Whether you're toting a pile of packages into the post office or preparing them for United States Postal Service pickup, it makes sense to print your shipping labels in advance. This saves you the hassle of writing labels while you stand in line, juggling packages as you move up the line. It's easy to do using the USPS shipping label template, and the USPS shipping calculator lets you pay in advance so your packages are ready to mail.
Getting Into the USPS Website
You must have an account on USPS.com to print their labels, but opening an account is free. Go to USPS.com and click on "mail and ship" and then “print a label.” You will be taken to the step for signing in.
If you already have a USPS account:
- Enter your user name and password.
- If you get the message that there is no match for that combination of user name and password and you know you have a USPS online account, click on either "forgot my user name" or "forgot my password."
- You will be sent an email with your user name or an email with a link to reset your password.
- You can also reset both by resetting one and then the other.
If you do not have a USPS account, you'll need to create one in order to print labels. Click on "sign up now" and follow the directions to create your free account and to sign in.
Using the USPS Shipping Label Template
The USPS shipping label template leads you through the process of printing your label step by step:
- Enter the destination address of your package.
- Enter the weight of the package.
- Save the address to your USPS address book so you'll have access to it next time.
- Choose whether you're mailing via Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express overnight service.
- Click on the postage prompt if you want to prepay the postage using the USPS shipping calculator.
- Repeat these steps for each additional package you are mailing.
- Click on "pick up" if you want to schedule a USPS package pickup. USPS will pick up your packages when your postal carrier delivers your mail.
It's best to use a postage scale for weighing your packages because it has ounces as well as pounds and is therefore quite accurate. You can purchase one online or at office-supply stores and big-box stores like Walmart. If you're using a regular bathroom scale and the weight is less than 1 pound, you'll be safe if you round its weight up to 1 pound. Although you'll pay more in postage than necessary, you'll have the assurance that your package has enough postage to be mailed to its destination.
Shipping in USPS Flat-Rate Boxes
Another option is to use USPS flat-rate boxes, which are provided at no cost, and you can order them to be delivered to you. If you need just a few in a hurry, pick them up at your local post office. Boxes are priced based on their size, and you pay the flat rate for shipping regardless of the package's weight. If you use these boxes, you'll want to print shipping labels without postage because the postage has been predetermined.
Checking out Shipping Apps
If you think you might use other shipping carriers in addition to USPS, it could be worth looking into some of the shipping applications that help you ship through multiple carriers including USPS, UPS, FedEx and others. Instead of printing labels through each carrier's website, you go to the app, choose the shipper you want to use, take care of shipping costs and print your shipping label. Some apps let you pay per piece or "pay as you go" rather than charging a monthly fee and are thus affordable for smaller businesses to use.
Barbara Bean-Mellinger is a freelance writer who lives in the Washington, D.C. area. She has written on business topics for afkinsider.com, smallbusiness.chron.com, Harbor Style Magazine, the Charlotte Sun and more, as well as advertising copy and materials. Barbara holds a B.S. from the University of Pittsburgh and has won numerous awards in B2B and B2C marketing.