Tag Archives: USPS

New USPS Rates for 2015

new postage rates 2015

Sure, no one wants to see USPS postage rates increase in 2015. Unless you’re the Post Office.

The USPS has been trying hard to stop a cash hemorrhage since 2006, when Congress passed a law that required the USPS to pre-fund its retirement expenses.

This is the same Congress that told USPS that postage rate increases can’t exceed 5% per year, that certain non-performing offices can’t be closed, and that non profit organizations are entitled to significant discounts, or even free postage, if your organization is Congress.

So here we are, and as of May 31, postage rates are increasing again. Well, sort of…

A one ounce First Class letter stamp remains the same: $0.49. However, the USPS Postcard rate is $.35, up from $.34.

The quirky discount offered by the USPS for metered mail gets quirkier: a 1 oz letter goes from $0.48 to $0.485. Next thing you know, there will be special postage rates when paying with Bitcoin.

It seems that the real bread and butter for the Post Office is the heavier envelopes, flats and packages. And that’s where the USPS rate increases really take effect.

For each additional ounce over the first ounce, First Class letter postage tacks on $.22 (up 4.8% from $0.21).

First-Class Package Services (previously called Mail Parcels), for packages bigger than letters or flats, start at a postage rate of $2.54 for 1-3 ounces (up 9.5% from $2.32).  Check out the USPS website for all the new rates.

But before you get outraged at postage inflation, take a breath and consider this: a postage stamp remains the bargain of the century.

Where else can you find the value you find in USPS postage rates? You seal the box or envelope and put it in a mailbox. Six days a week, someone drives out, checks the mailbox and drives back to the local Post Office, where your item is sorted and re-sorted, travels by numerous trucks, planes and trains to a final Post Office possibly 8000 miles distant, driven out and deposited to the address written across the front.

All this for a paltry price starting at $0.49 (retail), or $0.35 (the postcard rate).

And all this without government subsidy of USPS operating expenses.

You can’t even take your car around the block for that price.

So, yes, USPS postage rates have increased as of May 31, 2015. But considering all that we’re saving, it ain’t so bad.

If you’re a business located in the USA, you may qualify for our free 2015 postal rate chart, with new First-Class and Flat Rate Priority Mail rates and a handy magnet on back (’cause that’s what we do).  Sign up on our magnetbyMail webpage and we’ll mail it right out.  Did we mention it’s free?


US Postal Service: Lives To Fight Another Day

image credit: thankgodimpretty.com

image credit: thankgodimpretty.com

I came across an article last week that caught my interest. It was Harry Whitehouse’s article about the US Postal Service.

Harry notes that when there’s a discussion about shipping carriers, it’s usually about UPS and FedEx. The USPS is invariably left out.

But the US Postal Service delivered 524 million packages in December, compared to 585 million delivered by the UPS and 290 million delivered by FedEx. Whitehouse notes that 28 million packages were delivered by the USPS on just one day alone, December 22.

What many journalists miss is that the shipping world is not what it was five years ago — back when most had written off the Post Office as a bureaucratic dinosaur.

Since then, the USPS has done quite a bit to turn things around. It developed a strategy to reduce its dependence on the First Class letter, and increase small package delivery.

The USPS has updated its technology so that it works with scanners and barcodes, provides package tracking online, improved delivery performance and updated its package insurance. It’s done this to keep up with the demands of online retailers like Amazon.

But the big news is, while FedEx and UPS have been steadily increasing their prices, and adding surcharges for fuel, residential deliveries and dimensional packages, the USPS has trimmed rates and emerged as the best economic option.

For example, say you’d like to ship a 10 lb package from Boston to St Louis. With FedEx 2Day, that will be $46.71. With UPS Ground, that will be $22.05, for a 3 day delivery. Or put your items in a USPS Priority Mail Regional A box (supplied free) and pay the Postal Service $7.55, for a 2-3 day delivery.

There was a time when a FedEx envelope was affordable. Now a 2 lb FedEx Pak via 2Day service can set you back $20.80 – $35.37, depending on distance. Compare that to a USPS Priority Mail flat rate envelope, delivered to most US addresses in 2-3 days, costs just $5.75.

Need a package to go from one coast to the other? UPS and FedEx Ground will take 5-6 days. USPS Priority Mail will take 2-3 days, and probably cost much less.

