Pak Mail Anderson Mill
13359 North Hwy 183, Ste. 406
Austin, TX 78750
Tel: 512-249-SHIP (7447)
1-512-249-SHIP (7447)
Monday - Friday
9:00 am - 6:00 pm
10:00 am - 3:00 pm


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Happy 50th Birthday to the ZIP Code!

July 10th, 2013 by


Article by: Adam Belz , Star Tribune
Updated: July 2, 2013 – 10:33 PM

Beyond helping to sort our mail since 1963, ZIP codes have proved invaluable as a way for government and businesses to make sense of data.

Before e-mail or cellphones or even the fax machine came a revolutionary advance in how people get information to the right destination: the ZIP code.

Fifty years ago this week, the U.S. Postal Service rolled out the codes in an effort to make it easier to sort a surge in post-war mail.

Instituted during a summer when Harmon Killebrew blasted 45 home runs for the Twins and engineers at Control Data were putting the finishing touches on the world’s fastest supercomputer, the humble addition of five digits to every address in the United States turned out to be momentous, and not just for the Postal Service.

“The post office built this system of little geographical areas and laid it down on a map of the United States and it made sense for delivering mail,” said Jay Coggins, an applied economist at the University of Minnesota. “And it turned out to be a very convenient way to measure all sorts of socioeconomic and health numbers.”

Banks and insurers now use ZIP codes to analyze mortgage risk and set premiums, real estate firms use them to organize listings and retailers use them to decide where to build new stores. A recent analysis by the Postal Service’s Office of the Inspector General and IBM estimates the annual value of ZIP codes at $9.5 billion.

The largest benefits are enjoyed not by the post office or large-scale direct mailers, said Jeff Colvin, a research director at the Office of the Inspector General.

“People outside the Postal Service and even outside the mailing industry seemed to get more benefit over a long period of time than the savings to the Postal Service and to people who do mail-related stuff,” Colvin said. “It was really people outside of that who used the division of the country into ZIP codes for all kinds of purposes to organize their own businesses.”

ZIP codes are now an integral part of 20th-century technology, such as credit card authorizations, and 21st-century technology, like mapping programs on smartphones. The U.S. Census Bureau churns out rafts of ZIP code-specific economic data.

What’s remarkable is that this was all an accident. In the early 1960s, the Postal Service just needed a better way to sort mail and was eyeing automated sorting. Before July 1963, mail was largely sorted by address. Mail volume exploded after World War II, and hand sorting it all became nearly impossible.

West Germany had just rolled out postal codes and achieved 80 percent adoption in one year, so Postmaster General Edward Day introduced the idea of ZIP codes at a conference in October 1962. Believing the new system needed heavy promotion, Day also introduced the cartoon character Mr. ZIP.

The launch of the new system was met with grumbling by some companies, but it quickly caught on, thanks in part to the aggressive publicity campaign. By 1969, 83 percent of Americans were using ZIP codes, and in 1983 the Postal Service added four digits.

The codes fill a specific need in geographic data analysis. Lots of research is done at the census tract and county level, said the U’s Coggins. ZIP codes are in a research sweet spot between tracts, with between 1,500 and 8,000 people, and counties, which can include millions.

“There’s lots of work that deals with ZIP code areas,” Coggins said.

Timothy Taylor, managing editor of the Journal of Economic Perspectives based at Macalester College, calls ZIP codes “an open source product for organizing data by geography.” It’s difficult to put a dollar figure on the value of the system, but it improves economic efficiency, he said.

“If the ZIP code had been invented and maintained by a private company, and it was being licensed to other firms [including the post office], that company would certainly be worth a few billion dollars,” he said in an e-mail.
That’s not something postal officials had in mind in 1963.

“Like a lot of wisdom, it was a lot of luck,” Colvin said. “I don’t think they thought through, or could have thought through all the extensive uses businesses and otherwise would make of the innovation.”

Lone Star Overnight Is Here!

April 17th, 2013 by

LSO LogoWe are pleased to announce we have added Lone Star Overnight (LSO) to our list of carriers.  Here at Pak Mail Anderson Mill we strive to provide our customers with the best solutions to their logistics needs and that includes offering a variety of choices when it comes to shippers.

LSO has been serving Texas for over 20 years.  They offer overnight service as well as ground shipping to all of Texas as well as parts of New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Louisiana.  Without the overhead of the larger national carriers, LSO also often offers a lower price for the equivalent service.

LSO has an excellent reputation and takes great care in handling packages.  Since we want to be sure your treasures arrive at the proper destination in good condition, we are very picky about which companies we use for shipping.  LSO meets our high standards.

The next time you have shipping needs within the state, stop by give Lone Stat Overnight a try.  We think you’ll be very happy with this new service.

Which carrier is best?

January 15th, 2013 by


Here at Pak Mail Anderson Mill we pride ourselves on providing our customers with the very best experience possible.  One of the components to that experience is having a choice of carriers.  One size does not fit all when it comes to shipping and we want to ensure the best value and effectiveness for our customers.

