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We’ve all had to wait for packages to arrive. But as an ecommerce business owner, it can be a stressful experience if you see customer orders are taking too long to deliver. This is where delivery management comes in.
Part of effective delivery management is knowing the ins and outs of the delivery industry, including the different terms and package delivery statuses, so you know exactly what to do for each situation.
One of the often most confusing delivery status terms is “tendered for delivery.”
In this guide, we dive into what the term means, what you need to do when shipments are in this status, and how you can prevent packages from getting delayed.
What does “tendered for delivery” mean?
When your package receives a “tendered for delivery” status, it means the package has been handed over to a last-mile delivery service for the final leg of transit. The carrier will then deliver the package to the final delivery address.
Shipping services such as DHL, FedEx, and UPS will typically work with a subcontractor as an ecommerce delivery partner to make use of their expansive residential delivery fleet when they lack the time or resources to complete last-mile delivery.
This process allows for improved efficiency and faster delivery even with ground shipping. The subcontractor (usually USPS or other postal services) will then prepare the package for delivery and deliver it to the customer’s doorstep.
While there might be a slight variation in how different carriers display “tendered for delivery” status, there’s little difference in the actual meaning.
The biggest difference is with USPS, which has the largest fleet of delivery vehicles in the US and is capable of delivering packages to almost any location without the help of a subcontractor.
Here’s a quick look at how each courier displays packages as “tendered for delivery” and the typical delivery time post-status.
|Typical Delivery Time
|Tendered to authorized agent for final delivery
|Tendered to delivery service provider
|Tendered for delivery
|3-5 business days
|Tendered to delivery service provider
|Tendered to by USPS
|3-7 business days
FedEx: tendered to authorized agent for final delivery
With FedEx, packages may be handled by a carrier outside of FedEx for the final delivery, so it’s possible you will get this message.
If you do, it means that FedEx has already handed over the package to a subcontractor (typically, USPS). This is common with packages sent through FedEx SmartPost, which is a delivery service offered in partnership with the USPS.
By the time you get this notification, your package is very close to getting delivered, and the customer can expect to receive their order within 2-5 days.
DHL: tendered to delivery service provider
It’s very common for DHL to work with subcontractors such as USPS and FedEx to complete their last-mile delivery when they lack the resources and infrastructure to complete it themselves.
When you receive this notification, it means that DHL has sent the package to the subcontractor for final delivery.
At the domestic level, customers will typically receive their orders within 2-3 days after packages are tendered to the delivery service provider. For international packages, it may take a bit longer for customers to receive their orders even after getting this notification.
4PX: tendered for delivery
With 4PX, China’s cross-border ecommerce solution, packages commonly are placed into “tendered for delivery” status.
As the company is based in China, it depends on other delivery services for international orders such as USPS to handle final delivery to countries like the United States. When you see this notification, it means that 4PX has sent the parcel to USPS or another delivery services and will be delivered shortly.
That means the delivery partner will be solely responsible for getting the package safely to the customer. It may take about 3-5 business days for customers to receive their orders after getting this notification.
UPS: tendered to delivery service provider
UPS often works with subcontractors like the USPS that specialize in residential deliveries to get their packages delivered to the end customer.
When you receive this notification, it means that UPS handed off the package to the last-mile carrier. Once the package is received, it will then be delivered to the customer within 2-5 days.
USPS: tendered to by USPS
With the massive fleet and resources that USPS has, it generally handles packages to consumers all the way through to final delivery.
However, when this isn’t possible, it will hand over the package to a subcontractor, who will then get the package to the end customer. If you receive a tendered to by USPS notification, you can expect the order to get delivered within the next 3-7 business days.
Sometimes, packages can get stuck in this status for longer than 7 business days. When this happens, the best thing to do is report the missing item either through the USPS website or by contacting the last-mile carrier.
4 steps in the package delivery process
To get a better sense of how the “tendered for delivery” status fits the bigger picture when packages get handed off from one carrier to another, it’s important to understand how the entire package delivery process works.
Here are four main steps involved in the process of delivering a package.
Step 1: Packing and loading
Once an order is placed and the warehouse receives it, it’s prepared to be shipped out to the customer. This step involves fulfilling it, and is where most of the shipping and handling expenses are incurred.
