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USPS Lowers Rates Even As UPS And FedEx Raise Theirs

package-shippingIt’s now becoming easier to select who should mail your letters and ship your packages.

On April 10th, the US Postal Service will reduce rates by an average of 4.3%.  The 1-oz postage stamp goes from 49 cents to 47 cents.

And that’s great news for consumers.

But the real news is how UPS and FedEx rates have been steadily increasing.

In January, UPS and FedEx both increased rates by an average 4.9% .

And like the airlines that now charge for snacks, they’ve both increased or added fees for all sorts of other things, too.

Your box bigger than X inches? There’s a fee for that.

Address needs correction? There’s a fee for that.

Mailing to a residence or an ‘extended’ location? There are fees for that.

In addition, since January, UPS has added a whole new 2.5% surcharge for 3rd Party shipments — packages shipped on one account but billed to another.

So now, according to the PANC Group, these “accessorial” fees can account for up to 33% of shipping expenses.

Adding more salt to the wound, both FedEx and UPS have not yet lowered their fuel surcharges. These surcharges were created when gasoline costs were approaching $4 per gallon.

Even as gas slips below $2 per gallon, FedEx and UPS are still raising these surcharges.

So where does the Postal Service stand after all of these price contortions? The clear winner.

To see how rates compare, check out the infographic below published by Endicia earlier this year.

A small, 13-oz box (8″x 6″x 4″) traveling from Minneapolis to Chicago, costs over $12.50 with UPS and FedEx Ground. Or spend just $3.50 with USPS 1st Class.

A 12″x 10″x 6″ package going from Seattle to Atlanta costs over $16 with UPS and FedEx Ground, but just $10.77 with USPS Priority Mail. While UPS and FedEx would get the box there in 5 days, with USPS, it takes just 2-3 days.

Granted, if you’re shipping big, heavy boxes, you should stick with UPS, FedEx and the trucking companies.  USPS becomes pricey as the shipment gets bigger.

But if you’re mailing envelopes and small packages, then you should consider the USPS as your go-to shipper.

Because the last thing you need is to feel boxed in.

 

endicia_shipping_010816

Infographic published by Endicia, January 2016.

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Privatizing the Post Office: the Right Solution?

There have been plenty of ideas bandied about on how to solve the financial problems at the US Postal Service.

should we privatize the usps?Recently, a Bloomberg article from ex-OMB director Peter Orszag (now a vice chairman at Citigroup), suggests that the USPS should go private.

His strongest argument is, by privatizing the Post Office, we remove Congress from the equation. He notes that Congress is unable to manage the USPS since it doesn’t allow USPS managers to make the cuts and raise revenue needed to fix problems.

His argument is compelling, but it’s not necessarily the best answer.

First of all, the Post Office is a service required by the US Constitution. Try making the USPS private, and you’ll need to deal with Article 1, Section 8.

Second, the privatization idea has been used before. It’s been offered as a panacea for everything from schools, to prisons, to highways. But the results are mixed; privatization doesn’t guarantee a better result.

The privatization idea is a red-herring. It’s simply taking us out of one pot of hot water, and putting us into another.

We’ve written about USPS problems in previous posts. An enormous issue, which Orszag did not discuss, is the multi-billion dollar ‘pre-funding’ imposed on the USPS by Congress. Developing a more equitable way for the USPS to save for future expenses would solve most of its financial problems.

The true problem isn’t with the Postal Service. It’s the way we’ve set up Washington.

We’ve set up a system that runs on 100% politics and 0% policy. We allow our federal budgets to be run like shell games — spending future money, papering over current shortages. We have a system designed to protect itself, rather than provide any responsible governance.

The problem isn’t how to fix the USPS. It’s how to fix Washington.


The Downside to EDDM

It’s no fun being the bearer of bad news, but you should know that EDDM, the US Postal Service’s new local neighborhood discount program, may not be your best choice for your next bulk mailing.

Every Door Direct MailYes, the popular EDDM (Every Door Direct Mail) program has plenty of good things going for it, as we mentioned in our prior post : EDDM: USPS Every Door Direct Mail .

But alas, you should consider some facts before jumping on the EDDM bandwagon for your postcard magnet mailings.  Here are our 4 issues with EDDM:

1) with EDDM there is no name and no address added to your mailing piece. There are plenty of studies that show mailings are more effective if they are personalized for the recipient. Items are more likely to be looked at if they are addressed personally. Without that, your EDDM mail becomes junk mail.

2) EDDM mail is packed into the pile of circulars and other non-addressed mail when its delivered to a mailbox. The pile is considered to be ‘junk mail’ by many. There’s a good chance that, upon arrival, it gets tossed.

