Postage Classes and Options for Direct Mail

Knowing what kind of options you have for your direct mail can help you with your mailing campaign. First Class and USPS Marketing Mail are not just about the cost of postage and the speed of your mail delivery.

We’re here to help you clarify your options when considering a direct mail campaign.

Postal Service Classes

First Class — mail enjoys a much faster delivery time in most cases but is more expensive than Standard Class. Nationwide delivery times for First Class average one- to five-days and over 96 percent of First Class mail is delivered the next day within the San Diego Area.  One other difference between First Class and Standard mail, with First Class, the undeliverable mail (wrong address, for example) is returned to the sender free of charge.

First-Class Mail® is a fast and affordable service for envelopes and packages weighing up to 13 oz. Delivery is in 2-3 business days. It’s perfect for personal correspondence, bills, and light merchandise. You’ll invest approximately $500 per 1000 pcs of minimal weight.

Standard Class (formerly called “Bulk Mail” or Pre-Sort Standard) — is a more economical method of mailing but it usually takes longer to arrive. We see nationwide average delivery times of one- to two-weeks and local averages of three- to ten-days. On rare occasions we also see next day delivery of Standard mail and about once a year it will take three weeks to get to its destination, these times are very unusual though (usually around the holidays or political season). Think of Standard Mail as a low-cost alternative with a longer delivery time. Standard postage may not be used for bills, invoices or other mailings which contain unique personal information. It is used instead for advertising material.  With Standard mail, you do not automatically receive the undeliverable pieces, so it isn’t a good choice for keeping your mailing list up-to-date, although you may ask us to include an endorsement like “Return Services Requested” and, for a fee, the U.S. Postal Service (USPS) will return this mail too. You’ll invest approximately $300 per 1000 pcs of minimal weight.

Non Profit — You may be aware that special nonprofit prices are available for some Periodicals and Standard Mail mailers, but you may not know who is eligible for those privileges. Nonprofit postage is lower than regular prices, but not everyone can qualify. Organizations wishing to mail at nonprofit Standard Mail prices first must be authorized by the Postal Service as eligible. Then, they must make sure that the material being mailed complies with strict requirements for nonprofit prices. Nonprofit postage prices are available only for domestic mail, not for international mail. You’ll invest approximately $135 per 1000 pcs of minimal weight. Click here for an application for non-profit mailing rates.

Special Address Service Options

Sometimes, no matter how good your address is, we still can’t deliver the mail. For instance, your customer may have moved or the building may be vacant. By using special addressing services called “ancillary service endorsements,” you can give the Postal Service specific instructions for how to handle your mail if it is undeliverable as addressed. Depending on the purpose of your mailing, you may want those pieces forwarded to customers who have moved, or you may want a corrected address returned to you. Ancillary service endorsements include five basic phrases that are printed on the address side of your mail piece:

  • Address Service Requested – your mail is forwarded and you learn about the new address
  • Return Service Requested – your mail is returned to you with an updated address if available
  • Change Service Requested – no forwarding or return, but you learn about the new address if available
  • Forwarding Service Requested

Undeliverable mail is handled differently depending on the class of mail, the endorsement you use, and how recently your customer has moved. Some of these actions have fees associated with them and may cost you money. Learn more here.