5 Ways Ground Shipping Saves You Money!

By Amylee Silva
February 6, 2023
empty cargo loading doors depicting ground shipping concept

This post was last updated on May 10th, 2024

Let’s be honest, “ground shipping” doesn’t exactly scream “lightning-fast delivery.” In the world of logistics, it’s often associated with waiting…and waiting…and maybe even a little more waiting.

But wait! Don’t give up on ground shipping just yet. The explosion of online shopping has led to a big change in how deliveries are handled. Thanks in part to the high bar set by Amazon for fast, affordable shipping, there are more options than ever to get your customer orders delivered quickly without breaking the bank.

Don’t worry, you don’t have to put packages on airplanes anymore to get them there fast! The big shipping companies and other delivery helpers (that’s what 3PL companies are!) have gotten smarter. They’ve bought more trucks and places to store packages (warehouses) so they can move your stuff quicker on the ground.

So, buckle up! This article will show you how to leverage the power of ground shipping for faster, more affordable deliveries that’ll leave your customers and your wallet happy.

What is Ground Shipping?

Ground shipping using trucks and trains is a popular choice for businesses thanks to its affordability and reliability. It’s the most common way for customers to receive their packages, and often what they expect when they order online.

General Ground Shipping Ideas

Trucks and trains deliver packages within the country for the cheapest price (ground shipping). It’s the most common choice for businesses because it keeps costs low. This lets them offer free shipping if customers spend a certain amount. Ground shipping might take a bit longer than airplanes, but with more delivery companies around, things are getting faster and more efficient.

While ground shipping typically takes 3-5 business days after leaving your warehouse, it might not be ideal for urgent deliveries. If your products fall into that category, consider offering faster options like expedited shipping or overnight delivery.

The Advantages of Ground Shipping

Whether you choose a well-known carrier or a third-party logistics provider (3PL) to handle your ground shipping, you’ll benefit from several advantages such as – 

  • Cost-Effective 

Although air shipping reigns supreme for speed on long distances, it comes at a much steeper price tag compared to ground shipping. Sending a medium-sized package across the country could be significantly cheaper with ground shipping, even with a slightly longer delivery time. Additionally, strategically placed inventory, like in a distribution center near your customer, can make ground shipping faster and more economical than air freight.

  • Eco-Friendly

Ground transportation uses less fuel than air travel, making it a more environmentally friendly option. A package transported by truck generates a much smaller carbon footprint compared to the same package flown across the country.

  • Safe for Hazardous Materials 

Explosives, compressed gas, and other hazardous materials are restricted from air travel due to safety concerns. Ground shipping provides a safer way to deliver these items to customers domestically.

  • Reliable in Most Weather

While bad weather can delay air freight, ground transportation is usually less affected. Trucks and vans can often navigate through challenging weather conditions as long as the roads are passable. This minimizes the risk of missing promised delivery dates due to weather disruptions.

The Disadvantages of Ground Shipping

Compared to air and water shipping, ground transportation takes considerably longer to deliver packages, especially for vast distances or shipments that crisscross the entire country. Here’s why:

  • Road Reliance 

Ground shipping relies on road networks, which can become congested in urban areas or during peak travel times. These traffic delays can significantly extend delivery time, especially for long-distance shipments that travel through multiple cities.

  • Multiple Stops 

Unlike airplanes or cargo ships that travel directly from origin to destination, ground shipments often involve multiple stops along the way. Trucks may stop at distribution centers to sort packages or pick up additional cargo before reaching their final destination. These additional stops contribute to longer overall transit times.

  • Geographical Challenges 

Mountains, deserts, and other geographical obstacles can also add to ground shipping times. Rural areas with less developed road infrastructure may have limited access or slower speeds compared to major highways.

While ground shipping may not be the fastest option, it remains a cost-effective and reliable way to deliver goods, particularly for shorter distances or non-perishable items.

Ground Shipping Rates

Ground shipping is priced based on the weight of your package. This means if you offer free ground shipping, you’ll be responsible for those costs, so it’s important to factor them into your pricing strategy.

Some companies choose a flat rate for ground shipping, which simplifies budgeting but might become expensive for heavier items.

You might be thinking about how the whole shipping rate thing is confusing and tedious. But don’t worry there are many trusted shipping logistic sites, waiting to help you out. They will compile all the

Here’s a breakdown of some popular ground shipping carriers to help you choose the best fit for your needs:

  • USPS Retail Ground®: This is a cost-effective option for thicker envelopes, tubes, and packages (up to 70 lbs) within the US. It includes free tracking and is a good choice for non-urgent shipments.
  • FedEx Ground®: This service offers competitive rates and delivery times compared to UPS Ground®. It reaches a wider range of businesses and locations within the US and offers international ground shipping to Canada.
  • Canada Post™ Regular Parcel™: This economical Canadian service provides tracking and online delivery updates. For added security, signature confirmation and insurance are available for a fee.
  • UPS Ground: This is a reliable and affordable option for routine ground shipments within the US. You’ll receive day-definite delivery within 1-5 business days with guaranteed arrival.
  • GLS Next Business Day Ground: This service offers faster ground shipping within their extensive delivery area, reaching some locations a day earlier compared to standard ground services.
  • Purolator Ground®: This service offers door-to-door ground shipping within the US and Canada. It’s suitable for less urgent shipments and includes Saturday pick-up/delivery options with flexible delivery times.
  • CanPar Ground Packages:  This trackable service provides reliable domestic deliveries across Canada within 3-4 business days.

To find the best rates, remember, that shipping costs depend on factors like package weight and destination. To find the most economical option for your specific needs, consider using services like ShipSimple, which compares rates from various carriers.

Should You Choose Ground  Shipping?

While online shopping offers convenience, choosing the most common shipping option (ground shipping) isn’t always optimal.  The ideal choice depends on your business priorities and customer needs.

Ground shipping typically takes longer than other options, like air freight or rail freight. However, it can be more economical and, in some cases, even more reliable. This makes it a natural fit for businesses offering free shipping programs.

Here are some key reasons businesses choose ground shipping:

  • Customer Location: If your customers are primarily located within similar ground shipping zones, offering this option can be advantageous.
  • Bulk Shipments: Ground shipping is often more cost-effective and reliable for bulk shipments. Consider offering ground shipping as a budget-friendly alternative to pricier courier services when sending large quantities of packages.
  • Package Size and Weight: For heavy or large packages, ground shipping may be the most efficient and economical option.
  • Prioritizing Savings: Ground shipping is generally the most cost-effective way to deliver goods.  However, it’s important to offer a variety of shipping options to cater to different customer needs.  Some customers may be willing to pay extra for faster delivery times.

By understanding the advantages and limitations of ground shipping, you can make informed decisions to optimize your shipping strategy and provide excellent service to your customers.


Ground shipping might not sound glamorous, but don’t write it off just yet! Thanks to the e-commerce boom, ground shipping is getting faster and more efficient than ever. Plus, it offers a winning combination of affordability and reliability.

So, are you ready to ditch the confusion and find the best ground shipping rates? This blog unpacked everything you need to know about ground shipping, from its advantages to its limitations.

By understanding ground shipping’s ins and outs, you can make informed choices, optimize your shipping strategy, and keep your customers happy!


Is Ground Shipping The Fastest?

While ground shipping generally offers slower delivery times compared to alternative methods, there can be exceptions, particularly for shipments within closer geographic zones. The primary benefit of ground shipping lies in its cost-effectiveness.  Ground shipping rates typically represent a fraction of the price associated with expedited or overnight options that utilize air transportation.

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