So, you need to ship something.
The task is not as simple as it seems – there are countless shipping companies out there, so how are you supposed to figure out which one is the best option for you?
Some specialize in letters and small packages, while others are global conglomerates.
Keep reading to figure out which option will best meet your needs.
Who Is UPS’s Main Competitor?
UPS’s main competitors are USPS and FedEx.
They are the big three of the shipping world, and each one specializes in different things.
While all three companies have stellar reputations, some are better for quick shipping, some are better for insuring valuables, and some are better for smaller items.
What Is UPS’s Competitive Strategy?
UPS stands out when it comes to shipping larger packages because it has a maximum weight of 150 pounds, which is twice as much as most competitors.
The company also insures packages worth up to $50,000, so it’s a perfect option for anyone shipping valuable items.
UPS is a reputable shipping company, but if it doesn’t work for you, there are many other options you can try.
FedEx is a shipping company specializing in express, overnight, and business shipping.
The company said they started small – they only delivered 186 packages on their first day in 1971! – but have grown to nearly 2,000 locations that serve the entire globe.
FedEx is best for business deliveries.
This is one of the company’s specialties, and they offer the best rates for business packages and shipping documents.
One thing that makes FedEx stand out above UPS is its speed.
The company works with the U.S. Postal Services on its deliveries to help lower costs and accelerate shipping times on domestic deliveries.
- Better for international shipping
- Though both companies offer insurance and package tracking, FedEx specializes in international shipping and is likely a bit more reliable.
- Quicker shipping
- FedEx’s partnership with USPS allows them to guarantee shorter shipping times than UPS.
- More precise delivery times
- Both FedEx and UPS guarantee that your package can be delivered on a specific day, FedEx takes it a step further and guarantees time windows on that day.
- Overnight shipping
- FedEx is known for its reliable overnight shipping options. This allows some peace of mind when you need to mail something quickly.
- Slightly higher rates
- An analysis by Ecomcrew from July 2022 shows that FedEx has higher rates than UPS for both domestic and international services.
- No free package pickup
- Unlike UPS, FedEx does not offer a free package pickup option, which could potentially help lower costs.
DHL was founded by Americans in 1969 but is headquartered in Germany as part of Deutsche Post.
It claims to have the largest worldwide coverage of the various shipping companies, and it is the only company that delivers to North Korea and other sanctioned nations.
DHL is best for global shipping.
It has the widest reach and also prioritizes sustainability with its goal to achieve zero emissions logistics by 2050.
The main thing that makes DHL stand out from its competitors is its international service portfolio.
The company’s international group is broken into five separate operating divisions, and each has its own headquarters and management teams to focus on offering the best services possible.
- Extensive global reach
- Since DHL is the only shipping company that delivers to sanctioned nations like North Korea, it has the most extensive reach for international shipping. DHL delivers to more than 220 countries and territories worldwide, compared to 200 through UPS.
- Sustainability driven
- DHL has publicly promised to pursue sustainability and said they hope to lead the way to sustainable logistics. Not only do they bring packages to the world, but they also want to make the world a better, cleaner place.
- Lower international rates
- Not only can DHL deliver to more international locations than its competitors, but it also offers lower international shipping rates.
- Faster delivery times
- DHL’s average delivery time is 1-3 days, compared to UPS’s 2-5 day average quote.
- Outsources domestic shipments
- Because it’s not an American company, DHL can’t ship between domestic U.S. airports. Instead, it contracts its American shipments to third-party companies to complete.
- Higher domestic rates
- Because it has to outsource its domestic shipments, DHL has higher domestic rates than UPS and other American competitors.
Amazon is a global shipping conglomerate, often considered UPS’s largest competitor.
Known for its quick Prime delivery service and its Alexa smart home system, Amazon is a household name that more and more people are relying on for their online shopping needs.
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Amazon could take over as the United States’ largest carrier this year.
UPS delivered about 5.5 billion packages nationwide in 2021, and Amazon delivered more than 5 billion.
The company claims it may outpace UPS this year.
Amazon is the best for online sellers. Unlike some of its top competitors, Amazon doesn’t have in-person locations for customers to drop off and ship items.
Its shipments are done through warehouses and online sellers.
The company also ships some cargo for outside customers through a program called Amazon Freight.
- Prime 2-day and next-day delivery
- Amazon Prime is a service that’s beloved by many, and it has taken over the online shopping world. Why would you want to purchase something shipped through a competitor that won’t get to you for a week or more, when you could order it on Amazon and see it delivered the next morning, guaranteed?
- Great for eCommerce sellers
- Amazon is designed for online sellers, and it’s done a great job of optimizing its services for eCommerce sellers. The company offers competitive pricing and shipping speeds that can’t be beaten.
- Good Reputation
- Amazon has a reputation for good customer service and fast shipping, so if your business is associated with Amazon delivery, it may attract more customers. Nobody wants to purchase something with long delivery times if next-day shipping is available somewhere else!
- Great customer service
- Amazon has a great customer service department, and they are known to remedy issues and accept returns pretty easily, with few to no questions asked. If you sell through Amazon, they will take care of the customer service side of things for you.
- “Free” shipping can be misleading
- Amazon offers free shipping, which sounds great in theory. But the company says they have to increase some of their prices to cover the price of shipping.
- You can’t just ship through Amazon
- With companies like UPS, FedEx, and USPS, you can go to a location near you, purchase a shipping label, and drop off an item to be shipped. That’s not the case with Amazon, as it’s currently designed for businesses to ship and consumers to shop.
