, you can use ground shipping to offer free deliveries since you can offset the shipping cost when implementing a minimum spending threshold for your customers.

How Does It Work?

To understand how ground shipping works, you must first learn how to integrate ground services into your shipments. To do so, you can ask questions like, “Will these services work for domestic orders?” or “Will ground deliveries work for international shipping?”

To answer these questions, you must look at the destinations you plan to ship to and the items you want to send. Doing so can help you decide whether ground shipping is the most practical solution and whether you can use it to offer discounts or free shipping.

After you have decided to use ground shipping to deliver your package, you can look at the different ground mailing services offered by various couriers like FedEx, USPS, and UPS.

Some third-party shipping providers can help you compare the services these couriers offer. This way, you can decide which courier best suits your shipping needs based on the service types provided, rates offered, and regions covered.

Why Choose Ground Shipping Over Other Options

If you frequently shop online, you may have tried abandoning your shopping cart a few times because the delivery was expensive.

But if you need to send items at a relatively low cost while maintaining moderately fast delivery times, consider ground shipping a viable option.

One of the issues that can concern you regarding ground shipping is speed. For example, as discussed earlier, USPS Priority Mail Express provides next-day delivery, while USPS Ground Advantage delivers in two to five business days.

Although you can associate ground shipping with slower travel times, especially when sending items from one coast to another, ground delivery speeds are not always as slow as you think.

If you’re an online seller, depending on where you ship from, there are ways to leverage ground shipping while still meeting your customer’s delivery speed expectations.

For example, shipping to a delivery area within the same zone as your warehouse allows you to send packages faster and cost-effectively using ground shipping.

However, shipping to farther locations can cause your ground shipment to take longer to arrive and become costlier to ship.

Carriers usually categorize these distances into shipping zones or geographical areas to calculate shipping rates.

Couriers often lay them out in concentric circles like a rough bullseye around your package’s origin address.

Each ring of this bullseye has a zone number. For example, zone 1 is the smallest ring, representing the closest region to where the package ships from. Meanwhile, zone 9 covers areas farthest from the shipping origin.

Different carriers may vary in how they define these shipping zones. For example, USPS categorizes the zones based on how far they are from the shipping origin:

  • Zone 1: 1 to 50 miles 
  • Zone 2: 51 to 150 miles
  • Zone 3: 151 to 300 miles
  • Zone 4: 301 to 600 miles
  • Zone 5: 601 to 1000 miles
  • Zone 6: 1001 to 1400 miles
  • Zone 7: 1401 to 1800 miles
  • Zone 8: 1801 miles or farther
  • Zone 9: U.S. territories

Because of how cities are laid out, the zones do not necessarily have to be perfect circles. As your package travels through more zones, the higher your shipping will cost.

When sending a parcel, consider the distances between zones so you can maximize the cost.

What’s the Difference Between Standard and Ground Shipping?

Depending on what services are considered ground and standard shipping, these two can mean the same thing. Both services can offer regular, affordable shipping services that deliver on the ground. Sometimes, they can be the cheapest option available.

Ground shipping tracking is almost always available. This feature lets you track your package so that you always know where it is while in transit. For example, FedEx Ground and USPS Ground Advantage have tracking included.

However, there can be subtle differences in the service definition offered by the different couriers.

For example, FedEx Ground delivers packages to business addresses from Monday to Friday. On the other hand, FedEx Home Delivery, part of the FedEx Ground network, delivers to residences all days of the week, including Saturday and Sunday.

Another minor difference is that while ground shipping with USPS, FedEx, and UPS covers all 50 U.S. states, UPS Ground also delivers parcels to Puerto Rico, and USPS Ground Advantage delivers to U.S. military bases.

Who Benefits Most From Ground Shipping?

Individuals and businesses who want an affordable but reliable delivery service can consider ground shipping options that can benefit from ground shipping services. 

For example, with UPS Ground shipping, you’re less likely to worry about couriers cutting corners to cut shipping costs. Major couriers like UPS have built their reputation for security and consistency.

Suppose you manage a business that frequently ships large volumes of merchandise. You can consider ground services to help keep your shipping costs down.

Furthermore, ground shipping can be an excellent option if you’re looking for a service that can send packages at relatively fast shipping times but not necessarily overnight.

Calculate Your Ground Shipping Rates

Several factors can affect shipping prices regardless of which carrier you choose. Factors include your parcel’s weight and size, mailing service, insurance, add-on services, and shipping zone where your recipient’s address is located.

Your courier of choice usually offers a shipping calculator to help you compute estimated shipping costs considering these factors. 

Online shipping calculators can assist you in planning your shipments and budget even before you start printing your shipping labels and paying for the delivery.

Tracking Your Ground Shipment

Whether you’re the sender or recipient, tracking your package has several benefits. One significant advantage is seeing your ground shipments’ details and delivery status.

While you can use your computer to track your parcel online, some couriers, such as FedEx, also have free mobile apps to help you track shipments from your smartphone. The advantages of such apps include receiving alerts, notifications, and picture proof of delivery.

Having the ability to track your shipment can provide the following benefits:

  • Confirmation: Knowing where your package is and when it will likely arrive can give you some level of certainty that your item is on its way.

Confirmation also lets you adjust your schedule or inform the courier to leave the package in a safe place until you arrive.

  • Peace of mind: Tracking can help you and the courier feel more relaxed knowing that your parcel’s location and status are recorded.
  • Customer service: Tracking lets you become aware of where your parcel is, its delivery status, and whether there are any issues the company can address.

If you have questions, call the courier’s customer service and provide your package’s tracking number. The courier’s representative can help resolve your issues.

  • Visibility: Tracking your parcel can provide better visibility regarding your item’s location and when you expect it to arrive. This benefit is especially helpful if you have expensive, fragile, or urgent deliveries.

References

  1. Revenue of the U.S. couriers and messengers industry from 2009 to 2021
    https://www.statista.com/statistics/1119799/operating-revenue-couriers-messengers-industry-united-states/
  2. USPS Ground Advantage
    https://www.usps.com/ship/ground-advantage.htm
  3. Priority Mail Express
    https://www.usps.com/ship/priority-mail-express.htm
  4. USPS Ground Advantage™
    https://faq.usps.com/s/article/USPS-Ground-Advantage