Can you mail eggs with USPS?

September 15th, 2017 Comments off

Which came first—the chicken or the egg?  The egg, if you ship it through the U.S. Postal Service! Since eggs are mailable with the USPS under certain guidelines, you can use Stamps.com to make the process easy for you.

Eggs are very sensitive to temperature changes, so monitoring weather for upcoming snowstorms or heat waves that may affect the shipping destination is a good idea. Send them by a fast mail class such as Priority Mail Express.

How should I package my eggs?

When you’re shipping eggs, the USPS also asks that you individually cushion each egg. Use bubble wrap to avoid breakage and shock-proof packaging material such as shredded paper to cushion the individually bubble-wrapped eggs.  Pack your individual eggs closely but not too tightly.

A number of egg varieties exist, from a Rhode Island Red’s brown eggs to a Leghorn chicken’s white ones, but using a USPS Flat Rate Box, such as the Priority Mail Medium Flat Rate Box, will keep your postal rates consistent for all types of eggs. What’s more, barcoded shipping labels printed via Stamps.com have built-in, free tracking. You can also use our Shipment Notification feature to email tracking information to your recipients and give them an accurate idea of when to expect their package.

Don’t crack under the pressure: you can order free USPS packaging by logging into your software and clicking on “Online Store,” which appears beneath “Buy Supplies.”  Click on the “Free USPS Supplies” tab and order the right box or envelope for your mailing needs today!

For peace of mind, we recommend requesting a free USPS pickup when shipping eggs.  The free USPS pickup service is available for Priority Express Mail, Priority Mail, Priority Express Mail International, Priority Mail International and Global Express Guaranteed. In the Stamps.com software, click “USPS Pickup” from the “View History” menu on the left navigation bar of the software to start the process.

For further USPS details on mailing eggs domestically, please see:   http://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c5_010.htm

Can I send eggs internationally?

If you want to ship eggs to a destination outside of the U.S., you must use Priority Mail International. We recommend researching specific import restrictions by accessing the Individual Country Listings here: https://pe.usps.com/text/imm/immctry.htm

For specific packing instructions on mailing eggs internationally, please see: https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c6_015.htm

Categories: Shipping Tags:

All About USPS Postal Zones

September 8th, 2017 Comments off

Imagine that the originating point of your mail is your home or office. Your mailpieces, bearing postage printed with the powerful Stamps.com program, will travel to a wide variety of destination points on the map. If you draw a perfect circle on a piece of paper with a compass, your originating point will be where the compass needle hits the paper, and the arc would represent the destination zones.

The USPS uses a distance-based system of postal zones. This means that the area that is considered Zone 1, for example, would change depending on where you are. The farther a zone is, the higher the zone number.  Distance also affects the price of postage and the farther a zone is, the higher the postage cost if you are sending non-Flat Rate mailpieces. The farther the zone, the longer the mail will take to get there.  Simple, right?

Make this radial, distance-based system work for you. The Postal Service’s Domestic Zone Chart has two useful tools. First, you can get a Zone Chart by entering the first 3-digits of your ZIP Code—for example, “967” for ZIP Code 96795.

You can also plug in a mailpiece’s origin ZIP and destination ZIP to determine the appropriate zone. Say you’re sending a case of bottled water from Manchester, New Hampshire (ZIP Code 03101) to Honolulu, Hawaii (ZIP Code 96795). For this pair, Zone 8 pricing and travel times would apply. If you’re sending the package from Manchester, but this time it’s headed to Concord, New Hampshire (ZIP Code 03301), it would be Zone 1.

If you’re an e-commerce seller, this will help determine what you want to charge for shipping and whether switching to Flat Rate Boxes, in which the price remains the same regardless of distance, is a better fit.  If you have a secondary office or a partner working from another location, you may want to coordinate your efforts to ensure that certain items are sent over shorter distances.

Using the Stamps.com software 

The Stamps.com platform will take the guesswork out of zones. You’ll never have to enter the zone number. However, it is helpful to keep zones in mind as you look for the most economical way to ship your packages. When using zone-based mailing and shipping services, you’ll notice that you may have to enter dimensions for some mailpieces. The higher the zone number (and longer the travel distance), the more likely you’ll have to enter package dimensions.

