Best Overnight Shipping Option on Friday Evening
January 21, 2015 12:28 PM   Subscribe

I have a very important document that I need ship on Friday evening(I can't ship it earlier) from California and it must arrive by Saturday in Ohio. Of the three major shipping services(USP, FedEx, USPS) which one will be best opinion? Timing is critical and money is less important issue.
posted by Carius to Shopping (20 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I'm not sure if that will be possible. You need to call a local location to find the last ship time for whichever one you choose from where you are sending it. There may be a slightly later time avail at locations near an airport or a major depot.
posted by oneear at 12:32 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

UPS offers Next Day Air, as well as Next Day Air Early AM for a guaranteed earlier arrival - of course for much more money.

But if this is a document, not a package, why can't you PDF, or fax, or take to your local Kinko's to have it "printed" but picked up at your recipient's local Kinko's?
posted by trivia genius at 12:33 PM on January 21, 2015

Response by poster: The document in question is a visa on a passport. I can't pdf that.
posted by Carius at 12:37 PM on January 21, 2015

Will there be a person waiting to receive it or are you wanting it dropped off? I don't know that I have a firm answer but definitely make sure you're getting the signature service you need - some of your options will not deliver without handing it to a person or a specific person, so you have to be absolutely certain the right kind of someone will be 100% available or you need to use a different option.
posted by Lyn Never at 12:40 PM on January 21, 2015

I would use FedEx. You will need to confirm with them it is possible for your timing, but if they say yes, they usually, (in my experience 99% of the time) come through. Make a copy of the document before shipping. Just in case.

In extreme cases, such as a legal proceeding or a passport traveling the next day, I have seen people get on a plane and hand deliver before returning back to whence they came right then. (I was the delivery person one school vacation for a law firm. JFK to SFO roundtrip is not that bad if you fly business and have no luggage and a decent expense allowance for food.)
posted by 724A at 12:41 PM on January 21, 2015 [6 favorites]

Priority Mail Express 1-day (through USPS) should do it for you IF you can get your item to the post office before their last pickup -- I'd call to confirm this. Obviously nothing is 100%, but I've had good experiences with mailing things overnight with this method.
posted by rainbowbrite at 12:46 PM on January 21, 2015

For $71, you can drop it off at the Delta cargo counter at your local airport, and Delta will take to the nearest airport, where someone could pick it up. I used this service twenty years ago for a same-day cross-country shipment. Google for "Delta Dash".
posted by intermod at 1:03 PM on January 21, 2015 [10 favorites]

Look at FedEx "First Overnight" service and Saturday delivery. Only certain ZIP codes are available so it really depends where in Ohio you're shipping.

As you consider each service you should CALL a local representative for each one to see what your realistic options are, regardless of what the website says. Where are you in California exactly? You might be able to get a couple extra hours on the front end if you are willing and able to drive to the shipper's airport facility (for instance I'm pretty sure this is possible at SFO).
posted by Joey Buttafoucault at 1:03 PM on January 21, 2015

Most FedExes have a pick up time of 4:30 pm. Use the Fedex locator to find a fedex you plan to use and verify their last pick up time for *express* delivery. Assuming you can make the last pick up time you should be fine.

Overnight will cost more, as will Saturday delivery. Saturday overnight delivery is only in limited markets though, so I would make sure to call your office and verify all of these details.
posted by Karaage at 1:06 PM on January 21, 2015

I have also used Delta Dash in a similar situation. You will need to contact them to see if the appropriate flight is available. YOu also need someone to pick it up on the other end.
posted by BlahLaLa at 1:08 PM on January 21, 2015

FedEx with First Overnight and Saturday delivery. However, this will depend on how late "evening" is in your case. My office FedEx pickup is at 4, though there is a FedEx drop-off location in the neighborhood that takes in packages until at least 6PM.

