New Postage Rates for 2014

New Postage RatesThe First-Class stamp will be 49 cents after the new postage rates begin January 2014. The US Postal Service has officially announced the postage rate increases for the 2014 mailing season. The Post Office has recently switched from doing large postage increases every 4 years to a smaller increase each year to keep up with costs and industry fluctuations.

The deadline for using the Full Service processing with the new intelligent mail barcodes is January as well.

We always publish a shortlist of the new postage rates:  (newest rates always posted here)

2014 NEW POSTAGE RATES

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New Postage Rates January 2012

New Postage Rates effective January 22, 2012

We updated our systems for the new postage rates effective January 22, 2012.

New Postage Rates 2012
New Postage Rates 2012

We noticed that most of the non-profit rates went down in this cycle and the common rates like Standard Rate (old 3rd-class) 5-digit automation rates went up only .005 from .237 to .242 each.  That is an increase of only 2.1%, not bad considering the average increases over the years ranged from 7-12% in the 20 years I have been doing this.

Here is the Full Postage Rate Spreadsheet from the US Postal Service.
You’ll want to look at each of the many tabs inside the spreadsheet.

Here are some recent past years postage charts for reference:

New Postage Rates 2011

New Postage Rates 2009

New Postage Rates 2008

New Postage Rates 2007

When you see the hundreds of rates available to you through the US Postal Service you realize that people that understand postage best are most capable of helping you reduce your postage expenses. We can help you design a postage strategy that considers the postage rates as well as the expenses required to help you achieve those postage rates. Sometimes it can cost you a dime to save a nickel so you cannot just look at postage.  We consider everything!

Direct Mail people are “details people” because every detail matters. Postage and service maximizing is another great reason not to do your direct mail with a printing company.

New Postage Rates for 2012

Beginning early next year, it will cost just a penny more to mail letters to any location in the United States, the first price change for First-Class Mail stamps (Forever stamps) in more than two and a half years. The new 45-cent price for Forever stamps is among price changes filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission.

“The overall average price increase is small and is needed to help address our current financial crisis,” said Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe. “We continue to take actions within our control to increase revenue in other ways and to aggressively cut costs. To return to sound financial footing we urgently need enactment of comprehensive, long-term legislation to provide the Postal Service with a more flexible business model.”

Highlights of the new single-piece First-Class Mail pricing, effective Jan. 22, 2012, include:

• Letters (1 oz.) – 1-cent increase to 45 cents
• Letters additional ounces – unchanged at 20 cents
• Postcards – 3-cent increase to 32 cents
• Letters to Canada or Mexico (1 oz.) – 5-cent increase to 85 cents.
• Letters to other international destinations – 7-cent increase to $1.05

Prices also will change for other mailing services, including Standard Mail, Periodicals, Package Services and Extra Services. This announcement does not affect Express Mail and Priority Mail prices.

More information on the new pricing is available Here. Download the PDF

While actual percentage price increases vary, the overall average price increase across all mailing services is capped by law at 2.1 percent, the rate of inflation calculated based on the Consumer Price Index.

For business mailers, this announcement offers good news for First-Class Mail Presort mailers. When the new prices go into effect on Jan. 22, the second ounce for presorted letters will be free. “This gives companies expanded opportunities to advertise new services and products to their customers as part of bill and statement mailings,” said Paul Vogel, president and chief marketing/sales officer.

And new for all customers is a 3-month pricing option to rent PO Boxes, perfect for people on the move and others who need a PO Box for a short time period.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.

Find out more on USPS.com

Lower Postage Rates for Full Service Intelligent Mail Option

The Intelligent Mail Barcode is a 65-bar code for use on mail in the United States. The term “Intelligent Mail” refers to services offered by the United States Postal Service for domestic mail delivery. IM is intended to provide greater information and functionality than its predecessors POSTNET and PLANET. The Postal Service was going to require use of the Intelligent Mail barcode to qualify for automation prices beginning May 2011.

Some of the benefits for Full Service Intelligent Mail barcodes include: Better visibility into the mailstream, Ability to track individual pieces, handling units and containers, Receive information about mail preparation and address quality, Determine when a mailing was inducted to the postal system, Address correction services, if requested Mail induction (start-the-clock) information and Optional Confirm Service.

Mail pieces prepared in accordance with full-service requirements are eligible for the applicable discount. Full-service discounts are summarized as follows:
• First-Class Mail Letters, Cards, and Flats: Subtract $0.003 for each automation piece that meets the requirements of the full-service Intelligent Mail option.
• Standard Mail Regular and Nonprofit Letters: Subtract $0.001 for each letter that meets the requirements of the full-service Intelligent Mail option.
• Standard Mail Regular and Nonprofit Flats: Subtract $0.001 for each flat that meets the requirements of the full-service Intelligent Mail option (not available for saturation).
• Periodicals Letters and Flats: Subtract $0.001 for each addressed piece that meets the requirements of the full-service Intelligent Mail option.
• Bound Printed Matter (BPM) Flats: Subtract $0.001 for each flat that meets the requirements of the full- service Intelligent Mail option.