The warehouse staff picks the item that’s been ordered and begins the packaging process. They choose a box that’s ideal for the product based on its dimensions. This is a critical step as it can eliminate packaging waste while safely transporting the item.
In some cases, automated fulfilment equipment is used to accurately select the perfect box for each shipment. The warehouse staff will also weigh the package, which is essential for calculating the cost to ship your package.
If you have a partnership with multiple shipping carriers, you’d also want to determine the best option for each shipment. Compare the rates and delivery timelines to choose the best courier for each shipment.
Once the items are properly packed, shipping labels are generated based on the delivery destination and the package’s weight and size. The packages are then loaded on to trailers and vehicles to be transported to the shipping partner for the next stage of the delivery process.
Step 2: Shipping starts from select carrier
After the package(s) are in your chosen carrier’s hands, they’ll be shipped out through a suitable transportation method to the next destination.
For express packages to a more distant location, they are often shipped via air. For local deliveries, ground service delivery trucks are used. Packages sometimes go through multiple sortation centers and cities to reach their final destination, as the carrier will optimise routes for getting multiple packages going to the same locations together.
The courier will be responsible for making sure packages are delivered safely and on time to the right address. This makes it crucial to partner with a reliable carrier to meet your delivery needs.
Step 3: Last-mile delivery transfer
If the select carrier isn’t going to handle 100% of the delivery, the package will be transferred to a subcontractor for last-mile delivery and put into “tendered for delivery” status. This step usually happens when packages are very close in proximity to their final delivery destination.
Step 4: Package delivery
Finally, the packages are prepared for final delivery to the customer. The carrier’s preparation process involves strategic delivery route planning.
At this stage, the carrier will determine the optimal delivery route to ensure that packages are transported in the most efficient and cost-effective manner possible until they reach the final destination.
What does “tendered for delivery” mean for your package?
Receiving a message that a package is “tendered for delivery” doesn’t really have an impact on the package itself. It’s just a status update indicating that the package has completed another step in its journey.
For ecommerce businesses, this is also an indicator that someone else other than your shipping partner is now responsible for the package and that they’re now the point of contact if a package gets lost in transit.
If any issue arises related to missing or damaged items or delivery delays, you’d need to coordinate with them instead of your original courier partner.
Note: The tendered for delivery status is not a bad thing, as it is very typical and can be due to diversifying your carrier mix (and sometimes a faster delivery than if the original carrier were to transport the package through 100% of the journey).
What to do when a package is “tendered for delivery”
The “tendered for delivery” status is a normal stage in the delivery journey, which requires no action. The only time you need to take action is when the status has been unchanged for an unusual amount of time (e.g., after a couple of weeks).
Look at the typical timeline to deliver a package after receiving the “tendered for delivery” notification. If it’s been well past the typical timeline, and the status remains unchanged, you can follow the steps below to resolve the issue.
1. Contact original shipping partner
While the original shipping partner may no longer have control over your package movement or visibility into its status, they may be able to put you in contact with the new delivery partner.
The first thing you can do is reach out to them and let them know about the issue you’re experiencing.
Ask them for the contact information of the subcontractor they’re using so you can coordinate with the subcontractor regarding the issue and get delivery updates.
2. Go to your nearest post office
For most “tendered for delivery” packages in the United States, the USPS commonly takes over the last-mile delivery, so you may want to check with your local post office nearest your home to see if they have information on your package.
Otherwise, you’d need to officially report the package as missing so the shipping partner can come up with a resolution.
How to reduce the chances of getting a package “tendered for delivery”
Although it’s perfectly normal to see a “tendered for delivery” status (and is used in more deliveries than you may realise), ecommerce businesses may choose to avoid this as there’s a higher risk of delays or packages getting lost. However, it may come with a cost by using a more premium shipping service that doesn’t change its last-mile delivery carrier.
Businesses may be able to enjoy faster shipping by skipping the processes of transferring packages to a subcontractor, eliminating a few stages of the delivery process and getting the package delivered directly by the original shipping partner.
Here are some ways to reduce the chances of getting a “tendered for delivery” notification.
Plan shipping in advance of peak seasons
During busy periods, carrier services tend to experience higher congestion due to increased demand.
