There’s nothing more exciting than getting the tracking information for a package that you’ve ordered.
You know that means that the package is starting its journey to you, that it won’t be long until your package is at your doorstep, and that you’ll so have the ability to track and watch that package move towards you every step of the way.
Unfortunately, though, not all tracking updates are going to be good news as so many find out.
Sometimes tracking information – including from a shipping industry leader like FedEx – is going to tell you that your package is actually delayed, that it couldn’t be delivered, or that it is going to take longer to get you than you expect.
If you’ve ever wondered why that happens (and why it feels like it’s always happening to you) you’ll want to check out the rest of this detailed guide.
Below we run through (almost) everything there is to know about FedEx packages that feel like they take forever and a day to actually get to your doorstep.
Let’s jump right in!
Why Does FedEx Take So Long?
For starters, you should know that it’s not just FedEx that is delaying packages left and right lately.
All of the major shipping companies are dealing with struggles and challenges that are slowing things down, practically guaranteeing that packages are going to be a little later than most people expect.
FedEx, because it is so popular and because so many people use this shipping company, moves millions and millions of packages every day. Because of all this volume the odds of the delay happening to customers goes up quite a bit.
That’s why it can sometimes feel like FedEx deals with so many delays compared to other shipping companies.
The FedEx Delivery Process Explained
This is not to suggest, by any stretch of the imagination, that FedEx packages somehow aren’t getting delayed.
Every single day someone’s package from FedEx isn’t going to make it on time – if not hundreds (or maybe even thousands) of FedEx packages, even.
Some of that has to do with the major root causes for package delays we highlight in just a moment, but some of it has to do with the way that the FedEx system is designed.
FedEx really pioneered a unique “hub and spoke” system for moving packages around the country, a system that is incredibly efficient – one that is so impressive that most other shipping companies use the same kind of system themselves now.
Here’s a quick breakdown of how this shipping program works:
For starters, a package is either dropped off at a FedEx retail location or is picked up by a FedEx employee. That same packages that “checked into” the FedEx system, given a tracking number, and added to the overall FedEx infrastructure.
From there, the packages sent to a regional distribution hub that is somewhat centrally located. The package is going to be combined with other packages that will be sent along a similar route and almost always moved to another regional distribution hub that gets a closer to its ultimate destination.
This will happen a number of times (anywhere between once and half a dozen different times) until a package is close to a local FedEx delivery warehouse.
Then the package will be separated from its “lot”, moved via truck to its next location, and that almost always delivered by a local FedEx operation.
As you can see there are a lot of moving parts here.
At any step along the way there’s a potential for a package to get lost in the shuffle, to be delayed, or for something to go sideways – maybe having a package meant for Hartford, Connecticut getting sent closer to Honolulu, Hawaii, for example.
FedEx has done a great job over the years at really refining their system so these kinds of problems don’t happen as much as they used to in the past. But they still have all the same
Why Does FedEx Take So Long? – 5 Common Issues
Now that we’ve gone over how the FedEx Ground Service works, it’s important to go through the five most common reasons that your package is going to be delayed moving forward.
FedEx Delayed Packages
One of the most common reasons that FedEx will delay a package is because they themselves decide that it needs to be delayed, either to be further scrutinized, further investigated, or further searched through by the necessary authorities.
If your package is leaking some kind of fluid, if it seems suspicious in any way, or if it just “feels off” to anyone working at FedEx than the potential for your package to get delayed before it can be inspected skyrockets significantly.
In the event that your package is delayed for these reasons, though, you’ll almost always get a notification and an alert letting you know – especially if your package had to be opened and physically inspected by the necessary authorities.
Usually these kinds of inspections can take anywhere between just a few days to a week or longer. You’ll see an update somewhere in your tracking information letting you know exactly what’s going on, too.
Even still, it might not be a bad idea to reach out to customer service just to find out exactly what’s going on with your package before you consider it a complete loss.
Incorrect Address Information
Incorrect address information can be another real problem with packages getting delayed via FedEx.
Make no mistake about it, the FedEx address database is almost as large as the USPS address database – at least here in the United States, anyway.
But it’s just not frequently as updated.
Sometimes addresses aren’t going to make it into the FedEx system as quickly as a package is sent, and sometimes old addresses that have changed aren’t going to be updated quite as timely, either.
Sometimes, though, incorrect address information is simply added to a shipping label for one reason or another.
Maybe the shipper was in a hurry and simply put the wrong town, state, or ZIP Code info in.
Maybe the shipping address was written on the label in less than legible handwriting, making it difficult for FedEx to really figure out where that package was supposed to go.
Or maybe something else entirely happened leading to the shipping address information being incorrect.
