Direct Mail

USPS Bulk Mail Costs and Requirements

By 2 November 2022November 3rd, 2022No Comments
bulk mail postage costs and rates

USPS Bulk Mail Costs and Requirements

Want to conduct your direct mail campaigns at as low rates as possible? Perhaps, the USPS bulk mail rates can help you save a lot on your mailing charges.

If you are still not taking the advantage of bulk mailing, now is the time to make the change. It will help you reduce your direct mail costs and increase campaign ROI.

Bulk mailing is an effective and affordable mailing system for businesses.

bulk mail postage costs and rates

The term “bulk mail” or “commercial mail” refers to large volumes of mailpieces sent at once to avail of lower postage. Companies need to complete tasks like presorting their items and adding Intelligent Mail Barcodes (IMBs) to mail at reduced rates.

It is why many businesses opt for First-Class Mail (which is way more expensive). They might not have the time or resources to undertake these tasks and qualify for bulk mailing.

Yet, it is advisable to take a little effort and opt for bulk mail to reduce your postage significantly.

In this blog, we will discuss the different types of bulk mail. Also, we will talk about how you can send bulk mail without any effort!

What Are USPS Bulk Mail Rates?

The USPS offers lower postage rates to commercial mailers in exchange for some work that would otherwise be done by the Post Office. Such reduced rates on bulk mailing are known as bulk postage rates.

For example, if you drop your mail items at a Sectional Center Facility (SCF) closer to the destination, the USPS would save on transportation costs. Then, it would pass down these savings to you in the form of bulk mail discounts.

This type of “work-sharing” benefits both you and the USPS and speeds up the entire mailing process. But, you need to follow the USPS bulk mail guidelines and probably also apply for a permit.

Keep reading to get step-by-step instructions on how to send bulk mail. But first, let us understand the various bulk mailing options available.

Different Types of USPS Bulk Mail

When we say “bulk mail,” it usually means USPS Marketing Mail, formerly known as Standard Mail and Third-Class Mail.

This option helps individual and commercial mailers both to avail of highly-discounted prices. But, USPS Marketing Mail is not the only bulk mailing service offered by USPS.

There are several other ways of availing the USPS bulk mail rates 2021, and they are:

  • Presorted First-Class Mail
  • Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
  • Bound Printed Matter.

Periodical Class, Parcel Select, and Media Mail also offer discounts on bulk mailing.

All of these options offer variable bulk mail costs and have different restrictions. Also, they have distant features, which is why you need to understand them in-depth before making a decision.

Before we get to the bulk mail rates, you should know a few terms related to presorting mail:

Presorting is sorting all the items according to ZIP codes before taking them to the USPS for mailing. The different types of presorting methods are:

  • 5-digit sorting: It is a presorting type wherein all mailing addresses have the same ZIP codes (the first five digits). The ZIP+4 codes may be different.
  • 3-digit sorting: The 3-digit sorting method enables mailers to group mailpieces that have ZIP codes starting with the same three numbers.
  • AADC: AADC stands for Automated Area Distribution Center. It is the process of grouping mail items going to service areas of the same AADC. There is also something called “Mixed AADC,” where you group the items destined for service areas of different AADCs.

Apart from the presorting methods, the rates also depend on where you drop your mail items.

  • DNDC: DNDC stands for Destination Network Distribution Center. A bulk mailer can take their items to a DNDC to get lower postage rates.
  • DSCF: DSCF stands for Destination Sectional Center Facility. You can get even lower rates by dropping off your items at this USPS facility.

Presorted First-Class Mail

Presorted First-Class Mail has all the same features as regular First-Class Mail. All First-Class Mail deliveries are completed within one to five business days. You can also use additional services like Certified Mail and Registered Mail. But, you can only mail items weighing up to 13 ounces.

First-Class Mail prices also depend on the dimensions of your mailpieces. Oddly shaped and oversized items can cost you a lot more than those that meet the USPS requirements.

This mailing option is one of the most expensive ones after Priority Mail. Thus, mailers opt for Presorted First-Class Mail which allows them to take advantage of its features while availing of bulk rates.

As the name goes, mailers need to presort their items before mailing them via USPS. They can get the presorting process done by themselves or hire presort services.

Some items that you can send via the presorted First-Class Mail option are:

  • Postcards
  • Typewritten or handwritten materials
  • Bills, invoices, account statements
  • Checks
  • Personalized mail, etc.

Furthermore, you need to mail at least 500 items at once to qualify for sending presorted First-Class Mail. Yet, there are no monthly or yearly minimum volume requirements that you need to fulfill to use this option.

Plus, you don’t need to send all these 500 items to the same ZIP code. The USPS counts all the mailpieces, irrespective of where they are going.

Coming to presorted First-Class Mail costs- there are three categories in which these rates are divided, i.e., postcards, letters, and flats.

