Package Weight |
Postage can be one of the highest costs in a mailing.
It is critical to be aware of the total weight of the package when planning
your direct mail package. Cut exact size samples of the actual paper being used
for each piece and weigh them along with the envelope or mailing package. Weighing
all of the pieces will tell you what the total weight of your mailing package
Determining the total weight of your mail package
is especially important when mailing First Class. Just going slightly over one
ounce can almost double your cost. Weighing test samples gives you a chance
to redesign some of the pieces or choose a lighter weight stock to try to reduce
your mailing costs if necessary. Standard Mail (Third Class Bulk Mail) is not
as critical because the cost goes up in intervals for each fraction over an
ounce. The overall size of your mailing package can also affect the costs of
your mailing if it does not fit within the minimum or maximum size requirements
set up by the USPS. For more details on postal requirements, see Postal
Since postage can be one of the largest expenses
in your project, you will want to carefully consider your choice of how to mail
your package. There are several choices to consider, each having different rates
and requirements. A brief explanation of each is shown below.
First Class Mail
First Class Mail gives the appearance of importance
to the mailing package but is the most costly choice. The rate is
based on one ounce. Anything over one ounce increases the cost substantially.
First Class has priority at the post office and will be delivered
the fastest. Discounts can be received if the mailing is presorted
according to required specifications. First Class postage can be indicated
by a permit imprint, stamp, precancelled stamp, meter imprint or printed
Standard (Third Class or Bulk) Mail
Standard Mail is the most popular choice for sending
out direct mail. The Standard Mail rates are significantly lower than
the First Class rates. One reason for the differences is that Standard
Mail has to be more standardized from package to package. Each package
must be the same size and weight for machine sorting. Also, the mailer
must presort the packages by ZIP Code before delivering it to the
postal service. Meeting all requirements results in less work for
the postal service which results in a discount to the mailer.
The cost is based on bulk, by the pound rather than
by individual pieces, so there is less handling. Other details that
affect the rate are 5-digit and 9-digit sorting, carrier route sorting,
bar codes, and envelope or package size.
Standard Mail is a lower priority mail and is delivered
after First Class Mail. Standard Mail is generally indicated with
a box in the upper right hand corner. It contains copy stating that
it is Presorted Standard - U.S. Postage Paid, and contains a permit
no. It can also contain the city and ZIP code of where the mail originated
from. The city, state and permit no. can be replaced with a company
name if the company has met the necessary requirements set up by the
USPS. The area that contains this information is called a permit imprint
There are alternatives to the printed permit that
can be used to indicate the postage, such as a stamp, precancelled
stamp, meter imprint or printed postmark.
Non-profit organizations can mail for substantially
lower rates. Your organization must be authorized as a non-profit
organization to qualify to use the non-profit rates. A permit imprint,
stamp, precancelled stamp, meter imprint or printed postmark can be
used to indicate the postage on Non-profit Mail.
There are many guidelines that have to be met
to be eligible for the different mail class rates. To be sure that your direct
mail package meets all of the guidelines and for help on estimating the cost
of postage for your direct mail project, contact your mailing house, fulfillment
center or postmaster.