What Is the Cheapest Overnight Shipping Option? (2023)

Having the ability to ship packages overnight can make a world of difference. As an individual or business owner, there may be a time when you need a recipient to receive their package the following day. Many companies offer an overnight shipping option, and you may be wondering about overnight courier costs.

If you want to know the cheapest overnight shipping option, you must understand the factors that impact shipping costs in the first place.

What Is Overnight Shipping?

Overnight shipping is typically the fastest way to ship a package overnight, and it is offered by major couriers that ensure customers will receive their order the next business day. Various shipping carriers offering overnight shipping often have daily cutoff times after which next-day delivery cannot be carried out, and, depending on the specific shipping service and courier, orders placed over the weekend may need two days to arrive. This is because the weekend is almost always an off time.

Overnight shipping is sometimes referred to as one-day or next-day shipping; however, the specific delivery dates will depend on when the order is placed. Companies offering overnight shipping utilize transportation networks that allow them to dispatch orders quickly and efficiently.

These networks are usually spread out across the nation, allowing customers to leave a package with a courier and have it ready for delivery in the morning. Express delivery service is sometimes only limited to certain geographic locations.

How Does Overnight Shipping Work?

Couriers take numerous steps to ensure packages arrive within one day. The expedited delivery system typically works as follows:

  1. A customer places an order prior to the cutoff time for overnight delivery. This provides the courier with time to process the order, pick up, package, and deliver the parcel.
  2. The customer or fulfillment partner prepares the overnight order for the courier to pick up. Customers are responsible for taking steps such as packaging the parcel and printing the shipping label.
  3. The courier receives and processes the package. Along the way, the overnight shipping order will be placed with other orders and routed to its destination.
  4. The parcel is taken to an overnight delivery location. After routing the parcel, it is sent to a delivery hub close to the receiving customer. Parcels are usually shipped overnight via air or ground to ensure they reach customers quickly.
  5. The customer receives their order the following day.

The majority of major carriers offer the overnight delivery option to keep both customers and business owners satisfied.

Benefits of Using Overnight Delivery

Most customers crave the option to ship packages quickly and efficiently, and by utilizing the next-day delivery option, they can. Businesses that offer overnight delivery can enjoy the following benefits:

Increased Customer Satisfaction

As time progresses, customer expectations continue to rise, and fast shipping options become more popular. Offering overnight shipping can satisfy customers and establish brand loyalty by giving consumers various shipping choices.

Increased Revenue and Sales

As customer satisfaction increases, companies begin to notice a higher revenue. Since customers know they can count on your company to deliver orders quickly, they will keep coming back and spending their money with you.

Lower Storage Costs

Overnight shipping helps companies save storage space and reduce costs. The more space you have, the less you will have to spend in the long run.

Freedom to Deliver Time-Sensitive Orders

By offering next-day delivery, you can provide them with more options if they need their order quickly.

Since overnight shipping is the fastest delivery method available, businesses can appeal to a broader customer base that expects instant delivery.

How Much to Overnight a Package

What Is the Cheapest Overnight Shipping Option? (1)

The cost to ship a package overnight will depend on several factors:

Package Dimensions

The first factor is the dimensions of the package. All carriers utilize a pricing model known as DIM weight, short for dimensional weight, to calculate shipping costs. This weight is calculated by multiplying the width, length, and height of a parcel, then dividing that figure by a DIM divisor.

Carriers then base shipping rates on whichever figure is greater – the physical weight of the parcel or its DIM weight. This weight is known as the billable weight, and it will determine your overnight shipping costs.

Package Weight

Heavier parcels cost more to ship than lighter ones. As previously stated, if the weight of a package exceeds its DIM weight, it will be used to calculate the cost of shipping. Simply put, the heavier the package, the more you will need to spend to ship it overnight.

Carrier Shipping Agreements

It may be possible to receive a discounted overnight shipping rate from certain couriers. Many couriers offer discounts for high volumes, while others offer discounts to small businesses. When choosing a courier, it may be wise to select one that offers discounts to your business.

