Courier vs Postal Service: What’s the Difference?

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There are quite a few notable differences between courier services and postal services. While both are reliable options, courier services do have a specialized role in the transportation market. Here’s why.

Speed and Efficiency

While postal services are impressively efficient considering the sheer volume of letters and parcels that they handle on a daily basis, they are often not fast enough for certain business requirements. That’s where couriers come into play. Courier services are focused on completing deliveries in the shortest amount of time possible, and many even offer next-day or same-day emergency shipping. When time is of the essence, local and international couriers should be the go-to for an organization.

Man Pushing Hand Truck Beside Building

Fewer Restrictions

Postal services will have size and weight restrictions in place out of necessity, but sometimes those guidelines cannot be adhered to. Courier services fill this hole in the shipping market since they can accommodate packages no one else can ship. This is a highly valuable role for many businesses that rely on international shipping since they simply cannot send an employee to take care of a delivery every once in a while.

Real-Time Tracking

Most postal services cannot offer real-time tracking. Instead, you’ll receive an estimated date of delivery and potentially updates as it passes through various distribution centers. Other than that, your shipment’s location is largely up in the air. Conversely, courier services can offer more precise tracking, and the opportunity to call in to get updates when desired. Visibility can be critical for businesses to accurately inform the third party of the expected delivery date. This extra communication can increase the relationship and maintain good standings in the industry.

Duties and Taxes

For international shipping purposes, postal services definitely take a back seat to courier services. You, as the shipper, will be required to pay duties and any extra tax that is required for your shipment to be able to cross the border; this can oftentimes be an unexpectedly expensive ordeal. Courier services, on the other hand, often will have a policy that coves duty fees for you. This simplifies the shipping process for you and helps build your relationship with the courier service.