Find below the current bulk mail rates for each of these categories:

For Postcards: 

Automation Non-Automation
5-Digit AADC Mixed AADC
0.306 0.318 0.326 0.335

For Letters:

5-Digit AADC Mixed AADC
Automation 0.426 0.461 0.485
Non-automation 0.461 0.495

 

Non-automation and Non-machinable
3-Digit 5-Digit Mixed AADC
0.660 0.660 0.794

For Flats:

Automation Non-automation
3-Digit 5-Digit AADC Mixed AADC Presorted
0.555 0.730 0.783 0.891 1.000

USPS Marketing Mail

If your company sends out mail items like flyers, newsletters, circulars, catalogs, etc., in large volumes, you should opt for USPS Marketing Mail.

It is an excellent way to advertise your brand with direct mail at the most affordable prices. However, please note that the USPS Marketing Mail service only works within the US.

As a mailer, you need to fulfill any of the below requirements to qualify:

  • The mailing should consist of at least 200 items.
  • The mailing should weigh at least 50 pounds altogether.

All your items need to be identical for you to become eligible. Furthermore, you can only send mail pieces that weigh less than 1 pound or 16 ounces.

How much is bulk postage for USPS Marketing Mail?

Well, it depends on the mail size, weight, and destination. Please make sure that your letters do not measure more than 6.125″ x 11.5″ x 0.25″. For flats, the maximum dimensions are 12″ x 15″ x 0.75″.

If your flats cannot bend or exceed the above dimensions, they are parcels. You can send these parcels via the Parcel Select Lightweight or USPS Marketing Mail parcel service.

Non-profit organizations that come under any of the below categories can avail of the USPS nonprofit bulk mail rates 2021:

  • Veterans
  • Scientific
  • Religious
  • Agricultural
  • Educational
  • Labor
  • Fraternal
  • Philanthropic
  • National and state political parties.

All nonprofit Mail rates are much lower than the commercial rates. PACS, local party committees, and political candidates are not counted as nonprofits.

Hence, they cannot get the USPS bulk mail rates for nonprofits and should apply for the commercial rates.

If you are a non-profit firm, you can fill out the PS form 3624 and apply for free.

The bulk mail pricing for USPS Marketing Mail items depends on various factors, like whether they are machinable and eligible for automation discounts. Plus, the rates depend on the entry point (drop-off location) where you take your items for mailing. Find below the rates:

For commercial letters:

3.5 oz or less Automation Machinable
Entry point 5-Digit AADC Mixed AADC AADC Mixed AADC
None 0.277 0.309 0.330 0.323 0.336
DNDC 0.256 0.288 0.309 0.302 0.315
DSCF 0.250 0.282 0.296

For nonprofit letters:

3.5 oz or less Automation Machinable
Entry point 5-Digit AADC Mixed AADC AADC Mixed AADC
None 0.146 0.178 0.199 0.192 0.205
DNDC 0.125 0.157 0.178 0.171 0.184
DSCF 0.119 0.151 0.165

For commercial flats:

3.5 oz or less Automation Non-automation
Entry point 5-Digit 3-Digit AADC Mixed AADC 5-Digit 3-Digit AADC Mixed AADC
None 0.482 0.640 0.729 0.798 0.573 0.697 0.759 0.825
DNDC 0.413 0.571 0.660 0.729 0.504 0.628 0.690 0.756
DSCF 0.403 0.561 0.650 0.494 0.618 0.680

For nonprofit flats:

3.5 oz or less Automation Non-automation
Entry point 5-Digit 3-Digit AADC Mixed AADC 5-Digit 3-Digit AADC Mixed AADC
None 0.278 0.436 0.525 0.594 0.369 0.493 0.555 0.621
DNDC 0.209 0.367 0.456 0.525 0.300 0.424 0.486 0.552
DSCF 0.199 0.357 0.446 0.290 0.414 0.476

The rates for parcels start at as little as $0.323 and range up to $2.308.

Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)

The USPS EDDM service enables companies to send their marketing items to every household in an area or ZIP code. You may even cover more than one ZIP code in one mailing.

EDDM works well for businesses that want to promote their products or services in specific localities. For example, if you are a restaurant and want to advertise yourself in your local neighborhoods, you can conduct EDDM campaigns.

Local businesses, politicians, real estate agents, etc., can also benefit from EDDM campaigns.

The minimum volume requirement for sending EDDM is 200 pieces per mailing. Hence, it also comes under the bulk mail category.

Your EDDM items should at least measure 6.125” x 11.5” and not exceed 12” x 15”. The USPS allows companies to send Marketing Mail flats only up to 3.3 ounces under EDDM.

There are two types of EDDM services: EDDM Retail and EDDM BMEU (Business Mail Entry Unit).

In the case of EDDM Retail, you need to drop the mail items at a Post Office. But, if you are using EDDM BMEU, you may drop them off at a regional facility to avail of lower rates.

Currently, the cost of sending flats via EDDM Retail USPS Marketing Mail is $0.20 per piece. If you opt for BMEU, this rate decreases to $0.168.

