How to Offer the Cheapest Overnight Shipping [Best Options 2024]

How to Offer the Cheapest Overnight Shipping [+Best Options 2024]

For 2022, Statista surveyed online shoppers how soon they expected to receive their e-commerce purchases.

  • 41 % said they expected to receive it within 24 hours.
  • Even more interesting – 24% said they wanted to receive the order in less than two hours!

Thanks to services like Amazon Prime, customers had already grown accustomed to receiving 2-day delivery services wherever and whenever they shop online. Now, it seems they are shifting to even faster delivery expectations.

If everyone expects 2-day delivery options (or faster) from companies like Amazon, how can ecommerce businesses differentiate themselves when 2-day shipping is the standard?

Knowing your exact options can save you time and money when finding the cheapest overnight shipping options.

So, here’s our comprehensive guide on how to find the fastest package delivery options out there.

cheapest overnight shipping cheapest way to overnight a package featured

Key Takeaways

  1. Understand different carriers’ rates for overnight shipping.
  2. Compare services that offer the best value for the cheapest overnight shipping.
  3. Discover cost-saving tips on how to handle emergency shipments.

Who Offers the Cheapest Overnight Shipping Carrier?

Several reliable and reasonably priced carriers are available to choose from when looking for the cheapest overnight shipping option.

  • FedEx: A well-known carrier with excellent tracking and fast delivery.
  • UPS: Offers extensive service options and dependable delivery times.
  • USPS: This federal branch is typically the most cost-effective for smaller packages.

Best Picks for Cheapest Overnight Shipping for Small Packages

For lightweight or small packages, consider these options:

Comparison: Cheapest Overnight Shipping Options

When comparing overnight shipping services based on cost-effectiveness, delivery time, and reliability, here’s what you find:

  1. FedEx often provides a premium service with slightly higher costs but reliable speed.
  2. UPS balances service excellence with moderate pricing.
  3. USPS stands out for economical solutions, especially for light parcels.

These are just a few carriers available, but they typically have the largest network and are very reliable options. That being said, they are fairly one-dimensional.

If you need more tailored logistics options and extensive 3PL fulfillment services, contact us, and we can discuss some more bespoke options for your specific brand.

cheapest way to overnight a package

USPS vs UPS: Cheapest Overnight Shipping

USPS doesn’t offer guaranteed overnight delivery, so priority mail express is your closest option. Meanwhile, UPS has Next Day Air, but this is definitely a pricey option. 

USPS and UPS may have different pricing advantages depending on whether the package is small or large.

  • USPS Priority Mail Express typically offers better rates for lighter, smaller packages.
  • Consider using UPS Next Day Air if your package weighs more than 2 lbs or requires fast delivery. This option may be pricier, but it ensures quicker delivery.

There are many variables at play when it comparing overnight shipping rates so take into consideration every factor to make the most appropriate decision for your specific package.

Top Choice with Free Pickup Service

Several carriers offer convenient pickup services at no additional charge, while FedEx and UPS may charge a fee.

You can typically waive or discount these fees depending on your account status. Those who ship in heavy volumes also tend to see some sort of discounted prices.

Here are some insights into free pickup options:

  • FedEx regular service customers can schedule pickups with an account without an additional fee.
  • UPS: Offers free scheduled pickups for daily service customers or those with a premium account.

Ultimately, it’s best practice to balance cost against speed and package size. This ensures your choice will align with financial and timing constraints—no matter what you’re shipping.

what is the cheapest overnight shipping

Tips for Choosing the Cheapest Way to Send a Package Overnight

Deciding on the cheapest way to send a package overnight is crucial, especially when budget constraints tighten. Here’s how you can make savvy choices:

  • Weigh and measure your package: Knowing the exact size and weight will help determine the most cost-effective service.
  • Compare carrier rates: Put the details about your package into online calculators from USPS, UPS, and FedEx. They will show you the best deals based on your specific package. (Find them here).
  • Consider delivery guarantees: Some cheaper options might not guarantee next-day delivery, so verify what they promise.

