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May 2007 e-Gram

Useful Info About Postal Rate Changes

Here we go again. It wasn’t that long ago (January 2006) that postal rates last went up, but in May 2007, rates went up again. At first glance, it’s not out of line with past increases:

The big news is not necessarily the new rates themselves, but rather the USPS’s shift toward so-called “shape-based pricing,” designed as an incentive for mailers to make it easier for the Post Office to automate as much of the mail processing as possible. Instead of sending an 8½ x 11-inch sheet flat, for example, it will be cheaper to fold it and mail it in a letter-sized envelope. There are a host of new size, shape and thickness restrictions, as well.

This is nothing especially new. Odd-shaped post cards and other “non-standard” mail pieces always cost a premium to mail. The only difference is that the USPS has become stricter about what is considered “non-standard.”

As a designer, here are some of the steps you can take to ensure that you (and your clients) aren’t blindsided by higher-than-expected postal bills:

With a little education and attention to detail, you mitigate the negative impact of postal rate increases and achieve both objectives of saving on postage and producing an effective print mailing.

For more detailed information, check out the rates and fees guide from the United States Postal Service. Click here to download (PDF)