Shipping Zones

Shipping zones are used to measure the distance between a package's destination and its point of origin. These zones are used to calculate shipping costs, and in the United States, there are eight distinct shipping zones.

Shipping zones calculate costs based on where a package is sent from, so it is possible for two packages shipped from the same location to have different shipping costs since they are going to different locations. Higher shipping zones have higher costs. The price increase between zones can also be drastically different.

Reducing Your Overnight Shipping Costs

Now that companies such as Amazon offer free two-day shipping, most consumers expect fast shipping and many judge companies based on how fast they ship their orders. Some companies have even rolled out same-day and one-day delivery programs on certain products. To avoid sharp criticism from customers, you must deliver orders expediently.

Overnight shipping costs more than regular shipping, and if you use the option frequently, you can end up spending a significant amount of money. As a small business or individual, you more than likely don't want to spend more than you have to, and there are ways to reduce your overnight shipping costs. Here are three ways to reduce your overnight shipping expenses:

Ship From Multiple Warehouses

Companies such as Amazon can offer same-day delivery because it has a network composed of numerous warehouses around the country. The distance between these warehouses and most locations is relatively short, especially for individuals in larger cities. Unfortunately, most people and small businesses can't afford to utilize such a vast network of warehouses, and for most, overnight shipping is the only way to ensure a person receives a package the next day.

Despite the fact that small businesses can’t utilize a vast warehouse network, they can still split their inventory between more than one warehouse. There may be freight costs associated with shipping in bulk in each location, but you will notice that shipping in bulk is cheaper than shipping each individual order.

By reducing the travel distance between customers and their orders, you can lower shipping costs while offering faster delivery times. Even if a customer chooses the standard shipping option, they can still receive their order in a short time.

Choose Centrally Located Warehouses

Sending orders from multiple warehouses to save money should only be done if those warehouses are in central locations. Numerous businesses utilize fulfillment centers near port cities, but doing this can be expensive and slow.

Shipping from larger, more populous states doesn't always make the most sense either. Take note of where your customers are principally located and utilize warehouses near those locations.

Choose a Courier That Guarantees Same-Day Order Processing

The same-day processing of an order is necessary for overnight delivery. If a courier can't process your order on the day it is placed, your order won't be shipped overnight.

If your orders are stuck in a warehouse somewhere and unprocessed, you won't be able to keep your customers happy with fast delivery. To prevent this from occurring, make sure the courier you choose offers a same-day order processing guarantee.

Comparing Overnight Delivery Services

What Is the Cheapest Overnight Shipping Option? (2)

Overnight shipping can be costly, but prices vary from courier to courier. Here are some of the most widely utilized overnight shipping couriers:

United States Postal Service (USPS)

The USPS overnight shipping option is called Priority Mail Express, and it is their fastest domestic shipping option. Packages that weigh less than 70 pounds can be shipped overnight using Priority Mail Express for $26.95.

If your customer is really in need of their order, you can also choose the Priority Mail Express option that guarantees delivery by 10:30 the following day.


Usually the most expensive courier, FedEx offers three different overnight delivery options nationwide:

  • FedEx First Overnight: The quickest option. Delivery as soon as 8:00 AM the following business day for most locations in the US. Delivery by 2:00 PM to extended destinations.
  • FedEx Priority Overnight: Delivery by 10:30 AM the following business day to most locations in the US. Remote deliveries are guaranteed by 4:30 PM.
  • FedEx Standard Overnight: Delivery by 4:30 PM the following day to most locations in the US.

Customers who choose the FedEx overnight options can customize their pickup and delivery options. There is even the option to include proof of delivery.


UPS offers a variety of shipping options, but its Next Day Air is the quickest. UPS claims to ship more overnight deliveries than any other courier in the country, so the company can be trusted to ship quickly and efficiently. Their overnight delivery options include:

  • UPS Next Day Air Early: Overnight shipping guaranteeing delivery by 8:00 AM the next morning.
  • UPS Next Day Air: Overnight shipping guaranteeing delivery by 10:30 the next business day.
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver: Overnight shipping guaranteeing delivery by the end of the day the following business day.

