Despite the prevalence of all things digital, business mail is here to stay. Businesses rely on the mail every day to send invoices, sales letters, payments, contracts, announcements and direct mail. The issue facing business mailers isn’t whether mail is relevant, but how to select the right mail classes and rates for their mail pieces. There are so many choices available that understanding which are the most cost effective and convenient for your business isn’t always simple. To help you make the right choices, Neopost USA assembled information from a group of mailing experts to share insights into how businesses can take advantage of the wide array of options to deliver their mail in the most efficient and cost effective way.
WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENT MAIL RATES, CLASSES, AND EXTRA SERVICES?
Express Mail®, Priority Mail®, First Class®, Periodicals, Packages, eServices, Delivery Confirmation, Certified Mail and more.
The Postal Service divides mail into different services, called “classes.” Each class of mail has different features, service levels, postage prices, and presort requirements.
For most of your mailings, the content of the material and postage will determine the class of the mail you select. To learn more about each class of mail including what can be mailed, the minimum and maximum weights and sizes, and the number of pieces needed for commercial prices, look at the matrix below to determine what class of mail best matches your priorities.
If you are unsure about what class your mailpiece will or should be, contact: https://www.usps.com/business/select-a-mail-class.htm for advice.
|USPS ® Mail Classes||Mail Type Example|
|First-Class Mail®||Anything mailable, bills, invoices, personal correspondence, merchandise|
|Priority Mail®||Anything mailable, bills, invoices, personal correspondence, merchandise|
|Standard Mail||Advertisements, circulars, newsletters, small parcels, merchandise|
|Express Mail®||Anything mailable, letters, merchandise|
|Packing Services||Merchandise, catalogs, printed material, computer media|
First Class Mail® (FCM): FCM is the most common class of mail because it’s fast and affordable, with reliable national delivery times averaging 1-3 days. Specific mail types that are considered FCM are cards and letters weighing up to 3.5 ounces, and flats (large envelopes) and parcels weighing up to 13 ounces. Other advantages of First Class Mail® are that it’s forwarded free for the first 12 months and it includes return service, which is not an option with other classes of mail. Some items must be mailed as First-Class Mail® (or Priority Mail®). These include handwritten or typewritten material such as a letter to a friend or customer, bills, statement of accounts, invoices, or credit card statements.
Priority Mail®: Priority Mail® is First-Class Mail® that weighs more than 13 oz. and less than 70 lbs. Priority Mail® is just another type of FCM, so the items that must be mailed using this class are the same as those listed above.
Priority Mail® is the best choice if delivery is needed within 2-3 days. Saturday and residential deliveries are available for no extra cost as these options are a part of the USPS® regular business practices. Also, there’s no additional charge for supplies, boxes, envelopes or fuel surcharges. Priority Mail® can also be sent using the flat rate boxes whose advertising tag line is “if it fits, it ships.” Flat Rate boxes are available for one set price regardless of what is placed in the box. For example, a business can place heavy auto parts, or feathers in the same size box and both will be charged the same postage rate.
One of the special benefits available to Priority Mail® is delivery confirmation at no extra cost. This is a free service for mail that is processed with a postage meter or online.
Standard Mail: All mail that is not required to be sent First Class can be sent via Standard Mail. The most common types of mail that are sent this way are periodicals, advertisements, circulars, flyers, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and small parcels. Standard Mail is used primarily because it has a reduced rate, taking advantage of “bulk” prices. More information on bulk mail will be described in the next section. To qualify for Standard mail pricing, a mailer must have a minimum of 200 pieces or 50 lbs of mail.
Express Mail®: Express Mail® is an expedited postal service used when you need the fastest delivery possible. Within the U.S., Express Mail® is available in three basic service offerings. The options are: Next Day Service (to most U.S. locations), Second Day Service, and Military Service. Express Mail is also available as Global Express Mail to send expedited mail between the United States and most foreign countries. Pricing for Express Mail® postage varies for each addressed piece according to its weight and the service option chosen by the mailer.
A key advantage of Express Mail® versus alternative mailers for business mailers is Saturday is included as a USPS® regular delivery day.
Periodicals: All periodicals must be a USPS® authorized “type” in order to receive the reduced rates. Periodical mailings are authorized for one of five qualification categories (general publications, publications of institutions and societies, publications of state departments of agriculture, requester publications, and foreign publications).
Packages: Choosing the right class of mail and type for sending a package depends on a few variables: size, weight, distance, and expected delivery times. For the most cost effective package service, Parcel Post is used most often because it is the least expensive, but the delivery times are between 2-8 days. Packages that weigh too much to be sent via Express or Priority mail are sent by Parcel Post.
Now that the different ways to send your mail are more defined, it’s interesting to see the results of a recent survey (below) taken by Neopost USA Mailing 101 webinar registrants (650) who were asked to select which mail classes and types were used most often in their businesses. The majority chose First Class®, followed by Priority Mail®. Bulk mailing is the most common way to save on postage for your business mail and is a viable alternative to sending mail just First Class® or Priority Mail®.
Recent Survey of Webinar Registrants
Express Mail ®
Memphis Communications Corporation can help your organization decide the mailing solutions that are right for you and for the volume of mail you send out each week. Contact us today for a free consult and demonstration.