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Postal Regulations

Postal rates are determined by several different factors: The number of mail pieces; size of the printed piece; and the area to which it is going. Preparing mail according to Postal Service Guidelines allows your mail to be delivered as quickly and affordably as possible.

Classes of Mail

First Class Postcard
To qualify for First-Class Mail card prices, a card must be:

  • Rectangular
  • At least 3-1/2 inches high X 5 inches long X 0.007 inch thick
  • No more than 4-1/4 inches high X 6 inches long X 0.016 inch thick

Length is the longest dimension parallel to the address.
Oversized cards will be charged as a letter or large envelope depending on the size.

Presorted First Class Mail
This discount mail service is your best option if you mail in high volume. For discounted First-Class Mail, you must have 500 or more pieces per mailing and you must do some additional work to make your mail easier for the postal service to handle. The work you do in terms of preparing and sorting your mail can lower your postage costs. The postage depends on the characteristics of your mailpiece. You must pay an annual mailing fee at each facility where you enter mail. Mailpieces must weigh less than 13 ounces.

Automation prices are available for cards, letters, and large envelopes compatible with automation standards. To qualify for the lower automation prices, your mailpiece must meet specific addressing, barcoding, and design standards. Postcards larger than 4 ¼ x 6 and brochures can be sent using First Class Mail. This service is processed more quickly by the USPS than standard mail and is a good choice for time sensitive delivery to mailboxes.  Postage rates vary based on the specific piece you are mailing and is also affected by how ‘automated’ your piece will be able to be processed by the USPS. For additional details on presort first class mail, go to www.usps.com .

Many mailers use a service called "Priority Mail drop shipment" to speed up the delivery of their Standard Mail. You mail your trays or sacks of Standard Mail via Priority Mail to the postal facility nearest the final destination of your mail. This is a very cost effective way to get your message to your customer sooner.

Standard Mail Mailers use Standard Mail to send:

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

All Standard Mail rates are bulk rates, and each mailing must meet a minimum quantity of 200 pieces or 50 pounds of mail. There are no single-piece Standard Mail rates. In Standard Mail, there are rates for letters and flats/large envelopes. Unlike First-Class Mail, there is no separate Standard Mail card rate (cards are mailed as letters or flats). Standard Mail parcels (for instance, a small merchandise sample) are charged a residual shape surcharge.

Certain extra services can be used with Standard Mail parcels. such as electronic delivery confirmation, bulk insurance, and return receipt for merchandise. Standard Mail is not forwarded or returned unless you request it with an ancillary service endorsement. Forwarding and return services may result in additional fees or postage.

For beginning mailers, Standard Mail is often the best choice because postage rates are very low.

Standard Mail is for domestic mail only. You cannot send Standard Mail to international addresses.

For additional information about Standard Mail or to calculate postage rates please visit www.usps.com/businessmail101 .

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