UPS also allows customers to track their packages online. The ability to track your package can ensure it is en route to the right place.

Overnight vs. Expedited Shipping

Many couriers offer expedited shipping, which has become extremely popular. Expedited shipping, however, is not the same as overnight shipping, even though both terms are often used interchangeably.

Overnight shipping takes a maximum of one day. Packages intended for overnight shipping must usually be picked up or dropped off by a cutoff time of 6:00 PM so workers will have enough time to sort, process, and load them into trucks before shipping them to their final destinations.

Expedited shipping, simply means faster shipping. Packages that are sent using expedited shipping simply arrive quickly, not necessarily overnight. It is important to note, however, that some companies do consider overnight shipping to be a form of expedited shipping.

Shipping via Smaller Couriers

There are couriers besides the big three (USPS, FedEx, and UPS), and some of them offer exceptional service. These smaller couriers may offer overnight shipping, but you will want to make sure they are up to par before utilizing their services.

The reliability of a regional shipping service can vary from city to city, and in many cases, there are some locations where packages are more likely to be mishandled or not delivered at all. Smaller couriers may also not be the best option if you need to ship a package long distance or to a rural area.

If you are intent on using a smaller courier, be sure to check out reviews from their customers first. If they have numerous positive reviews and their prices are reasonable, you may consider using them. However, if you can’t find a reputable smaller courier in your area, and you need an item shipped overnight with confidence, it may be best to go with one of the big three.

Cutoff Times

All three of the major couriers offer overnight delivery, but if you want to ensure your package is successfully delivered on time, you will need to be sure your package is picked up or dropped off before the cutoff time.

Often, overnight shipping cutoff times are earlier than those for end-of-day shipping, so you should familiarize yourself with these times. Here are some helpful tips for meeting cutoff times:

  • Arrive approximately an hour prior to the cutoff time if you are taking your package to a courier. This will ensure you aren’t left trapped in line.
  • Arrange on-time pickups with the overnight shipping courier from your warehouse or storage facility. Have your packages on hand before they arrive.
  • If you need to unexpectedly send a package at the last minute, reach out to your courier directly to learn more about your shipping options.

There may also be different cutoff times for shipping outside the United States, so be aware of these times if you need to send a package to Canada or Mexico.

Guarantee of Delivery

In addition to ensuring your recipient receives their package on time, you should choose a courier that offers a guarantee of delivery. Not all couriers offer a guarantee of next-day shipping services, but the three largest carriers (USPS, FedEx, and UPS) do. The USPS offers a guarantee with Priority Mail Express. If the overnight deadline is not met, you will receive a full refund. FedEx states it will issue a full refund even if your package is one minute late.

If you elect to use a smaller courier, be sure to ask about a guarantee of delivery. Find out if they offer any form of compensation if they fail to deliver your package on time.

Sending a Letter Overnight

You may not always need to send a product or large item. There may come a time when you need to send documents, such as letters or other important forms, overnight. Sending a letter overnight is much like sending any other type of package, and in terms of cost, the same factors will be considered to calculate your final expenses.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce the costs associated with sending a letter overnight:

  • Examine the dimensions of your mail. Oddly shaped and large pieces of mail cost more to send than those in standard envelopes.
  • Use lightweight packaging to avoid weighing your mail down.
  • Use flat-rate envelopes or boxes.

By keeping the tips mentioned above in mind, you can send a letter overnight with relative ease and at a low cost.

Learn More About Our Overnight Courier Cost

What Is the Cheapest Overnight Shipping Option? (3)

Here at FirstMile, we offer domestic and international shipping services to a wide range of customers. We can ship to more than 220 countries, and we offer both economy and expedited shipping. All packages come with full tracking with a delivery confirmation guarantee.

Contact Us today to learn more about our overnight shipping courier costs.



