Business owners are often surprised when mail they send out is returned to them for insufficient postage.
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Typically, this is a result of misunderstanding USPS postage rates for letters.
You might think that you can put a single stamp on a letter, throw it in the mail, and have it be delivered without question.
In fact, letter-size mailings have varying postage rates based on weight.
You can mail a 1 ounce letter for $0.44. If the letter weighs more than that but less than 2 ounces, you need to pay $0.61. Letters up to 3 ounces will run you $0.78 in postage. Finally, you can send a letter up to 3.5 ounces for $0.95.
Send a letter that weighs more than 3.5 ounces and your postage rates bump up considerably. USPS will charge flat-size prices (or even parcel prices) for letter-size mail that exceed 3.5 ounces in weight. A 4 ounce flat envelope runs $1.39, so you may find that a 3.6 ounce letter will cost you $1.39 to mail.
A typical scenario for a small business owner is to send a letter with insufficient postage, only to find that it returned. Having a scale or postage meter in the office can help alleviate this problem. Alternatively, you can go to the Post Office and you can get exact mailing costs there.
Note that it's not just letter weight that matters. Your letter also has to be within certain size restrictions to qualify for letter postage rates. To be specific, the letter can be no more than 6-1/8 inches high by 11-1/2 inches long by 1/4 inch thick.
By carefully managing the make-up of your mail, you can maximize impact while keeping your mail weight in letter-size range. Here are a few useful small business mail tips from Pitney Bowes on how to make the most of your letter-size business mailings.
Design mailpieces to meet letter-size dimensions.
To qualify as "letter-size", your mailing doesn't have to fit into a standard #10 envelope – but it does have to comply with USPS standards for letter-size mail.
You have a lot of flexibility to create mailings that can stand out while staying within "lettersize" specifications.
Use your weight wisely.
You can say a lot in 3.5 ounces. Duplex printing, lighter paper stock, smaller inserts – all of these can help you keep your content intact while trimming the weight of your mail overall.
Make sure that you include all the elements when you weigh in.
Prioritize your messaging.
If you're still over the weight limit, take a good look at your mailpiece contents.
When extra inserts put you over 3.5 ounces, you need to do a quick cost-benefit analysis: does it make more sense to include the inserts now, to push them back to a later date, or even to leave them out altogether? Make sure they're worth the added expense.
Duplex or two-sided printing can enable you to reduce mailpiece weight – and reduce paper costs as well. It's environmentally friendly and commonly used in today's cost-conscious world.