USPS Free Pickup

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March 13, 2024

According to 2022 statistics, the United States Postal Service (USPS) processed 421.4 million mailpieces daily. If you visited a USPS Post Office or had a postal worker pick up your parcel that year, you likely contributed to this figure.

For many eCommerce businesses, such as those on eBay or Amazon, having cost-effective pickup services can help lower shipping costs, especially when sending numerous items to customers.

One of these solutions is Package Pickup, a USPS service that lets you schedule a pickup for free.

How do you schedule a pickup for your package? What other pickup services can you request from USPS? Can you change your request after scheduling a pickup?

This article discusses the various USPS pickup options and how to schedule a pickup. This article also tackles the various pickup confirmation notices and limitations on what packages are eligible for this service.

To find a post office near you, use FindPostOffice.org’s online search tool. FindPostOffice.org also provides helpful articles about other USPS services for your shipping needs.

Are USPS Pickups Free?

With the U.S. Postal Service’s pickup service, you no longer have to wait in line at the post office. USPS provides free package pickup from your office or home at a time that is convenient for you.

This service is free regardless of the number of packages you want to send. Your letter carrier will pick up your parcel when your regular mail is delivered.

USPS Pickup Service Options

USPS offers three options to request pickup for your package: Pickup on Demand, Package Pickup, and Collection Service. These services are discussed in the sections below.

Package Pickup Service (Free)

If you are mailing a package through Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service, or Priority Mail Express, you can qualify for the free Package Pickup service. You can request a pickup at a USPS site for no extra charge.

Although this service lets you schedule the pickup date, you cannot schedule a specific time for pickup. The service is free, provided the carrier does not have to make any special trips to pick up your mail.

Pickup on Demand Service ($26.50)

Pickup on Demand allows you to schedule a package pickup at a specific time for a fee. As of July 2023, the pickup fee for this service is $26.50.

You can use this service for pickups scheduled for a specific time and date outside regular mail deliveries.

You can schedule your Pickup on Demand service up to one year in advance. You can also extend your request provided your future dates are within one year.

Collection Service (Dropoff)

This service allows you to pay postage online and deposit your parcel in a USPS collection box, provided the item is 13 ounces (oz) or less and can fit in the box.

USPS collection boxes are the blue freestanding boxes with the USPS logo. You can typically find these boxes on street corners.

Suppose you cannot drop your item in a collection box. In this case, you can hand over your prepaid mail in person to a postal worker responsible for collection duties.

Scheduling a Package Pickup: How to Schedule a Free USPS Pickup

When requesting a package pickup, you must schedule when you want the postal worker to pick up your parcel from your location. 

The following sections explain how to schedule a pickup with USPS.

“Can I Request Package Pickup on a Holiday or Weekend?”

USPS allows you to submit your request on weekends or holidays. However, pickup occurs on the next scheduled delivery day.

For example, requests filed on a Saturday will be processed for Monday pickup unless Monday is a holiday.

“How Far in Advance Can I Schedule Package Pickup?”

You can schedule your pickup in advance for up to one year. Furthermore, you can extend your request provided your future date is within one year.

“When I Scheduled a Pickup, Why Was My Address Modified From What I Entered?”

USPS typically compares addresses to the courier’s current database and arranges them in a standard format to help the Postal Service process and deliver mail more efficiently.

Although no system can be 100% up-to-date all the time, USPS’ system updates regularly and is comparatively accurate.

“Why Is My Login Required for Future and Repeat Package Pickup Requests?”

You must have a USPS account to store and maintain your schedule information. If you must schedule pickups frequently, you can log in to the USPS website to request package pickup.

“Can I Arrange for a Scheduled Package Pickup (Daily, Weekly, Monthly)?”

Yes, you can request scheduled pickups for any number of days during the next year by signing into your USPS account.

“How Can I Extend My Scheduled Package Pickup Request?”

You can extend your Package Pickup request by logging into your account and visiting the Package Pickup page. USPS allows you to extend your pickup up to 12 months from the present date.

“What if the Average Package Volume or Weight Fluctuates in My Pickup?”

If you have a scheduled pickup request, sign in to your USPS account to modify your package’s average weight and volume. Select “Edit” and follow the screen prompts to change the package information.

“What if My Package Volume or Weight Increases for a Specific Date in My Pickup Request?”

