The value of traditional mail in the marketing mix is undeniably substantial, even in the digital age. In fact, none of the digital platforms can surpass the response rates of traditional physical mail. But the key is making it cost-effective, which is where the concept of bulk mail comes into play. This article aims to provide insights into USPS bulk mail and presort requirements, helping you attain the highest possible savings.
Understanding USPS Bulk Mail and How Presorting Can Lead to Savings
Bulk mail, as defined by the USPS, refers to such volumes of mail that are eligible for a bulk discount. When mail is presorted by ZIP Code™, it reduces the processing and delivery cost for USPS, and in turn, they pass on these savings to the mailers. Let's look at the necessary requirements for USPS presort:
- Meeting the bulk mail minimum pieces criteria
- Applying and paying for a USPS bulk mail permit
- Verification of delivery addresses and ZIP Codes
- Weighing each item and applying the correct barcodes and postage
- Presorting mail by ZIP Code, size, and type
- Delivery of presorted mail to the Post Office that issued your permit
Bulk Mail Minimums
Before mailing in bulk, you must meet the minimum thresholds for different types of mail:
- 50 pieces for Parcel Post®
- 200 pieces for Marketing Mail® (previously called Standard Mail)
- 300 pieces for Presorted Bound Printed Matter
- 500 pieces for Presorted First-Class Mail®
- 500 pieces for Presorted Library Mail®
- 500 pieces for Presorted Media Mail® (previously known as Special Standard Mail)
However, remember that to earn the best presort discounts, the mailings per ZIP Code must meet a certain minimum. This is why both high-volume and smaller-volume mailers can benefit from commingling, where a presort service provider pools mailings from all clients to achieve the best possible discounts.
Navigating USPS Bulk Mail Permits and Fees
The journey to self-organized presorting starts with obtaining a USPS-issued bulk mail permit from your local Post Office. After approval, the USPS gives you a permit number and assigns you a Mailer ID, which you will need for your bulk mailings and while preparing your Intelligent Mail barcodes® (IMb), if applicable.
As of 2023, the annual fee for a USPS bulk mail permit is $245.00. If you're using Imprint Stamps (indicia) instead of a postage meter or Precanceled Stamps, you'll also need to pay a Permit Imprint fee.
Preparing Your Bulk Mail with USPS Presort
The presorting process gets somewhat complex here. For intricate details, you must refer to the USPS Mail Preparation Guidelines. Here's a quick glimpse of the process:
- Sort your mail into specific mail trays or mail sacks (provided by the USPS at no cost). Sorting is done by both ZIP Code (3 and 5 digit) and mail type.
- Fill out a postage statement either manually or online and apply barcoded labels to each mailing container.
- Deliver to the Post Office that you received your USPS bulk mail permit from.
Many businesses choose to opt outsourcing mailing services due to the complex and ever-changing USPS regulations.
Opting for Presort Services: The Advantages
Presort services provide an effective mechanism for earning USPS discounts without expending the time or resources to handle it in-house.
Bulk mail prices without the volumes
Through presort service providers, your mail is merged with multiple client mailings. This ensures everyone meets the necessary volume to qualify for the best postal discounts.
Leave the details to the experts
Starting your own presorting operation involves equipment, manpower, and space. However, a good presorting service handles everything, beginning with picking up your mail and ensuring it meets all USPS requirements.
Trust Pitney Bowes for Your Presorting Needs
As the largest USPS® workshare partner, we boast unparalleled experience in postal regulations, compliance procedures, and technology. Let us handle the complexities of presorting for you.