No matter which business you’re in, you’ve seen it. You’ve experienced it. The world is “e”-namored will all things digital. Everyone has a “device.” But despite this reality, there is another reality that exists alongside it. Physical mail isn’t going anywhere.
Each day, businesses rely on the mail to send invoices, payments, contracts, announcements and direct mail. Selecting the appropriate mailing option for these daily activities is essential; it can help save significant time and money. Truth be told, there is a ton of information to consider when thinking about your many mailing options. Which service is right for your business?
Well, the first step is knowledge.
How Many Classes of Mail Are There?
The United States Postal Service® (USPS®) classifies mail into different services, called “classes.” Each class has its own features, service levels, postage prices and pre-sort requirements.
This is the most common class because it’s fast, easy and affordable. Meant to include letters or parcels up to 13 oz., this class provides national delivery in an just a few days, on average. Plus, prices are the same regardless of how far the mail travels and include both forwarding and return services.
Provides delivery for letters or parcels up to 70 lbs. in one to three business days. Saturday and residential delivery are included in the price at no extra charge, along with free USPS Tracking® and insurance up to $50. Supplies such as boxes and envelopes are available for free, including flat-rate boxes and envelopes. Flat-rate prices are fixed, regardless of what’s in the box.
Priority Mail Express®
Offers guaranteed overnight delivery every day of the year. It’s the fastest option offered by the USPS®, and includes free USPS Tracking® and up to $100 of insurance. As with Priority Mail®, you won’t pay fuel surcharges. It also includes free supplies, like regular and flat-rate boxes and envelopes.
USPS Marketing Mail™
If you’ve got bulk mailings of at least 200 pieces or 50 lbs, this is the route to take. Mailings must be less than 16 oz. and be of a promotional nature. Good for domestic mailings only, examples include circulars, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs and other advertising materials which can be in the form of letters, flats or small parcels.
Designed for newspapers, magazines, and other periodical publications, these must be published at regular intervals and at least four times a year. They must also meet specific standards for circulation, record keeping, and advertising limits. You can even access lower postage rates for non-profit, classroom, and science-of-agriculture periodicals. Only those who have submitted a formal application and been accepted can access these privileges. You can check to see if you’re eligible – and apply – at USPS.com.
This actually refers to three different subclasses: bound printed matter, media mail, and library mail.
Bound Printed Matter
Advertising, promotional, directory or editorial material weighing 1-15 lbs. Must be securely and permanently bound. Telephone directories, handbooks or annual reports are good examples.
Generally used to send books, film, printed music and other types of media.
Available for mail pieces being sent by qualifying institutions like libraries, universities or research institutions.
None of these receive expedited services and do not include free forwarding and return. They are, however, eligible for lower postage prices on bulk quantities over 300 pieces.
USPS Retail Ground™
This mail class is commonly used for gifts or merchandise and includes free USPS Tracking®. As it’s intended for single-piece mailings, it is not eligible for bulk discounts.
How to Lower Mailing Costs
Now that we’ve gone through the mail class options, it’s time to learn how you can take advantage of applicable discounts.
Commercial Base Pricing
Applies to: First-Class Mail®, Priority Mail®, Priority Mail Express®, USPS Marketing Mail™, Periodicals, Package Services
Commercial Base Pricing (CBP) is a set of special discounted rates for items up to 70 lbs. that are available to business customers who use a USPS-approved digital mailing system, such as a postage meter or authorized online service.
Since getting the mailing data ahead of time helps the USPS improve efficiency, they pass on the costs savings to you. These are lower than retail rates. At current prices, you can save 3 cents on every First-Class letter up to 3.5 oz.
Applies to: First-Class Mail®, USPS Marketing Mail™, Periodicals, Package Services
Bulk prices can offer significant savings for your business versus single-piece mailings (i.e., the full postage price that you’d pay at the Post Office or with a stamp), but require a minimum amount for each mailing to qualify:
• 500 pieces for First-Class Mail
• 200 pieces (or 50 lbs.) for USPS Marketing Mail
• 300 pieces for Package Services
Choosing Lineage as the Right Partner
With so many options, it can sometimes feel a little confusing. When you choose to work with Lineage, you’re getting a partner who does more than merely provide you with opportunities; instead, you’re getting a consultant, too. We take the time to get to know you and your business. Only then can we help you determine the best route forward for you, individually.
Contact Lineage to help you decide which service is right for you. We’ll help you discover the options that add choice and value to your mail solutions.