Bound Printed Matter

The Bound Printed Matter mailing option is for businesses that send bound printed materials like catalogs. It is the most economical way to send such heavy marketing materials, especially those weighing more than 16 ounces.

But, those items that weigh less than 1 pound are charged the minimum one-pound price. Therefore, you can instead opt for USPS Marketing Mail for items that weigh so little.

Find below some requirements that you need to fulfill to send Bound Printed Matter:

  • You cannot send blank printed pages, like stationery.
  • The pages should have at least 90% printing (typewriting and handwriting do not count).
  • You cannot send personalized items.
  • All pages must be bound by spiral binding glue, stitching, staples, or other permanent fastenings.

Please note: Like USPS Marketing Mail and EDDM, Bound Printed Matter is also restricted to domestic mail. However, you can use this option to send items to US possessions, Puerto Rico, and military addresses.

Find below some things about Bound Printed Matter:

  • There is no minimum volume requirement to mail your items through this option, although you can bag attractive discounts on mailing 300 pieces or more.
  • You cannot send items weighing more than 15 pounds or 240 ounces. Also, flats cannot weigh more than 20 ounces if you want to be eligible for barcoding discounts.
  • The girth and length of your mailpieces cannot measure more than 108” combined.
  • Bound Printed Matter rates depend on the mail weight, size, drop-off point, destination, and mailing volume.

If you are mailing up to 299 items, the rate for one flat-sized mailpiece weighing one ounce is $2.33. But, if you mail in bulk, the rate drops to $1.318 (depending on where you drop off your items).

The rates of parcels are higher and significantly depend on where your items are going.

How to Apply For a Bulk Mailing Permit

You don’t need a mailing permit to conduct EDDM campaigns, but you need to fill out the USPS bulk mailing form and get a customer registration ID. However, other mailing options like Presorted First-Class Mail, USPS Marketing Mail, Bound Printed Matter, etc., need a permit.

The annual fee to get a bulk mailing permit is $265. This rate goes for both a USPS Marketing Mail and a Presorted First-Class Mail permit. The USPS waive this fee if the mailer prints “full-service” barcodes on their mailpieces and submits the mailing documentation electronically. But, electronic document submission and barcoding are not easy tasks, causing mailers to pay the annual fee.

You can apply for a permit at the USPS Post Office or via their website by filling out the PS form 3615. Remember that you cannot get your annual fee waived if you apply online.

Apart from the annual fee, you need to pay the permit imprint authorization fee of $265. It is a one-time fee and not charged annually.

Permit imprints allow you to print a “postage paid” box or “indicia” on the top of your envelope. Basically, you set up an account with USPS that enables you to pay for all your bulk mailings.

Every time you send out your mailpieces, USPS deducts the postage from this account. You may deposit funds in your account from time to time via mail, in-person, or online. If you wish to use metered postage or precanceled stamps, you don’t have to pay the permit imprint authorization fee.

To send Bound Printed Matter, you can get the mailing permit for free. However, you still have to pay the annual fee and permit imprint authorization fee to mail Bound Printed Matter flats.

Other Costs Related to Bulk Mailing

Postage is not the only expense associated with direct mailing campaigns. There are several more costs, like design, copywriting, mailing lists, etc. Some of these costs are static and remain unaffected by the mailing volume. So, it doesn’t matter if you mail ten pieces or 10,000.

But, costs like postage and printing have a dramatic impact on your budget. It is because these costs can increase significantly when you mail in bulk.

Some mailers reduce their campaign size to manage their marketing budget. But, if you plan things in advance and use a print and mail API like PostGrid, you can handle everything.

Find below the factors that affect your campaign costing:

  • Designing costs can range between $10 and $1,000. It depends on whether you design your own artwork or outsource the job to a professional.
  • Next on the list are copywriting expenses that cost between $100 and $2,000. Again, you can get it done in-house and save some extra bucks.
  • Mailing lists can cost you around $30 per 1,000 records. The rates depend on several aspects, like the list quality, number of entries, segmentation, frequency of use, etc.
  • Printing is another expensive factor that can drain your budget. The cost of printing can range between $0.05 and $2.00 per item.
  • The format of your items also affects your cost. The bigger and heavier your mailpieces, the more expensive they are.

Read more about direct mail marketing costs here.

Wrapping Up

Bulk mailing can help companies save a lot and send out their items in a more effective manner. You can pre-plan and prepay your mailing costs, thus, keeping your campaign costs under control.

But, it can be daunting to qualify for bulk mailing due to tasks like presorting items, adding IMBs, and dropshipping. Hence, it is advisable to use the services of a direct mail API like PostGrid.

Our API can help you prepare your mailing and conduct direct mail campaigns of any size. Also, we offer affordable and reasonable pricing for all types and sizes of businesses. You don’t need to pay any monthly fees or commit anything. Mail when you want, where you want, and how much you want!

Want to get started with your bulk mailing campaigns at low costs and with no manual effort?

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