Which delivery carrier should you use? Help Me Hank puts holiday shipping to the test

Testing delivery carriers ahead of holiday season

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DETROIT – Are you debating which delivery carrier to use this holiday season? Help Me Hank put holiday shipping to the test.


We had our sister station in Houston send us three packages. All three were the same size and weight and each was shipped by a different delivery carrier. One was shipped by the Unites States Postal Service, costing $10.65; the second by Fed Ex, costing $14.31; and the third by UPS, costing $16.98.


The first box to arrive was from the Post Office.
Arrival time: 11:45 a.m.
Text message notification: 11:52 a.m.

The second box was dropped off by Fed Ex.
Arrival time: 12:32 p.m.
Email notification: 12:42 p.m.

The final box was delivered by UPS.
Arrival time: 1:31 p.m.
Email notification: 3:36 p.m.

USPS proved to be the winner. It was the first delivered and the cheapest. On top of that, we received seven notifications over the course of the week showing us the location of the package.

FedEx wasn't far behind. The price was reasonable and we didn't have to wait in a line to ship it, as we did at the post office.

The notification time was good and we received four notifications, tracking the package from start to finish.

The least impressive carrier was UPS. It was the most expensive, the last to arrive and took the longest to notify when the package was delivered. We also signed up for text messages alerts from UPS and didn't receive one.

USPS shipping tips

You can sign up for text and email alerts to track your package at If you visit the USPS website and select "delivery instructions" you can have your package to be left in a specific location. Also, arrange for the delivery to be left with a neighbor or held at the Post Office if you won't be home to pick it up. Here are some suggested dates to mail your holiday packages by: USPS Retail Ground - Dec. 14, First-Class Mail and Priority Mail -- Dec. 20, and Priority Mail Express - Dec 22.

FedEx shipping tips

FedEx has doubled their fleet of delivery trucks for the holiday season. If you see UHaul vans in your neighborhood, don’t be alarmed; FedEx has rented some out to deliver more packages. They have 425,000 team members in their network working to get your package delivered safely to its destination. Packages go straight to the Novi headquarters to get sorted and sent to their locations. These packages are scanned and tracked everywhere they go, which is how you will get notifications of where your package is.

Visit the Fed Ex website, through the delivery manager you can set up delivery preferences. This way you can choose exactly where you want your package delivered. For example, you can have it placed in your backyard, behind your garage, or even in your grill. You can also sign up for tracking notifications that will inform you real time where your package is when it gets there.

UPS shipping tips

Go to the UPS website for helpful tools like "pack like a pro guidelines", estimated shipping cost calculators and to sign up for shipping notifications. You can bring your package to any participating UPS Store locations to have them pack your items safely to ensure no damage to your package.

If you use this service and the package does get damaged, you will be reimbursed. Also, if you're running late on shipping your packages be sure to send them out on Dec. 20 using 2nd Day Air, or Dec. 21 using Next Day Air to ensure your package will be delivered on Christmas Eve.

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