Because of that we offer multiple choices for your shipping needs.  In the small package arena we offer FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS.  We will soon be adding Lone Star Overnight to that list as well (more on that in a future post).  For large freight we use LTL carriers like Estes Express, YRC, and R+L Carriers as well as several different blanket wrap carriers and vehicle movers.

Today, let’s talk about small package carriers.  How do we decide between FedEx, UPS, DHL, and USPS?  It all depends on what we’re shipping and where it’s going.  For example, for domestic air services we our ten years of experience tells us that FedEx does the best job by far.  For ground shipping, both FedEx and UPS are fairly equal, however, UPS does a much better job in rural areas and when there may be some doubt about the accuracy of the address.

For international shipping, we find that FedEx and DHL are both excellent carriers with a decided advantage for DHL to areas like small towns in Mexico, Central and South America, Southeast Asia, Africa, India, and the Middle East.

From a cost perspective, all three of these carriers stay very close to each other for competitive reasons.  This allows us to choose the best service for that shipment without worrying about the cost.

For letters and small, light parcels USPS has a definite cost advantage, however, there is no real tracking capability like the others and we have no way to track down an errant package.  If the package is more than two or three pounds, however, and is traveling more than 600 miles, UPS and FedEx Ground will likely be less expensive while providing a higher level of service.

So here’s the bottom line – unlike some of our competitors, Pak Mail Anderson Mill offers choices in carriers – and we tailor that choice to your specific needs of when the package needs to arrive and where it’s going.  What can we ship for you today?

Last Chance!

December 21st, 2012 by

Well, we’re down to the nub!  Today is your absolute last chance to use ground shipping in time for Christmas – but only if the destination is in Texas (except El Paso, Amarillo, or Brownsville).  And even at that, we can make no promises!

We can still do overnight shipping to anywhere in the country either today or until about 3:00 PM tomorrow, Saturday.  After that, deliveries won’t be made until after Christmas.

So, buy those final gifts and come on in so we can get your treasures off to their final destinations!

From all of us at Pak Mail Anderson Mill, we wish you a merry and blessed Christmas – and we thank you for your business all year long!

Only Five Shipping Days ‘Til Christmas!

December 17th, 2012 by

Today and tomorrow will be the two busiest shipping days of the year. Today is also the last day for ground shipping to the east or west coast in time for Christmas.

Avoid the long lines and surly attitudes at the post office. Come see us for all your packing and shipping needs!

Only 10 Shipping Days Until Christmas!

December 10th, 2012 by

You’ve still got plenty of time to get those treasures to your loved ones in time for Christmas.  Come see us today and you’ll be able to check off an item on your holiday to-do list.

To help you even more, our extended holidays hours begin today and run through December 22.  We’re open 9:00 – 7:00 during the week, 9:00 – 5:00 on Saturday, and even 1:00 – 4:00 on Sunday for your convenience.

So don’t delay!  The sooner you come see us, the sooner you can relax!

Holiday Shipping Deadlines and Tips

November 28th, 2012 by
Shipping at the holidays can add to your stress – unless you bring your gifts to Pak Mail Anderson Mill.  We’ll expertly pack and ship your holiday treasures, ensuring they arrive safely and on time.  Here are some tips and important deadlines.


Quick Tips
  • Keep all receipts for gifts purchased.
  • Come prepared. Needed information includes:
    • Ship-to name, address, & phone number,
    • Contents of the package being shipped,
    • Value of the item(s) being shipped, and
    • When you would like the package to arrive.
  • Ship as early as possible.  Carriers suspend delivery guarantees this time of year.
  • Perfume, cologne, beer, wine, and liquor cannot be legally shipped.
  • International & APO/FPO/DPO shipments require an itemized contents/value list for customs.


Holiday Shipping Deadlines (Arrive by Christmas Eve)


Nov 13     Parcel Post Packages

Dec 3       Priority Mail & First Class Letters/Cards (Zip 093)

Dec 10     Priority Mail & First Class Letters/Cards (Zip 090-092, 094-098, 340, 962-966)


UPS/FedEx/DHL — International Air Services

Dec 12     Last Shipping Day for Delivery by Christmas Eve*

*Does not include possible Customs delays.


UPS/FedEx — Ground Services

Dec 17     Domestic (except Texas)

Dec 19     Texas


UPS/FedEx — Domestic Air Services

Dec 19     3-Day Service

Dec 20     2-Day Service

Dec 21     Next Day/Overnight

Dec 22     Next Day/Overnight (Bonus Day! Saturday Pick Up – FedEx Express Only)


Shipping times can be delayed by inclement weather.  No guaranteed deliveries after Dec 11.

No FedEx Home Delivery deliveries on Monday, Christmas Eve.

No deliveries Christmas Day.

Shipping perishables

August 14th, 2012 by

We are often asked about shipping perishables; anything from the top tier of wedding cakes for the first anniversary celebration to venison and sausage, to chocolate and anything in between.

The key to shipping this items successfully is keeping them cold – no mean feat in the summertime!  Many people think dry ice is the best way to accomplish this, but we prefer not to use for a few reasons.  First, dry ice is difficult to handle.  It’s so cold it can burn you if not handled with gloves.  Second, it sublimates.  This means it changes from solid directly to gas.  This means the items inside can move around once the dry ice “melts” and the boxes need to be properly vented to allow the gas to escape.  Which brings us to the last reason – the carriers consider dry ice to be a hazardous substance so there are limits to how much you can ship and which carriers you can use.

