The U.S. Postal Service won’t be changing the price of a first class stamp in 2010, but the cost to mail a package will be changed when using its domestic and international shipping services. Affected services include popular USPS shipping options such as Priority Mail, Express Mail and Parcel Select.

Commercial Plus Shipping Category Gets 3 New Priority Mail Products
While some shipping rates are going up, the USPS is offering three new Priority Mail products in the Commercial Plus category that will help business owners save money on shipping.  Business owners sending large numbers of packages now can benefit from a new half-pound rate based on distance, the introduction of cubic pricing and a new Priority Mail Flat Rate padded envelope.

Commercial Plus pricing, which is meant for high-volume shippers who send more than 100,000 parcels a year, now can mail packages by the half-pound or with cubic pricing. Businesses mailing lighter packages through services such as FedEx are charged by weight unless their package weighs under a pound. Customers mailing these items are charged for a full pound. USPS’s half-pound rate will save businesses money while guaranteeing quick and reliable delivery to their customers. Customers can send an item using this rate starting at $4.22.

Commercial Plus customers who ship more than 250,000 Priority Mail packages a year also can qualify for cubic pricing on items weighing less than 20 pounds and are no larger than a one-half cubic foot in volume. Business owners will pay for the actual size of the parcel and the distance it is being sent rather than the weight, which can save money on weightier items, such as books. Other shippers, such as FedEx and UPS, only offer shipping based on weight and distance.

New Flat Rate Priority Mail Padded Envelope
The new Priority Mail Flat Rate padded envelope measures 9.5×12.5 inches and costs $4.95 to send. This envelope, which is made exclusively for Commercial Plus customers, is a great way to ship for electronics, jewelry and other fragile items without having to use a box.

Small business owners should note the following price changes starting Monday, January 4, 2010:

Express Mail – 2010 Shipping Rates

Domestic Flat Rate Products

Retail

Commercial Base

Commercial Plus

Flate Rate Envelope

$18.30

$17.40

$14.96

Priority Mail – 2010 Shipping Rates

Domestic Flat Rate Products

Retail

Commercial Base

Commercial Plus

Flate Rate Envelope

$4.90

$4.75

$4.70

Flat Rate Padded Envelope

N/A

N/A

$4.95

Small Flat Rate Box

$4.95

$4.85

$4.80

Medium Flat Rate Box

$10.70

$10.20

$9.77

Large Flat Rate Box

$14.50

$13.95

$13.40

Large Flat Rate Box (APO/FPO)

$12.50

$11.95

$11.40

Compared to the rate hikes planned for UPS and FedEx, USPS’s rate changes of an average 3.3% for Priority Mail are small. UPS’s average increase will be 4.9%, while FedEx’s will be about 6%. Both shippers are planning to increase their various surcharges, which USPS does not have.

Other USPS 2010 pricing changes include a 4.5 percent increase for Express Mail, a 4.7 percent increase for Parcel Select and a 3 percent increase for Priority Mail Internatiional. Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope rates for retail customers will drop by 5 cents and the Priority Mail Small Flat Rate Box still will cost just $4.95 to fill and send.

Stamps.com Software to Update New USPS Rates Automatically
Thankfully, if you are a Stamps.com customer, the rate changes will automatically be updated in your software. Stamps.com has updated its system with the new prices, ensuring that your items will be mailed starting Jan. 4 with the new rates. Although USPS’s prices will change, your shipping business won’t skip a beat if you use Stamps.com.

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