The Cheapest Way to Overnight a Letter

If you want to send a document quickly, focus on options tailored for smaller, lighter items. Here’s what brands offer:

  • USPS Priority Mail Express: This service includes overnight delivery to most U.S. addresses, including PO Boxes.
  • FedEx First Overnight: This is the fastest letter delivery service available. In most areas, they deliver as early as 8:00 AM the next day.
  • UPS Next Day Air Early: Ensures early morning delivery for vital documents.

Cheapest Ways to Overnight a Small Package

Sending small packages overnight doesn’t necessarily mean overspending. Consider these factors to keep costs low:

  • Package dimensions: Stick to minimal dimensions and weight since prices escalate with size.
  • Shipping speed necessity: Evaluate whether less expensive two-day shipping options could meet your needs instead.
  • Discounts and memberships: Look for loyalty programs or business accounts that offer discounted shipping rates.

How to Ship a Package Overnight for the Best Price

Navigating through the logistics of overnight shipping can be simpler with this step-by-step guide:

  1. Select lightweight packaging: Use the smallest possible box or envelope that safely fits your item.
  2. Use rate comparison tools: Carriers provide online comparison tools for comparing rates.
  3. Check if combining packages is cheaper: If sending multiple items, consolidate them into one shipment to reduce costs.
  4. Verify address accuracy and completeness: Prevent delays or additional charges because of address corrections.


How much does it cost to overnight a package?

The short answer? It depends.


Primary Considerations for Overnight Shipments



Most carriers utilize a pricing technique known as dimensional weight (often referred to as DIM weight) to calculate shipping expenses. The dimensions of a shipment are taken into account to compute shipping costs.

To calculate the dimensional weight, divide a package’s length, width, and height by a DIM divisor. The actual weight of a package or its DIM weight is used to determine shipping costs.


Lighter items cost less to transport than heavier things. As previously stated, if the actual weight of a package is greater than the DIM weight, it will be used to calculate shipping costs. The more substantial and larger the shipment, the more expensive it will be to send.


The distance between a package’s point of origin and its final destination is measured in shipping zones. Carriers use shipping zones to compute shipping costs. These can range from Zone 1 to Zone 8 in the United States.

When you create an account, Etsy determines your shipping zone based on where your purchases are sent from. This implies that two shipments with the same ultimate destination might be sent to different zones depending on their origin.

The more remote a location is from the sender, the higher its shipping cost will be. The price difference between zones grows dramatically for overnight delivery, next-day shipping, and other accelerated delivery services.

(Use the USPS Dynamic Zone Map to see where your USPS shipping zone is in the United States!)

Here’s a great video on the cheapest way to ship packages, comparing many of the top shippers we’ve discussed in this post!

(video credit: MyWifeQuitHer Job Ecommerce Channel)

Get in Touch to Find Out More

Common Myths Debunked About Overnight Shipping

Here are a few myths that need clearing up when choosing an overnight shipping service:

  • The most expensive service is always the fastest”: This is not always true. Many times, mid-tiered prices offer the same premium service.
  • “All overnight carriers handle overnight shipments the same.” Research and read reviews before using a carrier, especially in rural areas. This will help ensure they handle overnight shipments effectively. This will help you avoid any potential issues or delays.

Knowing about overnight shipping can help meet client needs or save money on last-minute gift deliveries to friends. Either way, these tools are beneficial to keep in your back pocket.

Strategies to Reduce Costs on Overnight Shipping

As you seek the cheapest overnight shipping rates, consider implementing these strategic moves to drive down costs further:

  • Prepaid Shipping: Purchasing shipping labels in bulk for future needs can provide substantial savings.
  • Negotiated Rates: Regular shippers should negotiate rates with carriers based on volume. FedEx, UPS, and USPS all offer customized pricing for frequent shippers.
  • Off-Peak Shipping: If timing allows, ask about cheaper rates for deliveries that don’t require morning delivery.

