Shipping services come in many varieties: some cheap, others pricey, and others offer both affordable and expensive rates. We researched dozens of courier services and identified the cheapest way to ship within Canada using the couriers that offer the best features at the lowest price.
In this post, I'll dive into what makes shipping so expensive in Canada compared to other countries, and show you how you can save money when shipping packages across Canada by comparing shipping rates from the major shipping companies. Rates aren’t everything, though, which is why I've also considered other criteria like safety, reliability, customer service, etc. to ensure that you also get the best value every time you send out a package.
Why Are Shipping Costs So High in Canada?
There are several reasons why shipping costs are higher in Canada than in many other countries:
#1 Low Population Density
One of the main reasons shipping costs are so high in Canada is that, apart from being the second largest country in the world by landmass, the country isn’t as densely populated as other large countries.
This doesn't only make shipping within Canada expensive but also shipping from other countries like the US to Canada.
#2 Larger Distances
Additionally, the territories and provinces that do have higher population densities in Canada are very far apart. As a consequence, people are spread out over large distances, and there is a reduced cluster of potential customers. Hence, shipment costs tend to be higher than they would be if Canada had a dense and clustered populace like, for example, California.
#3 Geography And Climate
Another factor is Canada's geography and climate. Canada has many remote areas that are difficult for logistics companies to navigate. When combined with the country's sometimes harsh climate, shipping becomes more cumbersome and expensive.
#4 Gas Prices
Finally, gas price is another major factor influencing shipping costs in any country. Canadian gas prices are high due to the relatively small Canadian population and how it’s spread out over a massive landmass.
These are some of the reasons why you've probably noticed that, sometimes, when you make an online purchase within Canada, you end up paying more for shipping than you have for the product itself. But fear not! We have the perfect solution for you. Keep reading to find out how to send and receive mail cheaply within Canada.
What Is the Cheapest Way To Ship Within Canada?
There are many companies that ship domestically within Canada. If you're shipping small packages, you can use any of the many courier services available to Canadians, such as UPS, Canada Post, FedEx, Purolator, and others. These courier services offer different shipping rates and services depending on the size of your package and when you want your parcel to be delivered.
Ground Shipping Is The Cheapest Option For Small Packages
Ground shipping is one of the cheapest ways to ship your packages across Canada. Ground shipping may take time, but it is the most cost-effective option if you do not need your packages delivered urgently.
Freight Shipping Is The Best Option For Large Packages
You may have to use freight shipping if you're shipping large or heavy parcels that cannot be shipped via courier services. Companies like FedEx, UPS, and Purolator also offer freight shipping services at affordable prices.
You may have to use either:
- Less-Than-Truckload (LTL) shipping or
- Full-Truck-Load (FTL) shipping.
Using LTL shipping might be among the cheapest ways to ship large packages across Canada. You can use LTL freight shipping if you're shipping large packages that will not occupy the entire space in a trailer or truck and if your package weighs around 150 to 15,000 lbs (68 to 6,800 kg).
The feature of LTL freight shipping that makes it affordable is that you'll only have to pay for the portion of the truck occupied by your package.
You can use the Full-Truck-Load (FTL) freight shipping if your package is large enough to take up the entire space in a semi-truck carrier or if it weighs 20,000 lbs (9,000 kg) or more.
Courier Services You Can Use to Ship Within Canada
Shipping is an unavoidable expense for most individuals and businesses in Canada. With many courier services in the country, choosing one, or a few, to help ship your packages locally at an affordable price shouldn't be a significant problem.
Also, most courier services provide insurance for your packages at no extra cost. Here are some of the primary courier services that offer reliable service at affordable shipping rates for shipping within Canada.
Canada Post is one of the leading logistics companies in Canada and is the primary postal service operating in the country. Canada Post has over 6,200 post office locations across Canada and the widest delivery network in the country.
Individuals and businesses can use their domestic services to ship their packages across Canada.
Canada Post offers the following domestic shipping services:
|Domestic Shipping Service||Features|
|Canada Post Priority™||Guaranteed 1-day delivery|
|Canada Post Xpresspost™||Guaranteed delivery in 1 to 2 days|
|Canada Post Regular Parcel™||Guaranteed delivery in 2 to 9 days|
|Canada Post Expedited Parcel™||Guaranteed delivery in 1 to 7 days|
UPS is a major carrier in Canada and offers on-time delivery for packages and mail across Canada at affordable prices.
