Entrepreneurship & Small Business

Making a list/review of Canada Post alternatives for shipping to USA

  • Last Updated:
  • Jun 4th, 2020 10:51 am
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Aug 2, 2010
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rnelson22 wrote: Agree. That can happen to any carrier and that's why I usually buy insurance. Cheap and easy to claim. I've only claimed one time for damaged one and it's all covered. Chit Chats has been just amazing for US orders.
I never buy insurance but self-insure and It's put me way ahead. As for shipping to the US Chit Chats has been amazing and the price is right. I just wish their Toronto outlet was more central and not right down by the lake.
Newbie
Mar 2, 2020
2 posts
Hey everyone,

Just wanted to see if anyone else has used cross border pickups to carry consumer US/International bound packages across the border (for USPS/DHL) and what their experience was like?

I'm also wondering... what's stopping any of us from just buying our own postage through easy post and couriering it (FedEx) across the US/CAD border directly to a US post office (for packages under $800 usd)? I'm also close to the border and could carry the packages over, but I have heard that the rules around that have changed so it's better to send a courier.

I'm outside of the GTA, so I'm a mail in client for all of these GTA services. I already spend $ couriering it to their location. I'm just wondering if I can cut out that Chit Chats/Cross Border Pickups completely if my mail is under the $800 duty/tax threshold? Anyone else doing something like this?
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canadiansuperhero wrote: Hey everyone,

Just wanted to see if anyone else has used cross border pickups to carry consumer US/International bound packages across the border (for USPS/DHL) and what their experience was like?

I'm also wondering... what's stopping any of us from just buying our own postage through easy post and couriering it (FedEx) across the US/CAD border directly to a US post office (for packages under $800 usd)? I'm also close to the border and could carry the packages over, but I have heard that the rules around that have changed so it's better to send a courier.

I'm outside of the GTA, so I'm a mail in client for all of these GTA services. I already spend $ couriering it to their location. I'm just wondering if I can cut out that Chit Chats/Cross Border Pickups completely if my mail is under the $800 duty/tax threshold? Anyone else doing something like this?
You are banking on couriering across the border being less expensive than to the GTA even given you are close the border. I highly doubt that. A courier like Fedex still has to do an entry per shipment per customer and they charge per entry, plus of course the shipping fee. Chitchats is so cheap because of the very fact that they consolidate their shipments and have huge volume for one sole purpose, ie ferrying shipments across the border. They also get reduced rates from USPS and others. With Fedex it is going to be a one-off service as it's not like they have an operation like Chitchats ferrying shipments to USPS. If you are going to use Fedex (or really any other courier) then it would likely be less expensive to ship the item right to the customer rather than through Fedex to USPS to the customer.

In any event, there's one way to find out, right?
Newbie
Mar 2, 2020
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eonibm wrote: You are banking on couriering across the border being less expensive than to the GTA even given you are close the border. I highly doubt that. A courier like Fedex still has to do an entry per shipment per customer and they charge per entry, plus of course the shipping fee. Chitchats is so cheap because of the very fact that they consolidate their shipments and have huge volume for one sole purpose, ie ferrying shipments across the border. They also get reduced rates from USPS and others. With Fedex it is going to be a one-off service as it's not like they have an operation like Chitchats ferrying shipments to USPS. If you are going to use Fedex (or really any other courier) then it would likely be less expensive to ship the item right to the customer rather than through Fedex to USPS to the customer.

In any event, there's one way to find out, right?
Hey! Thanks for your reply.

I'm interested in doing this b/c I have a lot of players in my shipping chain. Me > FedEx/Purolator > Chit Chats > USPS/Asendia (Asendia international is terrible by the way and I would not recommend it to anyone LOL -- if you have better recommendations for internationl small packet shipping I'm all ears).

It's an extra $20 to ship to US vs Toronto. I am not sure about duties/tax/broker fees when moving package into the US from Canada - which is why I'm asking if anyone's done this before. I presume there wouldn't be any if the package value is under $800 USD, but now that I think about it my retail value is definitely over $800 USD, but not my COGs... So for insurance reasons I usually put my COGS (as I insure all couriered packages to Chit Chats) but if I'm exporting I'd have to report the retail I think. Hmm.

Chit Chats does not provide USPS discounts.They also charge a fairly high conversion fee to convert from USD to CAD. It's cheaper to buy postage through easy post especially if you have USD cash (you can save about 9%). I think their value to most customers is that they provide access to USPS shipping rates & getting their package to them -- so you pay 10% extra on the standard post USPS postal fee, plus 65 cents per package. For sure Chit Chats is getting better rates from USPS, they're just not passing those on to their customers unfortunately.

It's not HUGE savings to ship direct to a post office in the US to by pass Chit Chats. I'm considering it though just because it takes longer to add Chit Chats into my chain (+1 day for courier, +1-3 days for Chit Chats) and I'm just not sure how much value they're providing me (I can access USPS rates through easypost, avoid paying their 10% conversion fee, and ship direct to USPS post office). I think it will come down to how effectively/fast FedEx can transport the package to the US post office and whether there are duties, tax and broker fees incurred (Because no USPS post office will be paying that lol).

I've also considered driving the packages across the border since I'm an hour way. However, I've heard through someone that was doing this that they no longer allow this due to changes by Mr. Trump.

I'm obviously going to have to do some more research around this before I jump in and test it. If I take this route, I'll let you guys know.
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There are a lot of statements you made that are simply incorrect.

You had better report retail not COGS. If you do the latter and get caught then bye-bye shipping stuff to the US anymore and you'll likely be fined on top of that.

There is no duty or tax if the retail value per consignee per day is under $800 but that doesn't mean the courier doesn't have to make an entry. They do and they charge for that. It's not an open border.

I pay less to ship an item using Chitchats via USPS than when I ship the same item from Buffalo from a USPS depot in Canadian dollars so I don't know where you are getting your numbers from.

I get billed and pay Chitchats both in CAD. Where are you finding they charge a conversion fee from USD to CAD? USD is not even involved.

It is absolutely not true that you cannot drive across the border with packages. I do this at least once a month when I have to go across the border anyway. The only change (and it has nothing to do with Trump) is that they don't allow manual entries anymore where you show a filled out paper form to the border agent. That was slowing down traffic at the border. Now you need to fill out a ACE Electronic Manifest for a S.321 entry (<+ $800 shipments) online and then print out the bar code and show it to the border agent who then scans it along with your invoice and passport. You must do this through the commercial truck lane not the regular lane.

As for 1 extra day for Chitchats to get my parcel to USPS, big deal. Even so I am amazed at how my customers even on the west coast get my packages. It's the same time to deliver as if I dropped them off myself at USPS in Buffalo and I certainly am not going to drive there every day to drop packages off myself. I have better things to do.

Chitchats is a HUGE benefit to me by being able to ship packages to US customers, not to mention to my customers the return address on the package is my US address so they don't have to think it's coming all the way from Canada. Fedex will cost you way more than Chitchats for sure. You may save a day but perhaps not.
Newbie
May 20, 2020
1 posts
Hello,

Does anyone know of a similar service that has a location around the London, Ontario area?

Thanks.

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