Door Slamming on Home Mail Delivery?

Click to enlarge "Postman in Storm," a painting included in a report from the USPS. To read the report, click: (opens as a PDF)

In the neighborhoods of tomorrow, door-to-door mail delivery will be a thing of the past.
If U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) gets his way, door-to-door delivery will be gone within a decade for 15 million addresses. Issa estimates $2 billion in savings from the bill approved on Wednesday by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, which the congressman heads.

USPS spokeswoman Sue Brennan, commenting only on USPS policy, told Target Marketing cluster boxes specifically for new homes are old news.

“Door delivery for new construction has not been an option for decades—since the 1980s,” she writes in an email response. “The Postal Service recognized long ago that door delivery was very expensive and time-consuming. It was also recognized that eliminating door delivery and establishing centralized delivery would not be possible in all neighborhoods.”

In April 2013, USPS began telling new home developers whether to add cluster boxes or whether, in rarer cases, the postal service would deliver curbside. (USPS put this measure in its regulations in April 2012, according a May 2014 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.)

US GAO figures show door-to-door delivery costs the USPS $380 a year “per delivery point” and $170 for each central location. If letter carriers can deliver curbside, the price is in between at $240.

“At more than $30 billion annually, delivering mail to 153 million addresses in the United States is the largest, single fixed-cost the Postal Service incurs,” Brennan writes.

The US GAO reports businesses were more willing to voluntarily convert mail delivery to central points when asked during Fiscal Year 2013: 0.8 percent of 5.6 million company delivery points changed. As for homeowners, 0.1 percent of 32.2 million “residential door delivery points” did the same.

The US GAO notes this information is based on statistically updated 1994 data and suggested a new study be performed to gain more accurate information.

Heather Fletcher is senior content editor with Target Marketing.

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  • Randy Batterson

    The USPS can kill two bird with one stone! They can enhance the user experience of cluster mail box units with Real-Time mail delivery notification and via that notification send complimentary digital ads/coupons for the content being delivered in their mailbox. The notification informs the mail customer their mail has arrived in real-time (eliminating wasted trips to the mailbox and providing increased security for the contents). The notification and digital ads will provide an entirely new revenue source for the postal service so they can maintain their delivery levels and customer service. Check out

  • Ellis Redding

    “If U.S. Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) gets his way, door-to-door delivery will be gone within a decade for 15 million addresses’……………………and when all the folks in the RED states are a 1/4 mile down the street getting their mail in the snow or pouring rail, I’m sure they’ll ALL be cussing Obama…………………………………

  • Jim Gilbert

    Heather this is certainly interesting. The snarky comment below actually raises a point. The further you get from your mail box, the less likely it (your mail) is to reach you in a timely manner (which is important for direct mail marketers).

    I am all for the USPS saving money, but there are options.

    By options I mean more nurturing of marketers to stimulate direct mail usage. Discounts, seminars (I’ll lead ’em), and new ways to co-promote will help them GROW out of their crisis.

    Jim Gilbert

  • Matt J.

    How about instead of hamstringing the USPS with lawmakers running the business, they privatize the USPS like many European countries have done. I am sure that management could figure out a more optimal solution than a politician.

  • Dave Gross

    For starters, how about eliminating the requirement that the post office pre-fund retiree health benefits? No other federal agency is required to do this.

    I agree with Jim Gilbert, that they need to stimulate more use of direct mail with some creative programs/discounts. Direct mail is very effective, but you’d never know it from all the noise about email and social media.

  • Bernie P

    My sentiments exactly. Privatizing the system will likely result in creating cost efficiencies that a government agency cannot realize. Any agency that Congress has influence over just mucks up the process.

  • House Cleaner

    How about cutting Representative Issa and his colleagues who have accomplished little if anything these past
    19 months when we vote in November?

  • UseYourBrain

    Put aside for a moment, the absurd notion that Darrell Issa has any idea what he is talking about; (his only mission is to lay the groundwork for privatizing the USPS). Also set aside the idea that the same bunch of nitwits that have bungled up the USPS are now expected to save it; I’m talking to you PMG et al. Instead, remember why the Post Office came about in the first place; to provide the nation’s citizens safe and secure lines of communication with each other free of private enterprise and control. Now fast forward to 2012, when a stroke of good luck found a massive solar flare exploding from the other side of the sun. This was not an uncommon experience. Should the next big flareup score a direct hit towards Earth, ALL OF YOUR MEANS OF COMMUNICATION WILL BE GONE ! …….NOW ask yourself how valuable the post office is to you. And remember, once you dismantle this 200 plus year old system, it’s gone forever. Be careful what you wish for. You have been warned.

  • HeatherReporter

    So it looks like @USPS home delivery changes are still surprising people: