If you’re waiting for a particular piece of mail or package, then you may be curious about when the USPS actually delivers your mail.
Since the USPS uses standard retail hours, you might imagine that your mail will arrive during that time.
That isn’t always the case.
The type of mail you’re expecting can influence when you receive it.
A number of other factors can influence when the USPS delivers your mail or package as well.
Here’s when you can expect the USPS to deliver your mail or package and what influences that time.
When Does USPS Deliver?
The USPS delivers mail anytime between seven in the morning and eight at night.
US Postal Service offices are open between nine in the morning and seven at night.
This means that their postal workers often work outside of business hours to deliver mail.
If you have a Priority Mail Express delivery or a package from Amazon, then it may arrive on Sunday.
All other pieces of mail and packages arrive Monday through Saturday.
The post office does not traditionally operate on Sundays.
Because of that, you can expect your standard mail and packages to arrive between seven in the morning and eight at night on Monday through Saturday.
Factors That Influence Delivery Times
There are a few factors that can influence when the USPS delivers your mail.
These factors usually mean there’s a delay.
Without these factors, your mail arrives at a typical time every day.
Since the USPS uses an efficient system to sort and get the mail out on trucks, the postal workers are able to arrive at the same house around the same time each day.
However, the following factors can delay your mail or package by a few minutes, a few hours, or even a few days.
One of the biggest factors that can influence your mail’s delivery time is the weather.
Postal carriers have to drive in the weather unless it’s considered dangerous.
No matter if it’s sunny, raining, or snowing, you’ll see their trucks on the road and in neighborhoods.
However, certain weather types can delay them.
If the rain is a downpour, for example, then a postal worker may choose to wait until it lightens.
Driving during a downpour can be dangerous even for a slow-moving vehicle like a mail truck.
Those trucks also have to drive on highways from time to time to reach further destinations.
Driving on the highway or on high-speed roads during a downpour is dangerous.
The rain makes it impossible to see outside of your windshield.
To avoid an accident and cause even more of a delay, many postal workers will pull into a parking lot and wait until the rain subsides.
Another problem that comes out of the rain that can cause a delay is flooding.
After a downpour, if the area has seen a lot of rain recently, then there’s a chance that some streets may have flooding problems.
If the water is high enough, then it’s not safe for cars to pass through it.
The water can flood the engine can cause it to stall.
Mail carriers will not be able to drive down flooded roads.
This can delay mail by several days if it takes a while for the water to recede.
Some mail deliverers may be able to use alternative methods of reaching homes, but most will have to wait until the water evaporates or moves out of the way.
Only when the water level is low enough not to cause harm to the truck will they move into the area with their deliveries.
Snow is another huge concern for mail carriers.
In snowy parts of the United States, snow-covered roads can cause huge delays.
In many cases, it’s because the road is unpassable.
There’s so much snow that cars can’t get through it.
The snow creates a thick barrier.
In this case, a mail carrier is unable to complete their deliveries because they physically can’t access the road.
This can cause a serious delay.
It may be a few days before the city can send a snowplow to the area.
Some mail carriers may be able to drive through the snow, but if it’s too high, then they risk getting stuck.
That causes a delay for everyone since the mail carrier has to wait for a tow.
Blizzards are another weather issue that can cause delays.
Like downpours, blizzards make it impossible to see outside the windshield.
Instead of risking their lives and the lives of others, mail carriers will wait until the blizzard subsides.
Then they’ll be able to complete their deliveries.
This can cause a delay of a few hours to even a day if the blizzard persists.
The final weather type that can cause delays is ice.
During the changing of the seasons, it’s common for more ice to form than snow.
As warmer temperatures mix with cold, the rain transitions into snow but remains quite wet.
With the freezing temperatures, it forms a thick sheet of ice on the roads.
Since mail carriers often work early in the morning, they’re out there before the snowplows can put down dirt and salt.
They might choose to wait until after the dirt and salt are down before accessing the roads.
This reduces the risk of having an accident and causing even more of a delay.
Since they’re waiting an hour or two for the snowplows to do their jobs, it can also delay the delivery of mail by a few hours.
Whenever there’s ice on the road, you can expect your mail to be a little later than normal.
Another big factor that can influence the speed of delivery is traffic.
Since the postal workers primarily operate on the road, they’re subject to traffic delays.
While most of their time rests around driving through neighborhoods, they have to access those neighborhoods in the first place.
Since they’re on the roads around the same time that many people are going to work and leaving the neighborhood, it can cause some delays.
They’re right there in the traffic with the morning commute.