3) you need to properly prepare your EDDM items. There’s a USPS site that you’ll need to learn, select from online maps, complete online forms, bundle your EDDM materials with ‘facing slips’ , and deliver your mailing pieces to your local post office.

4) EDDM can cost you more. Sure, the EDDM rate is a low 18 cents per mailing piece. But because EDDM requires a large mailing piece — at least 6-1/8″ x 11″ — the costs for making a postcard magnet go up significantly ($.30 or more). Moreover, these large, plastic laminated postcard magnets need to be shipped to you so you can bring them to your local post office; and freight can add up ($.10 or more).

The good news is that you can solve all these problems by using one of our standard magnet mailers and a saturation mailing list. A saturation list provides addresses for every home or business in a Zip Code or Carrier Route, similar to the coverage you’d get with EDDM. The name and address can be rented for one-time use, for a couple of pennies each. And the post office provides a low rate for saturation, Standard non-automated bulk mailings: about $.23 ea. (as of 6/2015).

When you order your postcard magnets from us at magnetbyMail, we handle the mailing prep for free.  This includes ink jetting the addresses on to each postcard, sorting and bundling your mail, completing the USPS bulk mail forms, using our bulkmail permits, and delivering the mail to the Post Office.

So would you want your postcard magnet to arrive unaddressed, in the middle of the circulars? Or would you rather have it personalized to the recipient and address, delivered as an independent mailing piece, without any hassle on your part, and at far less cost?

We thought you should know.


EDDM: USPS Every Door Direct Mail

If you’ve recently been by a Post Office, or watched a USPS commercial, you’ve probably heard about the new bulk mail program called Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM).

usps eddm every door direct mailNew from the USPS, EDDM is a way for a business to send a mailing piece to all mailing addresses in a particular geographic area for a low cost — 14.5 cents each — and without the need for a list of mailing addresses, or expensive permits.

There are some rules of course.  And since the program is young and the rules are subject to revision, you should visit the USPS EDDM  site to review them firsthand.  Essentially, the USPS EDDM requirements involve quantity, size, layout, selecting from a map and forms.

Here are the EDDM rules:

  • EDDM quantity:  for the EDDM Retail program, you’ll need at least 200 pieces , but no more than 5000, in a single day’s mailing.  You can deliver this size of mailing to the front counter at the Post Office in the neighborhood you’re trying to reach.  (Larger mailings can be delivered to a USPS Business Mail Entry Unit.)
  • EDDM size requirement: your mailing piece must be rectangular and weigh no more than 3.3 oz. It must be larger than 6-1/8″ in height, OR 11-1/2″ in length, OR more than 1/4″ thick.  But it can be no larger than 12″Hx15″L; or more than 3/4″ thick.
  • EDDM layout: the address area needs to located on the top half of the mailing piece.  In this area, you’ll need to print an EDDM Retail postage indicia and a mailing label that includes the phrase:  Local Postal Customer.  There is no name or address added.
  • EDDM maps: you’ll need to use the USPS EDDM map site to pick the neighborhoods where your mail should go.  You can choose to exclude business and/or PO boxes from your mailing.
  • EDDM forms: the same site that helps you map your mail’s route will also provide you the mailing forms you’ll need to take with your mailing to the Post Office.  And you’ll also receive facing slips that you’ll attach to bundles of your mailing pieces.

So there are several benefits of EDDM:

  • low-cost postage
  • no mailing list to purchase
  • no expensive bulk mail permit; and no complicated mail sorting

With EDDM,  local businesses now have a way of sending their messages into their communities in a way that is cheaper and easier than standard bulk mail.

Although the regular postcard magnet mailers we produce at magnetbyMail are too small for the USPS EDDM program, we can customize a mailer that fits your size and budget.  Be sure to use our magnetbyMail contact form to ask for a custom quote for your EDDM project.


Who Invented the Postcard?

Well, its not easy to know precisely, but many historians ascribe the earliest picture postcard to a Brit — Theodore Hook  — who mailed the card to himself in 1840.

Hook, a prolific writer in his day (1788- 1841) was considered to be a man of letters, although his most enduring legacy may have been the invention of the postcard.

It’s a humorous irony that might not have been lost on Hook himself, who was also known for his tomfoolery and pranks (more about this below).

invented postcard

The first picture postcard, invented by Theodore Hook in 1840. (BBC)

The postcard he created, likely as a joke, included a caricature of post office workers around a gigantic ink well.  The reverse side included Hook’s address at Fulham in London, and a Penny Black stamp in the upper right corner.

Among Hook’s other achievements was the Berners Street Hoax, based on his bet that he could turn any house in London into the most talked-about address within a week’s time.

