UPS and USPS are two different companies that provide the same services.
UPS is a privately-owned company that specializes in delivering packages.
USPS is a federal organization that handles mostly mail but can carry packages, too.
Because the two companies are so similar, you may wonder if you can drop off your UPS packages at a USPS location.
Here’s what you need to know about whether you can drop off your mail from UPS at the USPS.
Can I Drop Off UPS At USPS?
Yes, you can drop off UPS packages at your local USPS building.
However, it depends on the type of mail or package that you’re sending.
UPS has a program that they call UPS Mail Innovations.
It acts as a replacement for the USPS service.
However, this is a service that you need to pay for.
Since UPS is a private company, you can expect to pay a bit more for their service than you would with the USPS.
In return, UPS strives to offer faster, more secure, and more reliable, delivery.
The reason you can only send UPS Mail Innovations mail to the USPS is that that’s the service that they’ve partnered with.
USPS works with UPS for this particular service.
UPS essentially pays USPS to handle the last-mile delivery of their package system.
That’s why if you send them mail that’s part of the UPS Mail Innovations service, they can get it into the hands of a UPS driver.
There’s a UPS driver who regularly stops by the local USPS offices to pick up any parcels or mail intended for UPS.
They then deliver it to the next point or to a UPS facility for sorting.
Another service that UPS offers is UPS Returns Flexible Access.
This service strives to make returns an easier process.
If a retailer signs up for the program, then their customers can easily hand off their returned packages to any USPS location.
The USPS workers will then place those returned packages to the side for pick-up from a UPS driver.
The UPS driver then returns the package to the retailer.
As such, if you’re part of the UPS Mail Innovations service or use a retailer that’s part of the UPS Returns Flexible Access program, then you can drop off your UPS mail and packages at a USPS location.
How Do You Drop Off Your UPS At A USPS Location?
If you want to drop off your UPS packages at the USPS, then you may be unsure if there’s a special process involved.
The good news is that it’s easy to drop off your items at your local USPS.
As long as you printed the appropriate labels or used the appropriate stamp, the USPS will take your UPS items.
You don’t even need to hand them to a person in the USPS building.
You can use their drop-off locations as well.
The USPS mailboxes that you find scattered throughout the area qualify as drop-off points for UPS.
When the mail carrier picks up the mail from the box, they’ll take your UPS items and sort them for the UPS driver to pick up later.
You can also hand your UPS package to your local mail carrier when they arrive at your mailbox.
Since the USPS also offers package pick-up services, you can also leave your UPS package at your front door.
When the mail carrier arrives, they’ll pick up the package from your door and ensure it makes it to the UPS driver.
Because UPS and the USPS work together, you can essentially hand off your mail or packages to almost any USPS-affiliated building or box and have the items brought to the UPS.
What Is The Mail Innovations Program From The UPS?
The UPS Mail Innovations Program is a mailing service provider.
They essentially provide the same services as the USPS.
While the USPS targets residents, UPS primarily markets to businesses.
That said, you can also send regular mail through their program.
According to the UPS website, their Mail Innovations service provides the following solutions for businesses and residents:
- Pick-up services
- Processing services
- Interim transport for both domestic and international locations
Because UPS already has investments in air and ground travel, they’re able to provide package and mail delivery services at cheaper prices than others.
They’re also able to deliver faster.
That’s because they can receive mail from any origin, then put it on a plane.
Since planes travel faster than grounded vehicles, they can skip several of the steps that other carriers, like the USPS, have to complete.
The USPS only has its drivers carry mail across certain distances.
Once they enter a different jurisdiction, the mail goes to that office, which then relays it to the next office and so on until it reaches its destination.
The UPS skips that by just putting the mail on a plane headed in that direction.
The mail then goes to the local post office who completes the delivery to the specific location.
Since they have a streamlined logistics process, they’re able to get mail to their destination faster and cheaper.
Is Using UPS Mail Innovations Safe?
One reason that some people might be a little wary of using UPS for mail delivery is that they send and receive mail with sensitive information.
They trust the USPS to handle their mail because it’s a federal organization.
UPS is a private organization that handles its employee hiring differently.
The good news is that UPS takes the security of the mail it delivers seriously.
When there’s sensitive information enclosed in the mail, such as something going to the government, UPS only lets certain individuals handle that mail.
Those individuals have U.S. Postal Services Mail Quality Control certification.
They know how to handle those sensitive documents without becoming compromised.
Because they specifically hire and train their employees to handle mail with sensitive information, UPS Mail Innovations is a safe program to use for mail delivery.
Does The UPS Mail Innovations Service Cover Larger Mail?
While UPS Mail Innovations covers basic mail, you may wonder if they also include specialty mail that involves heavier mail, too.
The UPS Mail Innovations service can deliver and process larger mail.
In some cases, they can even handle mail that UPS can’t carry over long distances.
They’re able to send things like CDs, DVDs, booklets, catalogs, and other heavier items without a problem.
Part of the reason they’re able to carry heavier items is that they already have the investment in place with air travel.
The USPS has actually scaled back its air operations.
They rely on ground travel more than air travel.
