US Shipping - How do UPS and USPS calculate their shipping costs?

12/6/2003 by WiccanWay


Both UPS and USPS Shipping rates are primarily calculated based upon the weight of the package and the distance the package must travel from our location (Dallas, TX) to yours. In addition to those two factors, UPS also takes three additional factors into consideration when calculating shipping costs: 1) Whether or not the delivery is going to a residential address, 2) Whether the delivery address is in a UPS classified "remote area", and 3) The fluctuating cost of fuel (gas/diesel).

UPS defines a residential delivery as: "A residential delivery is defined as delivery to a location that is a home, including a business operating out of a home, that does not have an entrance open to the public." Residential deliveries are assessed an additional charge which is added to the base shipping charge.

To find out if your delivery zip code is classified as a "remote area", you can view the latest UPS Area Surcharge Listing. The following table shows the factors which influence the charges based on the shipping method you choose:

  USPS Priority Mail UPS
Weight Yes Yes
Distance Yes Yes
Residential Delivery Surcharge No Yes, UPS adds $2.20 - $2.50 per shipment if delivered to a residential address
Remote Area Surcharge No Yes, UPS adds $2.50 - $2.75 per shipment if delivered to a remote area
Fuel Surcharge No Yes, the amount added depends on current national fuel prices and can fluctuate daily


Your shipping charges at The Wiccan Way are automatically calculated prior to submitting your payment information so you will know exactly how much your order will cost before you finalize it. Simply add items to your shopping cart, enter your destination state and zip code on the shopping cart page and you'll be shown the shipping costs for the shipping methods available based on the items currently displayed in your cart.

When placing your order, keep these hints in mind to help reduce your shipping costs:
  1. If you order from us regularly, order more items at a time. The first pound ALWAYS costs the most to ship, and any additional pounds are added into the shipping cost at a much lower rate.
  2. If you ship using UPS, ship your order to a delivery address that UPS recognizes as a commercial address. (Home-based businesses ARE NOT classified as commercial addresses.)
  3. Ship your order to a "non-remote" location (see the UPS link above) whenever possible.
  4. Most times, USPS Priority Mail is the least expensive shipping method for packages which weigh 1-2 pounds. It is usually more economical to ship packages via UPS Ground when they weigh more than 1-2 pounds.