At the end of the day, if FedEx doesn’t know exactly where to send a package they’ll do their best to figure out where it is supposed to go. But that’s almost always going to take more time than you were expecting.
Severe or Surprise Weather Conditions
Severe or surprise weather conditions can pop up out of nowhere, especially during the really busy shipping time of the year – the holiday season in the winter – that can cause all kinds of delays.
Rainstorms, as well as thunder and lightning, generally aren’t going to be enough to throw a FedEx delivery off of its established timeline.
But as soon as you start to mix in tropical storms, flooding, lots of wind (including tornadoes and hurricanes) or snow and ice that’s a completely different equation altogether.
It’s not at all uncommon for these types of extreme weather conditions to significantly delay the delivery of your FedEx package. Usually these delays won’t be for any longer than a day or two (maybe three days). It’s the severity of the storm that’s going to have the biggest impact on this timeline, though.
You might be waiting a couple of days, a week, or even more – especially if the weather system causing these problems continues to persist and cause trouble in the delivery area.
Something Went Sideways with a Delivery Vehicle/Facility
Sometimes inclement weather has less to do with a delivery delay than something going wrong with a delivery vehicle or something going wrong at a delivery facility.
FedEx vehicles are known for being very reliable, very durable, and long-lasting. But they are also man-made pieces of machinery that have a natural tendency to break down and become compromised just like any other vehicle out there on the open road.
The same can be said for FedEx facilities.
Perhaps a FedEx facility is dealing with a staffing problem and just aren’t able to process as many packages as they used to.
Maybe there was a leak or a fire at the facility, necessitating it being shut down for at least a little while.
Maybe there was something wrong with the actual structure of the facility becoming compromised, too – sometimes because of the inclement weather we mentioned a moment ago – that made these working conditions unsafe.
At the end of the day, anything that goes wrong with FedEx delivery vehicles or that goes wrong with the FedEx delivery facility is going to inevitably cause at least a slight delay in your package getting to you.
Package Was Missing Important Documentation
FedEx packages aren’t just shipped with a delivery address slapped on top of the box.
A commercial invoice is necessary, letting the FedEx organization understand that the package has had its postage paid for in that it is good to go on through the FedEx delivery service.
On top of that, the commercial invoice says that the package contains the item that a buyer is expecting, that the transaction is correct, and shows the weight of that package on the exterior of the packaging material, too.
That weight information is hugely important.
FedEx vehicles that move across the interstate system are regularly going to have to visit “weigh stations” to confirm that they are safe enough to be traveling along the highways and byways of America.
This information is useful in helping FedEx better determine whether or not certain packages can be added to a shipment or if they need to be left off completely.
If this information is unavailable or incomplete FedEx is going to have to confirm those details independently on their own. That’s going to inevitably cause at least a slight delay, usually of a day or two.
Tips for Speeding Up Your FedEx Packages
Luckily, there are some things that you’ll be able to do to significantly speed up the delivery process from FedEx and (hopefully) guarantee that your package doesn’t get delayed somewhere along the line.
Confirm Your Shipping Info
The first thing you’ll want to do is double confirm that all of your shipping information – including the delivery address and the return address – is dialed in, accurate, and legible.
Take the time to do this on your own and you won’t have to worry about someone at FedEx having to go through the process for you, delaying your package along the way.
Pony Up for Faster Shipping Services
If you have the budget you might want to pony up the extra expense for faster shipping services.
Obviously this isn’t something that everyone is going to be comfortable with, or something everyone has the budget for, but FedEx Air deliveries – express speed deliveries – usually aren’t delayed quite as often as ground deliveries can be.
It might be something you want to look into, particularly if you need a FedEx package to arrive by a specific time.
Take Advantage of FedEx Evening Home Delivery
The FedEx Evening Home Delivery services guarantees that FedEx drivers swing by your delivery address in the afternoon and early evening, helping to make sure someone is at home to receive your FedEx package.
There’s nothing worse than having a package set for delivery during the middle of the day, even arriving earlier than you expected, but having to wait a day or two to actually get the package just because no one was home to sign for the delivery.
FedEx Evening Home Delivery pretty much guarantees that’s never going to be a problem again.
US Global Mail Eliminates (Almost) All of Your Mailbox Headaches
At the end of the day, you can always choose to move forward with a Virtual Mailbox account from the folks at US Global Mail and eliminate all of your delivery issues.
Not only does this industry leader in virtual mailbox services offer a permanent mailing address – a physical street address – that you can use to protect your privacy and anonymity, but it also guarantees that you can accept packages from any of the major shipping companies here, too.
That’s not something you’ll be able to do with a PO Box from the USPS.
There are a whole host of other benefits available from US Global Mail – including real-time notification about every piece of mail that hits your mailbox, for example – that you’ll want to look into.
Check out their website or contact customer service today for more information!