USPS is the primary mail carrier for business and personal use. With its large presence in the US, it’s necessary to consider its basic guidelines and regulations when sending out various types of mail items.
Mailing a letter is easy, but rules and regulations apply when it comes to business mail.
Business mail is any type of mail sent to a business or individual. It can include postcards, envelopes, boxes, and more. Almost all USPS delivers items fall under this category, with a few exceptions, such as Express Mail and Priority Mail.
For your business mail to get delivered, you have to follow specific guidelines set by the USPS.
The following are four essential considerations for your business mail items:
The USPS offers five different types of mail to classify your business mail. These are:
This is most often used for letters, postcards, and small parcels or flats that don’t exceed 13 ounces.
This is for items that are slightly more time-sensitive than First Class Mail items, but don’t charge as much as Express Mail.
This is for items that are very time-sensitive and so businesses can reach their customers quickly.
This is a reduced-price service for parcels weighing more than 13 ounces that also allows the mailer to track the progress of their packages.
Media such as books, DVDs, CDs, VHS tapes, and computer disks are allowed to be sent under this classification.
When sending your business mail, you need to consider the item’s weight. First Class Mail is usually used for letters and postcards, so it makes sense that these items are lighter than Priority Mail or Express Mail items.
Each type of mail has specific guidelines to follow when labeling your items.
When sending out your items in the First Class Mail, always use stamps over meter strips or precanceled stamps. Place postage on both the front and back of your item.
If you want to send out a postcard, it has to be rectangular, with a minimum height of 3 ½ inches and a maximum of 4 ¾ inches. The minimum width is 5 ¼ inches, and the maximum is 6 ¼ inches.
When sending out Priority Mail items, the first thing to note is that Priority Mail isn’t necessarily a priority. It means that even though it’s called Priority Mail, delivery times can still vary.
You can send out Priority Mail items in a box or an envelope, the only difference being the price and weight of your item. If your package weighs less than 20 pounds, it must be sent as a box. Anything over 20 pounds has to be sent in a large envelope because boxes are too bulky for that weight limit.
If you’re going to be sending your package as a box, the minimum dimensions are 11.5 inches by 8.75 inches by 4 inches. If it’s an envelope, it needs to have a minimum height of 5 ¼ inches and a minimum length of 12 ½ inches.
With Priority Mail items, you can use a meter strip or a precanceled stamp, but you can’t use both. To determine your postage rate, you must add an extra ounce for any paper inside the envelope.
This part is straightforward. All business mail has to have an address and a return address, and you can’t use any misleading information in the destination area.
The areas where you’re required to put an address are:
The return address is required to put your items under the following circumstances:
To avoid overpaying on postage, you need to use a specific label for each type of mail service.
As stated above, First Class Mail items have a maximum weight of 13 ounces and don’t include tracking information. As such, these items use the basic First-Class stamp.
Priority Mail items are used for things that need faster delivery, but not overnight, like Express Mail. The maximum weight is 70 pounds and includes tracking information, which means it needs labels to cover both the destination and return addresses. Priority begins at USD$3.05 for an item up to one pound, and increases by USD$0.85 for each additional pound up to a maximum of USD$7.75 for items that weigh over 13 ounces.
You can use Priority Mail Flat Rate envelopes or boxes if you want to send out heavier or bulkier packages at one flat rate, including tracking information. Prices begin at USD$5.80, with an additional USD$0.85 fee for each additional ounce.
Express Mail is the final type of Priority Mail service that provides overnight delivery, tracking information, and insurance. The prices start at USD$21.84, for an item weighing up to one pound, then increase by USD$2.97 for each additional pound, up to a maximum of USD$42.97 for items that weigh over one pound.
To make sure you’re using the correct label, visit the USPS calculator and consider factors like whether your item is a letter, a box, or an envelope, as well as its weight and dimensions. Businesses that routinely ship packages should invest in shipping scales that quickly measure exact weights. You can also invest in a postage meter, which has the benefit of covering all bases with a single machine.
The USPS provides rate charts that include information on international postal rates and how to send things overseas. Businesses can also ask professional mailing services, like Mail Boxes, for additional help with labeling and packaging.
Consider hiring a courier service to save time and ensure that you have all the resources you need. These services can take care of pick-up and delivery for your packages, and offer consultation services, such as training new employees to ship items correctly.
By following these simple guidelines, businesses can reduce postage costs and improve their bottom line without sacrificing service. You may visit the USPS website or ask a professional courier for advice for more information about mailing services.