What are the cheapest overnight shipping options? ›

FedEx Priority Overnight

FedEx also offers three overnight shipping services for shippers who want the quickest options. The three overnight shipping are FedEx First Overnight, FedEx Priority Overnight, and FedEx Standard Overnight. Of these three, the FedEx priority is the cheapest.

Which is cheaper FedEx or UPS overnight? ›

Which is cheaper: FedEx or UPS overnight? Though the two companies offer comparable rates, FedEx's Standard Overnight option is a little cheaper than UPS's Next Day Air Saver. One of the reasons FedEx is able to charge less for overnighting is because of its extensive air fleet.

What shipping options are there overnight? ›

UPS, FedEx, and USPS Overnight Shipping Options Compared
  • UPS Next Day Air® ...
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver® ...
  • UPS Next Day Air® Early. ...
  • USPS Priority Mail Express. ...
  • FedEx Standard Overnight® ...
  • FedEx Priority Overnight® ...
  • FedEx First Overnight®
Mar 17, 2022

What is the cheapest method of shipping? ›

By far, the cheapest delivery option is local delivery, or even better, pick-up. For small businesses, a local delivery service is a great way to connect with nearby customers, drive sales, and provide a great customer experience.

What is the best overnight shipping? ›

The fastest overnight delivery option is FedEx First Overnight. You can expect your package or envelope to be delivered by 8 a.m. the next business day in most areas.

What is USPS overnight fee? ›

Compare Mail Services
ServiceStarting PriceShip Time
Priority Mail Express®$28.75 (at Post Office & Online) $24.90 (Commercial)6Next-day to 2-day guarantee by 6 PM7
Priority Mail®$9.35 (at Post Office & Online) $7.64 (Commercial)61-3 days11
First-Class Mail®$0.63 (at Post Office & Online) $0.471 (Commercial)61-5 days
3 more rows

Is it better to overnight with UPS or FedEx? ›

FedEx has the most overnight options for residential deliveries; FedEx Priority Overnight® shipments will arrive by noon, while FedEx Standard Overnight® shipments will arrive by 8:00 pm. UPS Next Day Air® Saver, the only UPS overnight option for residential deliveries, guarantees delivery by end of day.

Is Priority Mail Express overnight? ›

Our speediest domestic service, Priority Mail Express®, delivers your packages overnight to most locations. Its benefits include: Guaranteed overnight delivery to most locations in the U.S. Tracking Services.

Is USPS cheaper than FedEx? ›

On average, shipping with FedEx is a cheaper option for sending large packages domestically or overseas. However, USPS offers unbeatable prices through their Flat Rate shipping services, that are suitable if you can fit your item inside their standard packing boxes.

Is next day shipping worth it? ›

Unless you are a world-class procrastinator, there's little reason to pay a fortune for next-day delivery. Second-day service proved much more cost efficient, with the order arriving just 15 hours after the next-day package. This experience is in line with what we've seen over the years.

How fast is USPS overnight shipping? ›

USPS Overnight, aka Priority Mail Express, offers guaranteed delivery in 1-2 business days. For Priority Mail International, delivery is guaranteed in 3-5 business days or your money back.

How reliable is UPS overnight? ›

When it comes to sending packages overnight, no other carrier does it quite as well as UPS. Featuring fast, reliable service and rates that won't break the bank, UPS is the go-to carrier for overnight shipping.

Which shipping is cheapest and fastest? ›

Priority Mail Express from the USPS will likely be your cheapest option among the three major carriers. Delivery times range from next day to two days, with regular pricing starting at $27.25 for a half-pound package. Holiday and Sunday delivery costs extra.

Is it cheaper to ship UPS or USPS? ›

UPS is often more expensive than USPS due to fees and surcharges, especially when it comes to shipping smaller packages. Generally, USPS offers much better rates when shipping smaller packages of less than two pounds. UPS typically is a better choice when shipping larger, heavier packages by offering superior value.

Is Priority Mail cheaper than flat rate? ›

If you are primarily shipping products locally across short distances, opting for Priority Mail services rather than Fixed Rate might make sense. If your shipments generally cover a long distance or you are shipping all across the US, Flat Rate envelopes and boxes will often work out to be cheaper.

