Whether you're using the postal service or another carrier, you'll have multiple shipping options to consider that differ in terms of pricing, restrictions, speed and transportation methods. The economy ground shipping option involves having your package transported with trains, trucks and other vehicles that travel on land versus with an airplane.
While choosing economy shipping could save you money, you often have to deal with a longer transit time than with expedited and standard shipping options. Here's what individuals and small businesses should know about economy ground shipping and options through major carriers.
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Economy Ground Shipping Meaning
When you use economy ground shipping, you can expect the entire transportation of your shipment to occur on land. So, how long does economy shipping take? You'll usually need to wait five to seven days or even longer for domestic deliveries. However, the actual shipping time depends on the distance between the origin and destination, the shipper and service used and any service delays.
Since there's no air transportation involved, you'll find that economy ground shipping is a reasonably low-cost option. This makes it particularly appealing for shipping heavy items a far distance. Ecommerce businesses with a large shipment volume can also benefit.
Since the Federal Aviation Administration places restrictions on the types of goods that can travel via air transportation, economy courier services offer more flexibility for hazardous shipments. For example, chemicals often need to be shipped with a ground service for safety. Retailers usually ship special items, like live animals and large furniture, using economical shipping too.
Exploring Economy Shipping Services
Here are some domestic economy ground shipping methods offered through major providers:
- USPS: The United States Postal Service (USPS) offers economy ground shipping with its Parcel Select and Retail Ground service options. USPS says Retail Ground is geared toward typical consumers and takes two to five business days. USPS Parcel Select is more for businesses that ship several items and can take two to nine days for delivery. These post office services offer Saturday delivery for their economy ground services, unlike some other shipping companies.
- FedEx: This shipping company offers FedEx Ground Economy, FedEx Ground and FedEx Home Delivery. FedEx says that businesses can use the daily Ground Economy service with a delivery time of two to seven business days. FedEx mentions a delivery time of one to five business days for its FedEx Ground service, which delivers Monday through Friday to business addresses. Finally, FedEx says its Home Delivery service runs daily for private residences and delivers in one to five days in most areas.
- UPS: Popular economy ground shipping options through UPS include UPS SurePost and UPS Ground. UPS says the SurePost service is for small packages, delivers in two to seven days and operates seven days a week. UPS explains that its UPS Ground service supports larger packages, runs Monday through Friday and takes one to five days in most cases.
Deciding to Use Economy Ground
You'll want to consider the pros and cons of economy ground shipping to determine if you should use it over another option, like air shipping.
Using this option could be the cheapest way to ship your item, but you'll want to check shipping rates and compare economy delivery options. If it's suitable for your shipment, you can have a lower shipping cost and still get to track packages through the delivery service as with more premium services.
This cost-effective option can serve you well if you have a package that's not time-sensitive or when you need to ship a bulky item or something restricted from air shipping. However, the tradeoff mainly comes with the potentially longer time in transit, and this can create an issue when the shipment is urgent or perishable. In that case, you might opt for an expedited shipping service, like FedEx First Overnight, USPS Express Mail or USPS Priority Mail.