Spring cleaning season is a good time for chores: cleaning out closets, tossing old paperwork, adding important events to a new calendar. It’s also a good time to reevaluate business practices, including the way you handle mailings, especially since the postal services annual rate increases went into effect in late January.
Perhaps you’ve stepped up direct mail marketing, sending 5,000 postcards twice a year instead of the 1,000 each spring. A nonprofit might increase its requests for donations, sending appeals three times a year instead of only at the holidays.
An increase in mail volume might mean it is time to consider USPS presort, a cost savings measure.
The U.S. Postal Service offers discounted rates for presorted mail. Businesses can take advantage of realizing discounted rates by doing most of the work the post office would normally do to prepare a piece for mailing.
How does presorting work? A business or a third-party mailing agent processes (sorts) letters and other mail by zip code or sub zip code. Through specialized software, mailing addresses are verified and, using special equipment, barcodes are added to each piece. Software is also used to sort the mail in specified groups. It is then delivered to the post office in trays that the USPS supplies. Mailers must follow the USPS’s rules, including the minimum number of mailed pieces.
Discounts vary but are generally 35 to 65 percent for first-class presort, depending on a number of factors. The USPS website includes a handy calculator that can help determine the amount of discount a mailing would receive.
Standard-Catalogs, coupons and advertising flyers that aren’t personalized (200-piece minimum).
First-class — Personalized mail, such as invoices and account statements (500-piece minimum).
There are a number of downsides to presorting mail in-house. It can distract staff from their primary jobs and, if the volume of mail is small, the discount will be offset by the cost of labor, equipment, and required fees.
Businesses of all sizes often outsource their presort mailings, contracting with an area mail specialist. Most processors will schedule regular mail pickups at their client’s locations and take the mail to their facility to do all the preparation. Even small businesses whose mailings don’t meet the presort mail volume minimums can still qualify for presorting if they use a mail processor. Processors can combine all their clients’ mailings to reach the numbers of pieces required by the USPS for presort discounts.
If you’d like to learn more about the advantages of USPS presort mailings, give us a call.
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