What is standard overnight shipping? ›

​Packages that are shipped Standard Overnight are scheduled to be delivered by 4:30 PM the next business day.

Is USPS overnight reliable? ›

Regarding reliability and overall satisfaction with their service, USPS is the clear leader among overnight shipping carriers due to its guaranteed delivery times and free pickup services. USPS Priority Express is the way to go for a reliable way to ship items overnight!

What is cut off time for FedEx overnight? ›

It provides packages by the end of the day, which means it could be as late as 8 pm. The cut-off time is the latest time a seller can hand off a package to the carrier for overnight delivery. The cut-off time for UPS and FedEx is generally around 4 pm, while the USPS cut-off time is 8 pm EST.

Does USPS do 1 day shipping? ›

Priority Mail Express is the fastest mail service offered by the Postal Service. It provides guaranteed 1-Day or 2-Day expedited service by 3 p.m. for any mailable matter and includes $100 of insurance coverage. Priority Mail Express delivery is offered 365 days a year in many locations.

How much does it cost to FedEx a letter overnight? ›

Rates effective January 2, 2023
Delivery commitment53rd day by 4:30 p.m.6Next day by 3 p.m.6
ServiceFedEx Express Saver®FedEx Standard Overnight®
Packaging type
FedEx® Envelope$11.85$35.55
FedEx® Pak$12.55$60.45
5 more rows

What is the difference between Priority mail and Priority Mail Express? ›

USPS Priority Mail is the standard domestic air service for USPS, and packages are delivered within 1-3 business days with tracking for domestic deliveries. USPS Priority Mail Express is the fastest domestic shipping service available from USPS and delivers your parcels within 1-2 business days.

Who has the least expensive overnight Mail? ›

Overnight Letters

If it's a letter, the cheapest option is the USPS because they have a flat rate envelope that starts at $27.90. It ships any distance and any weight (that fits), for the quoted price.

How much does UPS charge per pound for shipping? ›

How Much It Costs to Ship Through UPS
WeightPrice fromDelivery time
1 lbs$8.442-4 business days
2 lbs$9.962-4 business days
3 lbs$12.482-4 business days
4 lbs$13.362-4 business days
96 more rows

What shipping is cheaper than FedEx? ›

The cheapest way to ship large, light packages is typically USPS Priority Mail with variable pricing. If you need faster delivery, parcel shipping is the cheapest option. UPS is typically slightly cheaper than FedEx.

Who is cheapest between FedEx UPS and USPS? ›

USPS delivers in 1 to 5 business days for packages under a pound and offers the cheapest shipping by far. The main competition for shipping heavy packages is FedEx vs. UPS; USPS will only ship up to 70 pounds. UPS does not offer a flat-rate service, but FedEx and USPS do.

Who has the fastest next day shipping? ›

UPS Next Day Air® Early offers the fastest delivery and is the most expensive of the three options, followed by UPS Next Day Air® and UPS Next Day Air® Saver, the lowest-priced option.

Is USPS or UPS better for next day shipping? ›

Overnight Shipping Cost - UPS vs USPS

There is no USPS overnight service. Their Priority Mail Service is the closest to the overnight option. UPS, on the other hand, has its own overnight package that delivers in record time. The UPS overnight shipping cost varies according to the overnight package you choose.

Does Friday count as a shipping day? ›

One business day is next day service. FedEx, UPS ground, and express are open Monday to Friday. Saturday is only considered a business day when priority Saturday service is chosen. Otherwise, Saturday is not counted when calculating business days.

What is the safest overnight shipping service? ›

USPS Priority Mail Express is the overall best overnight shipping service, provided your packages always weigh less than 70 pounds, and you aren't shipping anything hazardous or in need of refrigeration.

Does UPS charge by weight or size? ›

Rates are based on the total actual weight or the total dimensional weight of all packages in a shipment, whichever is greater.

