TKs Korner Masthead

April 2013

Postal Changes, Requirements, and Rates — OH MY!

What you NOW need to know about the U.S. Postal Service

For more than 236 years, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) has delivered on the promise that everyone has the right to access secure, efficient and affordable mail service. Surely the USPS hasn’t skipped a beat and continues to innovate, adapt, and evolve in an effort to better serve its customers. Below is a summary of the recent USPS changes and other resources to help you utilize the postal services efficiently and most cost-effectively.

Follow the NEW rules for Folded Self-Mailers (FSMs)!

The new rules for FSMs are officially in effect. Check out this helpful video that does a good job of explaining key highlights of new FSM rules.

Additionally, check out the following Sexton Printing links to download easy-to-understand PDFs for referencing the new USPS rules.

Mailing Specifications: Flats

Mailing Specifications: Folded Self-Mailers, Stitched or Bound Mailers

Mailing Specifications: Oversize Postcards and Envelopes

Mailing Specifications: Postcards

Mailing Panel Guide

Permit Specifications

NO surprises! Know the new postal rates!

Below is a listing of some of the most common weights and classes, with their corresponding new postal rates. To see a complete price schedule, visit

Letters / Postcards Now

1st Class Postcard—Non Presorted $ .33

1st Class Letter—Non Presorted <1 oz $ .46

1st Class Letter—Non Presorted <2 oz $ .66

1st Class Flat—Non Presorted <1 oz $ .92

1st Class 5 Digit Auto—Letter <1 oz $. 36

1st Class 3 Digit Auto—Letter <1 oz $ .384

Standard 5 Digit Auto—Letter <3.3 oz $ .247

Standard 3 Digit Auto—Letter <3.3 oz $ .266


5 Digit <3.3 oz $ .362

3 Digit <3.3 oz $ .455

Postage—Letter vs. Flat <3.5 oz

Rate Comparison—3 Digit Automated

Entry Level Flat Letter Difference

None $ .455 $ .266 $ .189

NDC $ .422 $ .233 $ .189

SCF $ .412 $ .223 $ .189

Discover several ways to REDUCE your mailing costs

Many people wonder what can be done to help decrease their mailing costs. Below are some helpful suggestions:

Review the Dimension Charts below to make sure the piece fits within the classification you want.

Mailing Specifications: Flats

Mailing Specifications: Folded Self-Mailers, Stitched or Bound Mailers

Mailing Specifications: Oversize Postcards and Envelopes

Mailing Specifications: Postcards

Mailing Panel Guide

Permit Specifications

Verify the Aspect Ratio in order to get automation discounts. Your piece must fall between 1.3 to 2.5 (when the length is divided by the height). Letter size mail only.

Make a Mock-up of your project to actual size on the paper stock you plan to use with the design placed. Always double-check first to make sure everything falls within the post office’s specific guidelines. For help navigating through DMM, call Mail Requirements in Eagan—Twin Cities BMEU at (651) 681-2630.

Take your mock-up to the Post Office to get approval. For final approval of your mock-up, call the Mail Piece Design (MDA) Support Center at (855) 593-6093. They will give you a number and get back to you within 24 hours. Note: If you take your piece to the post office, they will no longer approve it—only give you their non-binding opinion.

Consider the options of changing the physical size of the piece, weight of paper stock, page count, design, position of the mail panel, how the piece folds and tabs, etc. in order to go with a lower postage rate. Here are some options and ideas you can try:

• Convert premium-priced flats to more economical letter size mail and save! (Dimensions and thickness are the key.)

• Convert letters to more economical First Class postcards.

• Consolidate mailings to mail fewer, but heavier pieces.

• Be flexible. Mail pieces must pass the “bend and rigidity” test.

• Add the appropriate endorsement lines for receiving notifications and/or return of undeliverable pieces.

Move from one mailing rate classification to a lesser one. Consider that the second ounce of a First Class letter will be less expensive than the first. So, combining information when it’s practical saves on postage.

