How Long Does A Priority And First Class Mail Take?

Whether it’s to ship goods, send invoices or advertise their services, many businesses make frequent visits to the post office. The United States Postal Service offers two important products for business owners: First-Class Mail and Priority Mail. These services help businesses get everything from appointment reminder postcards, to customer-ordered goods out the door and on their way to the customer. While both services offer an efficient way to ship packages, Priority Mail and First-Class Mail have different time frames.

Mailing Classifications
With basic First-Class Mail, you can send postcards, letters, small envelopes and other thin documents such as invoices. You can also send thick mailers and packages weighing up to 13 ounces through First-Class Mail. Business customers who frequently send packages can use First-Class Mail Commercial Plus, which allows packages that weigh up to 1 pound. However, you must commit to sending a minimum number of packages each year to use the Commercial Plus service. Business owners who do not want to commit to the minimum requirements can send packages through Priority Mail.

Timeframe
The United States Postal Services reports that as of January 2011, it takes an average of one to three days for First-Class Mail to arrive at its destination. Priority Mail takes an average of one to two days to arrive, according to the USPS. USPS only includes the time a package stays in transit in their estimations. Packages dropped off at a post office during business hours usually leave that day. Packages dropped off after hours may take an additional day. Distance also plays a factor. Packages sent to inter-state locations may arrive sooner than packages sent across the country.

Exceptions
Some packages may take longer to arrive due to mailing delays. As of 2011, USPS does not operate on Sundays. USPS also recognizes federal holidays. The post office will hold packages in transit on a holiday. Occasionally, USPS experiences a backlog, especially around peak times such as Christmas. The backlog may cause packages to arrive after the estimated time. Weather delays may also play a factor. While USPS delivers in bad weather, severe weather and national disasters can prevent mail from reaching affected areas.

Tips
Customers can purchase Delivery Confirmation on Priority Mail packages. With Delivery Confirmation, customers can track the status of a package through the USPS website. The tracking feature shows where a package stands in transit and notifies customers when USPS has completed delivery. As of 2011, Delivery Confirmation is not available for First-Class mail.

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