Benefits of Account Holder Discounts and Loyalty Programs

Carriers reward loyalty and consistent business, offering discounts through account-specific offers or loyalty programs. For instance:

  • FedEx Advantage: Offers discounts on shipping and additional services for account holders.
  • UPS Connect: Provides discounts, financial credits, and expert advice, helping small businesses grow.
  • USPS Business Solutions: Tailors services and pricing for businesses with high-volume shipping needs.

Best Practices for Overnight Shipping

Follow these best practices to ensure your overnight shipment reaches its destination smoothly and affordably:

  1. Use Carrier-Provided Packaging: This often qualifies for lower rates as carriers use materials to maintain efficiency.
  2. Ship During Low Season: Avoiding peak holiday seasons can avoid surcharges.
  3. Consolidate Shipments: When possible, consolidate multiple items into one shipment to save on per-package costs.

(If you’re into smart shipping strategies, check out a recent post on cost-effective electronic fulfillment solutions!)

who has the cheapest overnight shipping?

Future of Overnight Shipping: Trends and Innovations

The world of logistics is always evolving. Here are some trends we’re seeing:

  • Increased Automation: Robotics and AI are making sorting and routing more efficient, potentially reducing costs.
  • Eco-Friendly Options: Carriers are exploring sustainable practices that might offer long-term cost advantages.
  • Enhanced Tracking Technology: Improvements in real-time tracking provide better customer service and efficiency.

The tools and insights covered here can play a fundamental role in choosing the right service for your needs. Although there are many options, everyone can find at least one that best suits their business.

FAQs: Cheapest Overnight Shipping & Fastest Package Delivery

Who is the cheapest overnight shipping carrier?

Usually, USPS Priority Mail Express is the cheapest option, especially for packages under 2 lbs. 

How do I calculate dimensional weight?

Multiply the package’s length, width, and height.

Divide the product by the carrier’s specified dimensional divisor.

Check out this post on Calculating dimensional weight for packages for an in-depth overview.


Who has the cheapest overnight shipping for small packages?

USPS Priority Mail Express frequently offers the best rates for small, lightweight packages. Always compare rates with other major carriers.

How do I overnight a package?

  • Choose a carrier: USPS, UPS, or FedEx all offer overnight services.
  • Prepare and label your package: Ensure proper packaging and accurate addressing.
  • Calculate costs and purchase postage: Visit carrier websites or use a shipping calculator.
  • Drop off or schedule pickup: Select the most convenient delivery method.

Who has the cheapest overnight shipping?: USPS vs UPS

USPS Priority Mail Express is often cheaper than UPS overnight options. However, for packages over 70 lbs, UPS may be more cost-effective.

Does anyone offer overnight shipping with free pickup?

Yes, USPS Priority Mail Express includes free scheduled pickup. Some FedEx services may offer free pickup depending on your location and shipment details.

What's the cheapest way to overnight a package?

  • Leverage USPS Priority Mail Express Flat Rate Envelopes if your package fits. This offers a fixed cost regardless of weight (under 70 lbs) and distance.
  • For larger packages, compare rates across USPS, UPS, and FedEx. Prices factor in weight, dimensions, and destination.

All The answers


Allias, E. (n.d.). The challenges of small-parcel shipments for distributors. SupplyChainBrain RSS.

Chevalier, S. (2023, April 28). Global expected times for faster delivery 2022. Statista.

USPS Zone Map. Shipping software, USPS Online Shipping App. (n.d.).

Wang, J. (2024, January 23). The cheapest overnight shipping options: USPS vs. UPS vs. fedex. Best Wallet Hacks.

YouTube. (2022, February 22). The cheapest way to ship a package – USPS vs fedex VS UPS. YouTube.