UPS offers the following domestic shipping services for individuals and businesses alike:
|Domestic Shipping Service||Features|
|UPS Express Critical®||Fast delivery of 6 to 8 hours or less|
|UPS Express® Early||Next-day guaranteed delivery by 9:00 a.m. to most metro areas|
|UPS Express®||Next-day guaranteed delivery by 10:30 a.m. to most metro areas|
|UPS Express Saver®||Next-day guaranteed delivery by 3:00 p.m. to commercial addresses in most metro areas|
|UPS Expedited®||2-days guaranteed delivery to most metro areas|
|UPS® Standard||Day-definite guaranteed delivery|
FedEx is another leading logistics company that can be used to make on-time package deliveries across all provinces and territories in Canada.
FedEx offers the following domestic services:
|Domestic Shipping Service||Features|
|FedEx First Overnight®||Guaranteed next-business-day delivery by 10:00 a.m. to most metro areas|
|FedEx Priority Overnight®||Guaranteed next-business-day delivery by noon to most metropolitan areas|
|FedEx Standard Overnight®||Guaranteed next-day delivery by 5:00 p.m. to businesses and 8:00 p.m. to residences in most metro areas|
|FedEx 2Day®||Guaranteed delivery in 1 to 2 business days by 5:00 p.m. to businesses and 8:00 p.m. to residences in most metro areas|
|FedEx Economy®||Guaranteed delivery in 1 to 3 business days by 5:00 p.m. to businesses and 8:00 p.m. to residences in most metro areas|
|FedEx Ground®||Guaranteed delivery in 1 to 7 business days by 5:00 p.m. to businesses and 8:00 p.m. to residences in most metro areas|
Related: Planet Express is a virtual mailbox provider that consolidates and forwards packages through popular courier companies to save you money on shipping costs.
Purolator is another major carrier and courier service in Canada. It can be used to ship packages and make quick deliveries at affordable prices to Canadian addresses across all provinces and territories in Canada.
Purolator offers the following domestic shipping services within Canada:
|Domestic Shipping Service||Features|
|Purolator Express®||Guaranteed next-business-day delivery by 9:00 p.m. to all provinces and territories|
|Purolator Express® 9AM||Guaranteed next-business-day delivery by 9:00 a.m. to major cities|
|Purolator Express® 10:30AM||Guaranteed next-business-day delivery by 10:30 a.m. to major cities|
|Purolator Express® 12PM||Guaranteed next-business-day delivery by 12:00 p.m. to major cities|
|Purolator Express® Evening||Guaranteed next-business-day delivery between 5:30 p.m. and 9:00 p.m. to major cities|
|Purolator Ground®||Guaranteed delivery in 1 or more business days by 9:00 p.m. to all provinces and territories|
|Purolator Ground® 9AM||Guaranteed delivery in 2 or more business days by 9:00 a.m. to major cities|
|Purolator Ground® 10:30AM||Guaranteed delivery in 2 or more business days by 10:30 a.m. to major cities|
|Purolator Ground® Evening||Guaranteed delivery in 2 or more business days between 5:30 p..m and 9:00 p.m. to major cities|
Which Courier Service Is Cheapest For Shipping Within Canada?
There are several affordable courier services in Canada. However, we curated and compared four of the major courier services available to Canadians and compared them to find out which offers the cheapest shipping service in Canada.
The shipping rates for each shipping company vary based on the individual courier service offered and the delivery time. So we compared the shipping rates from UPS, Canada Post, FedEx, and Purolator to determine which is cheaper for shipping a standard 20kg (44lbs) package from Toronto to Edmonton.
The shipping rates from either courier service are shown in the table below:
|Courier Service||Shipping Rates||Delivery Time|
|UPS Express Early||$257.51||1 business day by 9:00 a.m.|
|UPS Express||$223.37||1 business day by 10:30 a.m.|
|UPS Express Saver||$205.59||1 business day by 3:00 p.m.|
|UPS Expedited||$194.55||2 business days|
|UPS Standard||$91.42||4 business days|
|Canada Post Priority||$271.86||1 business day|
|Canada Post Xpresspost||$206.05||2 business days|
|Canada Post Regular Parcel||$71.45||6 business days|
|FedEx First Overnight||$479.82||1 business day by 10:00 a.m.|
|FedEx Priority Overnight||$434.29||1 business day by 12:00 p.m.|
|FedEx Standard Overnight||$391.83||1 business day by 5:00 p.m.|
|FedEx 2Day||$360.59||2 business days|
|FedEx Economy||$237.60||3 business days|
|FedEx Ground||$88.93||3 business days (end of the day)|
|Purolator Express||$409.38||1 business day by 9:00 a.m.|
|Purolator Express||$355.67||1 business day by 10:30 a.m.|
|Purolator Express||$322.46||1 business day by 12:00 p.m.|
|Purolator Express||$373.97||1 business day (evening)|
|Purolator Express||$281.63||1 business day (end of the day)|
|Purolator Ground||$183.57||3 business days by 9:00 a.m.|
|Purolator Ground||$158.00||3 business days by 10:30 a.m.|
|Purolator Ground||$163.36||3 business days (evening)|
|Purolator Ground||$145.52||3 business days (end of the day)|
Each courier service offers different domestic services, and you can choose from the options available depending on your needs and budget.
