General Question

kayyyyleigh's avatar

How the USPS flat rate box works?

Asked by kayyyyleigh (404 points ) August 31st, 2009

I am sending a package and I have heard of Flat Rate Boxes, where you pay for the box and then the shipping will be standard for you box when you ship it. I don’t know if i understand exactly what to do after looking over the website. Do I just buy the box and put an address on it and ship it? because i read something about having to scheduale a pick up date? I feel dumb asking, but I don’t want to mess it up.. if anyone can explain to me like what I have to do and what happens i would appreciate it veryyy much:]
thanks:]:D

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3 Answers

Dog's avatar

The box is free. You get it at the post office.

Fill the box then either buy the postage online and print and paste it or go to the post office and pay and send it.

You can schedule a pickup or hand it to your mail carrier if they are in a truck but I prefer to take mine in.

I just sent one out today- medium size- filled it to the brim and it was $10.xx to send. I will be shipping it back later (I sent it ahead to an exhibition) and while I was at the post office I pre-purchased the postage sticker to send it back and got an extra label and filled it out. This way I will be able to refill, seal, put on label and postage and send out. Easy!

I did have to resist the temptation of putting rocks in it just because it said not weight limit. In the end I thought that preserving the poor carrier was more important than my sense of humor.

Darwin's avatar

The very same boxes are used for flat-rate international shipments, but in those cases there is a weight limit, 4 pounds for the small box and 20 pounds for the larger ones.

If you buy your postage online you will also be able to schedule a pick up online. However, you can also buy and print the postage and then hand it to your mail carrier or take it to any post office, or you can just pack everything in the box, address it, and head over to the post office to buy the postage. And I know that at least for a while you could buy Flat Rate Envelopes with the postage already paid so you don’t even have to buy that separately.

I run a business from home and ship a lot of things, so I order the boxes free from USPS.com, pay for my own postage online, print out the postage and address onto sticky label paper, and then schedule a pick up for the next day. I set the boxes in a bin outside my front door and my carrier picks them up around 10 or 11 am, when she comes by to deliver the rest of the mail.

You can also just go to any post office and ask for a box or two of the size you need. They are free, but legally you must use them only for shipping Priority mail.

Buttonstc's avatar

You mean you can’t use them to build furniture with??

A few years ago there was a lot of publicity surrounding a guy who used various sizes of these boxes put together with packing tape to build all the furniture in his apt.

He also set up a website complete with pics and directions. The Post Office was not amused.

Really really clever.

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