Hook busied himself by sending thousands of letters (not postcards) and invitations in the name of Mrs. Tottenham who resided at 54 Berners Street.

On November 27, Berners Street became packed with chimney sweeps, delivery carts, cake makers, doctors, lawyers and priests.  Several pianos and organs were delivered.  And many dignitaries arrived, including the Duke of York, the Governor of the Bank of England, the Lord Mayor of the City of London, and the Archbishop of Canterbury.  By day’s end, hundreds had made their way to 54 Berners Street, much of London became frozen in gridlock and Hook won his bet.

Alas, the postcard received its start from such notoriously enveloped beginnings.

But since we’re in the postcard business ourselves, we like to think of Mr. Hook’s invention as an example of man’s can-do, creative spirit.   Even today, the postcard fulfills its purpose: when you have something big to say, but don’t want to spend a lot to say it.

So, thank you Mr. Hook.

We make thousands of postcards everyday.  They’re made with magnets attached, and sent to a mailing list that our customers provide.  Please feel free to visit our postcard magnets website at magnetbyMail.com .


US Postal state abbreviations

The US Postal Service suggests that state abbreviations should be used when addressing mail.

The USPS has developed a suggested 2-letter abbreviation for each of the 50 states and for the other territories in the USPS coverage area.

Here are the abbreviations:

  • ALABAMA:  AL
  • ALASKA:  AK
  • AMERICAN SAMOA:  AS
  • ARIZONA:   AZ
  • ARKANSAS:   AR
  • CALIFORNIA:   CA
  • COLORADO:   CO
  • CONNECTICUT:   CT
  • DELAWARE:   DE
  • DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA:   DC
  • FLORIDA:   FL
  • GEORGIA:   GA
  • GUAM:   GU
  • HAWAII:   HI
  • IDAHO:   ID
  • ILLINOIS:   IL
  • INDIANA:  IN
  • IOWA:   IA
  • KANSAS:   KS
  • KENTUCKY:   KY
  • LOUISIANA:   LA
  • MAINE:   ME
  • MARSHALL ISLANDS:   MH
  • MARYLAND:   MD
  • MASSACHUSETTS:   MA
  • MICHIGAN:   MI
  • MINNESOTA:   MN
  • MISSISSIPPI:   MS
  • MISSOURI:   MO
  • MONTANA:   MT
  • NEBRASKA:   NE
  • NEVADA:   NV
  • NEW HAMPSHIRE:   NH
  • NEW JERSEY:   NJ
  • NEW MEXICO:   NM
  • NEW YORK:   NY
  • NORTH CAROLINA:   NC
  • NORTH DAKOTA:   ND
  • NORTHERN MARIANA ISLANDS:   MP
  • OHIO:   OH
  • OKLAHOMA:   OK
  • OREGON:   OR
  • PALAU:   PW
  • PENNSYLVANIA:   PA
  • PUERTO RICO:   PR
  • RHODE ISLAND:   RI
  • SOUTH CAROLINA:   SC
  • SOUTH DAKOTA:   SD
  • TENNESSEE:   TN
  • TEXAS:   TX
  • UTAH:   UT
  • VERMONT:   VT
  • VIRGIN ISLANDS:  VI
  • VIRGINIA:  VA
  • WASHINGTON:  WA
  • WASHINGTON DC:   DC
  • WEST VIRGINIA:  WV
  • WISCONSIN:  WI
  • WYOMING:  WY

Tips for USPS addressing:

Most US mail is handled automatically, and the address on your mailing piece will most likely be scanned and ‘read’ electronically.
To ensure your mail is easy to scan, the USPS offers these suggestions when addressing your mailpiece:
  • use capital letters
  • don’t use any puctuation
  • allow two spaces between state and ZIP Code
Note: when you use our Postcard Magnets direct mail campaigns, we generally ensure your mailing list is formatted based on US Postal Service standards, to maximize delivery service.  For more information, please visit our site at magnetbyMail.com  .

Top 10 Reasons Why Postcards Make Great Mail

There are plenty of ways to send something through the mail.  There are envelopes, boxes, flats and yes, postcards.

So what’s so good about postcards?  They are:

  1. inexpensive to make
  2. Earth friendly  (no envelopes, boxes, packaging)
  3. easier to prepare because there’s no folding
  4. easy to design with simple formats
  5. sure way to show your message (no envelope to hide things)
  6. easier to prepare because there’s no stuffing
  7. cheapest way to mail First Class anywhere in the USA
  8. easier to prepare because there’s no licking
  9. converts into a billboard on a bulletin board or refrigerator
  10. fun; people like getting postcards
So how do you top that?  Check out our Postcard Magnets at magnetbyMail.com .  They combine the impact of a postcard, and the staying value of a magnet, in one neat mailer.