USPS, as an incentive to use its Priority Mail services, offers free Priority Mail branded boxes. There are three kinds of Priority boxes with different associated pricing schemes:
USPS Regional Rate Shipping
Regular - priced by weight and distance (Measured by “Zone” with Zone 1 being local, Zone 8 cross-country, and Zone 9 a very distant location like certain U.S. territories)
Flat - same price no matter the weight or distance
Regional - priced by distance and as if a fixed weight
You can also provide your own “brown” boxes to ship Priority mail, but only at the regular Priority rate. In order to get Flat or Regional rates, you must use the branded boxes provided by USPS for the specific special rate.
Regional Rate Pricing - priced at a fixed weight, variable by distance
Price varies by distance - closer is cheaper. However, always priced as if a fixed weight even if the actual weight is more (or less!)
Pricing for Regional Rate Boxes is zone-based. There are 9 zones in the U.S., and the rates are based on the distance from the origin location to the delivery destination. You can go here to see our USPS Pricing, including our Regional Rate box pricing.
Related: Compare USPS Priority Mail to Priority Mail Express
5 Regional Rate Boxes
Similar to other USPS Priority Mail services, Regional Rate shipments are packaged in postal service-supplied boxes. These boxes come in five sizes, which in turn are divided into three pricing categories: A, B, and C.
Regional Rate A Boxes – Maximum 15 pounds
- Sideloading – 11 1⁄16″ x 2 1⁄2″ x 13 1⁄16″
- Top loading – 10 1⁄8″ x 7 1⁄8″ x 5″
Regional Rate B Boxes – Maximum 20 pounds
- Sideloading – 14 1⁄2″ x 3″ x 16 1⁄4″
- Top loading – 12 1⁄4″ x 10 1⁄2″ x 5 1⁄2″
Regional Rate C Box – Maximum 25 pounds
- Top loading – 15″ x 12″ x 12″
Related: USPS Flat Rate Boxes & Pricing: eCommerce Businesses
Ways to Save with Regional Rate Shipping
The USPS Priority Mail Regional Rate shipping service gives eCommerce businesses three opportunities to “save” on shipping, including saving on packaging, saving delivery time (in some cases), and saving money on shipping costs.
Free Boxes Reduce Packaging Expenses
The first, but, perhaps, least obvious savings come from using USPS-supplied boxes. As mentioned above, there are five shapes or sizes of Regional Rate boxes. If a shipper had to buy these boxes, they would roughly cost between about 65 cents for the top-loading Regional Rate A box, which probably is the least expensive of the five, to something like $2.00 for a side-loading, self-adhesive Regional Rate A box.
If you assumed an average box cost of $1.25, an eCommerce shipper sending 1000 packages per month this way would save $15,000 per year in packaging, using the free USPS Regional Rate boxes.
Related: USPS Lost My Package: What Do I Do?
Regional Rate Shipments Save Delivery Time
Because Regional Rate shipments are a subset of USPS Priority Mail Service, they are guaranteed to be delivered in two to three days, and they include free Saturday delivery. What’s more, when sent regionally they can often arrive in just one or two days.
As an example, if a shipper in Salt Lake City, Utah, sent an item to Las Vegas, Nevada, on a Friday via the USPS Regional Rate service, that package would likely arrive on Saturday, the very next day.
A similar package sent via a ground service may not arrive until the following Monday or Tuesday, meaning that in some cases, Regional Rate shipping could cut delivery times by a day or two. This is a specific example. The same orders sent on a Tuesday might not be delivered any more quickly. Even in the worst of scenarios, Regional Rate shipping is not slower than competitive ground services.
Some Packages Ship for Less
Although USPS Priority Mail Regional Rate boxes may be shipping to and from anywhere in the United States, as the name implies, the Regional Rate service works best when a shipper is sending packages a relatively short distance.
Learn More: What Do the USPS Tracking Status Updates Mean?