Standard mail: The overall increase is 1.739%, comprised of letters (1.81% increase), flats (0.835% increase), parcels and NFMs (11.346% increase). High density and saturation letters, flats and parcels increase by 0.615% and 0.403%, respectively, while carrier route letters, flats, and parcels increase by 1.376%. The USPS strategy here is to mitigate the effect of the rate increase on catalog mailers, whom the USPS sees as a future growth segment.
The new rates are posted at www.usps.com/prices/pricechanges.htm.
Growing Cost of Providing Mailing Services
As the USPS continues its plan to improve mail processing efficiency and control mail undeliverable as addressed, the fixed cost for mailers continues to rise. Here are typical annual fixed costs to be in the mailing business:
• One or more mailing permits: $195 each
• Annual renewal of CASS/DPV updates: $995 and up, depending on software provider
• NCOA Link service for move update: $795 and up for unlimited service, or $40 per file submission
Added together, the minimum fixed cost is $1,985 per year, or $165 per month. For a quick printer with a low mail volume (fewer than 20,000 pieces per month of regular, recurring work), the fixed cost is the equivalent of $8.25 per thousand pieces of mail processed.
USPS Online Aids to Mailers
The USPS continues to make useful tools for business mailers available online. Here are two recent additions.
Postage rate calculator
The Postal Explorer website provides an easy way to calculate postage costs for all shapes and classes of mail, including the piece/pound rate. Called the Business Calculator, the tool enables CSRs to compare postage rates using different classes of mail or preparation methods to get a complete picture of the cost to customers of both postage and mailing services. This will enable CSRs to quote the lowest overall price and take the customer’s focus off postage costs alone.
Find the Business Calculator at pe.usps.com (click on business in the upper left frame) or go directly to dbcalc.usps.gov. For standard mail, the calculator covers both regular and non-profit rates.
Courtesy mail artwork generator
Mailers can now create the artwork for courtesy reply mail (CRM) online.
CRM is a pre-addressed card or envelope that requires the respondent to apply postage before mailing the reply back. CRM is frequently used in billing documents such as invoices and statements and makes it convenient for a customer to return a payment. CRM does not require any USPS permits or fees.
To create CRM artwork online, simply go to www.usps.com/replymail/welcome.htm.
If you have a PostalOne! account you are a registered user. If do not have an account, you will need to register. You will then proceed through a series of steps (indicating the size of the return mail piece, including a return and outbound address) and preview the resulting CRM artwork.
The final step is to create a PDF or .EPS file that you can download.
Nancy DeDiemar is the president of Printing Resources of Southern California, a quick print shop in Upland, CA, offering printing, copying, electronic prepress, and mailing services. Nancy is the co-publisher of Printips (www.printips.com), a newsletter subscription service for printers. Contact her at Nancy@printingresources.com.