FedEx One Rate: A Shipper’s Guide

Two warehouse works prep packages.

It flew under the radar for a while, but the industry is now starting to talk about it more.

Simply put, FedEx One Rate is perhaps most comparable to the U.S. Postal Service’s Priority Mail option. Users can choose the box or tube that best fits the size of what they need to ship and fill the package to capacity, as long as the shipment doesn’t exceed 50 pounds.

Like Priority Mail, One Rate includes envelopes, which must weigh less than 10 pounds. Shippers can print labels online, affix them to One Rate packaging and drop them at one of about 45,000 locations for shipment.

“With its simple, predictable pricing, FedEx One Rate takes convenience and flexibility to the next level for our customers,” said Raj Subramaniam, a spokesperson for FedEx, when the company announced the new service in 2013.

“For consumers and small businesses alike, FedEx One Rate pricing allows customers to plan and control their express shipping costs more easily. They can add to the box without adding to the cost,” said Subramaniam.

What is FedEx One Rate?

FedEx One Rate is the carrier’s play for “if it fits, it ships” shippers. These are clients who may not ship high volumes at prescribed sizes, but ship often enough that they are price conscious.

One Rate offers 12 different packaging types— boxes, tubes and envelopes—that shippers can fill with their goods. As long as envelopes don’t exceed 10 pounds and boxes and tubes don’t exceed 50 pounds, they ship at a prescribed rate. This is based on the distance the package is traveling, the size of the parcel and the speed of the delivery.

Rates start at $7.65 for an envelope traveling to Zone 1.

FedEx One Rate also includes the same value-added services and options that FedEx Express does—namely, tracking, a money-back guarantee for late delivery and declared value insurance covering up to $100.

FedEx boasted in its 2013 announcement that One Rate shipping was “convenient and easy to access.” Users could use online platforms like Ship Manager to generate labels. They could pick up packaging at FedEx Office locations and ship centers, and send packages via the company’s drop boxes.

If this sounds a lot like USPS’s Priority Mail, well that’s because it is. Priority Mail offers effectively the same options as FedEx One Rate including 12 package options and one- to three-day delivery. However, Priority Mail allows packages to weigh up to 70 pounds.

Pricing varies a bit, too.

FedEx One Rate Pricing

FedEx One Rate pricing is advertised for Zone 1 deliveries. Longer journeys cost more. The company offers an online rate calculator for curious shippers.

For a padded 9 1⁄2″ x 12 1⁄2″ reusable envelope traveling to Zone 1, FedEx charges $7.65. For comparison, Priority Mail charges $7.25 for a padded envelope of the same size.

The FedEx Small Box, which comes in two comparable sizes, starts at $8.65. The wider of the two has dimensions of 8 3⁄4″ x 2 5⁄8″ x 11 1⁄4″.

The Medium Box—which is just two inches thicker than the Small Box, measuring 8 3⁄4″ x 4 3⁄8″ x 11 1⁄4″—starts at $11.20 per box in Zone 1.

Prices continue to rise as packages increase in size. The Large Box starts at $17.30, and the Extra Large Box jumps to $28.05. The Tube option is also $28.05 for Zone 1 shipping.

It’s worth remembering that regardless of size, all FedEx One Rate options allow shipments to weigh a maximum of 50 pounds. If shipments exceed that weight—or if boxes are misshapen or overstuffed—they’ll be charged according to FedEx’s normal base rate schedule.

Priority Mail doesn’t offer boxes in these dimensions, so a one-to-one comparison is challenging for parcels larger than envelopes. However, Priority Mail will allow parcels to weigh up to 70 pounds.

Is One Rate Right For You and Your Different Packaging Type Needs

Generally, “if it fits, it ships” pricing is best suited to individuals and businesses who ship small or medium volumes to many disparate locations. If you ship the same goods over and over, you may prefer to design custom packaging. And if you ship truckloads to the same warehouses, bulk pricing is likely a better bet for your business.

But that doesn’t mean One Rate can’t fit somewhere into your business model. Most business owners find that occasionally they have shipments that don’t fit into their usual packaging or distribution maps. One Rate could offer a valuable option then and if you’re a small business, it could work even more often.

Need help navigating the nuances of One Rate pricing, FedEx standard pricing or another shipper’s rate sheets? Reach out to Reveel today. Our expert consultants have a proven track record of saving clients as much as 20 percent on shipping. We’d love to help you next!

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