The U.S. Postal Service is the national postal service that has been around in some way or another since 1775.
It became a permanent fixture of the federal government when The Post Office Act of 1972 passed to ensure mail services to the nation.
According to USPS, they are the only mail service that can reach every address in the nation.
USPS is best for individuals seeking regular domestic mailing services.
The service offers shipping throughout the United States, as well as Post Office Boxes for added security when you’re receiving mail.
Though it is a government service, USPS is not funded by tax dollars.
Instead, they rely fully on the sale of postage and services to keep it in business.
- Wide reach for domestic deliveries
- USPS claims to have the widest domestic reach and says it can deliver to any address in the nation. They claim to deliver to more than 163 million addresses across every state, city, and town in America.
- The U.S. Postal Service is a government entity, but they don’t use tax dollars. Instead, they are fully self-sufficient based on postage and service sales.
- Free package pickup
- Since USPS drivers deliver mail six days a week anyway, you can request for packages you’re shipping to be picked up as a part of your local mail carrier’s regular route. It doesn’t cost you a thing, and it saves you a trip to the post office.
- Quick package delivery
- Though they’re limited in the size of packages they can deliver, USPS typically delivers packages a few days quicker than UPS.
- No large packages
- USPS specializes in delivering letters and small packages.
- Subpar tracking
- USPS doesn’t have a great tracking service. UPS has much more reliable tracking options.
5. C.H. Robinson
C.H. Robinson is a Fortune 200 global logistics company that offers freight shipping options for businesses.
The company has been around since 1905 and offers a variety of shipping options for its customers.
C.H. Robinson is best for companies looking for freight transportation.
It offers truckload, less than truckload, air freight, intermodal, and ocean transportation to meet any business shipping needs.
- Custom shipment analysis
- C.H. Robinson launched Procure IQ in 2020 to allow truckload shippers to get custom analyses for each shipment as opposed to the one-size-fits-all solution many other shipment companies offer.
- Variety of shipment options
- C.H. Robinson offers truckload, less than truckload, ocean, and air shipments to meet a wide range of shipping needs.
- Supply chain resources
- The company offers a variety of educational resources including case studies, market insights, and webinars designed to help shippers make informed decisions.
- Best-in-class TMS solutions
- Navisphere, the company’s free Global Transportation Management System, provides planning solutions, pricing, booking, freight tracking, and analytics all in one convenient package.
- Not optimal for single-package deliveries
- If you’re an individual looking to mail a single package or letter, C.H. Robinson isn’t a great option. Their business is focused on larger-scale freight shipments.
- Not many locations
- It’s not easy to find a C.H. Robinson location if you’re looking to speak with someone in-person. They don’t have storefronts, just national headquarters.
6. XPO Logistics
XPO Logistics is a company that focuses on supply chain management rather than package delivery.
It deals heavily in the online shopping world and worked with Amazon until the latter moved more of its logistics work in-house and ended its relationship with XPO Logistics in 2019.
XPO Logistics is best for eCommerce sellers and businesses.
Some of the company’s biggest customers include Caterpillar and Tractor Supply, according to CNBC.
- Safe delivery of heavy goods
- XPO Logistics has a reputation for safely delivering heavy shipments like appliances and furniture.
- Business discounts
- XPO Logistics offers discounted rates of up to 60% for businesses that commit to a pricing agreement.
- Quick delivery
- The company has dedicated facilities across the United States and promises to deliver packages anywhere in the nation within two days.
- High-tech service options
- XPO Logistics utilizes technology to optimize routing and pricing to provide competitive rates and shipping times and simple customer communication.
- Not optimal for single-package deliveries
- If you’re an individual looking to mail a single package or letter, XPO Logistics isn’t a great option. Their business is focused on larger-scale freight shipments.
- Many customer complaints
- XPO Logistics is not accredited by the Better Business Bureau, but the BBB has received more than 1,200 complaints against the company in the past three years. Of those, 950 complaints focused on delivery issues and damages.
7. YRC Worldwide
YRC Worldwide is an American freight company that specializes in less than truckload shipping.
Founded in Oklahoma in 1924, YRC Worldwide is a subsidiary of Yellow that offers delivery to the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
YRC Worldwide is best for American companies looking for domestic shipping solutions.
150-200 word mini review including:
- Free tradeshow delivery
- YRC is the only shipping company that offers free delivery to tradeshow exhibits.
- SmartWay Transport Partner
- YRC and Yellow make an effort to do their job in a way that helps the environment by promoting pollution prevention, waste reduction, and conservation.
- Time-Critical delivery option
- The company offers a Time-Critical service to guarantee delivery on any specific day, including federal service holidays, anywhere in North America.
- Competitive Pricing
- YRC offers competitive pricing for freight shipments and works with customers to determine fair pricing on a case-by-case basis.
- Poor customer service
- The company’s BBB profile is riddled with negative reviews from customers complaining about YRC customer service. Some of the main complaints are that people can’t get ahold of anyone after lengthy hold times, and calls are not returned.
- Non-reliable pricing
- Many BBB customer reviews also alleged that YRC changed their pricing rates throughout the delivery process, and they ended up paying more than they were originally quoted.
There’s no one-size-fits-all answer when comparing shipping companies.
It all depends on what it is you’re looking for – each of the above companies specializes in something different, and what works better for one person or business may not be the same for someone else.
When making your decision, be sure to check and see which companies meet your specific needs, then compare the pricing and shipping times for each option to determine which one is the best choice for you.