Best Shipping Companies

  • Pilot Freight Services
  • Shipito
  • R L Carriers
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Individuals and businesses rely on shipping companies to deliver their packages and freight safely and quickly. Use our guide to research the best shipping company for you. We explain how to choose a shipping provider based on what you are shipping, when you want it to arrive at its destination and what special services you might need.

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Important shipping company features

Shipment size

The weight and size of your shipment will determine which shipping company makes the most sense for you to use.

  • Lightweight parcels: Small parcels that don’t weigh a lot can be shipped relatively cheaply whether you need to ship them internationally or domestically. Express options allow you to ship packages as quickly as overnight for an added fee, while standard shipping can take anywhere from a few days to a week, depending on the carrier and how far your package or parcel needs to travel.
  • Packages: Packages can range in size from small to large, and their weight will determine how much it costs to ship. Expect to pay more for expedited and international shipping. These are generally shipped using ground shipping when they are shipped within the United States.
  • Freight: Businesses that need to ship freight and other cargo have options that include truck, rail, air and ocean transportation. Some companies offer discounts when you regularly ship freight using their services, so it is worthwhile to spend some time researching companies to find the one that will work best for your freight and on your timeline.


The supplies you need to ship an item can range from a simple envelope to an insulated truck, depending on what you’re shipping and how fragile it is. No matter what you’re shipping, you will need to be familiar with the supplies available that can protect your package and make sure it arrives at its destination safely.

  • Envelopes: Small parcels that weigh less than 13 ounces can be mailed in standard envelopes. Many shipping companies sell flat rate envelopes for larger parcels, overnight and express deliveries.
  • Boxes: E-commerce businesses and consumers frequently use boxes to ship small, medium or large packages.  The size and type of box you need will vary depending on what you are shipping and include standard boxes, wardrobe boxes, dish pack boxes and picture boxes. You can buy boxes at hardware stores or directly through many shipping companies.
  • Packaging materials: Keep your package safe, particularly when what you are sending is fragile. Packaging materials that can protect the items being shipped include encapsulated air and encapsulated air sheeting, loose fill materials (such as peanuts), foam and paper cushioning. Your shipper can make recommendations and sell you the packaging materials you need to keep your items safe in transit.

Transit times

How quickly you need an item delivered will be a factor in choosing a shipping company. There are a few general types of transit times that shipping companies use to deliver products and packages.

  • Standard: Standard transit time can vary depending on the method of transport. Ground and air transport, for instance, can take one to five days, while ocean transport will take longer. Standard time is the least expensive option and is best to use when you aren’t in a hurry to have a package delivered by a certain date and time.
  • Expedited: Most shipping companies offer some form of expedited shipping for an added cost. Some freight shipping companies offer weekend and holiday delivery, but not all do so check first if this is a priority for you.
  • Overnight: Overnight shipping is usually the most expensive option, but it can come in handy when you need a package delivered next-day.
  • Same-day: Some regional or local shipping companies offer same-day shipping if you get your order in by a certain time.


The type of cargo you’re shipping will play in a role in determining which shipping company you choose.

  • Parcels: Light parcels can be sent in flat rate envelopes through regular mail. If the parcel you are sending contains private and/or time sensitive information, you might consider adding on options like a receipt.
  • Hazardous materials: Shipping hazardous materials is complicated, which is why you will want to ship them through a shipping company that specializes in shipping them. This will ensure safe delivery as well as compliance with any and all regulations and laws.
  • Freight: Shipping freight has additional considerations, including whether you want your freight to travel by rail, truck, air or ocean. Many companies offer refrigerated shipping if you are shipping freight that needs to be temperature controlled.


Even the most reliable shipping companies encounter hiccups now and then that lead to your freight being damaged or lost. Knowing how the claims process works can make things easier when a situation arises.

  • Loss: A loss claim is only official if you have notated and documented against the original bill of lading that the freight was picked up but failed to make it to its destination. Filing this claim means there is no proof of signed delivery. Your accuracy when filling out the original bill of lading will make it more likely that your loss claim gets paid.
  • Damage: The most common type of freight claim is damage. This is relevant when there is visible physical damage to freight upon delivery and noted the proof of delivery document. Filing a claim for obvious damage is fairly straightforward, but filing for concealed damage can be more complicated. Concealed damage refers to damage that isn’t readily visible upon receipt, including damage you discovered only after opening or uncovering a package. Concealed damage is often discovered only after the POD has been signed, making it more difficult to get your money back. The best way to avoid this scenario is to examine everything inside boxes before signing the POD.


