Understanding Your Direct Mail Size and Rate Options

Size makes a big difference in the rates you will pay for direct mail. It can be a bit confusing given the number of choices you face. And, if you’re mailing in the U.S. and Canada, there are differences. We’ll be focusing in on postcards this week before moving on to self-mailers and larger pieces over the coming weeks.

There are multiple takes on postcards. Here are a few:

  • First class card – You can mail a piece that is no larger than 4.25” x 6” and no smaller than 3.5” x 5” for 34 cents as of the date of this writing. Bulk rates are as low as 25.1 cents per card. The minimum quantity for first class bulk mailing is 500 pieces.
  • Large postcards – Pieces up to 6.125” x 11” are considered “letter mail.” The full first class rate is 49 cents. Bulk rates for first class mail can be as low as 38.1 cents. Bulk rates for Standard Mail service, which takes a little longer to deliver and doesn’t include forwarding or return service, can vary from 30.1 cents down to as low as 15.3 cents each.
  • “Jumbo” postcards – These are postcards that are too big to qualify for letter rates, typically 8.5” x 11” or as large as 12” x 15”, which is the maximum size. We see these being used extensively on saturation or Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) mailings for as low as 15.3 cents each. However, if you’re not carpet bombing, the rates are in the 38 to 55 cent range.

A variety of factors can affect postal rates.

  • How many pieces are being mailed?
  • What is the geographic concentration of the recipients? The more concentrated the recipients, the lower the rates.
  • Which post office are you entering the mail at? The closer you enter mail to the recipients, the lower the postage cost. Postage savings have to be weighed against trucking costs.
  • How much does the piece weigh? In first class, you pay for each incremental ounce. For standard, the rates are the same up to 3.3 ounces, at which point a different rate structure kicks in.
  • Does it qualify for automation rates?
  • Do you qualify for lower non-profit rates?

Canadian sizes and prices are different. Here are some high points:

  • There is no equivalent to the first class card.
  • Rates, generally speaking, are 15-25 cents higher than the U.S.
  • The equivalent to First Class Mail is Lettermail. Addressed Admail is similar to Standard Mail.
  • The minimum size for a postcard is 5.6” x 3.6” (140mm x 90mm) and the max size is 9.6” x 6.1” (245mm x 156 mm) with a 1000 piece minimum for Addressed Admail. These sizes apply to what is called Short and Long Machineable Mail.
  • It is possible to do larger sizes at higher rates.

Next time: Size and rate info for self-mailers

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