Traffic isn’t always bad, however, in some places.
There may be a special event happening in the city that’s bringing in more traffic than normal.
That can create rare traffic delays that also delay the delivery time for the mail.
There may be seasonal construction on the roads that limit traffic to one lane.
That can create a traffic delay which then influences the time in which a mail carrier delivers the mail.
There may even be an accident that shuts down the highway for a time.
A delay occurs and the mail deliverer is stuck in the middle of it.
Any time there’s a traffic delay, whether it’s normal congestion or an accident, you can also expect your mail to be a bit later than normal.
3. Vehicle Breakdowns
Since the USPS uses cars and trucks to deliver mail, they’re subject to breakdowns.
Any time they use a vehicle, they put wear on it.
Although it can take time for vehicles to break down, some circumstances can occur that can speed up their deterioration.
Snow and salt, for example, can rust the bottoms of vehicles.
Tree branches can scratch the underside of the vehicles or even fall on them.
Potholes on the roads can break axles, shred tires, or make them blow out.
Everyday wear and tear will start to take its toll over time.
Vehicles start to break down more and more often and need parts replaced.
Whenever a vehicle is in the shop, that means there’s one less mail carrier on the road.
That can slow delivery service since the truck’s route is then divided among everyone else.
Some offices may have the budget to keep a spare vehicle in case of a breakdown, but not all of them do.
Even then, the mail delivery may experience a few hours of delay since the driver has to have the other vehicle towed, then move the cargo to the new vehicle.
The mail can face delays when a mail carrier’s vehicle breaks down.
Since the USPS consists of men and women, they’re prone to illnesses.
Any time a cold virus sweeps through the area, it’s likely going to show up in the office, too.
Whenever someone is ill and misses work, it impacts the flow of delivery.
The office operates according to an efficient system and process that depends on everyone to be there.
When one person is gone, it throws the entire process out of whack.
The other workers have to work a bit harder to cover the gap made by the ill person.
They have to divvy the route up between them to ensure the sick person’s share of the mail goes where it needs to.
That means figuring out which other drivers are closest to that area and ensuring that they can cover their own route as well as the additional route.
While sometimes a worker may be gone for a day or two, other more serious types of illness may keep them out of the workforce for a week or more.
When this happens, it starts to take a toll on the efficiency of the postal office.
If the office wasn’t able to pick up the slack, then they could face an overwhelming number of deliveries that they need to make.
This problem becomes compounded when other workers fall ill, too.
You could experience delays that take a few hours, or
some of these delays can even take a few days.
If a worker becomes ill, then it impacts the postal office as a whole.
5. Labor Shortages
One of the problems currently plaguing the postal office is a labor shortage in many areas.
With the post office struggling financially, many don’t have the funds to pay additional workers.
That means there are only a small number of workers available to perform various jobs.
They have to do everything from shipping and sorting to delivering and selling products to those who stop by.
While this may be fine for smaller communities, for larger ones, they will feel the strain when their post office doesn’t have enough workers.
With fewer people to go through the mail and deliver it, it takes longer for mail to show up at its intended address.
This problem becomes worse if the office can only afford a small number of vehicles, too.
It means they have fewer people acting as delivery workers.
With tons of addresses to get to and only a handful of workers to deliver mail, residents can face delays up to a day or two on their mail.
That delay can increase if any of the other factors listed above are present as well.
Until the post office starts receiving enough funds to hire more workers, the time it takes to receive mail could increase.
6. Air Travel Delays
The mail doesn’t only travel across the ground.
The USPS also uses planes to move large quantities of mail over long distances.
This helps speed up the process, but if there’s a problem with the airplane or the area in which it’s trying to take off, then it can delay the entire process.
Airplanes can only fly in certain conditions.
Otherwise, they’re delayed until those conditions arrive.
This is to ensure the safety of everyone involved with the plane as well as the plane’s cargo.
If you’re in sunny California and you’re waiting for mail from snowy New York, then you may wonder what’s taking it so long to arrive.
The problem is that even though the weather may be fine where you are, it may not be fine where the mail is coming from.
An airplane delay increases the wait time on your mail because it keeps it from arriving at the sorting office for delivery.
It disrupts the entire process.
An airplane delay can cause your mail to arrive a few days late.
In most cases and under ideal conditions, your mail will arrive at your home between seven in the morning and eight at night.
If it’s delayed, then there are several factors that could be to blame.
Your mail will always arrive Monday through Saturday except for Amazon packages and Priority Express Mail.
These types of deliveries can also arrive at your home on Sunday.