From supply chain issues to an overwhelming demand for package shipment, 2020 was one for the record books when it comes to shipping and delivery services—you could even call it “unprecedented”.
This year, the shipping industry is expecting another intense holiday season. For customers, this means placing your orders and sending your shipments earlier than normal, expecting an increase in costs, and looking at less traditional methods for getting your gifts delivered on time.
So, which shipping service is right for you? Well, it depends on what you are sending:
|USPS, UPS, or FedEx is ideal for:||Consolidated freight & less-than-truckload shipping is ideal for:||White glove shipping is ideal for:|
Small boxes of gifts
Boxes packed with anything that are too large for USPS, UPS, or FedEx
Bulky or oddly-shaped items, like golf clubs
With these suggestions in mind, let’s take a look at shipping deadlines for some of the most common shipping providers to ensure your gifts are delivered on time this holiday season:
Shipping Cutoff Date
|USPS Retail Ground™ service||Wednesday, December 15|
|First-Class Mail® service (including greeting cards)||Friday, December 17|
|Priority Mail® service||Saturday, December 18|
|Priority Mail Express® service*||Thursday, December 23|
|*not a guarantee
To offset costs during their peak season, some USPS rates will be between $0.25 and $5.00 higher per package—depending on the service and package weight—between October 3 and December 26, 2021. Learn more in their press release.
Shipping Cutoff Date
|FedEx Freight® Economy
FedEx Ground® Economy
|Thursday, December 9|
|FedEx Ground® Contiguous US
FedEx Ground® Alaska and Hawaii
FedEx Home Delivery® Contiguous US
FedEx Home Delivery® Alaska and Hawaii
FedEx Freight® Priority
FedEx Freight® Direct
|Wednesday, December 15|
|FedEx Express Saver®
FedEx 3Day® Freight
|Tuesday, December 21|
|2Day & 2Day AM
FedEx 2Day® Freight
|Wednesday, December 22|
|FO, PO, SO, Extra Hours
FedEx 1Day® Freight
|Thursday, December 23|
|FedEx Same Day®||Thursday, December 23|
Like USPS, FedEx has made changes to their pricing for the peak season. Surcharges are in effect between October and January. FedEx’s surcharges for residential delivery vary based on their peaking factor. Learn more in their Peak Surcharges and Fees guide.
Shipping Cutoff Date
|UPS® Ground shipping||Varies. Visit UPS's Calculate Time & Cost page for details.|
|3 Day Select®||Tuesday, December 21|
|2nd Day Air® Services||Wednesday, December 22|
|Next Day Air® Services||Thursday, December 23|
UPS has also implemented a seasonal surcharge to help offset their increased costs. This surcharge went into effect on October 17, 2021 and affects most of their services. Learn more in their Peak Surcharge Update (PDF).
Consolidated freight and white glove shipping services
If you’re sending a gift of large packed boxes, furniture, antiques, or family heirlooms, you’ll want a shipping partner who specializes in transporting these items. While USPS, FedEx, and UPS are all capable of carrying oversized packages, in 2021, these providers are applying additional fees and surcharges to oversize packages in order to accommodate the increase in demand. In this case, consolidated freight or white glove shipping is your best bet:
- Consolidated Freight - Consolidated freight is when multiple shipments from different people or businesses share space on a truck heading in the same direction. This method typically takes 3-7 business days to deliver, but can be cheaper than other options. It is ideal for boxes that are too large for USPS, FedEx, or UPS, car parts, and other durable items.
- Consolidated White Glove - White glove shipping is a higher tier of service within the freight shipping family. With white glove shipping, professional movers will provide inside pickup and delivery and will prepare furniture items for transport. This method is ideal for furniture, antiques, and other fragile shipments. All unboxed furniture shipped with TSI is transported using white glove services. For high value or especially fragile items, TSI recommends taking advantage of our custom crating option prior to shipping.
- White glove service can take up to 15 days for pickup and an additional 20 days for delivery. Anything shipped this way should be sent off as soon as possible to ensure on-time delivery.
TSI is not currently experiencing delays with LTL shipments, but White Glove shipments to less-travelled areas may experience some slow-downs.
Just like in 2020, preparation and precaution are integral to getting your packages delivered before the holidays in 2021, so make the effort to ship them as soon as you possibly can. Keep these guidelines in mind when preparing your shipments:
- Use USPS, UPS, or FedEx for cards, small parcels, and smaller boxes.
- Use consolidated freight and specialty shipping companies like TSI for bulkier items, large boxes, or pieces that are too valuable or fragile to ship using traditional services.
- Triple check that both the return and delivery address are correct.
- Have an easy-to-read shipping and address label.
- Correctly fill out the bill of lading and other documentation.
- To ensure it arrives on time and isn’t incredibly expensive, send your shipment early!
Get Your Holiday Shipments On the Road
Discover TSI's specialty shipping services for packed boxes and furniture.