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- What different ways can the mail be sent?

To keep things simple, we'll just talk about letter-type advertising mail pieces. There are generally two classes of mail that deal with these. You can use First Class or Standard Mail.

First Class is the same thing you use when you put a stamp on a letter, but you get a discount if you mail 500 pieces or more. It takes about three days for your piece to deliver, if the person's moved, it will be forwarded, or if it can't be delivered, it's returned to you.

Standard Mail can only be used for mailings of 200 pieces or more. It takes 6-10 days to deliver, and will be discarded if undeliverable. It is a lot cheaper than First Class, especially if your mail piece weighs over one ounce.

- How long does it take to reach the recipients?

That depends on the class of mail being used. In general, First Class will take about 3 days to deliver. Standard Mail will take about 6-10 days, and is less predictable. However, Standard Mail is cheaper.

- Do I have to be local to you?

No. Most classes of mail don't charge based on distance. If we mail letters for you here, it won't cost any more than if you did it there. Of course, it should cost you a lot less after we've processed and sorted your mailing list.

- I represent a church (or other non-profit). Can I get a discount?

In general, yes. We offer a 25% service discount to churches and other non-profit organizations. You may also be able to receive discounted postage rates with the USPS.

There are restrictions on what you can mail (no for-profit activities, such as a credit card offer), and certain non-profit organizations don't qualify (such as credit unions). However, if the discount applies, it is substantial. Usually, you can save six to nine cents per piece off the normal Standard Mail rates.

- What does the new USPS rate case (increase) mean to me?

If you currently mail large or odd shaped items by Firat Class Mail, ir means a much larger increase than you might be expecting.

Previously, anything mailed under First Class paid the same postage, based on weight, almost without regard to size and shape. Now, some pieces that are larger or thicker than letters will be treated as "flats", which larger or thicker, or odd-shaped pieces will be mailed as "parcels". This matters because flats cost more than letters, and parcels cost more than flats. Where a one ounce piece costs 39 cents now, this will change so that a one ounce letter will cost 41 cents, a one ounce flat will cost 80 cents, and a one ounce parcel will cost $1.13! There are the "retail", single-piece rates, but the same principal applies to bulk rates.

So what can you do? The first thing you need to do it determine how your mail pieces will be classed in the future. Next, if you are mailing flats, or parcels, can you change the packaging to qualify for one of the rates? If you can't, you might consider mailing under a different class of mail. While Standard Mail also is split into letters, flats and parcels, each class is much cheaper than the equivalenet First Class rates. Standard Mail is also less sensitive to weight than First Class. Of course, there are drawback to Standard Mail. Certain things cannot be mailed, there are issues with what happens to undeliverable mail, and timing can be a concern. You should find out if these issues effect you. If not, Standard Mail could be your answer.

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