As a mod I don't really know if we should be pushing one company over another but enough people, including me, have been burnt by the new USPS rates and on recommendation of a couple of people I dug into the Pirate Ship shipping costs. What I didn't expect was to find how easy it is to setup, print labels yourself for your packages, save real money, and then let the USPS do your shipping. I don't understand exactly how this works and am not going to spend time trying to figure it out but I'm assuming there is some sort of agreement behind closed doors that if we do the heavy lifting of weighing, measuring, and labeling our products ready to go then PO and UPS gives them a break on costs enough for them to make a profit, which I'm sure is why they're in business.
Okay, after I got (with the help of my son) the printer set up on my computer and I did a few simple answers on the site I established an email and password account. I've shipped several packages recently and it's really simple and for a 78 year old guy who once said he'd never turn on a computer that's really saying something. You need a physical address but then you can put a PO Box as your return address like I did. Once that's established you type in name and address of recipient, go down and select type of package (box, bubble wrap, etc.), weigh the item, hit rates and it will give you PO and UPS rates and their savings rate.
On four packages I sent I saved about $10 dollars. Had I done this on a bunch of things I sent recently it would have easily been $20+ which for you deep pockets is nothing but for a S.S. guy I'll take it. As of right now if you (or I) are going to send a rod the way to go is UPS and not PO. These are the rates I just looked up to send a rod at 4' long weighing 4 lbs. from OK to IL.
UPS Ground, $10.13 - UPS 3 day select, $12.86 - UPS 2nd day air, $17.59
USPS Ground, $25.11 - USPS Priority, $26.54
Those rates are better than USPS but do include their new $15 surcharge and UPS does not, at least yet. All of the shipping gives you tracking label with your return, the recipient, and tracking # and all those line and bars that mean something to someone somewhere. With all the talk recently about USPS rates I can only say for myself that I found this easy, fast, no lines at PO for them to weigh and sticker, and just now I sent a small bubble wrap pakage with flies for a fly swap the PO would get $4.75 for and Pirate Ship is $3.48. Since my bank acc't. is hooked to paypal like a lot of people have I just send with paypal and they pull the money from my acc't at no charge. Now a $1.27 is not a huge savings but I'll take it.
NOTE: I typed this over a month ago on a different forum and since have added peel off label paper to my printer and this is really slick. No lines at PO, wait to weigh, wait to stamp, you do it all yourself and then just drop off packages with several dollars of savings.