If your business is selling t-shirts online, you will have to ship apparel to your customers, and you have probably been looking for the best way to do so. You want speedy and affordable service, and USPS offers that for packages in the continental US. So, here is how to ship t-shirts with USPS in 2023.
To ship t-shirts with USPS in 2023, use their First-Class Package service retail rates for packages under 13 ounces, which will cost $3.59 to $6.28 depending on the zone. To get the cheapest shipping for your shirts, keep the weight to the bare minimum by using poly mailers. For parcels over this weight, we recommend using Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes at the cost of $7.75 or boxes at $8.25.
With shipping times of two to three days for first-class mail and only two days for priority mail, USPS offers a speedy service. What’s more, it’s considerably cheaper than that offered by competitors such as UPS and FedEx due to how packaging is calculated. Let’s find out how to get the most out of their services.
USPS Ground Advantage Change
Please note, there are some changes happening to USPS First Class shipping as of July 9th 2023. The USPS is now combining USPS First Class with USPS Parcel Select Ground and USPS Retail Ground, and calling it USPS Ground Advantage.
This video helps explain what Ground Advantage and what you need to change:
Which Shipping Option To Choose To Ship T-Shirts With USPS
The USPS offers various shipping options, of which three I consider appropriate for shipping t-shirts.
These three shipping options are First Class Mail, Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope, and Priority Mail Flat Rate Box. These stack up as follows:
|Shipping Option||Shipping Time||Packaging||Cost as of 2023|
|USPS First Class Package||Estimated delivery time 1 to 5 days (usually 2 to 3 days)||Large envelope weighing under 1 pound (up to 15.999 ounces)||$3.59 to $6.28 depending on the distance of destination (zone) and whether retail or commercial rates apply|
|USPS Priority Mail 2-Day Flat Rate Envelope||Two days||12 1/2 inch by 9 1/2 inch envelope||$7.75 retail rate|
|USPS Priority Mail 2-Day Small Flat Rate Box||Two days||8 1/2 inch by 5 1/2 inch by 1 1/2 inch box (approximate measurements)||$9.35 retail rate|
USPS First Class Package As A Means Of Shipping T-Shirts
In our t-shirt weight guide, we know that the average t-shirt weighs between 3 ounces and 7 ounces, depending on the size of the t-shirt and the weight of the material. Even with packaging, many of the single-item t-shirt purchases you will be shipping will weigh less than a pound. Even a double order of t-shirts will be under this limit.
It can be easy to overpay for shipping, especially if you are worried about the need to have highly-expedited shipping. Customers purchasing clothing online generally understand if you are upfront about shipping time frames and return policies, allowing you to use a less expensive service.
USPS First-Class Package Service is the cheapest way to ship t-shirts for under one pound. This service also provides tracking, allowing your customers to know where their packages are.
It is important to note that you can only ship packages up to 15.999 ounces with First-Class Package Service Commercial rates. If you wish to pay retail rates, you will only be able to ship packages up to 13 ounces with the service, which should be enough for two shirts and their packaging.
The first class mail dimension limits are:
- Height: 12 inches
- Length: 15 inches
- Thickness: 3/4 inch
If you are using a poly mailer, you can easily go under this limit as a shirt can be folded and the bag can be creased.
How To Ship Apparel Over One Pound With USPS
Combining multiple items into a single shipment may cause the parcel’s weight to surpass the USPS First-Class Package Service’s weight limits, regardless of whether you are utilizing commercial or retail rates.
You will need to look at other options for packages over this weight limit, such as USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate, for either envelopes or boxes.
You can get free boxes from USPS that will fit your clothing items by ordering them offline. They will be delivered to your address.
The rates for a flat-rate envelope are slightly less than for a flat-rate box, making this the cheaper option if your apparel items will fit into it. Provided your package weighs less than 70 pounds, you can ship it with USPS Priority Mail Flat Rate service.
What is a flat rate? Typically, the more shipping zones your package crosses (the further it travels), the more it costs to send, and costs only increase as the package gets heavier. Additionally, USPS charges dimensional weight for some packages.
Dimensional weight is based on the volume of the package rather than its actual weight.
However, if you use the free boxes that USPS provides for shipping, you shouldn’t have any trouble with dimensional weight being a factor.
Flat-rate shipping simplifies the cost of shipping. Note that we are not talking about charging your customers a fixed shipping rate, but rather about the USPS flat rate shipping.
Flat rate shipping means that the same charge is levied regardless of the distance traveled, or the weight provided it is under 70 pounds. You can send a lot of t-shirts a long way with this option, making it ideal for any bulk orders, and the flat rate means that it won’t break the bank.