You can edit your package’s details if the current day is before your parcel’s scheduled pickup day. After logging in, Click “Edit,” select the date you want to modify, and follow the screen prompts to change your item’s information.

If your pickup occurs on the same day, call your local post office for assistance in modifying your parcel’s weight or volume.

General Information: Pickup Service From the United States Postal Service

To fully utilize the USPS Package Pickup service, you must understand the different pickup services USPS offers and their benefits. This way, you’ll know what pickup service to use for various mail types and schedule accordingly.

Benefits of USPS Pickup Services

Whether you run a small business or a large organization, pickup services can provide you with ways to ship packages to your customers and offer them a convenient way to return items.

Your business can also utilize these services to recall products not meeting the mailing size or weight criteria. This benefit is possible if the manufacturer provides a parcel return service (PRS) or merchandise return service (MRS) provision on those recalled products.

The Postal Service Has Three Different Options for Pickup of Outgoing Mail

As mentioned earlier, USPS offers three pickup options for your outgoing mail:

  • Pickup on Demand lets you schedule mail pickup on a specific date and time for a fee. 
  • Package Pickup allows you to schedule a free pickup on the next day or designated delivery day.
  • Collection Service lets you deposit prepaid mail in a collection box or hand prepaid mail directly to a letter carrier or postal employee.

What Is Package Pickup?

Package Pickup lets you send packages without visiting a post office. Instead, a postal worker arrives at your place to pick up your item. The following sections discuss how this service works.

How Does Package Pickup Work?

Package Pickup and Pickup on Demand lets you request a package pickup and works in the following ways:

  • You can schedule pickups from Monday to Saturday until 2:00 AM Central Time (C.T.) on the pickup day. After that time passes, same-day pickup is no longer available.
  • You can cancel or edit a scheduled pickup request until 2:00 AM C.T. on the pickup day.
  • Individual items cannot weigh over 70 pounds or measure over 130 inches in length and girth. Girth is the distance around the widest part of the box’s middle (“circumference”).

Package Pickup Lets You Request a Package Pickup When Your Mail Is Delivered

Package Pickup works if you want to schedule a pickup for multiple packages at any time on the next or designated delivery day.

If you need to schedule package pickup at a specific time of day and are willing to pay for the service, consider Pickup on Demand.

What Mail Classes Are Eligible for Package Pickup?

USPS has several mail classes wherein Package Pickup is available. You can request pickup using any services mentioned in the following sections.

Your Letter Carrier Can Pick Up Packages With Prepaid Postage and Return Merchandise Using the Following Services

USPS Package Pickup is available for specific domestic and international shipping services listed in the following sections.

Domestic

You can use Package Pickup for the following domestic mail services:

  • Priority Mail
  • Priority Mail Express
  • USPS Ground Advantage
  • Returns

For Priority Mail Express, the Package Pickup service commitment varies on the time you mail a parcel, where you deposit that item, and where your package is going.

International

Package Pickup is available for the following international USPS services:

  • Global Express Guaranteed
  • Priority Mail Express International
  • Priority Mail International
  • First-Class Package International Service

Let’s say you are the shipper. Your recipient can only pick up international packages if you have completed the online customs forms, postage payment, and shipping label

If your shipment has a handwritten customs form, you must bring the parcel to a post office for mailing.

Limitations on What Can Be Picked Up Using Package Pickup

Suppose you want to schedule a pickup for a package containing hazardous materials. Your parcel must meet all labeling, packaging, and USPS mailability standards as indicated in the courier’s domestic mail manual (DMM) or international mail manual (IMM).

These standards also cover liquids and items containing anything fragile without proper packaging.

For size limitations, the package must weigh no more than 70 pounds (lbs) and measure up to 130 inches (in) in length and girth.

Some items may not be eligible for pickup and must be presented to an employee at a post office location. These items include the following:

  • Mailpieces weighing more than 10oz or more than 1.5in thick
  • International mailpieces requiring a customs declaration form
  • International mailpieces, including mail addressed to Army or Air Force Post Office (APO), Fleet Post Office (FPO), or Diplomatic Post Office (DPO) destinations, with a customs declaration form not completed online

Package Pickup Confirmation Notices

When a package pickup is successful, USPS will send a confirmation email or leave a notice at the pickup location indicating the occurrence of the pickup. If the pickup does not occur, you will also receive a notification detailing why the pickup is unsuccessful.