Most freight shipping companies include some form of liability insurance with their quote, but it isn’t all-inclusive. Whether or not to add on additional coverage will depend on several factors, including the value of your shipment, shipping origin, shipping destination and the mode of transportation. There are several different types of shipping insurance you can choose from, and they can be purchased from your shipper or through a third-party insurance company.

  • Carrier liability: Carrier liability insurance is included by many shipping companies, including parcel and freight shippers. This provides minimal coverage and won’t cover you in the event of catastrophic damage or loss.
  • Insurance of goods only: Buying insurance of goods only will pay you for the total value amount of the lost or damaged goods without including extras like the cost of shipping.
  • Insurance of goods plus shipping: Buying insurance of goods plus shipping protects you and will reimburse you for the cost of the goods shipped plus the amount you paid for shipping.
  • International shipping insurance: International shipping often isn’t included in carrier liability, so you will need to add this on separately when you ship something internationally.

What are different types of shipping companies?


Freight shipping companies focus on moving freight for businesses by rail, truck, air and/or ocean. Many of them also work with special shipments, including hazardous materials, trade shows and military-related freight and cargo.


Parcel services cater to consumers and small businesses, including e-commerce websites, who need to ship small packages and parcels domestically and internationally.


Many freight and parcel shipping companies ship domestically and internationally. If you frequently ship items overseas, look for companies who can streamline the process of international shipping for you, including filling out customs forms and handling payments.

Air shipping

Air shipping companies move products solely using airplanes. These companies are somewhat limited in what they can ship, as they cannot transport cargo beyond a certain size and weight limit. Shipping by air, however, is a faster means of travel, making air shipping companies more efficient for many businesses.

Uses for shipping companies

Small businesses

Small businesses often need to send packages, parcels and cargo to clients and customers around the country or around the world. E-commerce businesses especially should look for a shipping company who offers discounts and/or memberships to streamline their shipping process.

Manufacturing businesses

Manufacturing businesses need to move heavy cargo and are often on tight timetables for delivery. They will want to work with a shipping company who can guarantee on-time delivery, including weekends, mornings and holidays, to make sure their business keeps running.

People who are moving

Many shipping companies work with people who are moving to transport furniture and other household items. Some will also take care of extra work like packing to simplify the process.


Individuals often need to send parcels and packages to friends and family members around the world. They will want to work with a shipping company that offers convenient access to shipping materials along with pickup.

Shipping company FAQ

What is the cheapest way to ship a large package?

To find the cheapest shipping option for a large package, you need to know:

  • The shipping destination
  • Your item’s weight or dimensional weight, whichever is higher
  • How soon you need it delivered
  • Whether it can fit in a flat-rate box
  • How much insurance you need

Use this information to shop around at major carriers for the best deal.

What time do you have to ship for overnight?

Drop-off times for overnight shipments vary by location and carrier. Check your chosen carrier’s website for the latest drop-off times.

Can furniture be shipped?

Yes, you can ship furniture as freight through moving companies or carriers like UPS or FedEx. These companies also have packing services available to ensure your furniture is delivered safely and securely.

What is small package shipping?

In shipping terms, small packages are shipments under 150 pounds that fit into one box.

How much does it cost to ship international?

International shipping services usually start around $25, but expect to pay significantly more if you’re shipping freight internationally.

Either way, your cost depends on:

  • The size of the package
  • The weight of the package
  • The country of origin
  • The destination
What's expedited shipping?

Expedited shipping is a faster shipping process that allows packages to arrive as soon as the next day. This is usually more expensive, but it’s great for last-minute or time-sensitive deliveries.

How long does freight delivery take?

Freight shipping takes anywhere from one to 45 days, depending on the distance and the method of travel. Expedited freight services are available from most carriers.

Shipping company author reviews

R L Carriers

R+L Carriers is a global shipping company with a focus on customer service. Their shipping services include rail service, air transport, ocean transport and truckload service.

Read more about R L Carriers

DHL has a presence in 220 countries and territories around the world, making it an easily accessible shipping option no matter where you are or where you need to send something. They offer solutions for businesses of all sizes, from eCommerce to manufacturing.

