USPS Non-Standard Fees: A Guide to Understanding the New USPS Surcharge
Beginning April 3, 2022, USPS will impose a surcharge called a “non-standard fee” on certain shipments. Imposing a surcharge is common practice with other carriers, especially when you ship with UPS, expect to incur additional charges. However, since the USPS has never imposed such surcharges on packages before, many shippers may be making a fuss. This guide is designed to understand these new USPS surcharges, when they apply, and how to avoid them.
What are USPS Non-Standard Fees?
A non-standard service fee is an additional fee that applies to shipments that are larger than a certain length. Essentially, USPS charges these fees for larger packages that take up more space in the truck. The more space a package takes up, the less opportunity USPS has to use the same truck to transport other packages, earn more revenue and operate more efficiently.
Here’s a breakdown of USPS surcharges and the length thresholds for when they go into effect:
- $4 If your package is longer than 22 inches but less than 30 inches
- 15 dollars If your package is longer than 30 inches
- 15 dollars For packages larger than 2 cubic feet
- $1.50 For missing or incorrect dimensions resulting in any of the above non-standard surcharges; treat this as an “overdraft” charge for any of these non-standard charges charged by USPS
Expert Tips: Technically, if your package is longer than 22 inches, you cannot buy a first class package label, so the first two surcharges may not apply as long as you enter the exact dimensions and ship the first class package. However, if your package is more than 2 cubic feet in volume, you may still be charged a $15 fee, and then you may be charged a $1.50 fee.
Services Affected by USPS Surcharges
Non-standard USPS charges apply to the following domestic shipping services:
- first class service
- Priority Mail (and all of its sub-services such as Priority Mail Flat Rate, Regional Rate, and Priority Mail Cubic)
- Priority Mail Express
- retail/package options
The only USPS shipping service in China that does not charge non-standard fees no Applies to media mail. At the time of publication of this guide, international USPS service is not subject to non-standard fees.
When do I need to pay these non-standard fees?
If your package size meets our length thresholds listed above, you will be prompted to pay these surcharges when you purchase labels at the post office or purchase discounted postage online using shipping software. However, if you do not enter the exact dimensions when purchasing prepaid labels online, you may incur these surcharges after shipment after USPS runs your package through its automated package verification system.
How to Avoid the New USPS Surcharge
There are several strategies you can employ to avoid these new surcharges from USPS, which we describe below.
Optimize your package (as small as possible)
First thing: in the shipping industry, size matters, and the smaller the better! You can make sure you don’t have to pay these new USPS non-standard fees by keeping the package as small as possible. You don’t have to worry about paying any USPS surcharges when your box or envelope is 22 inches or less in longest dimension!
If you’re looking for a new place to source smaller packs, ULINE has plenty of options for you. You can even search for a specific size to make sure all box options shown are smaller than the size threshold that USPS will charge you a surcharge!
Take advantage of free USPS Priority Mail
The second way to avoid these new non-standard USPS fees is to take advantage of free Priority Mail boxes that you can ship directly to your door. In case you didn’t know, you can order free Priority Mail packaging directly from the USPS website that you can use to ship your package! Except Small (1098S) and Medium (1098) Priority Mail/Priority Mail Express Tubes, Priority Mail boxes and envelopes on the USPS website each measure no larger than 22 inches. Therefore, you will automatically avoid non-standard fees by using them. You can also order free Priority Mail Express on the USPS website if you want to get your package to the recipient as quickly as possible.
Expert Tips: If you decide to use any free USPS packaging, you will need to pay for the exact service marked on your USPS branded box or envelope. If you don’t, USPS will charge you the difference in postage. Here you can learn about the importance of paying for the correct service marked on the USPS branded box.