Is Package Pickup Available for Items Insured Online?

Yes, Package Pickup for insured items is available through Express and Priority Mail. After purchasing a USPS shipping label with insurance online, you can visit the carrier pickup page on USPS.com to request a pickup.

“Can I Leave Money for Postage With My Mailpiece for Package Pickup?”

USPS requires postage on all mail to be fully prepaid at mailing time. If you have a package scheduled for pickup, ensure its postage is already paid before the postal worker arrives for pickup.

“Can I Print Labels and Postage for Package Pickup via the Internet?”

Aside from requesting package pickups online, You can also create and print shipping labels online. The USPS website has a free online service called Click-N-Ship that lets consumers and small businesses create prepaid shipping labels.

What Are the Valid Methods to Prepay Postage for Package Pickup?

You can prepay postage through the following methods:

  • Postage stamps for items weighing 10oz or less and 1.5in thick or less
  • Postage meter imprint
  • Prepaid Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes
  • Online Click-N-Ship labels with postage
  • PC Postage (information-based indicia or markings used as a substitute for stamps) products
  • Prepaid return items, such as Parcel Return Service

Does the Letter Carrier Have to Verify Postage With Package Pickup?

The letter carrier is usually not required to verify postage. If packages appear underpaid, offices will engage in standard revenue protection practices.

“Do I Need to Keep My Package Pickup Confirmation Notice?”

Although the confirmation email or notice only confirms that USPS picked up your item, you can retain this notice as you do with a receipt. You can keep the note if you purchase a confirmation service since you are paying for it.

Modify or Cancel Pickups: “Can I Modify or Cancel My Package Pickup Request?”

Sometimes, you must change your pickup request for various reasons, such as schedule changes, availability, or preference to drop by the post office to hand over your package. In these cases, USPS allows you to modify or cancel your request. 

The following sections discuss how to make such changes.

“How Do I Modify a Scheduled Pickup?”

To modify your pickup request on the USPS website, follow these steps:

  • Navigate to the “Quick Tools” or “Send” menu and click “Schedule a Pickup.”
  • Click “Modify an Existing Pickup.”
  • Input your phone or email address and your item’s confirmation number.
  • Click “Edit Pickup.”
  • Edit the information you need to modify.
  • Check the agreement box and click “Save.”

After these steps, a confirmation page with the update and confirmation number will appear. 

USPS will also send an email to you with the update confirmation.

“How Do I Cancel a Scheduled Pickup?”

If you need to cancel your pickup schedule, do the following steps:

  • Click “Schedule a Pickup” under the “Quick Tools” or “Send” menu.
  • Click “Modify an Existing Pickup.” 
  • Enter your item’s confirmation number and your email address or phone number.
  • Click “Edit Pickup.”
  • Scroll down and click “Cancel this Scheduled Pickup.”
  • Click “Yes” to confirm your pickup cancellation.

A page confirming the cancellation will appear, and you will also get an email with the cancellation confirmation.

“How Do I Modify a Scheduled Pickup From My Activity History or Account?”

You can change your scheduled pickup request from your activity history if you have a USPS account. In this case, you have two options, described in the following sections.

Option 1

The first option to modify your pickup request includes the following steps:

  • Sign in to your USPS account.
  • Click “Activity History” from the left navigation.
  • Find the last scheduled pickup request from the orders list and click “View Details.”
  • Click “Edit.” The system will take you to the website’s pickup page for your scheduled pickup request.
  • Select the pickup you want to modify and select “Edit Pickups” to edit the information.
  • Check the agreement box and click “Save.”

Option 2

For the second option, perform the following step-by-step instructions to modify your request:

  • Sign in to your account.
  • Click “Package Pickup Requests” from the left navigation 
  • Select your preferred pickup location from the dropdown list.
  • Select the pickup request to modify and click “View Details.”
  • Choose the pickup to change and select “Edit Pickups.”
  • Edit the pickup information.
  • Check the agreement box and click “Save.”

“How Do I Cancel a Scheduled Pickup From My Activity History or Account?”

If you no longer need your package picked up, you can cancel your request from your USPS account. The following sections demonstrate two options to perform this task.