To ensure you’re paying the correct rate of postage, always enter the dimensions when the software asks that you input them. For non-Flat Rate envelopes and boxes, you may be subject to a USPS Dimensional Weight Surcharge for Zones 5-8. The Stamps.com software will take stress out of the equation and calculate this automatically for you.

Categories: Shipping Tags:

Unique Mailing Standards for Queens, NY

September 1st, 2017 Comments off

Queens, one of the five boroughs of New York City, is known for being the home of LaGuardia Airport and John F. Kennedy International Airport, Citi Field (home of the New York Mets), the Unisphere, and its ethnically diverse community. Did you know that Queens Borough also used to have its own unique mailing standards?

Back in the 1920s, when Queens  was a collection of scattered rural settlements, each with its own little mailing grid, a master grid was applied to the entire area. This created a unique mailing system, in which mail sent to Queens street addresses needed a dash between the nearest cross street on a building’s block and the house number (for example, “139-30 Example Crescent”) and “18-05 XXXXth Street”).

However, while the traditional system of cross-street number, hyphen, and house number may still be well known to many mailers, the USPS has eliminated this requirement. This is part of an ongoing process of streamlining and standardizing the delivery of your mail.

When using the Stamps.com software, you no longer have to worry about including the dash after the cross-street number in a Queens postal address to ensure delivery. The Stamps.com software is fully compliant regarding Queens addresses and will automatically check and cleanse each address by accessing the powerful Address Matching System (AMS).

Therefore, rest assured that changes the Stamps.com software makes are correct and compliant.  You’ll see changes such as:

139-30 EXAMPLE CRESCENT

To:

13930 EXAMPLE CRES

AND:

18-05 XXXXTH STREET

To:

1805 XXXXTH ST

Using ZIP Codes

The dash (-) in the address line is no longer the crucial, required component of the address. While Queens has many distinctive neighborhoods, it is also not necessary to include the specific neighborhood names (e.g. “Rego Park”) in the mailing addresses. The critical and required pieces of information are the ZIP Code and the ZIP+4, which are scanned by the USPS.  Queens, the largest of the New York City boroughs, is actually served by four USPS postal zones.

The good news is that Stamps.com will check the ZIP Code and the ZIP+4 when you enter an address in the delivery address box. Whether you’re sending mail to Flushing, Ozone Park, Rockaway Beach, Jackson Heights or Corona, Stamps.com’s powerful software ensures that your mail will get to its intended recipient in Queens.

Categories: Letter Mailing Tags:

Can I Ship Beer or Wine Using the USPS?

August 18th, 2017 Comments off

You’ve just tasted a great selection of Belgian beers. You want your friend in the next city or state to enjoy them too. Can you mail a case of amber ale, Oud Bruin, and dubbels to him using the USPS? What if you own a vineyard and you want to ship a bottle of red wine to a customer?

Shipping Alcoholic Beverages using the USPS is Prohibited

Intoxicating liquors, defined by the USPS as “drinkable beverages that have 0.5 percent or more alcoholic content by weight,” unfortunately cannot be mailed via the U.S. Postal Service. This includes beer, wine and liquor.

What if, instead of mailing a case of beer, you just want to send a catalog that advertises new products offered by your microbrewery or wine club? Promotional material associated with intoxicating liquors is also not allowed.

Items that cannot be shipped with the USPS:

·Beer

·Wine

·Liquor

·Advertising, promotional or sales matter (catalogs) containing sales offers for beer, wine or liquor

·Boxes with alcoholic beverage markings

·Wooden containers (wine crates) with alcoholic beverage markings
What if you’re using an empty wine crate or box branded with a beer label to mail documents or some other item that isn’t liquor? Reusing old boxes can be risky if the markings or labels are associated with prohibited and non-mailable items. We recommend removing or completely obliterating any alcohol-related markings, labels and descriptors, so that your mailpiece is not deemed nonmailable. In other words, don’t just cross out “Cabernet Sauvignon” or “American Lager.” Completely black out or cover the wording on the old box.

