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Overnight Shipping: Cost Comparisons, Options, Expectations

Published in All Resources

In today’s age of instant gratification, customers expect fast and convenient shipping options when shopping online. The demand for speed has led many eCommerce businesses to explore offering overnight shipping services to their customers.

Overnight shipping not only provides a compelling way to meet shoppers’ desires for rapid delivery, but it can also give retailers a competitive edge in the crowded eCommerce marketplace. In this guide, we’re going to go over everything to know about overnight shipping and whether it makes sense to offer it to your customers.

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What Is Overnight Shipping?

Overnight shipping services deliver products to consumers one business day after they place their order. In many cases, this means delivery happens overnight, but in some cases, overnight shipping still takes two to three days. 

Overnight delivery is sometimes referred to as next-day shipping or one-day shipping. Every carrier is slightly different in terms of pricing, cutoff times and other overnight shipping regulations. 

Large e-commerce platforms like Amazon have popularized online shipping, and many consumers have gotten used to having the products they need readily available. To stay competitive, you’ll need to offer fast shipping. In fact, 41% of online consumers prefer some form of rush or priority delivery.  

How Does Overnight Shipping Work?

Overnight shipping has become very common over the past few years, but it’s still not a viable option for every package. Certain requirements must be met for any overnight delivery to be feasible. 

Every carrier has specified cutoff times for shipping overnight. The package must be shipped before the cutoff time to qualify, and there could be weight limits for packages. All packages must be securely sealed and safe for transport. 

Shipping packages overnight may not work for every destination. If you are shipping internationally, this service usually isn’t physically or financially feasible. Most carriers have a robust same-day shipping network in the United States. But some remote locations still may not be good candidates for same-day shipping. 

You also must make sure your provider can feasibly ship the quantities you need. Overnight shipping usually isn’t an option for bulk orders because of limited space. 

Comparing Carrier Rates

Three major carriers in the United States offer overnight options: United States Postal Service (USPS), UPS and FedEx. Each has its own overnight rates and standards. Understanding these rates can help you choose the best carrier for your needs. Carrier costs also directly affect how much you can charge your customers for shipping and handling

USPS Overnight Shipping Costs

USPS overnight shipping is called Priority Mail Express. USPS offers this service for both domestic and international packages. When using the post office for shipping overnight, prices depend on the weight of the package. Because of this, USPS Priority Mail Express is usually best for lightweight packages and documents. 

Domestic Priority Mail Express promises next-day or two-day delivery by 6 p.m., backed by a money-back guarantee. The post office doesn’t guarantee the package will arrive the next day. Starting costs for this service are as follows: 

  • $28.75 for packages weighing less than half a pound
  • $31.19 for packages weighing less than 5 pounds
  • $46.80 for packages weighing less than 10 pounds
  • $49.05 for packages weighing more than 10 pounds. 

Priority Mail Express International is more expensive than domestic Priority Mail Express. USPS guarantees delivery in three to five business days. Here are the starting costs for this service: 

  • $56.00 for packages weighing less than half a pound
  • $78.50 for packages weighing less than 5 pounds
  • $107.75 for packages weighing less than 10 pounds
  • $113.35 for packages weighing more than 10 pounds

UPS Overnight Shipping Costs

UPS offers some of the most robust overnight options on the market. It has three overnight options available:

  • Next Day Air Early offers shipping by 8 a.m. the next business day.
  • Next Day Air shipments are available by 10:30 a.m. the next business day.
  • Next Day Air Saver offers delivery by 3 p.m. or 4:30 p.m. the next business day.

All UPS deliveries are fully trackable. 

Pricing for these services varies depending on the weight and size of the package. 

  • Next Day Air Saver rates start at $13.30 for a 1-pound package
  • Next Day Air rates start at $16.90 for a 1-pound package
  • Next Day Air Early rates start at $49.50 for a 1-pound package

FedEx Overnight Shipping Costs

FedEx is known for providing some of the best value on the market when it comes to overnight shipping. It offers three overnight shipping options, Standard, Priority and First. Remember that overnight shipping prices can change depending on whether it’s peak season.

Standard Overnight delivery packages reach their destination by 4:30 p.m. the next day. Shipments range from $33.87 for a 1-pound package to more than $100 for a package of the same weight.

The price difference is because of the destination location, with places like rural Alaska and Hawaii being the most expensive. Prices increase according to weight and delivery commitment time. 