Over the years, we’ve found the best method to ensure your perishables reach their destination safely is as follows:

  1. Freeze the items solidly
  2. Purchase a rectangular Styrofoam cooler that will hold what you’re shipping plus ice packs
  3. Get ice packs of the type often called “Blue Ice”; flexible packs that can be frozen solidly
  4. Place a layer of ice packs in the bottom of the cooler
  5. Add your items leaving room on the sides for more ice packs
  6. Cover the top with a layer of ice packs and close the lid of the cooler
  7. Make sure you’ve packed everything in solidly – there should be no movement when you shake the cooler

Bring your frozen package to us about 4:00 PM on a Monday thru Thursday.  We will put it in an appropriate sized shipping box and ship out with overnight delivery for the next morning.  Depending on the weather, there may be a slight bit of defrosting, but everything will be in good shape.  Be sure to let your recipient know it will be there so they can be home to get it.  After all that effort, you don’t want it sitting out on the porch in the sun!

Of course, if you have any questions, just give us a call.  We’re always glad to help!

Ground vs. Air Shipping

July 17th, 2012 by

Here at Pak Mail Anderson Mill we offer choices – FedEx, UPS, DHL, USPS, Freight, etc.  We also offer choices for ground or air shipping.  How do we decide what’s best?

There are a couple of factors involved here – time and value.  The first question is time.  When does your item need to arrive?  Tied closely to this is where is how far it’s going.  If it needs to be in New York tomorrow, it must go via air.  If it absolutely, positively has to be in Dallas tomorrow morning, it must go by air.  But, if it needs to be in Dallas any time tomorrow and if it was delayed until the next day it would be okay, then you can send it via ground and have a 95% chance of next day delivery.  From here in Austin, we have the great advantage of being in the middle of the country.  Ground will get to the coasts in three or four days rather than a week.  Most of Texas will be next day via ground and places like Colorado and Illinois will be two days.

The second question is value and fragility.  Ground shipping is just that – the packages travel by tractor trailer over the highways, potholes and all.  (Not to mention that the trailers are definitley not air conditioned.)  And, unless it’s going to a close destination, it takes longer than air and has more transfer points.  The longer it’s in the shipping system and the more times it’s handled the more chance there is of damage or loss.

With air shipping, your package will travel on a local truck to the terminal at the airport, fly to the carrier’s hub (Memphis, TN for FedEx or Louisville, KY for UPS), fly to the destination city, and be loaded on a local delivery truck to it’s final destination.  Faster time and fewer transfers; therefore safer.

So, if your package is not very fragile, not going too far, and/or time is not of the essence then ground will be the most cost effective for you.  However, if your item has high value, high fragility, or simply must get there fast, then air is the best route to take. 

We should mention that air has three delivery options – overnight, two day, and three day.  If the shipment really needs to go via air due to value and/or fragility we can mitigate the cost somewhat by choosing a two day air option rather than overnight.

The bottom line is this – come on in to Pak Mail Anderson Mill where we have the knowledge and expertise to advise you of your best options and ensure you have the widest choices available.  We’ll make sure your package is delivered to the proper destination safely and on time!

I thought you ship anything anywhere…?

June 15th, 2012 by

Our motto is that we pack and ship anything anywhere, but there are some things we can’t do. 

For example, we never ship hazardous materials (hazmat).  There are special licenses, training, and precautions needed to be hazmat qualified and we simply don’t have the demand (or, frankly, want the liability). 

Some things may seem innocuous, but are actually dangerous.  For example, we don’t ship perfume or cologne.  The alcohol content in those items is so high that they can catch fire if they get too hot.  And since the inside of a tractor trailer can easily get to 120+ degrees, this is a no-no.

We also have some legal restrictions that we must deal with.  For example, beer, wine, and liquor are regulated industries that require a distributor to deliver the goods.  Only breweries, winerys, and distilleries may ship these items.  This is a state by state issue.  For example, in California you can ship a certain number of cases of wine each month to an individual.  In other states, that will get you a jail sentence!  In Texas, we can’t ship alcohol, period.

The latest restrictions have to do with shipping items with lithium ion batteries internationally vis the mail.  As of last month, this cannot be done legally.  This means no iPhones, iPads, mst cell phone, gaming consoles, camera, etc. via mail overseas.  We can still do it via FedEx, DHL, and UPS.  The real issue is to our deployed troops.  APO and FPO address are mail only so these are now prohibited items.

If you ever have a question, just ask!  We’re up on all the latest rules and regs and will make things as easy as possible for you – and keep us both out of jail!  🙂

Why Choose Pak Mail

Pak Mail Anderson Mill is a full service packing and shipping store as well as a custom crating and freight shipping company. We are located in Austin and proudly serve Austin, Round Rock, Cedar Park, Leander, Pflugervlle, and all surrounding areas. Request a Free Online Estimate or call us at 512-249-SHIP (7447).


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