As a result, there’s a higher chance for packages to be delivered by a subcontractor to help relieve some of the courier’s workload. This makes it crucial to plan ahead for peak shipping season by partnering with an experienced third-party logistics partner that utilizes multiple carrier partners and enables various shipping services for greater contingency plans.
For us, joining ShipBob was a bit of a leap of faith. If all went well, we would send them more inventory for Christmas — and needless to say, we are very pleased with the results.
Our first peak season with ShipBob also went very well. We sent ShipBob thousands of units in our biggest Christmas shipment, and sold out by December 16th.John Greenhalgh, Co-Founder of A Year of Dates
Ideally, the best thing to do is to partner with multiple shipping carriers. This will give you more flexibility and ensure minimal delays or disruptions to your delivery operations.
If you find it challenging to manage multiple carriers, partnering with a 3PL is often the best choice as they can help you oversee your shipping logistics and even negotiate bulk shipping rates, given their volume (e.g., ShipBob is a fulfilment company that ships orders for thousands of brands).
Choose reliable shipping partners
The reliability of your shipping partners plays a key role in ensuring a seamless delivery operation.
Be sure to carefully compare multiple courier services and find one that can offer a variety of shipping options at competitive rates.
This is where you’ll need to consider their delivery fleet and infrastructure. Make sure you’re partnering with courier services (multiple) that have the resources necessary to manage the shipping and delivery process as volume ebbs and flows.
Consider reviews and industry reputation to assess the quality of their service. Choosing a delivery partner that offers quality service will help you avoid issues such as delays, damages, and lost packages.
Consider fast shipping options
If you want customer orders to get delivered as quickly as possible, the best thing you can do is opt for expedited shipping.
With this option, orders are typically delivered directly by the shipping partner without relying on third-party companies. Moreover, as packages spend less time in transit, there’s a lower risk of items getting lost or damaged in transit.
Since expedited shipping can be tough, another option to reduce risk is to partner with omnichannel fulfilment partner that takes care of fulfilment and shipping on your behalf.
Some fulfilment partners, like ShipBob, offer affordable 2-day shipping options to help you get ahead of the delivery process.
How ShipBob optimizes the package delivery process
For a smooth and efficient package delivery process, consider partnering with a 3PL like ShipBob, so you don’ t have to handle fulfilment and shipping yourself.
With a distributed fulfilment network and robust infrastructure, ShipBob has the capability to meet your delivery requirements and offer fast and affordable shipping to your customers.
You can distribute your inventory strategically to multiple fulfilment centers (across the globe) to store product closer to your customers. This means that each order will be shipped out from the fulfilment centre that’s closest to the delivery destination, so packages spend less time in transit, allowing your customers to receive their orders as quickly as possible.
ShipBob has close partnerships with leading shipping services such as FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS in the US, as well as regional parcel carriers (in addition to relationships with the biggest carriers in Canada, Europe, and Australia). With ShipBob, you can enjoy discounted shipping rates that are pre-negotiated for you.
You can also leverage ShipBob’s dashboard to automatically compare shipping speeds and rates between multiple carriers for you, finding the best shipping option for each order.
Additionally, ShipBob offers 2-day shipping coverage across the continental US (even from just one fulfilment centre). ShipBob’s proprietary algorithm leverages a combination of ground, air, and regional carriers so you can enjoy high on-time delivery rates.
With this shipping option, your customers don’t have to wait days to receive their orders, resulting in higher customer satisfaction rates and improved customer loyalty.
Getting started with ShipBob is easy. Click the button below to request pricing.
Tendered for delivery FAQs
Below are answers to the most common questions about tendered for delivery.
How long does “tendered for delivery” take?
After going into “tendered for delivery” status, packages typically get delivered within 2-7 days depending on the carrier.
What does it mean “tendered for delivery without a success?”
When you see this notification, it means that the original shipping carrier was unable to find a subcontractor to complete last-mile delivery or that your package was undeliverable.
What does “tendered to Postal Service” mean?
The “tendered to postal service” status indicates that your package has been handed over to the postal service, which will take care of the final delivery.
What does “tendered to final delivery agent” mean?
The “tendered to final delivery agent” status indicates that your shipping partner has sent the package to a subcontractor who will complete the last-mile delivery.