Priority Overnight shipments arrive by 10:30 a.m. Rates range from $37.04 to more than $140 for a one-pound package. Finally, FedEx First Overnight packages arrive by 9 a.m. for most locations, and prices begin at $68.04 for a 1-pound package. 

Benefits of Overnight Shipping

eCommerce businesses are increasingly opting to offer overnight shipping options, not only as a way to appeal to customers, but also because this shipping solution can offer real benefits to their enterprise as well. In fact, 80% of surveyed executives see same-day delivery as a way to increase revenue while also reducing supply chain costs. Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of overnight shipping for both your business and your customers.

For Your Business

  1. Improved customer satisfaction: By providing the option of overnight shipping, businesses can meet the demands of customers who require prompt delivery, leading to increased customer satisfaction and loyalty.
  2. Competitive edge: Overnight shipping can give businesses a competitive advantage over competitors who do not offer such expedited delivery options, especially in industries where speed and responsiveness are crucial or where similar brands aren’t offering options for overnight shipping.
  3. Expanded market reach: With overnight shipping, businesses can effectively serve customers across a wider geographic area, as distance is no longer a significant barrier to timely delivery.
  4. Increased sales potential: The availability of overnight shipping can encourage impulse purchases or last-minute orders from customers who need items urgently, potentially boosting sales revenue.
  5. Streamlined logistics: For businesses relying on just-in-time inventory management or time-sensitive materials, overnight shipping can help optimize logistics and prevent disruptions in operations or production schedules.

For Your Customers

  1. Convenience and time-saving: Overnight shipping offers customers the convenience of receiving their orders or packages quickly, without the need for in-person pickups or extended waiting periods.
  2. Reliability and peace of mind: Major courier companies offering overnight shipping services have established networks and processes, ensuring reliable and on-time deliveries, providing customers with peace of mind.
  3. Meeting urgent needs: In emergency situations or for time-sensitive items, overnight shipping allows customers to receive critical items or documents promptly, mitigating potential problems or losses.
  4. Enhanced shopping experience: The availability of overnight shipping can improve the overall shopping experience for customers, as they can make purchases with the assurance of prompt delivery, even for last-minute needs.
  5. Accessibility: For customers living in remote areas or those with mobility issues, overnight shipping ensures they can receive their packages without delay, enhancing accessibility and convenience.

3 Options to Help Save on Overnight Shipping

Customers expect overnight mail options these days, but offering overnight shipping can be very pricey. Some strategies can help you save on your services. Here are some tips to help you save money on your shipping. 

1. Store and Ship from Multiple Warehouses

Using multiple warehouses can help you save money and make your inventory management more efficient. By using multiple warehouses in different locations, you may be able to cut down on shipping distances, save money and be more environmentally friendly in the process. 

2. Try Negotiating Rates with Carriers

Many e-commerce providers don’t realize that shipping rates are negotiable. Many carriers are willing to work with customers to find pricing that works for everyone. If you need to do overnight shipments in large quantities, you may be able to negotiate a more affordable flat rate with your provider. 

3. Check for Same-Day Shipping Guarantees

Customers have high expectations when it comes to same-day shipping. But there are times when carriers do not meet their same-day shipping requirements. This can result in added shipping charges to ensure your items get there on time. Same-day shipping guarantees can help prevent extra charges if your package does not arrive on time. 

Boost Customer Satisfaction with Fast Delivery from Print Bind Ship

If your business offers an overnight shipping option, you can see significant increases in orders — provided you take measures to keep the service from eating into your profits. 

Partnering with Print Bind Ship can make a big difference to your bottom line. We have warehouses worldwide to reduce delivery times and costs, and we can negotiate favorable rates with international carriers. Contact Print Bind Ship today and optimize your shipping.


How long does it take for an overnight shipment to be delivered?

In many cases, the item will arrive the next business day. Sometimes it can take up to three days to arrive because of delays.

How much does overnight shipping cost?

While overnight shipping is more expensive for all carriers, USPS is the cheapest provider. Its rates begin at $28.75 for a half-pound package.

Are there any limitations or restrictions on overnight shipping?

All carriers have a cutoff time for overnight shipping. Weight limits may also apply.

What is the cut-off time for overnight shipping?

The cut-off time for overnight shipping varies by courier company, but it’s typically in the late afternoon or early evening. Packages need to be dropped off or picked up before this cut-off time to be eligible for next-day delivery.

What types of items can be shipped overnight?

Most courier companies allow a wide range of items to be shipped overnight, including documents, small packages, and even larger freight shipments. However, certain restrictions may apply to hazardous materials, live animals, or extremely large or heavy items.

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