Tips to Lower Mailing Costs

The U.S. Postal Service raised its rates in May 2009 for most classes of mail, including first-class mail and individual packages. This annual raise, which the USPS is expecting to implement annually, will help the agency keep up with inflation and continue to operate efficiently.

While many web retailers will just pass this postage rate increase to their customers via higher shipping fees, there are significant methods that can be used today to help lower your mailing and shipping costs. These shipping strategies can help you keep retail prices as low as possible and help provide you an advantage over your competition, whether you’re a brick-and-mortar company or an eBay Power Seller.

Check out these eight great tips on how to make your mailing and shipping budget go the extra mile:

#1 Combine customer communications
Sending a first-class piece of mail to a customer now will cost you one 44-cent stamp, which adds up when you send regular reminders and notices, too. Instead of mailing out lots of letters, see how much information you can send a customer at one time with one stamp. A statement can be combined with notices, marketing materials or coupons. Just make sure to weigh an assembled letter first so that the mail piece doesn’t go over one ounce.

#2 Lighten your mailings to fatten them up
You can make more room for your company’s materials by printing on both sides of a lightweight paper. Coupons printed on regular copy paper instead of card stock still will look professional.

#3 Take advantage of USPS’s old prices
Although the U.S. Postal Service hiked most of its rates, it still costs 17 cents to mail an additional ounce. Take advantage of this rate change by sending out fatter mailings, but make sure that they are under 3.5 ounces. Letters that weigh more than that will be classified as a flat package and will cost you more to send.

#4 Fold it up
Since dimension matters in USPS pricing, folding a document that you normally would have sent in a larger envelope and placing it in a smaller envelope will save you money.

#5 Forget sending a letter, use Postcards
If you have a short message that you want to convey to your customer, such as the date of an upcoming appointment, send it with a postcard. USPS only increased the postcard rate by one penny to 28 cents, making it an economical way to pass along a message. You may be able to mail your invoices to individual customers this way, depending on how your billing system works and the confidentiality of your services.

#6 Rethink your parcel sizes
Although flat parcels cost more than letters, they cost less than packages. If you don’t have to mail something in a box, choose a flat or padded envelope instead. A flat can be as think as ¾ of an inch. If you still need to send packages, figure out if you can use USPS’s flat rate standard-sized boxes. It will cost your business less to mail something in a standard box as defined by the post office.

#7 Take advantage of media mail
USPS will allow you to send certain forms of media, including books and movies, through media mail. It costs $2.38 to send a one-pound item and 39 cents for every additional pound. Although it can take up to 7 days for media mail to arrive, this postage type may work well for some businesses.

#8 Look online for free supplies and discounts
You can order free shipping supplies from the USPS through your account. Also, offers discounted rates on Priority Mail, Express Mail and international mail – these discounted rates are not available at the post office or through a postage meter.

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