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Expedited shipping vs standard in trucking

As the popularity of online shopping has grown over the last decade, delivery timelines have been shrinking. Growing demand for two-day and overnight shipping has created additional pressures along each segment of global supply chains.

To help mitigate these complexities, manufacturers, suppliers and business owners increasingly rely on expedited shipping services, from production through delivery. Long more or less considered a parcel offering, in recent years expedited LTL and FTL shipping has also surged in popularity. Expedited shipping vs standard shipping may cost more, but time-definite deliveries offer advantages that may be worth the extra expense.

In this article, we cover the advantages and disadvantages of both, and explain which to use when. And when you’re finished reading, check out the other articles in our ‘Expedited trucking’ series:

What is expedited shipping? 

Expedited shipping is shipping that’s faster than regular shipping. Shipping speeds often change, but regular shipping typically takes three to seven business days while expedited may take just a day or two.

Advantages of using expedited shipping

Expedited shipping has many advantages — namely customer satisfaction. By offering expedited shipping, your customers can receive orders faster and have a definite ETA. With standard shipping, they might be given a range but can’t count on it being there on a certain day. 

Here are a few other advantages of offering expedited shipping.

  • More direct shipping: Expedited shipping typically involves a more direct route. The freight goes through fewer sorting facilities and is touched by fewer people. Direct expedited shipping provides quick delivery and decreases chances of freight damage. Expedited shipping methods are especially great for perishable and fragile items.
  • Better tracking: Since the freight will go through fewer sorting facilities and be transferred onto fewer trucks, tracking is much easier. This feature allows the sender and receiver to see exactly where the freight is and when it’ll be delivered. Tracking is crucial, especially when sending important documents and valuable items.
  • Business growth: Customers that appreciate fast and reliable shipping are more likely to buy from you again and recommend you to others. Fast shipping is something that customers consider in buying decisions, and providing that service makes you more competitive.

Disadvantages of using expedited shipping

Nothing is without its drawbacks. Expedited shipping does provide fast and reliable delivery, but it costs more. While standard shipping typically uses ground transportation, many expedited carriers use air cargo or team drivers to transport LTL freight. If you’re looking for expedited shipping, look for a freight company that provides speedy ground transportation to minimize shipping fees.

What is standard shipping?

Standard shipping is the default shipping offered by most online retailers. Standard shipping is slower than expedited shipping and typically takes three to seven business days to reach customers. 

Advantages of using standard shipping

For some businesses, standard shipping is a great option. It may take longer, but it’ll cost your business and customers less. Expedited shipping comes at a higher cost that must be added to your product price or lower your profit margin. 

The price for standard shipping is much lower, allowing you to keep product prices and business expenses low. Standard shipping may be a good option for non-fragile, non-perishable items, like clothing or other accessories.

Disadvantages of using standard shipping

The main drawback of standard shipping is that your products will take longer to reach customers. This may decrease customer satisfaction, considering the two-day shipping standard set by many other companies. Here are a few other disadvantages of standard shipping.

  • Easier to get lost: Freight sent via standard shipping methods typically go from truck to truck, as they go through various sorting facilities. All these stops increase the chances of a pallet getting lost or delayed, and make tracking more complex. 
  • More handling leads to more damage: With an increased number of stops, your cargo will be handled more frequently. If you’re sending fragile items, additional handling increases the chance of freight damage, which in turn may cause a higher number of chargebacks.
  • No guaranteed delivery day: You’ll end up with a larger range of delivery times for freight sent via standard shipping. It could be at your customer’s door within four days or it could take two weeks. The shipment won’t be high-priority, and delivery timing may change based on demand and driver availability. 

Comparing expedited shipping vs standard shipping

Expedited and standard shipping methods have their own sets of pros and cons. Let’s compare expedited shipping vs standard shipping to see which one’s best for your business. 


Standard shipping is more affordable than expedited shipping. By opting for expedited shipping, your goods are guaranteed to be delivered within a day or two. That priority comes with a cost; however, it may be worth it for customer satisfaction. Consider your product and client base. If expedited shipping leads to business growth, the added expense may be worth it in the end. 


Expedited shipping cuts delivery time by about 50%-75%. Instead of waiting a full week with standard shipping, your customers could have orders within two days. For perishable or fragile items, this speed may be crucial in preventing freight damage and chargebacks. Expedited international shipping may take a few days longer than expedited domestic shipping.

Number of touch points 

Expedited shipping follows a more direct route. To achieve fast delivery, expedited shipping providers typically use one truck to transport your goods for most of the route. This means expedited shipping has fewer touch points than standard, including sorting centers and warehouses where people unload, sort and load freight. The fewer touch points your freight crosses and the fewer hands that touch it, the less likely your freight will be damaged. With a low chance of freight damage, your customer satisfaction increases. 

Chargeback risks

A chargeback is when a payment has been fully or partially returned to a customer. A customer can request a chargeback if freight is damaged or shipping time requirements aren’t met. Because standard shipping takes longer and is less reliable, the amount of chargeback you experience may be increased. Expedited shipping has more reliable tracking and a guaranteed shipping time, so your customers know exactly when to expect their packages. Plus, it’s at reduced risk of freight damage because of less handling, so fewer customers will request chargebacks.

Customer needs

Every customer is different. Some may be perfectly happy to wait for three to seven business days for their goods. Others may urgently need them or expect expedited shipping. It’s crucial as a business owner to know your customers and whether they’ll be satisfied with standard shipping. You can also offer expedited shipping as an option at a higher price to satisfy a wider range of customers.

Improve customer satisfaction with expedited shipping

Since many retailers offer next- or two-day shipping, offering expedited shipping can help you remain competitive and lead to growth. Expedited shipping costs more, but it’s more reliable, safe and may be better for the customer. If you need an expedited shipping provider, look for one with a high on-time delivery rate and precise tracking.


How much faster is expedited shipping?

Standard shipping can take three to seven business days or longer. Expedited shipping typically offers next- or two-day shipping.

How fast is standard shipping?

The shipping speed for standard shipping varies based on demand and availability. Typically, standard shipping takes three to seven business days, though it may take longer.

Which shipping is fastest?

Expedited shipping is fastest with guaranteed next-day or two-day deliveries. 

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