Tom Kubinski
Printing Consultant
Direct: 612-278-1568
Fax: 612-334-5879
Cell: 612-760-3700
1109 Zane Avenue North
Minneapolis, MN. 55422
Phone: 612-375-1150
Fax: 612-334-5879
Toll Free: 1-800-230-2828

Branding - 22 Laws Of
Brand Warfare
Creative Coatings Techniques
Desktop Techniques
Digital / Variable Printing
Direct Mail Raise Response, Lower Costs
FSC Certification
For Direct Marketers
In House Mailing Capabilities
Ink Tour
Paper Mill Tour - Coated
Paper Mill Tour - Uncoated
Picking the Right Paper
PDF Formats
PDF Info & Quark vs. InDesign
PODi - Digital Print Success Story
Postal Increases & Requirement Changes
Post it to the Web vs. Print
PURL - Avoid Dog House Campaign
QR Codes
Save Disk Space
Social Media -- The Basics
Social Media vs. Print
Top File Issues
UV Burn
Ways to Save Money
What Sets Sexton Apart?
Why Print in a Down Market?
Why Work With TK?

May 2008 TK's Korner
Postal Increase, Changes and Mailing Requirements

Remember, don't shoot the messenger...

Just wanted to make sure you are aware and have the information and tools needed.

The U.S. Postal Service will exercise its first option to increase postage under the new Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act (PAEA), or postal reform legislation on May 12, 2008.

Rates will go up in the low single digits and slightly less than 2.9% overall for Standard Mail. While PAEA states that increases are not to exceed the Consumer Price Index (CPI), different subclasses of mail can be treated differently. That means some subclasses could experience rates higher than the CPI as long as the overall average doesn't exceed 2.9%.

For example -

Within the Standard Mail category,

  • Parcels and Non-flat Machinables rates will experience the largest increase at 9.66%.
  • Standard Mail Letters will also receive an above average increase of 3.39%.
  • Flats by .086%
  • High Density and Saturation Letters by 1.66%
  • High Density and Saturation Flats and Parcels by 2.09%
  • Carrier Route Letters, Flats and Parcels by 2.99%
  • Catalogs, hit hard in the last rate case, will experience a modest increase.
  • Critical Standard Mail Flats, authorities expect the following -
    -1.67% overall
    - .86% for non-carrier route flats
To see the complete price schedule, please visit:

Rates will increase for a majority of class and rate categories on May 12, 2008

Letters / CardsNowMay 12Difference% Increase
1st class Postcard-Non Presorted$.26$.27$.013.8%
1st class Letter-Non Presorted <1oz$.41$.42$.012.4%
1st class Letter-Non Presorted <2oz$.58$.59$.011.7%
1st class Flat-Non Presorted <1oz$.80$.83$.031.0375%
1st class 5 digit auto$.312$.324$.0123.8%
1st class 3 digit auto $.334$.346$.0123.6%
Standard 5 digit auto$.218$.225$.0073.2%
Standard 3 digit auto$.233$.241$.0083.4%
5 digit$.335$.339$.0041.2%
3 digit$.392$.40$.0082.0%
**Non-Machinable Surcharge from $.17 to $.20
**Presorted 1st Class Letters & Flats <3.3oz: $.009 to $.012 increase (subject to presort)


  • Priority Mail <1lb (pricing not available at time of publication, TBD)
  • Express Mail <1/2lb (pricing TBD)
  • Express Mail <2lb (pricing TBD)
  • Certified Mail to $2.65
  • Delivery Confirmation, Priority to $.65
  • Delivery Confirmation, First Class Parcels to $.75
  • Return Receipt, original signature (pricing TBD)
  • Return Receipt, electronic (pricing TBD)
  • Money Orders (up to $500) to $1.05
Automated Standard Mail under 3.3oz
  • Regular Letters - $.002 to $.007 increase
  • Non-Profit Letters - no increase to $.001
  • Regular Flats - $.004 to $.012 increase
  • Non-Profit Flats - no increase to $.002
  • All increases subject to presort.
Postage-Letter vs Flat
Rate Comparison-3 Digit Automated
Entry LevelFlatLetterDifference
Local Entry$.392$.233$.159
BMC Entry$.359$.20$.159
SCF Entry$.35$.191$.159

Entry Discounts-Letter vs Flat
Entry Discounts-3 Digit Automated

For more information, please visit the Postal Service web site:

The Postal Service also announced
Premium Forwarding Service (PFS)
will be a permanent classification effective March 2, 2008.

Wow, that is a lot to keep track of and deal with. I have also found that sometimes even the Postal workers fail to interpret these new rulings or even process mail consistently! It's not surprising though, since it is difficult to keep up to speed on the ever changing USPS regulations.

So, "What does this mean to me? and What can I do?"
Actually, there are a quite a few things that you can do -

  1. Make a Dummy of your Project to size, on the actual stock you want to use with the design placed.
  2. Review the Dimension Charts to make sure it fits within the classification you want.

