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FedEx vs. UPS – What is the difference?

By Last updated on: May 17, 2023

UPS vs FedEx is a question we get every single day. Which is better in terms of price, efficiency, customer support, or reliability? This is a difficult question to answer. Therefore, let’s look at each and make some comparisons.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

FedEx vs. UPS Service Names

Both UPS vs FedEx run similar service levels that vary according to the method of shipment and the time it takes for final delivery. Basically, both carriers have similar services, just with different names. 

  • UPS Ground (Commercial)
  • UPS Ground (Residential)
  • UPS SurePost
  • UPS Next Day Air
  • UPS Next Day Air Saver
  • UPS 2nd Day Air
  • UPS 3-Day Select
  • UPS Worldwide Express
  • UPS Worldwide Saver
  • UPS Standard
  • 1-5 business days
  • 1-5 business days
  • 2-7 business days
  • 1 business day (10:30)
  • 1 business day (3:00 or EOD)
  • 2 business days
  • 3 business days
  • 1-3 business days
  • 2–5 business days
  • 2–7 business days
  • FedEx Ground
  • FedEx Home Delivery
  • FedEx Ground Economy
  • FedEx Priority Overnight
  • FedEx Standard Overnight
  • FedEx 2Day
  • FedEx Express Saver
  • FedEx International Priority
  • FedEx International Economy
  • FedEx International Economy

UPS vs FedEx Accessorial Fees

Let’s take a look at the top accessorial fees for each carrier we commonly find. When switching from one carrier to another, be sure to quantify the impact of these differences. Otherwise, let Refund Retriever’s contract analysis experts help with the quantification.

Residential Surcharge (Ground)$5.25$5.15
Residential Surcharge (Express)$5.85$5.80
Third-Party Billing Surcharge5% of charges4.5% of charges
Additional Handling – Weight$29.00 – $34.50$29.00 – $36.00
Additional Handling – Packaging$16.50 – $20.50$18.50 – $25.00
Additional Handling – Dimension/Length$18.50 – $23.50$16.50 – $21.00

UPS vs FedEx Pricing Comparison (2021)

Is FedEx more expensive than UPS? These are rates 77035 to 60007 taken from FedEx and UPS directly. The same is a ten-pound package with dimensions of 12x12x12 and shipped to a residential location. All additional services were the same. Similarly, in residential locations, an adult signature required and shipped in a non-standard package. UPS vs FedEx rate comparisons:

Ground Comparison

2 days in transit$46.03$43.64

Next Day Comparison

1 Day before 8:00 AM$241.95$215.20
1 Day by 12:00 PM$208.86$183.18
1 Day end of day$186.71$164.06

2-Day and 3-Day Comparison

2 Day before 12:00 PM$115.18n/a
2 Day end of day$105.10$89.87
3 Day end of day$83.85$70.02

Other Considerations

Guaranteed Service Refunds: FedEx and UPS guarantee on-time delivery for all but a few service levels.  There are no guarantees on UPS SurePost or FedEx SmartPost.  Otherwise, if your package arrives 60 seconds late, you are entitled to a full refund of the shipping charges.  Be sure not to waive the right to claim refunds for these packages.

Customer Support: Customer support after shipment is a huge factor to consider. Carrier delays or damage economically affects the shipper more than the recipient. Customer support is vital. Be sure to value the additional phone or email support that comes along with each carrier.

Operating Hours: FedEx delivers 7 days a week. UPS delivers 5 -6 days a week, depending on the service level. FedEx packages might have up to a two-day jump on package delivery to certain locations.

Let Refund Retriever help with carrier evaluations.

Above all, Refund Retriever’s primary focus is parcel audit recovery and parcel management. Established as a Texas Limited Liability Company in 2006 and based in Houston, Refund Retriever is the fastest and easiest parcel & logistics auditing company. We only audit UPS & FedEx accounts. We do not work with DHL or USPS, unfortunately. However, early 2020 market conditions allow us to enter the contract analysis and carrier pricing model arena. In summary, we can help lower and compare UPS vs FedEx shipping costs.

Shipping software you need

Refund Retriever’s refund technology is completely built in-house. The full force that transportation impact your bottom line is huge. Every penny counts. If there is a late package, you get a direct recovery for that charge. Unlike some auditors, all programming and processing are done internally. Therefore, no outside third parties ever have access to clients’ information. The data stays with Refund Retriever; confidentiality is the highest priority. We can help get your UPS vs FedEx refunds for all your shipping auditing needs. Is FedEx more expensive than UPS? is UPS more expensive than FedEx?

Refund Retriever UPS vs FedEx info
Brian Gibbs

Author Brian Gibbs

More posts by Brian Gibbs

Brian Gibbs | President of Refund Retriever

Brian Gibbs founded Refund Retriever in 2006 while running his first eBay-based business and seeing the shortcomings of other shipment auditing companies. Refund Retriever's primary focus is FedEx and UPS parcel invoice auditing. After graduating from Texas A&M University in 2001, he graduated from the University of Houston in 2004 with a JD and MBA. Gibbs has been featured in Forbes, Entrepreneur, and other publications discussing parcel auditing, shipping, e-commerce, and more. Learn more at or call (800) 441-8085 for more information.

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