Make sure your design doesn’t require any surcharges for unique, odd, and/or square sizes. Also important, make sure your design will not be REJECTED due to non-compliance or considered by the postal service as “non-mailable”.

Hygiene and quality of your mailing list is critical for controlling postage costs. MAKE SURE your list has mailable addresses in order to minimize undeliverable mail, ensure highest postal rate discounts, and lower quantities to reduce printing costs.

Note: List integrity is easy with Sexton’s optional list hygiene services that utilize industry-leading software (described below). Send an e-mail request to

• CASS Certified Postalsoft Mailing Software requires addresses to be updated using LACSLink data, confirms that the primary address be verified using Delivery Point Validation (DPV), and further verifies that the address is truly deliverable by the USPS. With DPV, ZIP4 can confirm whether any individual address really exists. This is required for postal discounts. It must be done every 180 days for automation discounts and every 90 days for carrier routes. After this date, it will be required every 95 days for all previously mentioned discounts.

• National Change of Address (NCOA). More than 40 million Americans move each year, making accurate list maintenance a difficult task. NCOA is updated every 2 weeks and identifies individual, family, and business moves. This is very important for Standard Mail, as it is not forwarded.

• Address Correction and Encoding by correcting and standardizing address components to increase mailing efficiency and cost effectiveness, while ensuring that your mailings reach their final destinations.

• Merge/Purge and Deduping using a matchcode (or sampling of pieces to find similar records) removes unnecessary, costly, and annoying duplicates.

• Mail Preference Service (MPS) established the Deceased/Do Not Contact List.

• Presorting achieves the highest available automated-mail discounts from the USPS and other postal authorities around the world.

• International Addressing improves accuracy of address data for more than 190 countries. Mailings not conforming to the new standards lose all their automation discounts.

Consider mail dropping to designated drop shipping locations or direct entry facilities. Sexton has offered this mailing option for years!

Use Variable Data Printing (VDP)— one-to-one marketing to your best customers and prospects is a great way to decrease both your printing and postage costs. It also increases your response rates, purchases, and ROI! Sexton has offered Variable Data Printing since 2006. See Digital Printing/Variable Data or Business Development in past issues of TK’s Korner.

Everything you need to know is right here


Useful information about envelope sizing

Check out more mailing info from past issues

Digital Printing/Variable Data or Business Development

Direct Mail—Raising Response, Lowering Costs

For Direct Marketers

In-House Mailing Capabilities

Ways to Save Money

Why Print? Especially During a Down Market

Before we go...

If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email.

As always, I will do whatever it takes to ensure you receive the best value for every marketing dollar you invest.

Connect with me on LinkedIn

You can also check out my profile, join my network and view more client comments on LinkedIn at:

Referrals are greatly appreciated. If you know someone I can help, or who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know.

Take care and have a great day!


Tom Kubinski

Printing Consultant Who Helps You Make Good Impressions
Direct: 612-278-1568
Cell: 612-760-3700

Did you miss an issue of TK's Korner? Click below to view!

Branding - 22 Laws Of
Brand Warfare
Creative Coatings Techniques
Desktop Techniques
Digital Printing - Variable Data or Business Development
Direct Mail Raise Response, Lower Costs
FSC Certification
For Direct Marketers
In House Mailing Capabilities
Ink Tour
Paper Mill Tour - Coated
Paper Mill Tour - Uncoated
Picking the Right Paper
PDF Formats
PDF Info & Quark vs. InDesign
PODi - Digital Print Success Story
Postal Changes, Mailing Requirements & Rates
Post it to the Web vs. Print
Press Check Tips
PURL - Avoid Dog House Campaign
QR Codes
Save Disk Space
Social Media -- The Basics
Social Media vs. Print
Top File Issues
UV Burn
Ways to Save Money
What Sets Sexton Apart?
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?

Tom Kubinski
Printing Consultant
Direct: 612-278-1568
Fax: 612-334-5879
Cell: 612-760-3700
1109 Zane Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN. 55422
Phone: 612-375-1150
Fax: 612-334-5879
Toll Free: 1-800-230-2828

Did you miss an issue
of TK's Korner?
Click to view!