    USPS Mail Guidelines

    Specifications for First Class, Standard and Periodical

    1. First Class-Automation & Machinable Mail Specifications -- 115k pdf
    2. Standard-Automation & Machinable Mail Specifications -- 116k pdf
    3. Periodical-Automation & Machinable Mail Specifications -- 106k pdf

  3. Check the Aspect Ratio in order to get automation discounts, your piece must fall between 1.3 to 2.5 (when the length is divided by the height.)
  4. Take a Trip to the Post Office (see Patti White in Minneapolis, 612-349-4945) (or Karl Ermisch in the St Paul Office, 651.293.3096) for approval. Make sure a manager actually signs and dates your design dummy.
  5. Consider the Options of changing your size, stock weight, page count, design, where the mailing panel sits, how it folds, tabbing, etc in order to go with a lower postage rate.

    Here are some ideas you can try -

    • convert premium-priced flats to more economical letter size mail and save! (Dimensions and thickness are the key.)
    • convert letters to more economical First Class postcards.
    • consolidate mailings, to mail fewer but heavier pieces.
    • be flexible, mail piece must pass the 'bend and rigidity' test.
    • add the appropriate endorsement lines for receiving notification and/or the return of undeliverable pieces.

  6. Move from one Mailing Rate classification to a lesser one. (see point 4 above for details.) Consider that the second ounce of a First Class letter will be less expensive than the first. So, combining information when practical saves on postage. Remember your per piece rate depends on all of the above elements.
  7. Make sure your Design doesn't Require any Surcharges for unique, odd and /or square sizes, or is considered unmailable thereby being rejected due to non compliance after all has been printed and processed.
  8. List Hygiene and Quality is one of the most important items. Making sure your list has only mailable addresses will reduce undeliverable mail, not lose postage discounts and lower printing costs.

    This is easier than you think with Sexton Printing's optional list hygiene services with industry leading software (see options available below). Send an e-mail request to

    • CASS Certified Postalsoft Mailing Software - requires addresses to be updated using LACSLink data, confirms that the primary address be verified using Delivery Point Validation (DPV) and further verifies that the address is truly deliverable by the USPS. With DPV, ZIP 4 can confirm whether any individual address really exists. Unitl Nov 22nd of this year, this is required for Postal Discounts and must be done every 180 days for Automation discounts and every 90 days for Carrier Routes. After this date it will be required every 95 days for all previously mentioned discounts.
    • National Change of Address (NCOA) - more than 40 million Americans move each year and make accurate list maintenance a difficult task. NCOA is updated every 2 weeks and identifies individual, family and business moves. Very important for Standard Mail, as it's not forwarded.
    • Address Correction and Encoding by correcting and standardizing address components to increase mailing efficiency and cost-effectiveness, while ensuring that your mailings reach their final destinations.
    • Merge/Purge and Deduping using a matchcode, or sampling of pieces to find similar records, remove costly duplicates and create an accurate single-customer view. Thus reducing the cost of duplicate mailings, which is can be annoying to the recipient.
    • Mail Preference Service (MPS) established the Deceased/Do Not Contact List.
    • Presorting achieves the highest available automated-mail discounts from the USPS and other postal authorities around the world.
    • International Addressing improves accuracy of address data for more than 190 countries. Mailings not conforming to the new standards lose all their automation discounts.

  9. Consider Mail Dropping to designated drop shipping locations or direct entry facilities.

    Sexton has been doing this for years.

  10. Using Variable Data Printing (VDP) - marketing one-to one to your top customers and prospects is a great way to cut down your printing and postage costs. Not to mention increasing your responses, purchases and ROI.

    Sexton has had this option available since 2006.
See Variable Printing issue

Some helpful phone numbers:

Mail Piece Design -
MPLS 612-349-4945 or 612-349-3546
St Paul 651-293-3096

Mailing Requirements -
MPLS 612-349-4739
St Paul 651-293-3177

Permit Information:
MPLS 612-349-4740
St Paul 651-293-3261

Different Classifications that could yield Postal Savings:

  • Class (single piece) & Presorted First Class (bar coded=more postal discounts)
  • Standard Mail & Non-Profit Standard MailPeriodicals - Regular & Non-Profit publications issued at regular intervals requiring a special publication number.
  • Bound Printed Matter, 1lb and over
  • Others
Visit for more information on topics below

Physical Standards for Automation-Compatible Mail
     Quick Service Guide 201a
Placement of Tabs & Wafer Seals
     Quick Service Guide 201b
Automated Flat Sorting Machine (AFMS) 100 & Flat Sorting Machine (FMS) 1000
     Quick Service Guide 301a
Business Reply Mail Layout Guidelines
     Quick Service Guide 507a
Courtesy Reply Mail Layout Guidelines
     Quick Service Guide 507b
Meter Reply Mail Layout Guidelines
     Quick Service Guide 507c

Envelope Sizes -

Other issues of TK's Korners that may be of interest to you:

  1. In House Mailing Capabilities
  2. Direct Mail-Raising Response, Lowering Costs
  3. Digital Variable Printing
  4. Ways to Save Money
Hope this helps and stay tuned for the next issue of TK's Korner. You never know what might be covered!

If you have a production issue not discussed above that you would like me to address, or a project that needs to be looked at, please give me a call or send me an email. I will do whatever it takes to ensure you get the best value for every marketing dollar invested.

Referrals are greatly appreciated, if you know someone I could help, or who might like to receive TK's Korner, please let me know.

"Make sure to check out other issues of TK's Korner!

Selected portions reprinted in Print & Media Buyer, a national magazine for the print industry (Search for Tom Kubinski).

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