It’s no wonder that the USPS saw an 18% jump in its December 2014 deliveries from the year before.

Just when everyone thought that USPS was down for the count, it has done exactly what it needed to do:  reinvent itself and disrupt the entire shipping industry in the process.  Sure, there’s a lot more for it to do, but the USPS is proving that its up to the challenge.

Can FedEx and UPS play catch up? Can they wean themselves off of their pricing models and face their investors?  That would be a challenge.

But then again, there’s no better motivator then self-preservation. Just ask the Postal Service.


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.


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  .

The Cost of Postcard Postage

Or

What Do You Get for 35 Cents?

[Update 05/31/2015]   The cost of US First Class postcard postage recently went up to $.35  .

There was, of course, the standard outrage about the “pain that we all feel”, how postcard writing has become unaffordable,  and my favorite, “I remember when you could mail a postcard for a penny.”

So, having been a fan of the postcard for quite some time, I thought it was a good opportunity for us to take a deep breath and look at the value of this wonderful little postage class.

For (just) 35 cents, we get:

[1]  delivery of our card from most any US address – to most any US address.
This could be down the street or 3000 miles across the country.

“Any US address,” by the way,  includes plenty of locations beyond the Fifty states which have been assigned a Zip Code.   The trip from New York (10010) to Guam (96910) , for example, is 7959 miles.

[2]  Delivery of most First Class mail is between 1- 5 working days.  And the typical item is delivered in 1- 3 days.  (OK, not sure if this includes Guam…)

Did We Mention Free Pick Up?

[3]  Pick-up of you postcard is pretty flexible.  You can drop it in your own mailbox, a blue collection box nearby, or bring it to one of over 36,000 post offices throughout the USA.  Who else offers free pickup?

[4] Does your postcard become undeliverable if you’re missing a character in the the address?  Probably not.  The post office accepts plenty of mail, with all sorts of hand writing, mis-spellings, missing Zip Codes, and even wrong addresses.

Let’s look a bit more at addresses:

[5]  When somebody changes addresses in the US, they can have their mail forwarded to any other US address (yes, for free) for up to one year.

So technically, the same postcard postage that gets the card mailed from NY to Guam, also gets the postcard forwarded to Miami, for instance.  That’s a 16,000 mile trip, by the way.

But wait, there’s more!

As if you haven’t already received a hundred times your postcard postage value, consider the Post Office’s free return service:

[6]  if your recipient just can’t be found, or their forwarding instructions are past their prime, is your postcard mail discarded? No.  First Class mail will be returned to you if a return address is provided, and often with an explanation for the return.  This benefit may seem bittersweet, yet there’s a lot of value in knowing if your card found its target.

So when we’re done whining about the rising US postage for postcards, think of how reasonable it really is for one of our favorite ways to communicate.

Oh, and if you remember postcard postage was a penny, you’re definitely revealing your age.  Postcard postage was 1 cent when the postcard rate was first established in 1898.  And it remained that way for over fifty years, until January 1952 when it was doubled.

Now that must have been an outrage.

—-

OK,  with all that said, I need to mention that our Postcard Magnets are not mailed using US First Class postcard postage.  Instead we mail most using rates based on bulk mail.  For more info about direct mail campaigns with magnet mailers, check us out at magnetbyMail.com  .  Or drop us a postcard!


USPS Postcard Rates

[Updated 01/2013]  Here’s the basic, first class USPS postcard postage rate as of January 27, 2013:

$.33 ea

For this rate, your card needs to be:

  • at least Minimum size: 3-1/2″H x 5″W x  0.007″ thick
  • no bigger than Maximum size: 4-1/4″H x 6″W x  0.016″ thick
  • and mailed from any U.S. address  to any U.S. address — that’s any address with a Zip Code.

Larger cards are considered oversize and are charged at the Letter or Large Envelope Rate.

Source:  USPS

Organizations promoting themselves with our Magnet Mailers need to be aware that our items need to be mailed at the 1 oz letter rate (not the postcard rate), plus a $.20 surcharge.  Why?  Because our postcard magnets are not considered automated mail.  The good news is that we can achieve big postage discounts by mailing in bulk.

Check out our magnet mailers at magnetbyMail.com .