Video & Top Questions: 2014 Postage Rate Increase Webinar

February 7th, 2014 No comments

Stamps.com recently held a webinar on the 2014 USPS postage rate increase that occurred on February 4, 2014. If you missed the webinar, watch the recording below.

Here are the top questions and answers from the webinar:

METERED MAIL RATE $0.48 QUESTIONS:
QUESTION:  How does the new “Metered Mail” rate discount work?
ANSWER:  The new “Metered Mail” discount is a one cent discount for First Class Mail letters (1 ounce).  The USPS is offering this to both PC Postage (online postage vendors such as Stamps.com) and Postage Meter vendors.  The USPS is providing this discount regardless of the number of mail pieces you send.  Stamps.com will automatically print $0.48 postage on all 1 oz. First Class letters as of Sunday, January 27, 2014.

QUESTION: Can you use a $0.46 Stamps.com stamp (NetStamp) and a USPS $0.02 stamp?
ANSWER:  Yes, NetStamps are like regular postage and are valued at the denomination that is printed on the NetStamp.  But since you are using a regular postal stamp along with the NetStamp (online postage from Stamps.com), your letter WOULD NOT be eligible for the “Metered Mail” discount.  So you would need to include three additional cents for a total of $0.49 cents.  If you used NetStamps for the additional postage, you would qualify for the “Metered Mail” rate and would only need to add two cents additionally (total of $0.48).

QUESTION: If you are adding regular postage to a $0.46 cent NetStamp, do you add a 2 cent or 3 cent stamp?
ANSWER: If you are printing the additional postage using Stamps.com, you would add only 2 cents.  If you are using a combination of NetStamps and regular postage stamps, you’ll need to add three cents for a total of $0.49.

QUESTION: For stamps.com customers, does the 1 cent discount apply to postage printed directly onto an envelope or does it only apply to stamps printed onto stamps.com NetStamp postage labels?
ANSWER: Yes, the new Metered Mail discount applies to both postage printed directly onto an envelope as well as on NetStamps.

LETTER MAILING:
QUESTION:  At what weight does an envelope go from First Class to Priority Mail? Also, if a letter becomes Priority Mail, do I then need to take to these letters to Post Office to weigh or can I do this through Stamps.com?
ANSWER:  First Class Mail letters can weigh up to 3.5 ounces.  After 3.5 ounces, you would need to use the Priority Mail Flat Rate Envelope, which includes tracking and can hold up to 70 lbs.

QUESTION: Do you need the Stamps.com pre-printed NetStamp labels to print stamps?   If so, do you have to print a full sheet of postage or can you do print one a time?
ANSWER: Using NetStamps, you can print one stamp for any denomination.  You can also print a full sheet of stamps if you want.  But there are other options – you can also print postage onto Avery 5160/8160 address labels.   You can print on Avery labels from the “Envelopes” tab, choosing  “Label – Avery – 1 x 2 5/8″ – 30 per page” on the “Printing On” field.


FIRST CLASS MAIL LARGE ENVELOPES/FLATS:
QUESTION: How come the price for First Class large envelope mail show $0.98?  Shouldn’t it say $0.97 since we get a penny discount?
ANSWER:  First Class Large Envelopes (aka Flats) are NOT ELIGIBLE for the “Metered Mail” rate and the one cent discount.  The current rate for a First Class Large Envelope is $0.98.

QUESTION: When printing stamps, does the 49 cents show on the stamp and the discount automatically computed into the price using Stamps.com?
ANSWER:  Yes, when you print postage online using Stamps.com, the $0.48 cent automatically will appear in the Stamps.com interface.   The rate shown on the NetStamp is $0.48.

QUESTION: What is the cost for a 8.5″ x 11″ First Class postcard?
ANSWER: First Class letters have a maximum size of 6 1/8″ x 11 1/12″, so an 8.5″ x 11″ postcard is bigger than that maximum size and would be considered a “Flat/Large Envelope.”   The price for a First Class Flat/Large Envelope is $0.98, up from $0.92 in 2013.


SHIPPING QUESTIONS:
QUESTION: Regarding the Priority Mail Regional Rate service, do you need to use special boxes or can I use regular boxes similar to regular Priority Mail (non-flat rate)?
ANSWER: In order to access the Priority Mail Regional Rate box rate, you must use a specific Regional Rate Box – either A, B or C.  There are two types of Box A and B – a top loading and a side loading.  Get more info about Priority Mail Regional Rate Boxes.

QUESTION: Can anyone use Regional Rate boxes or are they only for large quantity shippers?
ANSWER: Anyone can ship using Regional Rate Boxes, regardless of how many packages you ship.  If you purchase postage for a Regional Rate Box at the Post Office, you will have to pay an additional $…

QUESTION: With the 2014 rate increase, I noticed that Priority Mail is cheaper than Parcel Select in some cases. what is the benefit of using Parcel Select?
ANSWER:  For Zones 1-4, Priority Mail is cheaper than Parcel Select for all packages weighing 1 to 70 pounds in 2014.  Since Priority Mail has faster delivery, we would suggest everyone use Priority Mail instead of Parcel Select for Zones 1 to 4, for all packages.

QUESTION: what’s the minimum number of packages required to qualify for Commercial Plus Pricing for Priority Mail? ANSWER:  For 2014, the USPS has reduced the minimum package quantity to 50,000 to qualify for Commercial Plus Pricing.

QUESTION: Is there a way to request a package pickup using Stamps.com in our office building as we do with UPS today?ANSWER:  As long as you are using either Priority Mail or Priority Mail Express (domestic or international), the USPS provides free package pickup at your home or business. They also will collect any other mail class or letter that you are sending out.  Also, if you are have a limited quantity of packages being shipped, you can always hand them directly to your daily mail carrier.

