2 Tips to Avoid Soaring Parcel Rates
When the U.S. Postal Service restructured postage rates last May, some businesses took a wait-and-see approach, hoping the organization would change its mind and return to the old system of weight-based pricing. But the USPS made it clear that it wouldn’t back down. Instead, another price hike slated for next month will further widen the cost gap between automated mail, like letters and flats, and nonautomated parcels.
Companies that mail large volumes of lightweight objects have been hit the hardest under the new system. Those that haven’t adapted their mailings to meet the new requirements have seen postage costs increase 40 percent since last May, and now they’re in for even higher rates.
The USPS can’t stand in the way of companies that don’t switch over to automation-friendly packaging. It will just charge those companies accordingly. Coming next month is a 9.66 percent price increase in Standard parcels on top of the 40 percent rise in parcel postage that took effect this past year.
1. Know your limits.
What’s an automated flat under the new standards? First, it must weigh less than 13 ounces, be no more than ¾˝ thick and no more than 12˝ x 15˝ in size. Two new rules instituted by the USPS are reshaping the mailstream to promote compatibility with automated processing machines:
• Flexibility. Place the mail piece on the edge of a table or other flat surface, extending its length 5˝ beyond the edge. Press down at a central point about an inch away from the extended short edge of the mail piece, using steady pressure. Packages shorter than 10˝ must bend at least 1˝ without damage. Packages longer than 10˝ must bend at least 2˝.
• Uniformity. Under new guidelines on uniform thickness, mail piece contents cannot vary more than ¼˝, nor can contents shift more than 2˝.