As a result, the USPS has to be mindful of how much weight they put on their trucks to ensure they’re able to carry as much as possible.
UPS, which has a huge fleet of airplanes, doesn’t have this problem.
While weight is something they consider, too, they have more flexibility than the USPS which allows them to carry heavier items.
Does The UPS Mail Innovations Service Provide International Delivery?
When you try to send mail or a package to an international address with the USPS, you can run into problems.
Some offices may refuse to deliver it.
Others will charge you a hefty price.
The good news is that the UPS Mail Innovations service can take care of international mail and packages.
One of the reasons they’re able to handle distant deliveries is that they already have an international network established.
They already partner with local mail carriers in other countries to complete deliveries for them.
Because of this, they have the resources to easily send letters and packages to international addresses.
Their airplanes, in particular, are able to fly across international borders.
Since they’re a private business, they’re also able to take on more international airplanes with ease than the USPS which relies on funding from stamps and donors.
Using the UPS Mail Innovations Service to deliver your international mail or packages is cheaper and easier.
What Is The UPS Returns Flexible Access Service?
The other service that UPS provides which allows you to use the USPS to send along mail and packages to them is the UPS Returns Flexible Access service.
UPS is able to provide this service because the USPS already has a return parcel service in place.
By partnering with the USPS, UPS can then offer the service to a participating business.
The business first has to sign on with UPS to qualify for the service.
That’s why you can’t return all your packages to the USPS that go to UPS.
Once the business signs up for the program, all returns for that store can go back to them through the USPS.
When you have a return, you can give it back to the USPS in a number of ways.
You’ll need to have a label printed that indicates it’s a return from the specific store and that UPS is going to handle it.
Then you can either take the package to a USPS store or have them pick up the return at your door.
You can also drop off the package at a USPS drop-off box.
If you want to take the return to UPS directly, that’s also an option.
You can take the return to any UPS office or drop-off location.
UPS will then collect the package from the USPS or drop-off location and send it back to the retailer.
This service makes returning unwanted or broken items easier for clients.
It also makes returns cheaper and more efficient for businesses.
Will The USPS Accept A Non-UPS Mail Innovations Package?
If you attempt to leave a package or mail with the USPS that’s bound for UPS but isn’t part of the UPS Mail Innovations service, then UPS will not take it.
To use that service, you have to pay for it through UPS.
In return, UPS pays the USPS to handle those orders for them.
Some offices may be kind and take the package or mail for you, but in most cases, they won’t accept the package otherwise.
Before you bring your package or mail to the USPS, you should ensure that it qualifies for the service and has the correct label attached to it.
Can You Track A UPS Package If It’s With The USPS?
If you’re sending your package through the USPS but it technically belongs to UPS, then you may wonder how the tracking works.
The good news is that, through the Mail Innovations service, you can still track your package.
When you order something or send out something, yourself, you’ll receive a tracking number from UPS as usual.
Clicking on the tracking number will show you information about its whereabouts regardless of whether the USPS is handling it or UPS.
When you hand off the package to the USPS, then they might also give you a tracking number if UPS doesn’t.
In this case, you’ll find the tracking number in your email.
Once the USPS processes your package, they’ll generate a tracking number and send you a confirmation email.
The email confirms that the USPS received the package and that it’s headed towards its destination.
They’ll provide you with a tracking number that you can then use to track its progress.
No matter if UPS or the USPS has the package, you should receive a tracking number that allows you to follow its progress.
Keep in mind that tracking can sometimes take a while to update.
In most cases, you should give the tracking 24 hours to update before inquiring about your package.
Do The UPS And USPS Work Together?
UPS and USPS, despite having similar names, are two separate entities.
They actually compete against each other for business.
Back in the day, the USPS had full jurisdiction over mailing services.
As the world started to develop online retailers and long-distance package deliveries, UPS formed to fill a hole in the market.
To this day, the USPS focuses primarily on mail with packages being their second priority.
Since the USPS has small trucks, they can’t carry as many packages as carriers like UPS can.
However, even as UPS established itself as a package delivery company, it realized that it could save on costs by working with the USPS for certain services.
As such, even though they’re competitors, both have benefited from working together for certain things.
An example is having UPS handle long-distance deliveries while the USPS handles last-mile deliveries.
Thanks to their Mail Innovations services and Return Flexible Access services, UPS and the USPS are both able to bring in new clients and profit.
What Is A UPS Access Point?
If you don’t happen to have a postal service close to you, then you might have a UPS Access Point.
Access points are basically drop-off areas where you can send packages.
You can also sign up for an Access Point that picks up your delivery for you.
You still need to drive to the Access Point to pick up the package, but they’ll hold onto it safely for you until you arrive.
This is a great alternative for those who don’t like the idea of their packages sitting on their doorsteps until they get home.
An Access Point is another great place to drop off your package if you don’t have a USPS office close to you.
You can drop off your mail or packages from UPS at the USPS post office if you’re enrolled in either Mail Innovations or Return Flexible Access.
Although they’re competitors, the USPS and UPS have found a way to cover each other’s weaknesses and provide their clients with excellent and easy service.