Is Pirate Ship Legit? Free Shipping Service Review (2023)

Is Pirate Ship Legit?

Are you an online store looking for a shipping solution that is both reliable and affordable? Have you heard about Pirate Ship but aren’t sure if it’s legit? With the rise of online shopping, merchant entrepreneurs must make smart decisions when shipping their products.

In this blog post, we’ll review Pirate Ship, highlighting its features and benefits to answer the all-important question: Is Pirate Ship Legit? We’ll explain how this popular service works and why so many e-commerce stores, small businesses, crafters, online sellers, and resellers–amongst others–are turning to Pirate Ship as their preferred USPS-based shipping solution.

What is Pirate Ship and How Does it Work?

Welcome aboard the fascinating world of Pirate Ship, a modern, innovative shipping software that simplifies purchasing postage and creating shipping labels. As you might imagine, using Pirate Ship comes with a treasure trove of perks, allowing users to access the lowest USPS shipping rates seamlessly and offering tools for batch label processing and international shipping.

The true beauty of Pirate Ship lies in the fact that the platform charges no fees, subscriptions, or per-label costs. To that end, the next question is how Pirate Ship makes money. With their agreements with USPS and UPS, they get a small cut of every item shipped and a cut of any supplemental shipping insurance purchased for a shipment, too.

Pirate Ship is decidedly simpler than most other shipping platforms. Their target audience isn’t necessarily big businesses shipping thousands of packages daily but smaller operations, individuals, and e-commerce businesses looking for an affordable solution for generating a USPS or UPS label for customer orders.

Their user-friendly experience is paired with popular e-commerce platforms like Etsy, Shopify, and eBay. However, their integration list is short, so if you’re not selling on one of those platforms, you’ll generate labels manually.

With Pirate Ship, navigating the turbulent waters of shipping becomes smooth sailing, giving you the freedom to focus on the growth and success of your business without being anchored down by complicated shipping procedures.

And I promise no more pirate and boat puns from this point forward, too. 🙂

Further Reading

We compiled a list of the five best shipping label printers for small businesses and e-commerce sites.

Pros & Cons of Using Pirate Ship

Pirate Ship isn’t a service for everyone, so we’ve broken down what they’re great at and where they fall flat.

Pirate Ship Pros

Pricing. As an authorized partner of USPS, Pirate Ship offers access to deeply discounted postage rates, which can significantly reduce shipping expenses. Many shipping platforms offer commercial-plus pricing from USPS, but Pirate Ship took it a step further.

In some cases, Pirate Ship offers rates below commercial-plus, making them a cheaper option than anyone else, including the USPS Website. The discount applies based on package size and destination.

However, these lower rates came with a catch from USPS: they can’t be publicly advertised. To determine if you get this rate for your package, use their rate estimator or create an account and start the label creation process.

User Interface. Pirate Ship knows its target audience well and has designed an interface that’s simple, clean, and is made to do precisely one thing: create shipping labels and track their progress. You won’t find fancy order management pages or custom branding here.

Helpful customer support. If you’re ever stuck, Pirate Ship support can help walk you through the process and answer any questions. I’ve called upon them a few times, even if it was just a sanity check to ensure I used the best service.

Inexpensive international shipping. Pirate Ship offers a one-of-a-kind rate table for small packages that can save you a lot of money if you’re shipping overseas. They call it Simple Export Rate. It’s not as quick as regular international shipping for most countries but has immense value in cost savings.

Further Reading

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For shipments to Canada, nothing changes compared to regular international shipping. You’ll drop off the package with USPS, and it goes through the mail system to Canada Post, which delivers it.

For other countries, the package is dropped off with USPS and lands at a U.S. warehouse, where it’s forwarded to the destination country, where the local mail service delivers the package. This is how Pirate Ship can offer such a reduced international shipping rate.

Refunds for unused labels. You can refund the label if you no longer need a generated label. For USPS labels, refunds take up to 30 days to come back to you. UPS labels can be refunded much quicker, often within an hour.

By default, refunds go back to your Pirate Ship account. From there, if you don’t think you’ll use the credit, you can refund the original payment method.

Free USPS and inexpensive UPS pickups. Pirate Ship offers the ability to have a carrier come by and pick up your shipments on a day you choose. USPS packages are picked up by your local mail person, while UPS either sends someone to pick up your shipment as a part of their delivery route or will task your regularly scheduled UPS driver to pick up your package as they deliver one to you. USPS pickups are free of charge, while UPS charges a few dollars.

