UPS vs. FedEx – Which Shipping Giant is Worthy of Your Business?

Together, the world’s package handling giants FedEx and UPS deliver nearly 6.5 billion packages annually. That’s about 25 million packages a day.

And as business owners expand eCommerce offerings, and consumers continue to embrace them, the two delivery competitors can count on an increase in business.

As a small business owner or anxious entrepreneur, you’ve probably wondered more than once which shipping company best suits your needs. We’ve investigated several key factors to help you answer that nagging question and take advantage of the e-commerce revolution.

Discover what we’ve learned and then vote for the company you think offers the best services for small businesses.

The Contenders


  • Founded: Seattle, WA, 1907
  • HQ: Sandy Springs, GA
  • Market cap: 81.79B
  • CEO: Scott Davis
  • Revenue: $53B
  • Employees: 400,000
  • Ground Vehicles: 101,900


  • Founded: Little Rock, AR, 1973
  • HQ: Memphis, TN
  • Market Cap: 31.15B
  • CEO: Frederick W. Smith
  • Revenue: $43B
  • Employees: 300,000
  • Ground Vehicles: 43,000

Round One: Shipping Options

UPS’ cheapest ground deliver service is UPS Ground; its next day delivery within the U.S. is UPS Next Day Air and its time-guaranteed international delivery is UPS Worldwide Express. UPS offers time-definite delivery services within the U.S. on delivery of letters, documents and packages. When shipping internationally, you can get time-definite service to over 220 countries.

UPS will deliver on Saturdays for an additional fee, and it offers business owners over 40,000 drop boxes should they need to ship after business hours. On average, 91 percent of UPS packages are delivered on time; however, a report by The American Customer Satisfaction Index reveals that UPS’ customer satisfaction score fell from 85 in 2011 to 81 in 2012.

FedEx offers the same the basic services as UPS. It’s least expensive U.S. ground service is named FedEx Ground, next day delivery within the U.S. and its time-guaranteed international delivery are both named FedEx Express. FedEx Ground offers a guaranteed day-definite delivery within the U.S. and Canada. Saturday is a standard delivery day with FedEx Home Delivery, and there is no associated extra charge.

Like UPS, it offers customers 43,000 drop boxes for after-hour needs. Failing slight short of UPS’ amazing on-time delivery rate, 88 percent of FedEx delivers arrive on time. FedEx’s customer satisfaction score fell from 83 in 2011 to 82 in 2012, a 1 percent slide versus UPS’ 5 percent drop.

Round Two: Subsidiaries

In 2012, Mail Boxes Etc. became The UPS Store, Inc. Today, nearly 4,700 of these independently owned shipping and printing centers are located throughout the U.S., Puerto Rico and Canada.

The UPS shipping rates, found at The UPS Store, are about 20 percent less than UPS-direct shipping rates. The centers cater to small business owners, virtual workers and corporate travelers by offering postal, online printing, document and business services.

In 2003, nearly a decade before UPS purchased Mail Boxes Etc., FedEx bought Kinko’s and re-named it FedEx Office. Today, there are almost 2,000 FedEx Office locations in the U.S. and overseas- 400 of which serve customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Similar to The UPS Store, Inc., FedEx Office provides business related services like copying and digital printing, document creation, direct mail, signs and graphics, and of course FedEx Express and FedEx Ground shipping. The center also offers computer rental.

Round Three: Fastest International Shipping

UPS Express Critical is the shipping company’s fastest international shipping method (even for over sized freight). It offers business owners the confidence of a specific delivery commitment at the time their order is placed.

UPS Express Critical serves more than 180 countries. The service will ship your envelop or package on the best available flight 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and every day of the year. A hand-carry, on-board courier service is available for an additional fee.

FedEx offers FedEx International Next Flight as its fastest international shipping method. The service ships to more than 220 countries and territories. Like UPS, the service is available 24 hours a day, year-round including holidays and hand carry is an option. Unlike UPS, FedEx International Next Flight doesn’t offer time-definite delivery.

Round Four: High-volume Shipping

UPS offers high-volume customers UPS Mail Innovations to help streamline and optimize domestic and international postal services for those customers with high-volume needs. UPS Mail Innovations works with the United States Postal Service (USPS) to obtain more competitive postal rates and offers transit times similar to that of First-Class Mail.

FedEx provides high-volume customers with FedEx Ship Manager Server, a full-service shipping hardware and software application that offers business owners the speed and convenience of a dedicated connection to FedEx. It enables the user to process, label, and ship large volumes of package quickly. In fact, its website states that on average, FedEx Ship Manager Server can processes eight express shipping transactions per second.

UPS and FedEx are both amazing at what they do, but we’d like to know which one you think is best for business shipping?