What Is Parcel Post Shipping?

by Ashley Adams-Mott - Updated September 26, 2017
Parcel Post if your time frame permits

Parcel Post is a service offered by the United States Postal Service (USPS) as an "affordable and reliable option for packages." Parcel Post offers a lower-cost option for shipping items that are not eligible for First Class Mail delivery. For heavier items that do not need to be delivered within the two-to-three-business-day window Priority Mail offers, Parcel Post provides a substantial savings in the cost of postage.

Parcel Post Eligible Items

Any item that weighs over 13 oz is not eligible for First Class Mail shipping through the USPS and must be shipped via Priority Mail, Parcel Post, Media Mail or Bound Printed Matter. Parcel Post eligible items include anything mailable by the USPS. Collectibles, toys, household goods, clothing, shoes and small pieces of exercise equipment are all examples of items eligible for shipping via Parcel Post. Books, videos and music are also eligible for Parcel Post shipping but are more economically shipped via Media Mail.

Size Requirements for Parcel Post

Packages sent through the USPS via Parcel Post can measure up to 130 inches in combined length and girth. This is the largest package size allowed by the USPS. A Parcel Post package that has a combined length and girth of greater than 108 inches but less than 130 inches has postage assessed at an oversized price instead of at the standard Parcel Post rate. When measuring for a postage calculation, consider the longest side of your parcel to be the length and measure the girth at the thickest point of the package.

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Weight Limits on Parcel Post

Parcel Post is a cost-effective shipping option when the 13-oz weight limit on First Class Mail is exceeded. An item shipped via Parcel Post is allowed to weigh up to a USPS maximum allowed weight of 70 lbs but a surcharge is assessed when the weight exceeds the 35-lb level.

Shaped Mailers Allowed in Parcel Post

Packages without a standard mailing or rectangular shape are eligible for Parcel Post shipping. Mailers such as tubes and rolls as well as other irregular sized parcels that are not 26 inches or more on their longest size are assessed an additional surcharge because they are considered non-machineable.

Extra Services on Parcel Post Packages

Not all USPS services can be provided with Parcel Post packages, but many extra services remain open and available for purchase on top of the regular postage costs. Delivery Confirmation, Signature Confirmation, Insurance, a Return Receipt and Cash On Delivery forms are Parcel Post eligible and add an extra layer of protection or a needed service to your shipment.

Delivery Times for Parcel Post

Parcel Post is typically delivered within two to nine days within the lower 48 states though the size of a package or the final destination can alter this delivery time frame. USPS.com recommends using their shipping calculator to receive the most accurate delivery time quote possible.

About the Author

Ashley Mott has 12 years of small business management experience and a BSBA in accounting from Columbia. She is a full-time government and public safety reporter for Gannett.

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