1. What is the difference between First Class and Standard postage rates?
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 Francisco Bay 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.
Standard (Formerly called “Bulk Mail”) 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. Think of Standard Mail as a low-cost alternative with a difficult-to-predict but 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.
2. What is an indicia?
An Indicia is one of the most popular ways to indicate, on the mailing panel side of a mail piece, that the postage has been paid. The other two methods include stamps or metering, Indicias are especially useful for high volume mailings. An indicia is an imprinted designation on mail that denotes postage payment, permit number and mailing classification. It usually looks something like this and is printed directly on the mail piece:
3. What is a mailing permit? Do I need to get my own permit for mass mailing and postage discounts?
A USPS mailing permit is a permit assigned by a single post office for a single class of bulk mailing. It allows one to enjoy postal discounts for mass mailings. You probably don’t need one of your own and you can use CMC’s permit for FREE when we mail for you.
4. How many wafer seals (or “tabs”) will I need on my self-mailer (brochure)?
If you want to take advantage of the USPS postal discounts, the number of tabs required and the location of the tabs are strictly enforced based on the design and size of your mail piece. USPS rules are rather complicated, so we always advise our clients to please call and let us see your project at the design stage, before you print, that way we can frequently suggest ways to cut down on the number and cost of wafer sealing. The most common fold/size is an 8.5” x 11” tri-fold, for example, and here is how that can be sealed:
– One Tab – folded edge is at the bottom of the mailer parallel to the bottom of the address
– Two Tabs – folded edge is at the top of the self-mailer and open end is parallel to the bottom of the address
5. Why do you need a barcode?
A USPS-approved barcode facilitates automated processing by barcode readers and scanners at the post office. It is a requirement for most postal discounts. It can also convey information for Delivery Confirmation and Signature Confirmation services. In simplest terms, it will save you money and speed mail delivery.
6. What is NCOA (National Change of Address)?
While over 40 Million people in the United States alone change their address every year, it is very important to keep your list up to date with the new location of your contacts. The National Change of Address system (NCOA) uses the USPS database of all people and businesses. Change of Address information must have been submitted to USPS.An NCOA update can save you money by eliminating contacts no longer at the address specified on your list and updating to the most current address. FYI – the post office recycles Standard Class mail if the address is incorrect, it will not be forwarded; NCOA has the ability to correct the address prior to the mail being sent so your contact will receive your mailer at their new address.
How NCOA works
We run your list against the NCOA database which will then automatically update your list with the new address. We can provide you with this new list of the changes (new address and old address) so you can make changes to your files, if you so desire.
7. What are the current postal rates and where can I find them?
Please see the Postage Rates Guide on the USPS website for current postage rates. For prompt service you can call our Project Managers at 510-505-1100 and they will be happy to give you the current postage rates . We are experts here and will advise you how to save money by designing your mail piece or tailoring your list so as to qualify for the lowest possible postage rates.
8. What mailing list file formats do you accept?
In the early days of mail house processing it was difficult to accept all the different types of tapes, cartridges, disks, operating systems and so forth from a wide variety of computers, from mainframes to mini-computers. Now days this isn’t much of an issue and any modern mail house, such as ours, can work with just about any type of list format. Some of the most common file-types are Microsoft Excel (.xls), Microsoft Access (.mdb), and dBase (.dbf). We can also accept text or comma-delimited file. If you don’t see your file type here, don’t panic, give us a call and we can probably find a way to work with it. You can email us your files, give us your file on a CD, flash drive or floppy disk, or you can also post your files on our FTP site. Our secure FTP site is especially good for large data files. Just call your Account Manager and they will give you the FTP information.
9. Can you eliminate duplicate records on my file(s)?
A “duplicate record” means one might accidentally have two John Doe’s at 123 Main St in Belmont, California within one’s database. Yes, we can. We can take the duplicates out of a single file, called an internal de-dupe, or from multiple files, called an external de-dupe. Files can be de-duped several ways: by exact match, near match, by address, one per household only, address only (in case of businesses) and several other matching criteria. By de-duping your files you will save money on your printing and postage by eliminating unneeded records.
10. Can you help me with my printing too?
Yes we offer printing as well as letter-shop services and fulfillment. Many of our clients like our one-stop convenience. Please give us a call and we will be happy to work with you.
11. Do you accept credit cards?
Yes, we gladly accept Visa and Mastercard for mailing services; however, since the post office does not accept credit cards for postage, we include a handling fee of five percent for postage only.
12. How long will it take to prepare my project for mailing?
We normally request 4 to 5 business days to complete an average job but can often finish it sooner. The quantity and complexity of your job may affect the actual turn times. The process can be expedited if we receive your address files and a sample of your mail piece in advance.