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8 Tips to Lower Your Mailing and Shipping Costs

September 1st, 2009

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 Stamps.com account. Also, Stamps.com 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.

  1. Eric Nash
    September 25th, 2009 at 15:17 | #1

    @Linda Jo Tracton
    Hi Linda Jo, the date of mailing on the stamp must be the actual date of deposit. Mail sent before or after the printed date will be returned by the USPS.

  2. September 23rd, 2009 at 13:47 | #2

    @Mary Gerstner
    Hi Mary, You are definitely correct about including marketing material in a Media Mail package. The USPS does not allow any type of advertisements to be included inside a Media Mail package. We will make the correction to the blog post. Thanks your help.

  3. Linda Jo Tracton
    September 22nd, 2009 at 12:22 | #3

    Does a pre-printed envelope label have to be mailed on the exact date on the stamp or can it be mailed beforehand, or even after the printed date?

  4. ydal
    September 22nd, 2009 at 08:20 | #4

    This is all basic. Anyone who doesn’t know this information needs to spend 10 minutes at USPS website.

  5. Mary Gerstner
    September 22nd, 2009 at 04:06 | #5

    @Eric Nash
    I believe that the recommendation to that you can include marketing materials in media mail is flat out wrong. It plainly states in the postal regs. that media mail cannot include any advertising (which is why magazines cannot be sent media mail)

  6. Eric Nash
    September 8th, 2009 at 10:02 | #6

    Thanks for your comment Randy. As long as the postage rate is correct based on the “mail from” location to the destination address, you can drop a letter with NetStamps from any USPS location.

  7. September 5th, 2009 at 05:33 | #7

    My question is, with netstamps can we drop a letter from any usps location? Or does it need to be sent from my zip code?

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