Read more about DHL

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is the official and original postal service for the United States. Ever since Benjamin Franklin was appointed as the first postmaster general in 1775, USPS has been delivering mail to people across the country. Today, USPS has expanded its services to also include international shipping, package shipping and priority mail.

Read more about USPS
United Parcel Service - UPS

UPS was founded in a Seattle basement by two teenagers in 1907 as a home delivery packaging service. Today, UPS is an international company that utilizes technology to make it easy for consumers and businesses to send and receive packages when and where they need them.

Read more about United Parcel Service - UPS

Since it’s official opening in 1973, FedEx has been focused on delivering products for consumers and businesses efficiently and quickly, utilizing air transport for express shipping. It has evolved since then to include international shipping, ground shipping, FedEx Freight and FedEx Office, which is a physical location where consumers and businesses can pack, ship, print, copy and perform other important tasks.

Read more about FedEx
Transit Systems

Transit Systems has been in the business of shipping and moving consumers and small businesses since 1989. Their services include ground, air and international shipping of furniture and other large household items, speciality or high-value items, boxes and crates and small long-distance moves.

  • Large furniture moving service: Transit Systems can help consumers and small businesses when they move from one location to another, whether it’s across the country or across town. For heavier items, consumers can choose between white glove service, in which a two-man shipping crew prepares items for shipping, including pickup and delivery, or the more affordable economy service, which includes curbside pickup and delivery.
  • Small long distance moving: Transit System’s small move service handles your move by picking up your items and taking them to a central location. From there, the items are sent to their destination via truck. The moving process takes up to four weeks but costs significantly less than you would pay with a full-service moving company.
  • Senior move service: Transit System can make things easier when you or someone you love needs to downsize or move into an assisted living facility., As a National Association of Senior Move Managers industry partner, Transit System is trained and equipped to provide everything necessary for a senior move, including care, precision and timely service. They can even ship items such as furniture and other precious items that can’t be moved into the new home or facility to relatives and friends across the country. In addition, Transit System’s senior care movers will take care of the finer details of a senior move, including packing, unpacking, relocating belonging, hanging pictures, hooking up cable and Internet and even stocking the pantry.
  • Freight shipping: Transit System handles freight shipping for businesses domestically and internationally with ground, air and ocean shipping. Businesses will deal with one dedicated representative from start to finish, making it easy to answer questions and handle any challenges that arise throughout the shipping process.
  • Insurance: Transit System provides carrier liability coverage at no added cost. Businesses and customers who want additional coverage can add-on additional coverage, including moving insurance.
YRC Freight

YRC Freight is the largest subsidiary of YRC Worldwide Inc. with corporate headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas. The company transports industrial, commercial and retail goods, and it specializes in solutions for businesses across North America through a full-service network.  There are also options for international shipping of imports and exports.

Read more about YRC Freight
Pilot Freight Services

Established in 1970, Pilot Freight Services is a full-service transportation and logistics company that operates globally. With over 75 locations throughout North America and operations and administration offices in Western Europe, Netherlands and Spain, Pilot Freight Services offers businesses a worldwide network of overseas partners.

Read more about Pilot Freight Services
OnTrac Shipping

Founded in 1991, OnTrac Shipping offers regional overnight package delivery service within California, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Utah, Colorado and Idaho. Their regional focus allows OnTrac Shipping to offer businesses an efficient and cost-effective alternative to national and international shipping companies.

  • Sunrise and Sunrise Gold: OnTrac Shipping’s Sunrise and Sunrise Gold services make sure your package is delivered in time for your business to keep moving. Sunrise service ensures delivery by 10:30 am on weekdays and 12 pm on Saturdays, and Sunrise Gold ensures delivery by 8 am on weekdays and 12 pm on Saturdays.
  • Saturday deliveries: OnTrac Shipping offers Saturday delivery, even if an order ships out on Friday, for an additional add-on fee.
  • Same-day messenger service: Perfect for when you need something delivered today, OnTrac Shipping’s messenger service can customize a solution to get your package where it needs to go, when it needs to get there. Messenger services include same-day, direct, rush and point-to-point delivery.
  • Online schedule pickup: Schedule a pickup quickly and easily by filling out a form online. Note that this only applies to shipments that are not palletized, oversized or that require special handling. These shipments can be scheduled through Customer Service.
  • Drop boxes: Find an OnTrac drop box near you on the website, and use the drop box to easily and conveniently send small parcels and packages without paying a pickup fee. All items will be picked up and delivered next-day.

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