Option 1

Your first option to cancel your pickup request consists of the following steps:

  • Log in to your USPS account and click “Activity History” from the left navigation.
  • Locate your request’s last scheduled pickup from the previous orders list and click “View Details.”
  • Click “Edit” to access the “Schedule a Pickup” page.
  • Select the pickup you want to cancel and click “Cancel Pickups.”
  • Click “Yes” to confirm the pickup cancellation.

Option 2

The steps for the second option are as follows:

  • Log in to your USPS account and select “Package Pickup Requests.”
  • Choose your desired pickup location by expanding the dropdown list.
  • Select the pickup request to cancel and go to “View Details.”
  • Choose the pickup to cancel and click “Cancel Pickups.”  
  • Click “Yes” to confirm your pickup cancellation.

“Where Do I Leave Items for Package Pickup?”

When you request a pickup, you must select the package location. Possible locations include the following:

  • In or at the mailbox
  • On the porch
  • Front door
  • Back door
  • Side door
  • Mailroom
  • Office
  • Reception

You can also instruct the postal worker picking up the item to knock on the door or ring the doorbell.

Some restrictions can apply depending on the area. For example, residents of multi-story buildings may need to bring their packages to a secure ground-level location for pickup.

Additional Information

Other essential information about USPS pickup services includes tracking, package removal, and whether you need to be present during pickup. The following sections discuss these items.

“Can I Track or Confirm the Status of Delivery for Picked Up Mailpieces Online?”

Yes. You can see the delivery status of items sent through Priority Mail Express using USPS Tracking or Signature Confirmation services.

Once your mailpieces enter the USPS system, you can visit the USPS Tracking page on USPS.com to view their status.

“Can I Remove a Package From My Scheduled Package Pickup List?”

You can remove packages from your scheduled pickup list by going to USPS.com’s pickup page and following the prompts. After signing in, you will see a list of your scheduled Package Pickups.

From there, you can modify each pickup’s specific information and add or cancel a scheduled pickup.

“Do I Need to Be Present for Package Pickup?”

As long as you ship postage-paid items properly, prepare them for pickup, and leave them in a safe location for the mail carrier, you don’t need to be present each time a postal carrier stops by your place to pick up your item.

For Questions About Your Package Pickup Request, Including Confirmation Notices Not Received, Contact Your Local Post Office Facility

You can call or visit your local post office for any issue regarding your pickup request. Note that business hours can vary between retail USPS locations.

You can also go to the USPS website and email customer service or call 1-800-ASK-USPS (1-800-275-8777).

FAQs

  1. Why are USPS pickup services more convenient than FedEx or UPS?

USPS offers competitively-priced services that include free and economical pickup solutions. On the other hand, Federal Express (FedEx) or United Parcel Service (UPS) can require you to pay to schedule a pickup.

Furthermore, USPS has continuously worked to improve its services and ensure reliability and timely delivery.

  1. How do I know if my letter carrier successfully picked up my mailpiece?

You will receive an email if the pickup is successful. If you did not provide an email address, your letter carrier will leave a confirmation notice at the pickup location.

The email or notice will confirm that the mailpiece was successfully picked up. If the mailpiece was not collected, the statement will detail why.

  1. I didn’t receive a pickup confirmation email or notice when my letter carrier picked up my mailpiece. What should I do?

If you have yet to receive an email confirming that USPS has picked up your parcel, contact your local post office for assistance.

  1. How do I get USPS to pick up a package from my house?

You can send a pickup request to USPS and select a specific place at your home where the postal worker will pick up your package. For example, inform the carrier to pick up the item at your home’s porch or back door.

  1. How do I pay for USPS Package Pickup?

You must apply sufficient postage to your mailpiece before the pickup. You can purchase postage using a postage meter or online through USPS’ service Click-N-Ship or PC Postage.

References

  1. One Day in the Postal Service
    https://facts.usps.com/one-day/
  2. Carrier Pickup: Free Pickup Saves a Trip to the Post Office
    https://about.usps.com/news/electronic-press-kits/2009/holiday/carrierpickup.htm
  3. Price List
    https://pe.usps.com/text/dmm300/Notice123.htm
  4. Package Pickup & Pickup on Demand®
    https://usps.my.site.com/faq/s/article/What-is-Package-Pickup
  5. USPS Insurance Purchased Online
    https://about.usps.com/postal-bulletin/2004/html/pb22136/kit-text.html
  6. 604 Postage Payment Methods and Refunds
    https://pe.usps.com/Archive/NHTML/DMMArchive20171106/604.htm