Steep Discount on USPS Priority Mail Rates

Commercial Plus Cubic – Little known USPS discount that could save you bundles.

The USPS launched Commercial Plus Cubic rates in 2011 with little fanfare and minimal consumer or USPS employee education.  If you Google “Commercial Plus Cubic” – you will find very little information aside from technical specifications.  Why you ask?  Your guess is as good as mine, but let’s try to de-mystify this little known treasure trove.

The concept is simple – Commercial Plus Cubic prices are not based on weight, but are charged by zone and cubic measurement of the mailpiece.   Notably, the USPS requires mailers ship a minimum of 50,000 units per year.  The savings sweet-spot is with dense packaging with limited empty space.  The more you can fit into a smaller package, the better the rate.

I will illustrate the cubic volume calculation using our best-selling Conformer Heavy Duty Mailer. Let’s assume you fill the mailer to 1.75” thick with standard paper – about 400 sheets.  The total measurement would be 11.75″ x 14.5″ x 1.75″ with a total weight of 5 lbs.  Multiply the length by the width by the height and divide by 1728. For example –

  • 11.75″ x 14.5″ x 1.75″ = 298.16″ then 298.16″ / 1728 = 0.172 sq / ft.

A package with a cubic volume of 0.172 sq/ft qualifies for the < 0.2 rate, or $4.99 – $7.56 depending on zone.

Here’s how the 5 lbs. rates stack up against other USPS products –

  • $4.99 – $7.56 – Priority Mail Commercial Plus Cubic rate – depending on zone – details here, rates here.
  • $5.32 – 11.96 – Priority Mail regional rate box type A – details here, and rates here.
  • $12.35 – Priority Mail – Medium Flat Rate Box – details here,  and rates here.
  • $6.47 – $21.96 – Priority Mail – Commercial Plus, non-flat rate packaging – depending on zone – details here, and rates here.

You should be using Priority Mail Commercial Plus Cubic rates if:

  • You ship over 50,000 units per year.
  • You ship items over 1 lbs.
  • The items you ship do not require significant padding.
  • The items you ship are under 0.5 sq / ft in volume.

Ideal items to ship via Commercial Plus Cubic:  Batteries, small parts, cables, books, thick statements and reports, stationary, PC games, etc.

-Bob Makofsky at bmakofsky@conformer.com

 

About Bob Makofsky

Bob runs operations and marketing and is Conformer’s resident postal expert. Bob has over a dozen years of entrepreneurial experience in the technology industry, in both marketing and business development roles ranging from negotiating $100 million-plus contracts nationally and abroad to developing marketing campaigns. He is regularly featured in print and packaging trade magazines on innovation. Bob is a competitive cyclist and longtime member of the Century Road Club Association in Central Park, competing in the Empire State Games (2007, 2008). Bob graduated from the University of Denver.
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