Free Shipping Calculator. If you need to find out how much something will cost to ship, Pirate Ship offers a free-to-use tool that’ll give you the best rate across all the shipping options for both USPS and UPS. You’ll also be able to compare services and speeds on one screen.

Pirate Ship Cons

It only supports USPS and UPS. Most shipping services also offer FedEx as a shipping carrier. However, Pirate Ship does not. Until mid-2021, Pirate Ship didn’t offer UPS as a shipping company, either. We may see FedEx on the list in the future.

Limited integrations. Pirate Ship can ship packages for orders from any system but only integrates with a few services: eBay, Shopify, and Etsy. All others must be manually imported (as CSV or Excel files) or entered simultaneously.

Further Reading

We put together our guide for what we think are the best shipping software platforms you should be looking at for your business in 2023. Check them out.

Pirate Ship Pricing

One of the greatest things about Pirate Ship is that it’s entirely free. Pirate Ship makes its money through its contracts with USPS and UPS. There is no per-label cost or monthly subscription. While you do have to provide payment information, buying labels is the only thing you’ll use them for.

If you choose to add extra insurance to your shipment, you’ll pay a set rate based on the value of the package, but this is optional. Priority Mail through USPS already comes with $100 worth of protection at no additional cost.

My Personal Experience Reviewing Pirate Ship

I’ve used Pirate Ship for a few years now. I appreciate that my shipping costs are on par or better than higher-end services and that their website is no-frills.

I visit the post office regularly during the holiday season, sometimes twice a day. I appreciate that I can create dozens or hundreds of labels at once and have UPS pick them up for a few bucks.

During the holiday season, at the peak of my candle sales, I packaged and shipped over 100 candles at once for shipment to customers. I generated all of the labels in Pirate Ship through the Etsy integration. Pirate Ship creates a PDF to print labels. I package the orders like I usually would.

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I scheduled a pickup through Pirate Ship, and a UPS driver graciously took each box off my hands.

The only complaint in the whole process is that UPS only tells the driver some information about the pickup. The driver was pleasantly surprised that my 140 lbs weren’t one large package but 115 small ones. Both fortunately and unfortunately, this is mostly commentary about UPS as a whole. There’s nothing I could have done to solve that problem.

As a small business and online seller, thinking about how I’d get 115 packages to a local UPS drop-off location (likely a UPS store that would have already been flooded with other customers and have piles of boxes everywhere) was enough to be willing to pay a few dollars to offload the problem to a professional.

Regarding the optional insurance, I’ve never dealt with the insurance company. Every order I’ve shipped with supplemental insurance has never been lost. Coincidentally, I’ve had a couple of packages get lost in the postal service system, but they were Priority Mail packages, and I was already covered there.

Final Verdict: Worth It or Not?

Short version: Absolutely. Pirate Ship is great for small businesses. For a free service, Pirate Ship offers just the features you need and nothing you don’t. You won’t find FedEx or DHL here, but if that doesn’t matter, I can confidently say you’ll be hard-pressed to find better rates anywhere else. 

The caveat: shipping in large volumes will become arduous if you’re not using eBay, Shopify, or Etsy to generate orders. While you can import them using a spreadsheet, that process will get old quickly.

Wrapping Up

I think Pirate Ship is an excellent shipping site. A free account will get you far enough to focus on your business or selling and less on whether your shipping platform is worth its monthly fees. There is no limit on the number of labels you can generate at a time or at all already. 

Plus, you’ll be able to take advantage of some of the best international shipping rates you’ve ever seen.

Further Reading

Need ideas on what to sell in your Etsy store but don’t want to keep physical inventory? We compiled a list of over 160 digital products you can make right now and sell for big profits on Etsy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Pirate Ship?

We know folks have questions about Pirate Ship and want to know more. We’ve compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions about Pirate Ship and answered them below.

Who can use Pirate Ship?

Anyone. Pirate Ship is built for individuals and businesses alike. There are no requirements to sign up.

Is Pirate Ship approved by USPS?

Yes. Pirate Ship receives the best pricing from USPS, which requires a contract between the two organizations.

How does Pirate Ship make money?

They make money by taking a small cut from the label cost and any supplemental insurance purchased for a shipment. They don’t charge fees upfront or as a monthly subscription.

Is Pirate Ship secure?

Pirate Ship is secure. They use HTTPS for all traffic on their site and keep payment information safe using bank-grade encryption and a top-quality payment processor.

Is Pirate Ship better than USPS?

Pirate Ship is much cheaper than purchasing labels directly from USPS, but the shipping services are the same.

Can I use Pirate Ship for personal use?

Yes. You do not have to be a business to take advantage of the deep discounts Pirate Ship offers for shipping.


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