Sealing Envelopes and Packages

May 5th, 2017 Comments off

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You may not give much thought to the act of sealing up an envelope or package, but that doesn’t mean it’s a trivial step in the mailing or shipping process. We’ve created this FAQ to answer all the questions you may have about sealing shipments before handing them over to the USPS.

What’s the right way to seal a box?

According to USPS, you should tape the opening of your box and reinforce all seams with tape that is 2 inches wide.

What kind of material should I use to seal a box?

You’ve got a few options—USPS says you should use clear or brown packaging tape, reinforced packing tape, or paper tape.

Packaging tape—plastic, pressure-sensitive tape is easy to use, readily available, and versatile. It easily adheres to multiple surfaces, so can use it to seal boxes as well as poly mailers.

Reinforced packing tape—this tape contains fibers that make it stronger and a good option for heavier shipments.

Paper tape—also known as kraft tape, uses a water-activated tape dispenser (water is what helps bond the tape to the boxes). Paper tape sticks to cardboard but doesn’t adhere to poly mailers or other non-paper surfaces.

Is there anything I can’t use to seal a box?

You should refrain from using twine, cord or string—these materials can get caught in the mail processing equipment. You should also avoid using masking or cellophane tape, as they’re not strong enough for this purpose.

Can I use extra tape to reinforce an overly full USPS envelope or box?

When sealing Priority Mail® or Priority Mail Express® Flat Rate boxes and envelopes, the container flaps must be able to close within their normal folds, according to this USPS publication. You can use tape on the flaps and seams to reinforce the envelope or box, but you cannot reconstruct the packaging in any way.

How much tape is TOO much tape?

When using a Flat Rate Envelope or Flat Rate Box, using tape as a reinforcement on the seams and flaps is OK in order to keep the item from breaking open during transit. Encasing a box or envelope is NOT OK. No matter what packaging you use to ship, using too much tape can cost you in more ways than one—first, you’re using up your supplies faster than necessary, plus the extra weight from excessive tape could push you up to a higher weight category.

Can I use tape to affix a shipping label?

Anyone shipping with a PC Postage label (we’re talking about you, Stamps.com customers!) can use extra tape to properly attach a printed label to an envelope or box. However, you should avoid covering the barcodes on a USPS label, as the tape creates a glare that can make it hard for barcode scanners, thus messing up your tracking. Sick of taping labels to packages? Visit the Stamps.com Store to order adhesive labels.

 

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Frequently Asked Questions about the 2017 USPS Postage Rate Increase

February 10th, 2017 Comments off

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Have questions about the 2017 USPS Postage Rate changes? We have answers!

 

When did the new USPS rates start?

The 2017 USPS postage rate increase went into effect on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

Are Forever Stamps purchased before January 22, 2017 still valid?

Yes, Forever Stamps purchased from the Post Office (or another location) remain valid. You can still use Forever Stamps to mail a one-ounce First-Class Mail letter, even if purchased before January 22.

Can I buy the $0.46 Metered Rate postage stamps at the Post Office?

No, the Metered Rate $0.46 postage stamps can only be printed using an approved PC Postage/online postage vendor such as Stamps.com or through a postage meter. The Metered Rate $0.46 stamps cannot be purchased at the Post Office. Learn more about saving with Metered Mail rates here: http://blog.stamps.com/2017/02/02/save-3-cents-printing-first-class-mail-letters-online/

How do I get Commercial Base discounts for printing postage online?

You automatically qualify for Commercial Base pricing if you print shipping labels using Stamps.com (or any online postage vendor). These rates are automatically calculated when you print postage.

Did online postage rates for any international mail classes increase for 2017?

There is no rate increase for Priority Mail Express International, Priority Mail International or First Class Package International Service in 2017, if you buy postage online using Stamps.com (or any online postage vendor).

Can anyone use Regional Rate Boxes or are they only for large quantity shippers?

Anyone can ship using Regional Rate Boxes, regardless of the number of packages shipped. If you buy postage for a Regional Rate Box at the Post Office, you will have to pay and additional $2.25 for Zones 1-4 and $1.00 for Zones 5-9.

