This looks like it’ll come in handy if you do a lot of shipping or if you do little enough shipping that you don’t have a sense of what shipping rates are. RedRoller provides comparisons in shipping between DHL, FedEx, and USPS (sorry, no UPS.) It’s in beta and available at http://www.redroller.com.
It’s super easy to use. Enter the starting and ending zip code (or city and state), the kind of package (and this does get a little confusing. Pouch? Soft pack? Hard pack?) weight (it starts at one pound — I guess it’s assumed that everything less than a pound is going via USPS), and destination type (business, residence, or PO Box.) Click the Go RedRoller button and after a few seconds with a somewhat manic Flash animation RedRoller provides a table of shipping costs.
Now, perhaps it’s because I’m a cheap so-n-so but I would expect the table to be listed in order of price. RedRoller doesn’t do that; it lists in order of how fast the package will get there. So for the results you get FedEx First Overnight, etc. (You can sort in order of price by clicking on Price at the top of the results table. You can even sort by shipper if you like.)
Also be careful of the USPS shipping options RedRoller provides. For the tests I tried it provided rates for USPS Media Mail, which is pretty much the cheapest option. However not everything may be shipped by media mail. If you’re shipping a cellphone holder, for example, that doesn’t qualify for media mail. There’s a pointer to a pop-up window that provides more information on Media Mail’s restrictions, but I don’t find that sufficient.
The table includes name of shipper, the service (Media Mail, Priority Overnight, Standard Overnight, etc.), estimated date of arrival (with a note delineating if that date is estimated or guaranteed), and cost. Find a service you like, click “Ship It” and, if you have a RedRoller account, you can do all the shipping folderol from RedRoller. (Apparently it also has some connection into eBay as well.) Unfortunately when you register with RedRoller they ask for a credit card number right off the bat which makes me kinda iiiiiick.
I do a moderate amount of shipping at work but most of it is media mail, so when I get away from that I’m pretty lost. RedRoller offers a quick way to get more options. Of course it’d be better if UPS were available, too, but you can start here for an overview.