However, from our comparisons, UPS and Canada Post emerge as the most cost-effective because they offer affordable rates for quick delivery options if you need your packages delivered urgently.
If you have a little more time on your hands and do not need an urgent delivery, you can go for the ground shipping options.
However, sometimes, cheap doesn't always mean better. So you must ensure that the courier service you choose suits your needs and will help you achieve your goals.
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How Can I Save On Shipping In Canada?
With the continued rise of shipping costs in Canada, individuals and businesses are looking for ways to ship packages across Canada without breaking the bank.
As every dollar counts, here are a few tips to help you save money on shipping within Canada:
- Deliver products locally or via a pickup location
- Take advantage of ground shipping
- Make your product packaging less bulky
- Always use flat-rate shipping
- Reuse packaging materials
- Use multiple courier services
Deliver Products Locally Or Via A Pickup Location
You can save money on shipping by not shipping at all. If you have remote customers, you can deliver packages or products to them by yourself or give them the option of picking up their product packages at a pickup location such as your store.
Capitalize On Ground Shipping
You can also save some extra dollars by using the far cheaper ground shipping options if your customers do not need the packages delivered to them urgently. Ground shipping is more affordable than the quick delivery options offered by your courier service.
Although it'll take some time, you'll save money. However, you must ensure that your customers agree with the delivery time to ensure customer satisfaction.
Reduce The Size Of Your Packaging
When shipping your products, the larger your package, the higher the shipping fees you'll pay.
If possible, ensure that your packaging material is lightweight to prevent your package from being too bulky. If you're shipping fragile products, you can use protective lightweight covers like bubble wrap and foam inserts to protect your package better.
Always Use Flat-Rate Shipping
Imagine having to ship different sizes of packages at the same price. Always take advantage of the flat-rate or fixed shipping prices offered by your carrier or courier service rather than the variable shipping rates, which depend on the individual size, shape, and weight of your packages.
Flat-rate shipping allows you to conveniently ship different packages that fall into the same weight range for a fixed price. Another advantage is that it will enable you to know and estimate the shipping costs you'll pay in advance.
Flat-rate shipping further lets you know how much to charge your customers on shipment at checkout depending on the products they buy from you on top of other charges.
Reuse Packaging Materials
You can also save money on shipping by reusing and recycling your packaging materials. You can save packaging materials from other products you received and use them to package your products.
Reusing your packaging materials is environment-friendly and will also help you save money you would've used in purchasing new packaging materials.
Use Multiple Courier Services
You don't have to use just one specific carrier or courier service to ship your product packages. Ensure that you use the different services offered by the carriers or courier services to find the best shipping deals.
Cheapest Way to Ship Within Canada FAQs
Here are three questions Canadians frequently have about cheap shipping rates in Canada.
How can I avoid high shipping costs?
You can avoid high shipping costs by doing the following:
- Ensure that your product packaging is not bulky.
- Use ground shipping when possible.
- Choose flat-rate options provided by your courier service.
- Compare shipping rates from other couriers to find the most affordable one.
- If you ship large volumes of packages, you can negotiate shipping costs with your courier to receive a discount.
Can you negotiate shipping costs?
Yes, you can negotiate shipping costs with your carrier or courier service. You’ll have to reach out to the managers of the shipping service to negotiate shipping costs at a lower rate for your packages. However, negotiating will be easier if you regularly ship large volumes of packages or parcels.
How do I calculate shipping costs?
You can calculate shipping costs or estimate how much it will cost to ship a package on the shipping company's website. Most courier services provide shipping calculators on their websites. You can use these shipping calculators to find the shipping rates provided by the courier service and the delivery timeline.
With the steady rise in shipping costs, finding cheaper ways to ship your packages within Canada is essential. Many shipping companies offer domestic services at varying rates for shipping your packages across Canada. However, because they offer affordable rates for quick delivery options, UPS and Canada Post emerge as the most cost-effective in Canada.