Post Office Mailing Preparation
Regardless of the type of mail material you receive it still has to follow a series of steps before it reaches the Post Office. After data is processed and materials are printed, the last step is with our Production department. They are highly trained and experienced in all procedures regarding post office mailing preparation. The USPS® requires automation bulk mail to follow specific guidelines when putting mail pieces together for presentment.
We offer the following post office mailing preparation services:
Whether it is an automation rate flat or a saturation based mailing, these pieces need to be bundled in groups of a certain number based off of height and weight per mail piece. Once bundled in groups they can be placed into their corresponding Sack (mail container to hold flats, they come as 35 lb or 70 lb bags from the Post Office). For more information check out the Postal Dictionary page.
Whenever you send out a mail piece that is a folded piece of paper such as a self-mailer or newsletter (description on our printing services page) the item needs to be closed using clear sticker like circles called tabs. Depending on the size and fold they require single, double or triple tabbing on the top (where the open area is, fold is on bottom) and left (where the other open area will be on a French fold).
Stamping (First Class & Pre-Canceled)
To give your mail piece a more personalized look and not seem like just another piece of bulk mail, we can apply stamps to the envelope or postcard. They come in a variety of colors and styles, which can be found on the USPS® Postal Store. Pre-canceled stamps are specifically for use with First Class Mail and Bulk/Marketing Mail that are discounted when applied. The prices are 5c for Non-Profit, 10c for Standard/Marketing and 25c for First Class Mail per piece. The mailer (CRST) pays the difference at the Post Office when presented since the stamps already have a specific cost. For more information on pre-canceled stamps visit the USPS.com® Postal Explorer page.
Any bulk mail piece not containing a stamp of sorts most use a mailing permit provided by a direct mail company.
Folding (Manual or Automatic)
Depending on the type of mail piece you chose, it might require us to fold the piece in order to meet automation regulations. For example, all self-mailers, newsletters, *brochures and *letters (*to be placed in envelopes) need to be correctly folded with a hard edge (the fold itself) on the bottom and *left (*if more than half or tri-folded). We currently perform the following folds: tri, half, parallel, double parallel, french, roll, accordion and half then tri.
Manual or Automatic Inserting
Most traditional mail is a letter which needs to be folded (using one of the above options) and inserted into a corresponding envelope (view all Envelope Sizes and Inserts ). If the information on your letter is static (doesn’t have personalized names but a more default salutation “Dear Friend”) then these can be automatically inserted into the envelope.
If you are sending out an appeal or fundraising mailing, which usually have personalized names on the letter, then it is typical to use manual insertion. This ensures that we insert the correct letter into its matching envelope.
These are clear plastic containers to hold multiple direct mail pieces as an alternative to using a flat rate envelope. The advantage is that you can clearly see all pieces inside without hiding them in an envelope. They can also be used to prevent your mail piece from becoming damaged or dirty after going through USPS® machinery and delivery methods. Great for sending directories, magazines, catalogs and marketing packets to display their color and all related materials. Please refer to the USPS® standards on polywrapping (polybags) found on the Federal Register website.
High Speed Ink-Jet Printing
We are able to address thousands of direct mail pieces very quickly using our high-speed ink-jet printers. This places all address information such as names, addresses and barcodes onto the piece for automation bulk rates. Works best with envelopes, flats and postcards.
After the mail pieces are assembled correctly they need to be placed into containers the USPS® uses to distribute to its destinations. Automation letter rate mail pieces such as envelopes and postcards use trays (1 foot and 2 foot or EMM) which depend on the dimensions and number of pieces going to the specified location.
Flat rate mail pieces such as catalogs and magazines are sent to the Post Office in sacks, weight and bundle based bags approved by the USPS®. These are separated by total sack weight and are also sorted by destination.
In order to get saturation based postal discounts, we can deliver directly to the Post Office where it is being saturated. This will dramatically lower postage costs since we are helping the USPS® deliver the mail to the final location.
Residual Materials Delivery
Once your mailing is complete and there are left over materials, we can send them back to you through Priority Mail®, deliver them to an address within our driving distance or you can come pick them up here at our location.
Some mail pieces may be too big or oddly shaped to fit through our high-speed ink-jet machine or you’d prefer to have a colorful and creative label placed on them. We can print and apply all types of labels to your mail piece as long as it cooperates with automation standards. These are typically used for oversized bubble envelopes, boxes, parcels, polywrapped items and other assorted containers.
Sealing (Manual or Automatic)
Once an item is inserted into an envelope they then have to be sealed using a machine that automatically adheres the glue on the flap to the envelope using water. If you have used an envelope size or shape that does not fit into our machine they are then manually sealed.
Direct mail can generally fall into two different categories, traditional or non-traditional. They both require different post office mailing preparation steps in order to mail them out.
Traditional Mail usually consists of the familiar mail we get every day, such as postcards, letters, newsletters, magazines and flats. Mailing is our job and we are very good at it, making sure your direct mail goes out “on-time, under budget and un-eventfully”. Our knowledge and years of experience with post office mailing preparation has allowed us to perfect the process of getting mail “out the door” with quick turn-around times.
These are dynamically printed multi-pieced personalized direct mail pieces. We use a variety of the above mentioned post office mailing preparation services such as: inserting, ink-jet printing, sealing, folding and stamping. Check out our data lists page for more information about personalized mail merged data lists and how they work.
Any type of mail that is deemed “unusual” by USPS® standards would be considered in our world as Non-Traditional. We like mailing pieces that you normally wouldn’t see in your mailbox and captures your attention instantly. For the most part Non-Traditional mail requires extra post office mailing preparation steps, and we can handle it. Some non-traditional mail pieces include:
- Customized Market Mail™
- Oversized “bookmark” cardboard slips (used for as Every Door Direct Mail ™)
- Postcards with unusual die-cut coupons
- Corrugated postcards
- Magnetized postcards
- Circus poster board (flats or scored for self-mailer mailing)
- Flats with die-cut cards
- Pillow box lightweight parcels
- Square cards (e.g. 7″ x 7″, 8″ x 8″ or 9″ x 9″)
- Bright or fluorescent color envelopes
- Unusual font options
- Scented cards
- 30 mil. plastic postcards with pop-out card
- Parcels (for light bulbs, Band-Aid boxes, Seed packets, etc.)
We have already successfully mailed out some of these examples and noticed the results. It makes direct mail fun and breaks up the idea of always seeing an envelope or postcard in your mailbox. Let us know if you have any ideas for a Non-Traditional mailing and we will make sure we can help!