Did online postage rates for Parcel Select Ground decrease?

Yes, for certain weight and zone combinations, the price for Parcel Select Ground will be lower than what it was in 2016. Most of these rate decreases are zone specific for packages weighing between 2 pounds and 5 pounds.

When do I need to include that plastic (Form 2976-E) envelope on my package for the Customs Forms?

The USPS Form 2976-A Customs Form includes four copies of the standard Customs Form and must be inserted into the Form 2976-E envelope. You would attach this on Priority Mail International or Priority Mail Express International packages, but you can use the USPS 2976 Customs Form (1 page) for First-Class Package International Service packages.

I am a Stamps.com customer. Do I need to take any actions to get the new rates?

No, if you are a Stamps.com customer, you do not need to take any action. Stamps.com automatically updated all USPS rates inside the software and web-based version (Stamps.com Online) on Sunday, January 22, 2017.

Categories: Postage Rate Increase Tags:

Save 3 Cents Printing First Class Mail Letters Online

February 2nd, 2017 Comments off

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Since its introduction in 2014, Metered Mail rates have offered businesses of all sizes a way to save using Online Postage. Metered Mail rates apply to First-Class Mail® Letter postage printed through USPS licensed software (such as Stamps.com) or using a postage meter. Online Postage costs the USPS significantly less than traditional postage stamps, and the savings are passed on to customers through Metered Mail rates.

 

Metered Mail Savings Are Bigger Than Ever – Save 3 Cents on Every Letter!

With the recent 2017 USPS Postage Rate changes that started on January 22, 2017, single-piece letter senders can save even more using Meter Mail as opposed to retail (or Post Office) rates. The Metered Mail rate for one-ounce First-Class Mail® Letters has dropped from $0.465 to $0.46, while the retail rate has increased from $0.47 to $0.49. These new rates save businesses $0.03, or six percent, on one-ounce First-Class Mail® Letters when using Online Postage. 2017 marks the first time ever that the Metered Mail savings have exceeded $0.01. For businesses looking to reduce postage cost, there has never been a better time to switch to Online Postage.

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New Metered Mail Rates Are Built In To Stamps.com

Stamps.com customers automatically receive the new discounted Metered Mail rate. When printing Online Postage for First-Class Mail® Letters, customers can select the Metered Mail rate or manually enter a stamp amount. In addition to Metered Mail, Stamps.com has also been updated with every USPS Postage Rate for 2017.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Stamps.com Automatically Updated with New 2017 USPS Rates

January 23rd, 2017 Comments off

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New USPS postage rates went into effect Sunday, January 22, 2017. Wondering if there’s anything you need to do to get these updated rates when mailing and shipping with Stamps.com? The good news is, you’re all set! All postage printed through Stamps.com will reflect the new 2017 USPS rates. Our mailing and shipping solutions—both the software AND our Stamps.com Online web-based version—are designed to reflect current USPS pricing automatically, which means no service interruptions for you.

Here’s a summary of the 2017 postage rate increase for Commercial Base (online postage) prices by mail class:

 

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Get more info on the 2017 USPS postage rate increase.

 

 

Categories: USPS News Tags:

Free: 2017 Postage Rate Increase Guide

January 16th, 2017 Comments off

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Effective January 22, 2017, the U.S. Postal Service will implement new rates for domestic and international mail classes as well as its Special Services. Want to learn more about these changes and how they may impact your mailing and shipping? We’ve created a new guide for our customers detailing the USPS rate and service change for each mail class. This Postage Rate Increase Guide includes side-by-side rate comparisons so you know how much you’ll pay on and after January 22, whether you pay retail rates or discounted Stamps.com rates. This guide also includes general shipping suggestions and a Frequently Asked Questions page to help answer any questions you might have about this rate increase.
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This guide includes 2017 postage rates for:

 

Get more info on the 2017 USPS postage rate increase.

 

Categories: Free Guides Tags:

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