November 5, 2018

Business Mail Classes Explained

The United States Postal Service® classifies mail into different services, called “classes.” Each class of mail has its own features, service levels, postage prices and presort requirements. Here’s the breakdown of all the different mail classes:

First-Class Mail®

Meant for letters or parcels up to 13 oz., this mail class provides reliable national delivery in an average of one to three days. Plus, prices are the same regardless of how far the mail travels, and include forwarding and return services. FirstClass Mail® is the most common class because it’s fast, easy and affordable. 

Priority Mail®

This mail class provides delivery for letters or parcels up to 70 lbs. in one, two or three business days, depending on origin and destination. Saturday and residential delivery are included in the price at no extra charge, along with free USPS Tracking® and up to $50 insurance. Unlike some other carriers, you won’t pay fuel surcharges for this service. Plus, supplies such as boxes and envelopes are available for free with Priority Mail® service, including flat rate boxes and envelopes. Flat rate prices are fixed, regardless of what’s in the box, as long as it fits without altering the box or envelope… you may remember the famous slogan, “If it fits, it ships.” This can be especially handy for small but heavy shipments, like auto parts or paperweights.

Priority Mail Express®

This service provides guaranteed overnight delivery 365 days a year, including Saturday and residential delivery at no extra charge. It’s the fastest option offered by the USPS®, and includes free USPS Tracking® and up to $100 of insurance. As with Priority Mail®, you won’t pay fuel surcharges with Priority Mail Express®and it includes free supplies like regular and flat rate boxes and envelopes.

USPS Marketing Mail™

This mail class applies to bulk mailings of at least 200 pieces or 50 lbs. Mailings must be less than 16 oz. and of a promotional nature. Examples include flyers, circulars, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs and other advertising materials which can be in the form of letters, flats or small parcels. USPS Marketing Mail™ is for domestic mailings only.

Periodicals

For mailings up to 70 lbs. the Periodicals class of mail is designed for newspapers, magazines, and other periodical publications that are sent to a list of subscribers. These must be published at regular intervals and at least 4 times a year in the form of printed sheets, as well as meet specific standards for circulation, record keeping and advertising limits. You can even access lower postage rates for Nonprofit, Classroom, and Science-of-Agriculture Periodicals. Only those who have submitted a formal application and been accepted can access these privileges. You can check to see if you’re eligible and apply at USPS.com. 

The options may seem overwhelming, but his matrix from the USPS gives a good top-line view that can help you determine which class of mail is right for your needs. 
 

 

Download the essential guide, Mailing Solutions101, to get all the details on mail classes and different mailing solutions for your business. 

 

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