What Is Presorted First-Class® and Presorted Standard Mail®?

If you're seeking the deepest postage discounts, you’ll find them in presorted mail. So, what is presorted mail? It’s mail that's been sorted and bundled by service type, size and ZIP Code™. The USPS® follows this process to deliver mail across the country—and it rewards businesses who do the presorting work for them with generous workshare discounts.

We’ll outline the presort requirements for the two most frequently sent types of mail: Presorted First-Class Mail and Presorted Standard Mail.

Thu May 27 18:24:00 EDT 2021
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What is Presorted Standard Mail (Marketing Mail®)?

The USPS currently refers to standard bulk business mail as Marketing Mail®. Marketing Mail is one of the most cost-effective ways to send mail, but it doesn’t forwarding and return services and is generally slower to arrive than First-Class Mail.

When Marketing Mail is presorted it becomes eligible for USPS postage rate savings.

Types of mail that qualify 

Marketing Mail is any mail not required by the USPS to be sent via First-Class or mail not categorized as Periodicals. Types of mail that qualify as Marketing Mail include:

  • Printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising
  • Newsletters, bulletins, catalogs
  • Small parcels

Minimum size and quantity 

Maximum weight and size: less than 16 ounces, rectangular in shape, less than ¾” thick and no larger than 12” high X 15” in length.

Minimum quantity: 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail.

Don’t quite meet the minimum quantities needed for Presorted Marketing Mail? You might benefit from presort services (discussed below).

What is Presorted First-Class Mail?

First-Class Mail is prioritized by the USPS for faster delivery and includes forwarding and return services, but the postage rate is higher than it is for Marketing Mail.

First-Class Mail is where presorting matters most in delivering USPS postage savings.

Types of mail that qualify

Some types of bulk mail do not qualify for Presorted Marketing Mail and must be sent via Presorted First-Class Mail, including:

  • Bills and statements of account
  • Mail containing personal information specific to the addressee
  • Mail containing handwritten or typewritten material
  • Postcards

Minimum size and quantity 

Weight and size:
3.5 ounces or less for letters or 13 ounces or less for flats

Minimum quantity:
500 or more pieces

Don’t meet the minimum quantities needed for Presorted First-Class? You’re not alone. You have options available for presorting your mail to earn those discounted rates.

Collection of mail sorted into USPS bins

Two ways to earn those USPS presorted rates 

Should you do it in house or engage a presorting service? Here are few pros and cons of each.

Presorting in-house

Pros:
You’re in complete control. If you’re already sending the minimum quantities needed to qualify for presorted mail and your business is staffed and set up to handle presorting in-house, doing it yourself is an option.

Cons:
It’s a lot to do on your own. You might not be sending quite enough to meet the minimum quantities needed and USPS processes and requirements for both Presorted First-Class Mail and Presorted Marketing Mail are exhaustive.

Presort services

Pros:
No minimums, no hassles. Third-party presorting services combine mail from all their clients to achieve the deepest USPS discounts available for everyone. The best ones handle all the details for you, including mail pick-up, presorting and transportation.

Cons:
Finding a vendor you can count on. You need to identify a provider with a strong national presence, stringent quality controls and a workforce well versed in USPS regulations and requirements. 

Is presorting the right call for your business?

If your business relies on sending First-Class or Marketing Mail, it’s worth your time to further explore the gains presorting can provide—whether you go it alone or leave the work to the pros.