Mail, that is…
Mailing rates have gone up. But were you getting the best rate to begin with?
First Class price has increased, but additional ounce prices have gone down. Metered mail has gone up with stamps, but now offers a higher percentage of savings.
With the small, steady, and often confusing price increases introduced by the United States Postal Service over the years, it’s important to understand just what goes into your total postage costs. We are here to help!
Compared to most government entities, the Post Office operates with a remarkable level of autonomy, especially when it comes to their business model. While the ins and outs of the Postal Reorganization Act of 1971 make for a page turning read, we’ll instead focus on the most important takeaway: they fund themselves through profits on the services they offer.
On the surface, this may seem obvious. Where the USPS differs from most for profit businesses, however, is in the discounts they give for sharing part of their workload. If you walk into a sandwich shop with your own bread and toppings expecting a discount, you’ll probably be asked to leave. If you bring an already organized and accurately addressed mailing to your post office, it’s quite a different story. This is where presorting and bulk mail qualifications come into play.
Presorting is exactly what it sounds like: the process of sorting your mail by address ahead of time to make it easier and cheaper for the USPS to process and deliver. The larger the mailing, the more important presorting becomes (and in turn smaller numbers accomplish less time saving). Enter bulk mail qualifications. Without getting too far down the rabbit hole of different mail (a topic that deserves a post of its own), different classes of mail need to meet different standards for presort discount eligibility. Even the presort discount itself has different tiers, where providing more accurate addressing correlates directly to larger savings.
Let’s look at how this would apply to letters. First, we need to meet the minimums. To achieve bulk status, First Class Mailings need 500 pieces minimum and mail at about $0.38 to $0.45 cents per piece, depending on how accurate the addresses are. Any less than 500 and they will mail at the single-piece rate ($0.55 cents, or the cost of your standard stamp). By comparison, standard marketing mail only needs 200 pieces to qualify and mails at about $0.19 to $0.29 cents per piece, with most mailings falling towards the higher end of that range. There is no single piece price for Standard Marketing Mail. A handy table might make this more clear
|Mailing Class||Bulk minimum||Presorted Price Range||Single Piece Price|
|First Class||500 pieces||$0.38 to $0.45/piece||$0.55/piece|
|Standard Marketing||200 pieces||$0.18 to $0.29/piece||No single piece price|
Before we drown in numbers though, let’s look at how to achieve the best discount possible:
1. Determine what mail class is best for you!
While First Class mail ensures your mailpiece will receive the utmost care during its temporary stay in the USPS system and arrive the quickest at its destination, Standard Marketing mail can achieve the same results at significant savings and only a slightly longer delivery window. In particular if your mailing is all local, Standard Marketing might be the best option for you. A difference of a dime or more per piece adds up quickly when you’re trying to reach thousands of customers.
2. Start with accurate addressing information.
Whether you create mailing lists in house, purchase them from a vendor, or have the friendly mail professionals at Poor Richard’s Press assemble one for you, having sparkling-clean addressing information for your intended recipients goes a long way. Not only does it expedite your mailing at every step of the process, it can result in significant savings. More deliverable mail = cheaper mail.
3. Clean existing lists.
Perhaps there’s a mailing you do once a month, every month, with the same address list every time. Having your list cleaned by the mail professionals at Poor Richard’s Press to optimize deliverability is a one-time cost with the potential to save you money every time that mailing goes out.
4. Help the USPS help you.
The most important thing to keep in mind when trying to save costs on mailing is putting yourself in the post office’s country-sized shoes. Does your mailpiece meet the standards laid out by them? Is your address block in the right area? Are you mailing under the right permit? These questions can be hard to answer, and research even from official channels can return conflicting results. Fear not! The mail professionals at Poor Richard’s Press are happy to share our expertise and use our excellent relationships with local post office officials to get you the best rate. We know mail so you don’t have to.
While mail can often be confusing, work sharing for the post office is well worth the time and effort. Meet your minimums, get your mail list sparkling clean, and start saving money on mailing cost all while keeping your customers and the USPS happy.
Mailing’s our thing, give us a call today!