What is UPS flat rate? ›

UPS flat rate shipping is called “UPS Simple Rate”. Unlike FedEx and USPS, you can use your own packaging to ship cargo anywhere in the United States, with five pricing options based on package size and speed travelled.

How much does USPS charge per pound? ›

How much does USPS shipping cost per pound? USPS packages cost about $2.74 if less than one pound; if one pound or more, most packages start at $7. USPS rates for packages heavier than one pound typically increase by 10 to 25 cents for each pound added.

What is the cheapest priority shipping? ›

Often, USPS Priority Mail Cubic is your best, most affordable service level when shipping small packages that weigh at least a pound and no more than 20 pounds. Packages are generally delivered within 1-3 business days, tracking service is complimentary, and $100 of insurance is included at no additional charge.

Is it worth it to pay for Priority Mail? ›

Priority Mail is typically faster than First-Class, shipping in an estimated 1-3 business days, rather than 1-5 days. Priority Mail can be used to ship much larger packages (up to 70 lbs for some services). USPS Tracking and a small amount of insurance is typically included with your shipment.

Is FedEx overnight more expensive than USPS? ›

Overnight Letters

If it's a letter, the cheapest option is the USPS because they have a flat rate envelope that starts at $27.90. It ships any distance and any weight (that fits), for the quoted price. What is this? FedEx Standard overnight in a half-pound FedEx Envelope starts at $32.03 if it gets there by 3 PM.

Does USPS have 1 day delivery? ›

Priority Mail Express is the fastest mail service offered by the Postal Service. It provides guaranteed 1-Day or 2-Day expedited service by 3 p.m. for any mailable matter and includes $100 of insurance coverage. Priority Mail Express delivery is offered 365 days a year in many locations.

Is UPS or FedEx faster for overnight shipping? ›

Furthermore, FedEx is well-known for its overnight shipping services, meaning your package can be delivered faster and on time than UPS but for a higher cost.

Is it cheaper to send UPS or USPS? ›

UPS is often more expensive than USPS due to fees and surcharges, especially when it comes to shipping smaller packages. Generally, USPS offers much better rates when shipping smaller packages of less than two pounds. UPS typically is a better choice when shipping larger, heavier packages by offering superior value.

Which is cheaper FedEx or USPS? ›

For shipping packages less than 2 lbs, USPS is usually cheaper than FedEx. When it comes to shipping parcels greater than 2 lbs, FedEx can be more cost-effective than USPS, offering cheaper rates. However, if you can fit your item into a small, medium, or large flat rate shipping box, USPS is cheaper than FedEx.

How much does it cost to send a FedEx overnight letter? ›

Rates effective January 2, 2023
Delivery commitment53rd day by 4:30 p.m.6Next day by 3 p.m.6
ServiceFedEx Express Saver®FedEx Standard Overnight®
Packaging type
FedEx® Envelope$11.10$32.95
FedEx® Pak$11.45$42.05
5 more rows

What is next day shipping USPS? ›

USPS overnight is a Priority Mail Express service that offers a delivery guarantee by 3 pm the next day. If your package isn't delivered as promised, you can request a refund of the postage within 30 days.

What is the cut off time for USPS next day? ›

What is the cutoff time for USPS overnight shipping? The cutoff time for USPS overnight shipping is 6:00 pm. This means that your package must be postmarked by this time in order to be shipped overnight with a money-back guarantee. Anything postmarked after 6:00 pm will be shipped the following day.

What is the difference between Fedex Express and overnight? ›

FedEx Standard Overnight – delivered the next day, before the end of the day. FedEx 2Day AM – delivered the second business day before noon. FedEx 2Day – delivered the second business day before the end of the day. FedEx Express Saver – delivery depends upon location, but usually between 2-4 business days.

How long is UPS overnight shipping? ›

1 Business Day

UPS Next Day Air® Early gives you guaranteed early morning delivery for time-critical shipments. Guaranteed delivery by 8 a.m. to major cities and by 8:30 a.m., 9 a.m. or 9:30 a.m. to most cities, with Saturday delivery to some locations as early as 9 a.m.


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