New Postage Rates for 2011

New Postage 2011

First we’ll share the announcement from the US Postal Service about the newly released 2011 Postage Rates then we’ll give you our take below.

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Announcement from the US Postal Service:

January 14, 2011

Announcing the continuation of POSTNET barcodes for automation rates beyond May 2011, the continued use of those barcodes for CONFIRM subscribers, and new pricing set to take effect April 17, 2011.

• The new price sheet for CONFIRM can be found online at www.usps.com/prices.

• POSTNET usage has been extended for automation rates beyond May 2011.

• CONFIRM subscribers using PLANET barcodes will also be allowed to continue using the PLANET barcodes beyond May 2011.

• CONFIRM subscribers who have already transitioned to the IMb are encouraged to continue using the IMb. Please do not reactivate a PLANET Code subscriber ID in your system if you have already discontinued its use.

Thanks,
USPS-National Customer Support Center
———-

New Postage Rates ChartHere is our compiled list of common new postage rates for 2011

As we dig through the new rates there is a lot you can tell by where they raise the rates the most as well as hidden rate reductions. Over the years we have been able to design services based on where we see the direction of increases going.

This year we see the biggest changes in the smaller postcards (4.25×6″ max).
We also see a small reduction in non-profit automation:

postage rate review

There has been a lot of pressure on the post office to increase rates and still balance the public relations nightmare of hurting all the small non-profits that count on direct mail to raise funds. In this rate-case we see a decrease in the automation rates charged to non-profit groups. This is likely to help push them into automation and away from stamps, labels, tape and staples.

The rest of this rate-case is pretty small really. One of the smallest I have seen in a long time.  This is probably due to the fact that we are now getting increases annually instead of every 4 years like in decades past.

Notice also how the largest increases are in the smaller postcards in 1st-class non-automation and single piece rates. This would tend to indicate that this is either a category that is more labor intensive, or there are so few that nobody will notice; which is highly possible. I know from experience that these cards rarely have enough room to do a proper address and the full rate ones are those handwritten ones you get at every tourist attraction in the world.

Those postcards are impossible to automate with that old-fashion vertical-line style design in the middle of the address side of the card.  They need one of our new postal automated designs from one of our USPS Mailpiece quality certified designers here at CSG Direct.direct mail quotes

(postage rates at csg here)

Setup a Direct Mail Postage CAPS Account?

What is a Direct Mail CAPS Account and how do you set one up?

A CAPS Account stands for Centralized Account Processing System. The post office makes it easy for your business to electronically put money into your postal account, instead of the hassle of getting a check prepared and deposited at the Post Office before the 5:30 deadline every day. It is the easiest way to fund your permit, business reply mail, merchandise return service, postage due account, and express mail corporate account.
There are two different CAPS Accounts available for postal customers to use. There is a centralized trust account, where customers deposit funds using electronic funds transfer to the CAPS bank prior to mailing. Then, your account is automatically reduced when your local post office processes postage statements. The next CAPS account is the centralized debit account, where customers designate a debit-enabled bank account for postage charges. The bank account is debited for the total day’s postage on the next bank business day.
Each CAPS account customer will have their own unique account number and password to ensure that funds are properly administered. It makes it quick and convenient to mail under the same permit imprint that they have already held (if a personal permit previously existed.) Postal Customers can set up their accounts to have mailing and accounting fees administered automatically.
To set-up a CAPS account contact your USPS local post office, or you can call the CAPS Service Center at (650) 377-1334. You can also download the forms to sign up for CAPS at http://caps.usps.gov/business/caps.asp and mail them into:

CAPS Service Center Postage CAPS Account
2700 Campus Drive
San Mateo, CA 94497-9442

CSG Direct, Inc works very closely with the USPS and we know all about CAPS Accounts. If you need my help, I am just a phone call away 775-852-9777.

No Postage Rate Increase this January

In an announcement that shocked many today, the Postal Direct Mail PostageRegulatory Commission soundly rejected the Postal Service’s request for a postage rate increase of 5.4 percent on January 1, 2011.

This means that postage rates will remain the same until they can be legally changed under the price cap formula next May.  This is also a stunning loss for the Postal Service has it has pleaded that it desperately needs the money to sustain its operations and it comes in the middle of union negotiations with two of the largest postal unions.

The Envelope Manufacturers Association strongly fought this increase through our Affordable Mail Alliance and we filed many hours of testimony showing how this rate increase would damage a recovery in our industry.  This decision to hold prices stable will have a positive impact on mailings both in the Fall and next year and upholds an important principal in the Postal Accountability and Enforcement Act that price increases could not be greater than inflation.  EMA fought hard for that position as we did to uphold the law.

