FedEx vs UPS vs DHL vs USPS

When you’re running a business, it’s crucial to work with the best delivery service so that your customers get their parcels on time. This also has to be balanced against how much shipping will cost you as a business and your customers.

Sometimes, finding a middle ground can be difficult, especially when it comes to the big names in parcel shipping and freight: DHL, UPS, USPS, and FedEx. These are generally considered as the best shipping companies – but are they really? Let’s look at them in closer detail.

FedEx vs UPS vs DHL vs USPS – The Best Shipping Option for Your Business

Imagine, for a moment, that you’re a customer who has just ordered from a business online. You want to know that your parcel will be prioritized and treated with respect. You also want to know that your parcel will arrive in good time, but you don’t want to have to pay ridiculous prices at checkout.

As a business owner, the carrier that you use can make or break your business. If too many of your parcels go missing or spend too long in transit, your customers will complain and this can affect your reputation and future revenue.

But at the same time, you also don’t want to pay too much for shipping because this means you’ll have to pass on those extra costs to your customers. So, you’ll need to find the balance between good shipping rates with a short delivery time, and affordability.

The Giants of Shipping

DHL, UPS, USPS, and FedEx are the most used carriers around the country. DHL, FedEx, and UPS are privately owned and have been operating for decades, but all three have track records that are pretty impressive overall. Despite this, each service has advantages and disadvantages, but picking them apart can be tricky.

The truth is that your customers just want the goods that they’ve paid for and they want them in good time. What you choose as a business will impact on the customer experience, so it’s important to get it right.

Why Choose DHL?

DHL is a big company with significant resources in terms of international shipping. The German brand are worldwide, and they’re a good option in the US, the UK and all through Europe.

If you’re shipping internationally, DHL should typically be your very first choice. They have excellent international shipping rates, which makes them a very good choice for anything you need to send overseas.

DHL Express is one of the best ways to send internationally if you’re concerned about a quick delivery time. But how do they really stack up to the others? Here are the pros & cons.


Strong International Postal Service – There is no other carrier that will ship to North Korea. DHL is proud of its reach into every corner of the world and the fact that it can even reach North Korea makes it a service worth considering. You may not ever need to send a package to North Korea, but the very fact that DHL can do it means that they have very strong international connections.
Eco-Friendly – If the environment is of concern to you, DHL is very strong in this area. As a company, it has dedicated itself to reducing emissions. This is reflected in various partnerships and ongoing programs, such as the purchase of an electric vehicle company so that it can reduce its carbon footprint.
Refunds – No carrier wants to ever admit when they fail to deliver a parcel, but DHL does offer a refund when this happens, as it occasionally does. Their customer service in this area is excellent and when speaking to an agent they are happy to help you track a parcel and estimate when it might be delivered by a local partner service on the ground.


No Domestic Flights – DHL was founded in America, but these days it’s part of the European Deutsche Post. While this gives it significant international power, it also means that it’s not allowed to fly between cities in the US. If you’re US-based and deliver to US customers, this might be an issue. The solution is that DHL works closely with local ground fleets to transfer their parcels and have them delivered to customers.
A Clunky Delivery Solution – Not being able to fly between US cities can cause an issue. There are times when DHL will report a parcel as having been delivered to an address, but the fact is that it’s only been delivered to a local courier service. In these cases, it can confuse customers and cause a day or two delay in delivery.

Why Choose USPS?

USPS is not a privately held company and is probably one of the most well known. They tend to have a longer time on average than the others, so they may not be a good choice if your delivery is time sensitive and it needs to be there the next day.

In terms of price though, they can often prove to be the safest choice. Here are the pros & cons of using USPS.


It’s Less Expensive – If price is a consideration for you and your customers, USPS is really the only choice. It charges less for parcel delivery than any of the three private companies.
Excellent US-Based Delivery Option – If you send parcels around the US primarily, USPS is always going to be a great option. Apart from it being less expensive, it is also reliable in this context.


Limited Expedited Delivery Options – If you need a parcel to be delivered quickly to a customer, you need an expedited service. DHL, UPS, and FedEx all provide pretty comprehensive expedited service delivery options with different prices and timeframes. This is a weakness for USPS, and may not represent the best option in this area.

What About Using UPS?

If you’re wanting to use a service with a great track record and has consistently won admiration from international companies, UPS is well worth a look. Well known in the US, this brand can be perfect if you want one service to deal with both domestic and international shipping.

Here are some pros & cons of the brand, which has a mixed reputation depending on the country you’re based.


Very Strong Ground Fleet – Perhaps the biggest advantage to using UPS is that it offers a reliable and strong fleet of on-ground vehicles. This translates to more efficient ground-based services and is ideal for domestic shipments.
Lots of Deliveries Every Day – In 2019, UPS has been delivering 21 million parcels a day around the world. That’s a very impressive statistic and makes them a winner in the eyes of many companies.


Tracking Isn’t Great – Tracking gives both companies and customers a way to know exactly where a package is. The problem for UPS is that its tracking is just not as good as competitors such as DHL. The information may not be updated as often and the tracking process isn’t as granular.

What About FedEx?

FedEx has been around for decades and pioneered real-time parcel tracking. They are another American brand that are mainly used for global shipping, with the Fedex internal shipping service being quite popular.

Here are some of the advantages of using FedEx for your parcel delivery, as well as some of the drawbacks too.


They Provide Refunds – Though no carrier company wants to discuss service failures, at least FedEx does provide refunds on parcels that aren’t delivered. This places it on a level with DHL in this respect.
Excellent Tracking Facility – Customers these days expect that they can see exactly where their package is and FedEx doesn’t disappoint. It offers granular tracking that is transparent and reliable.
Negotiable Pricing – Prices are a big concern for any company and FedEx does offer negotiable rates for bulk parcel deliveries. As a company, you may be able to get a discount on your deliveries through FedEx.


Generally More Expensive – FedEx is a great company, reliable, and comparable to UPS in many ways, but the prices tend to be higher than other carrier services. One might say that you get what you pay for in terms of tracking, delivery options, and reliability, but it if you’re price sensitive, then FedEx may not be the best option.

Which Service Should You Use?

The carrier you choose can make a difference to your bottom line and your reputation, so it’s important to get it right. Every service has strengths and weaknesses, but here are some conclusions that you can come to.

  • UPS is great for on-ground delivery
  • DHL has the best international reach, but not a great presence in the US
  • FedEx has great tracking, negotiable pricing for bulk deliveries, but higher pricing
  • USPS has plenty of experience, inexpensive rates, and a great US presence, but has limited international delivery options

In some scenarios, the best option is to use a mix of all of them for your parcel delivery and offer your customers some choices. It can be a good idea to use DHL for international shipping, and perhaps look to using a different service for all of your local deliveries.

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About Jon

Hey, I'm Jon. I'm an engineer by trade, so it makes sense that I'm obsessed with anything technology related! On the weekends, you can find me playing around with my computers or fixing something around the house. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to get in touch.

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