7 PM is usually the cutoff for even the latest drop-offs, though.

(Note that what time a FedEx facility closes and the last drop-off for overnight shipping are two different things!)
posted by Sara C. at 1:15 PM on January 21, 2015

Agreeing that FedEx priority overnight, Saturday delivery, no signature required is your best bet but the hard part will be the guarantee of delivery-what exact time is this needed by? Also, assess where you are delivering to. A private residence may not be a problem but if a business is traditionally closed on Saturdays, the courier may not even swing by and instead just hold it until Monday. Guess how I know!
posted by beaning at 2:23 PM on January 21, 2015

I have to do this almost weekly with original documents. FedEx Priority overnight, Saturday delivery and make triple sure the person will be available to receive it on Saturday. Another tip: If you deliver the package directly to the FedEx office at your airport, they will take it up until midnight for next day delivery (at least here in Dallas). You can call any local FedEx to get the airport office and verify how late you can get packages to them and still have a guaranteed delivery.

The other option if cost is not an issue is to hand deliver. Grab a flight to Ohio Friday night and an immediate return flight. That is really the only absolute way to be sure it is delivered how you want. I had to resort to this for a signed set of documents from Dallas to London. We had an intern that was eager to do it, and he had a 1 day layover in London. So he got to wander around the city for a day... wasn't too bad.
posted by Benway at 2:37 PM on January 21, 2015 [1 favorite]

Hahaha, I just had the same experience as beaning with FedEx overnight. The package left a business on Friday night with a note in the shipping: "Being shipped to residence address. Deliver by Saturday at 2 pm." We paid like $120 for this, we know it's absurd, package had to be there.

Well FedEx looked at the package addressed to Mr. FirstName LastName at 1234 Fake Street, decided it was a business package, didn't even try to deliver because business packages don't get delivered on Saturdays, and instead placed it in a locked box where the only key was with the manager who doesn't work weekends. We learned this at 10 am on Saturday. After hours on the phone, the package was removed from the locked box and brought to a FedEx store 15 miles from the package destination at 4:30 pm, and the addressee had to go pick it up there by 5 pm.

So FedEx, but be damned sure that both you and the person receiving the package have all day Saturday to dick around with them on the phone and drive to random destinations with short timeframes.
posted by holyrood at 2:46 PM on January 21, 2015

The best way to ensure you get the level of service you request is to check the correct boxes on the waybill. I'm pretty sure nobody reads the NOTES field. But if you fill out the waybill with the specific service you want, it'll get specially barcoded and marked with color-coded labels so that it gets the proper level of service.

And, yes, Nthing that you should check that someone will be there to receive the item. I wouldn't trust Priority Overnight and Saturday Delivery and also No Signature Required. Especially if it's to a business address.
posted by Sara C. at 4:17 PM on January 21, 2015

Just to add another voice to the chorus: yes, FedEx! Of course check drop-off time and talk to real humans on both ends about it to confirm actual (not just published) pick-up time and avoid the issue of no one being there to receive the package, but I have a lot of experience overnighting things and FedEx is leaps and bounds more reliable than UPS or USPS. Generally more expensive, too, but absolutely worth it.
posted by rhiannonstone at 4:26 PM on January 21, 2015

Response by poster: It looks like FedEx Priority Overnight, Saturday Delivery, No Signature Required is my best bet. Hey thanks everyone for your input!
posted by Carius at 6:15 PM on January 21, 2015

It seems like you have solved your issue but just in case anyone is reading this later, I would un-recommend the USPS for this purpose. It's not so much that they are way less reliable than Fedex or UPS, but that if something goes wrong (i.e. where is my package? why is it showing up as not being delivered?) in my experience the customer service from Fedex or UPS will be significantly better and the hours longer.

And I want to nth those who talk about in-person couriers. Let's just say there is a reason I know that it costs $550 to purchase a round trip flight from Boston to Washington three hours before the flight departs (and the same reason why I have my feelings on USPS Express mail)...
posted by andrewesque at 6:54 PM on January 21, 2015

Many years ago I tried to do this with UPS or FedEx and failed because I didn't have a pre-existing business account already set up with them. Talked to many people on the phone and it just. would. not. happen. I was very surprised. So beware.
posted by ryanrs at 8:35 PM on January 21, 2015

Response by poster: Just want to give an update for anyone reading it later. The FedEx Priority Overnight Saturday delivery was a success.
posted by Carius at 8:15 AM on January 24, 2015

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