PCC Lunch and Learn: Business Customer Gateway

Postal Customer CouncilPCC of Northern Nevada Lunch and Learn Series

Guest Speaker: Michael Hemphill of CSG Direct, Inc

The US Postal Service continues to Michael Hemphill PCC Luncheonmodernize and automate steps to keep postage low and better serve its clients. Come learn about the new Business Customer Gateway from the US Postal Service.

The Business Customer Gateway gives you a single, unified landing point to access the Postal Services’ online business offerings. These channels consist of the products that support intelligent Mail Full Service Mailing. This includes PostalOne!, FAST (Facility Access and Shipment Tracking), CLDS (Customer Label Distribution System) and Mailer IDs (MID).

Here is the USPS Business Customer Gateway Powerpoint (trimmed)

Speaker: Michael Hemphill of CSG Direct, Inc

Topic: Business Customer Gateway

Location: Atlantis Casino, 3800 S Virginia St, Grand Ballroom 5

Date: Thursday May 20, 2010

Time: Registration at 11:30 am, Lunch served at 12:00

Cost: $20

Reserve your seat by contacting Cindy Cornelison at 775-788-0690.
Call early to request a vegetarian meal.

Here is a scanned copy of the postcard invite from the PCC:

PCC Luncheon

Direct Mail Services – National Change of Address

Mathematically speaking, National Change of Address (NCOA) is one of the most valuable services any Direct Mail Services company can offer you. With over 17% of the population moving per year many of today’s businesses are using mailing lists that are from 17-34% useless to begin with.

Most people send direct mail using Presorted Standard postage in order to save large sums of money in postage. The backside of this is that any pieces mailed to someone that has moved are thrown away by the US Postal Service.  This is because “Presorted Standard” (old 3rd class) doesn’t include address forwarding the same way 1st-Class does.

So, if you don’t get back the return-mail pieces with yellow stickers like you do with 1st-Class Postage, your mailing list begins to expire over time.  But 1st-Class costs 50% more to send.

So if your boss says they want a better response from their direct mail, tell them NCOA can help you find where all your people have moved.  That is what NCOA is afterall. It is the national Postal registry of every change of address database of every form submitted by moving people.  Your database is compared to this database and your movers are identified, flagged and updated.

On average, even a “clean” mailing list has 3-10% moves.  That is 3-10% of your print costs, your mailing costs and your postage costs being thrown away.  At CSG Direct we let you know where your people have moved BEFORE your mailing goes out.

We are a USPS NCOA Link Limited Service Licensee and have been doing NCOA for about 5 years now.

We got into NCOA because it helped our clients achieve greater marketing results. The US Postal Service has seen great results and is making the service mandatory within 95 days of mailing. They spend too much time and money trying to find people for your .44 cents so they are making cleaner lists a requirement.

From me to you, behind the scenes a technology revolution is happening at the US Postal Service.  Make sure you are working with a vendor that knows what’s going on. There is lots to be gained when working with a Direct Mail Company ~vs~ a printer “that does mail too”.

US Mail Postage Rates Summer Sale

The US Postal Service is having it’s first ‘Sale’ that I have seen in my lifetime of 20 postal years. They are going to give you 30% off of your postage rates for every dollar you spent ‘above your average’.

The details are best to come directly from the US Postal Service so here is the quote from the Post Office customer Relations:

“The Postal Service will offer qualifying Standard Mail customers a 30 percent discount on eligible mailings this summer. This will provide those mailers with an incentive to prospect for new customers and reconnect with existing customers.

We think Direct Mail has tremendous value in growing your business. With Direct Mail accounting for 22 percent of the $250 billion spent nationwide on advertising each year, it’s big business. Direct mail is targeted and measurable to an extent other advertising media can’t match.

The summer sale is currently under review by the Postal Regulatory Commission. We plan to begin the discounted pricing July 1. The sale will run until September 30.

Obviously, this is a new initiative for us and we’re anxious to see how well it will work. Are any of you going to take advantage of the summer sale?”

– Steve Kearney, senior vice president, Customer Relations

The catch is, to be eligable you must mail over 1 million pieces of mail from October 1st 2007 through March 31st 2008. From those dates a ‘threshold’ is being established to compare your current summer mailings to.

You will pay your full postage rates through this season and then after October 31st the US Postal Service will determine your rebate and put that back on your permit by December 31st.

So there is a Sale, but only a handful of our direct mail customers will even apply for it as the discount is 30% of the postage spent above your average amount. Of course you still have to mail at least a million pieces in the 4 months as well.

I estimate that this will affect the ‘publishers clearinghouses’ and ‘Capital Ones’ of the world the most.  I just wouldn’t be doing my duty if I didn’t tell you about it. If you would like us to help you calculate, monitor and apply for your savings with you we will.