Shipping Service Comparison: FedEx vs. UPS


When you own a business or work with time sensitive products and materials, a solid and reliable shipping company is a necessity. Shipping items so that they arrive on time can sometimes be the difference between a company that succeeds and a company that fails. Customers and business associates who don’t receive information, products, or materials by a certain deadline may formulate a poor opinion of the business with which they are working. If you have a package to send and have chosen not to use the U.S. Postal Service, you will have to decide between two major delivery companies. FedEx and UPS are the two largest delivery companies, but they are in no way the same. FedEx is a better choice for international shipping while UPS has you covered on the ground.

Of the two companies, UPS is by far the elder. The United Parcel Service, or UPS as it is more commonly referred to today, was founded in 1907 by two teenagers in Seattle. The company was started with a $100 dollar loan. Today, UPS is well-known for its brown trucks and reliable ground service. Shipping more than fifteen million packages every single day, UPS has one of the largest shipping workloads in the world.

FedEx is a newcomer to the shipping industry, though it has proved its merit again and again. With headquarters in Memphis, Tennessee, FedEx specializes in express delivery services, which use its enormous fleet of nearly seven hundred jets. Although it ships only about half the packages that UPS ships, it holds its own in terms of on-time delivery and reliability.

Costs & Pricing Comparison

The various costs of shipping services by either UPS or FedEx average out to be about the same, but their areas of value differ. Because UPS specializes in ground delivery and has five times the number of ground vehicles as FedEx, its ground delivery prices are less expensive than FedEx. However, FedEx has twice as many jets as UPS, which allows them to charge considerably less for international or express deliveries. Many companies decline to use one carrier on an exclusive basis because both offer specific services that can be beneficial. It’s common for businesses to use UPS for local deliveries and FedEx for international or overnight deliveries.

Delivery & Reliability

In terms of reliability and delivery performance, UPS purportedly delivered over 90 percent of its packages on time while FedEx lagged behind with approximately 88 percent of packages being delivered on time. However, the average delivery time of FedEx shipments was about thirty minutes shorter than UPS’s average delivery time.

One service that UPS provides and FedEx does not is the ability to mail large shipments in packaging that does not have the UPS label. Businesses who ship packages frequently can choose to use unlabeled packaging or packaging that includes their own company logo. FedEx, on the other hand, only ships packages in boxes with the FedEx logo.

Both companies also make excellent use of ecological principles in their delivery methods. UPS is noted for its use of alternative fuels to reduce its carbon footprint while FedEx uses hybrid vehicles for a large percentage of its deliveries.

When FedEx merged with Kinko’s, it became a huge powerhouse in the business community. Now, FedEx offers printing, scanning, and labeling services as well as delivery services. Each FedEx Kinko’s location is also a convenient holding site for delivered packages.

Customer Support

A huge consideration for businesses and individuals with frequent shipping needs is qualified, reliable customer service that can help you manage deliveries, file claims, and reduce costs. UPS is noted in the business community for its knowledgeable and efficient business representatives that make the claims filing process much simpler than FedEx’s claim filing process. Business can usually file claims for lost or damaged shipments in as little as twenty-four hours.

FedEx Customer Service Number
Tel: 1.800.463.3339 (1.800.GoFedEx)

UPS Customer Service Number
Tel: 1.800.742.5877 (1.800.Pick.UPS)


FedEx and UPS are both reliable and efficient shipping services that can deliver packages for businesses with accuracy and incredible speed. We found that FedEx is superior for air shipments and UPS has the ground shipment model perfected; therefore, many businesses may choose to use both shipping companies to cover a wide variety of business needs. However, If you have to choose a single shipping company in a pinch, UPS has excellent customer service and delivers its packages with a higher on-time rate.