Did you recently check your tracking number to see a message stating ‘Tendered for delivery,’ or ‘Tendered to delivery service provider?’
This message is surprisingly common, and actually has quite a simple explanation behind it.
So, in this article I’ll be covering exactly what these messages mean, how they affect your delivery, and what you should know if you see either of these messages while tracking your package.
What Does Tendered For Delivery Mean?
If you see a message on your tracking page that states your package is tendered for delivery, this means that it has been passed off to another courier for final delivery.
Most commonly, the shipping provider it has been passed off to is USPS.
Companies like Fedex and DHL often work with the United States Postal Service to ensure that packages are all delivered in a timely and organized manner.
Because USPS is already required to deliver mail to every legal address within the United States, it saves a lot of time and money to pass certain packages off to them instead.
After all, some addresses can be very far out of the way from other deliveries, especially with shipping services like DHL who do not deliver a whole lot of packages to remote areas on a consistent basis.
(Think about it – does it make sense to make an hour long trip each way to deliver one package, that may have only cost a few dollars to ship?)
By passing these off to USPS, no time or money is lost, and it helps keep extra cars off the road, too.
When the package is handed off, your tracking page will update to say ‘Tendered to delivery service provider’ or simply, ‘Tendered for delivery.’
Let’s look at how each major courier within the U.S handles this. Later, I’ll also discuss how your delivery is affected when this happens.
Tendered For Delivery – UPS
UPS is one of the most common services that marks packages as ‘tendered for delivery.’
This is because they have an entire shipping class that uses USPS for last-mile delivery, called UPS SurePost.
With UPS SurePost packages, UPS will handle the bulk of the delivery. For the final step however, the package will be given to USPS, who will handle the final delivery of the item.
Note that all other UPS shipping services are delivered through UPS directly – the only one that uses USPS is USPS SurePost.
Tendered For Delivery – Fedex
Currently, Fedex rarely, if ever hands packages off to USPS for final delivery.
In the past, they used to do this using a shipping service called Fedex SmartPost.
However, as of March 2021, this shipping service has been rebranded to Fedex Ground Economy. Part of this switch is that Fedex no longer relies on the United States Postal Service for last mile delivery.
So, you are unlikely to see any messages stating ‘Tendered to delivery service provider’ while tracking your package via Fedex.
Tendered For Delivery – DHL
Like UPS, DHL is one of the most common couriers to hand off packages for final delivery, especially in the United States.
This is because DHL handles far less deliveries in the United States compared to other couriers on this list.
Despite the fact that DHL is a leading courier worldwide, Supply Chain Dive estimates that DHL accounts for less than 1% of deliveries within the United States.
Unless you’re in a densely populated area, it’s possible that there are simply no other DHL shipments being delivered to anyone else around you right now.
So, DHL very often hands packages off to USPS for final delivery – they simply couldn’t provide service to your address if they didn’t!
Tendered For Delivery – USPS
Like Fedex, USPS does not really hand any packages off to other couriers.
The only exception to this is if you accidentally drop off a USPS or Fedex package into one of their bins, for example.
Since USPS already delivers to every address anyway, they have no reason to hand the package off to another company.
Note however that you may see a message on USPS tracking stating ‘Delivered to Agent for Final Delivery.’ This is a different message, indicating the package has been handed off to someone else other than the addressee (such as someone at your home, an apartment mailroom person, or similar.)
However, you won’t see a ‘Tendered for delivery’ message from USPS!
How Does ‘Tendered For Delivery’ Affect The Delivery Of My Package?
So, is it a bad thing when your package is tendered for delivery, and how does it actually differ from a normal delivery?
Ultimately, there are two key differences.
The first is that it may take a bit longer to arrive. Because the package has to be handed off to another courier, this adds an extra delay, since it is another step in the process. USPS will have to take possession of the package, scan it in, and work it into their upcoming delivery routes.
Services like UPS SurePost have slower delivery timelines as a result of this, and packages that are tendered to another delivery service provider aren’t usually ones that were going to arrive quickly anyway.
The second notable difference is that the package may end up being delivered to your mailbox, rather than your door.
Legally, only USPS are allowed to deliver to your mailbox – UPS, DHL, and other couriers are not allowed to deliver packages there.
Since the last mile is being handled by USPS however, they can choose to deliver to the mailbox if the package will fit.
So, this is something to keep in mind – especially if your package says delivered, but you aren’t seeing it at your doorstep!
Tendered for delivery simply means that your package has been handed off to another courier – most commonly USPS, for its final delivery.
Because USPS already delivers to every address in America, it is more economical for couriers to hand the package off to them instead of making lengthy trips out themselves. So, packages are more likely to be tendered for delivery while certain shipping classes are used, or packages are being delivered to rural or remote locations.
I hope that you’ve found this article helpful, and that it’s answered all of your questions. If you have any other questions about couriers like UPS, Fedex or DHL, please ask them using the comment form below and I’ll be happy to help.
Wishing you the best,
– James McAllister