How to Mail a Shirt USPS
How you package your t-shirts is an essential part of shipping. Adding value to your package and personalizing it is a great way to make sure your business stands out. This is especially true if you aim at the millennial market, as millennials value such personal touches.
Add extras such as stickers related to your brand, a handwritten and scanned thank you note, a discount QR code, business cards, or washing instructions.
Poly Mailer Shipping via USPS
To pack your t-shirts, use colorful poly mailers to boost your brand image. Fold the t-shirts carefully (try to have the design showing on top).
You also have the option to simply ship your shirt in a poly mailer bag. There are ones that are durable enough to withstand the shipping process like this one, and look great. Since shirts are not fragile, there is no real need to use a bubble mailer. This will help cut down on the weight.
If you get the poly mailer above, you are looking at about $.03 per, which is not bad!
If you want to go beyond a regular poly mailer, you can create your own custom mailers to help push your brand. This will make your company and brand look much more professional to the buyer.
Weighing Your Package
Invest in a basic electronic scale for weighing your packages before shipping them. Doing so can help you decide which option to use for shipping. I have the Accuteck scale at home. It is simple and does the trick, so that is one I would recommend. When choosing a scale, you want to make sure it can weigh a range of weights. Some scales are not sensitive enough to weigh anything under 1 lb.
Weigh as you go to stay underweight limits. Avoid extra cushioning, as it will add unnecessary weight. Email receipts to keep weight down. If you include additional items, personalized touches, as mentioned above, are more valuable.
How to Print USPS First Class Shipping Label Online
The problem with the USPS website is that you cannot print a First Class label online, only a priority one. You would have to go to the post office to get the label.
The workaround is to use Paypal to create the label. You will need to set up a Paypal account first if you do not have one. You will then need to connect it with a Shipstation account. It is free if you do it through Paypal.
- Go to https://www.paypal.com/shipnow
- Create a PayPal account if you do not have one already.
- Click on “Connect Your Account”.
- Click on “Agree and Connect”.
- Select “Letter” to print out a normal label, or “Thermal” if you have a thermal printer. Fill out your billing info.
- Select how you wish to pay, or add a credit card.
- You will then be taken to the Paypal Shipstation dashboard where you will see all the labels you have made.
- Click “Create New Quick Label” at the top right corner.
- Put in the address.
- Select Custom Package and fill in all the information.
- Select the USPS First Class Mail option and click the “Purchase Label” option.
How Much Does it Cost to Ship a Shirt USPS?
So how much does it cost to ship a t shirt via USPS? Let’s run through an example with some rough numbers. Most shirts weigh 3 to 7 ounces, so let’s say our shirt weighs 5 ounces. Add another 2 ounces to that for the poly mailer and label. In total, our package weighs about 6 ounces.
Using the Paypal free Shipstation integration, I filled out a hypothetical First Class USPS shipping label. In my example, I am shipping from Boston, Massachusetts to Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Cost to ship poly mailer usps is coming out to $4.24 to ship the shirt. This can vary based on weight and the destination, but you can see how much it can cost you to ship a shirt USPS First Class. The average cost to ship a shirt should be under $5 if you are limiting the weight and using a USPS First Class label. This is the cheapest way to ship poly mailers.
If you fulfill orders online, you will have to ship shirts to your customers. If you require a speedy and cheap shipping service, the best way to mail a shirt in the continental United States is USPS.
Choose their First-Class Package service retail rates for packages under 13 ounces, or choose a Priority Mail Flat Rate service for larger orders (under 70 pounds). Package your shirts to prevent them from getting damaged, and include personal touches to make your business stand out.
How much does it cost to ship a shirt USPS?
The cost to ship a shirt with USPS should cost under $5 if you get a First Class label.
What is the cheapest way to ship a shirt USPS?
The cheapest way to ship a shirt is to use a poly mailer and to use a USPS First Class label.
Is Flat Rate shipping cheaper?
Flat Rate is not the cheapest option for USPS, First Class is.
How much does a shirt weigh to ship?
A shirt typically weighs 3 to 7 ounces.
Bryan E. Robinson is the former owner of TshirtGrowth. He has sold t-shirts since 2006 through dropshipping, screen printing, vinyl printing, DTG, Print on Demand, and more. Bryan has created his own t-shirt designs through Photoshop, Canva, and other platforms, as well as worked with freelancers to create many of his designs. Besides t-shirts, Bryan has over 18 years of experience in online marketing with eCommerce, B2B SaaS, B2C products, and more.