Are Consumer Products that Contain Alcohol Prohibited?

You can send products that may have some alcoholic content, such as cold remedies, mouthwash, and cooking wine, as long as it meets the applicable requirements of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Also, if you work for a federal or state agency, such as an Alcoholic Beverage Control Board or Liquor Enforcement Division, the mailing of liquor is allowed for official purposes.

Can I Ship Alcohol to an International Address?

Unfortunately, you cannot ship alcohol to an international address. The USPS applies its domestic shipping policy to all international addresses as well. Keep in mind that mailing liquors internationally may also violate a country’s import policy.

For further USPS details on these policies, please see https://pe.usps.com/text/pub52/pub52c4_005.htm.

 

Categories: Shipping Tags:

USPS Implementing New Automated Package Verification System

July 18th, 2017 Comments off

Update: This article has been edited to reflect the new launch date of August 15 for the Automated Package Verification program.

 

The USPS is implementing a new system that will change how shortpaid or overpaid mail is charged and handled. Previously, shortpaid pieces used to go through a cumbersome process by which they’d be returned to the sender, treated as dead mail if they had no return address, or delivered to the addressee with a postage due notice.

New Automation Package Verification System to Start August 15

Automation will be changing all of that. Now, postage discrepancies will be detected by a new USPS program called Automated Package Verification (APV). APV will ensure that mail processed through USPS sorting facilities will be fully verified and checked for any errors.  Your mailpiece’s weight, dimensions, package type, and entry ZIP code will all be reviewed by this new state-of-the-art system.

Benefits of APV for Stamps.com Customers

There are a number of benefits to being a Stamps.com customer, such as not having to wait in line at the Post Office, access to useful features such as Hidden Postage, and the ability to send shipment notification emails. The new APV program will align with the efficient processes you already enjoy with our PC Postage product.

Make this new streamlined process work for you. If you’re one of the many Stamps.com customers who sell online, you won’t have to worry about having your customers pay postage due and suffer the embarrassment of poor ecommerce reviews and delayed deliveries. Postage adjustments will be made to your Stamps.com postage balance automatically, ensuring a smoother delivery process for you and your recipients, and a better overall customer experience. If you have overpaid a shipment, you may receive a credit to your postage balance to make up for the extra amount.

Shipping Tips to Avoid Postage Adjustments

Prior to the full USPS release of the APV program, Stamps.com may send courtesy notices to provide examples of your mailpieces that have been detected by the USPS as being shortpaid. These notices offer a great opportunity to make any corrections going forward before APV is fully rolled out!

  • Remember that Large Envelopes/Flats must always be bendable and have an even surface with no protuberances (flaps) or content shifting. A Large Envelope/Flat must have:
  1. Height: a minimum height of 6-1/8″ and a maximum height of 12″
  2.  Length: a minimum length of 11-1/2″ and a maximum length of 15″
  3. Thickness: a minimum thickness is ¼” and the maximum thickness is ¾”.
  • Remember to attach Priority Mail Flat Rate postage only to the appropriate Flat Rate packaging (e.g. Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope rates to Flat Rate Priority Envelopes). Flat Rate packaging is not interchangeable. A Medium Flat Rate Box should not be used with Large Flat Rate postage. Also, do not affix non-Flat Rate Postage to Flat Rate packaging. For further tips, please see: http://blog.stamps.com/2017/04/28/priority-mail-flat-rate-best-practices/
  • Take the guesswork out of package weights. The Stamps.com Online Store offers a variety of digital scales that meet various mailing and shipping needs.
  • Remember that fractional ounces are always rounded up to the next ounce. For example, if your mailpiece’s weight is 3.2 ounces, enter the weight as 4 ounces in the Stamps.com software.
  • If you’re sending non-Flat Rate mail, you will be asked to enter dimensions for your packages for certain Priority Mail zones. Make sure to measure your mailpiece accurately. For further tips, please see: http://blog.stamps.com/2017/03/30/how-to-measure-irregularly-shaped-items/

 

Categories: USPS News Tags:

Call us toll-free at 1-888-434-0055, Monday - Friday, 6 AM - 6 PM Pacific Time.