QUESTION: Regarding the Priority Mail Express delivery using the new 10:30 am delivery time – If postman picks up the package at our office – is it guaranteed it will be at the destination by 10:30 am the next day?  Or do we need to take the package to the post office.?
ANSWER: In order to make the Priority Mail Express 10:30 am delivery option, you will need to either drop the package off at a specified location or contact the USPS for package pick-up.  You can get more info at: http://postcalc.usps.com/ServiceCommitments.aspx

QUESTION: What is the maximum weight that can be picked up and shipped using USPS?
ANSWER:  Maximum weight is based on the mail class used.  Maximum weight for First Class Package Service is 13 ounces.  For Priority Mail, Priority Mail Express and Media Mail, the maximum weight is 70 lbs.  For Parcel Select, the maximum weight is 50 lbs.

QUESTION: If we occasionally ship to a U.S. territory (new Zone 9), would you recommend we download the new version 11.1 of Stamps.com? If so, do we need to create new shipping profiles in the Batch section when we install the new software version?  Or does it use our current profiles ?
ANSWER:  In order to use the new Zone 9 feature, you will need to download Stamps.com Version 11.1 at www.stamps.com/download/.   The good news is your batch profiles will carry over into the new version, and you will not need to recreate the batch profiles.

GENERAL QUESTIONS:
QUESTION: What is the URL for Stamps.com Postage Rate Increase Guide?
ANSWER:  You can download all of our whitepapers, including the 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide at:  http://www.stamps.com/whitepapers/

QUESTION: Where do I find a chart listing the State/territories included in each Zone for USPS?
ANSWER:  You can find shipping zones based on your zip code at:  http://postcalc.usps.gov/ZoneCharts/

[Infographic] 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase

January 29th, 2014 No comments

Need some info on the new USPS postage rates that started on January 26, 2014?  Want to find out how much it costs to send a First Class Letter (1 oz.) if you are using online postage?  Or need to send a postcard and not sure how much it costs in 2014?   Check out the Stamps.com 2014 Postage Rate Increase infographic. Click on the image to enlarge

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New $0.48 Metered Mail Rate Starts for First Class Mail Letters

January 27th, 2014 No comments

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Stamps.com customers now pay only $0.48 to send a First Class Mail letter (one ounce)

With the 2014 U.S. Postal Service rates starting on Sunday, January 26, 2014, a new “Metered Mail” rate was introduced for all online postage vendors (i.e. Stamps.com) and postage meters.

This new Metered Mail rate provides a one cent discount for one ounce First Class Mail letters – Stamps.com customers now pay only $0.48 instead of $0.49 to send a letter.

The one cent reduction equates to a 2% discount for all First Class Letter mail.

Free Guide: Understanding the 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase

January 23rd, 2014 No comments

The USPS is introducing new rates and services this Sunday, January 26, 2014.  To ensure a smooth transition for you and your business, Stamps.com has created the 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase Guide.

A free, downloadable PDF designed to help you understand all the USPS changes, the Guide contains detailed rate information for each USPS mail class – both domestic and international – and includes tips and recommendations to help small businesses lower their postage costs.  The guide also contains a comprehensive Q&A section to help with commonly asked questions around the 2014 USPS Postage Rate Increase.

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The guide is free and can be downloaded at: http://www.stamps.com/whitepapers/2014-usps-postage-rate-increase-guide.pdf

 

2014 FedEx Ground & UPS Ground Rates Increase by 7% for Packages Up to 10 lbs

January 15th, 2014 No comments

With a new year comes new rates and products from the top shipping carriers.

UPS Ground® announced an average rate increase (starting December 30, 2013) of 4.9%. FedEx® Ground/Home Delivery announced an average rate increase (starting January 6, 2014) of 3.9%.

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Note: Since UPS Ground and FedEx Ground/Home Delivery rates (up to 50 lbs.) are identical in 2014, the annual rate increase percentage is the same for both carriers.

But the devil is in the details as UPS and FexEx publish their annual rate increase using an average rate between 1 lb. and 150 lbs.  While the rate increase in higher weights (example: 100 – 150 lbs.) are below the average, the annual rate increase in the more frequently shipped weights of 1 to 10 lbs. are often much higher than the average – for 2014 they will be 7.52% in the 1-5 lbs. range and 7.06% in the 6-10 lbs. range.

In comparison, the U.S. Postal Service has reduced their overall average rate for Priority Mail by 0.87% in the 1 to 5 lbs. range and by 2.22% in the 6-10 lbs. range.  These new lower Priority Mail rates will start Sunday, January 26, 2014.

As with every annual rate increase, it’s always a good idea to review your shipping program and look for opportunities to lower costs.  With improved package tracking and no fuel surcharges or fees for residential delivery, the USPS is a great option to include in your shipping program for 2014.

Rate Sources:
FedEx 2014 Service Guide – http://www.fedex.com/us/service-guide/our-services/pdf/
UPS 2014 Daily List Rates – http://rates.ups.com/
USPS 2014 Shipping Services Prices – http://pe.usps.com/Shipping_Svcs_Jan_2014.xls

Calculation Method:
For all three shipping carriers, we calculated the difference between the 2013 and 2014 overall shipping rates for the different weight groups (up to 50 lbs.) across shipping zones (1-8).  To determine the shipping rate increase percentages for the different weight groups, we divided each difference by the corresponding 2013 overall shipping rate.  For this comparison, UPS Ground daily rates, FedEx Home Delivery Standard List rates and USPS Priority Mail Commercial Base rates were used.  The shipping rate percentage increase calculation does not incorporate the shipping rates for USPS Zone 9, which will be introduced on January 26, 2014 for U.S. territories.