Mailing with CEC - part 3: Presort

This week we continue our series on mailing with CEC. In part 1, we explained the basic data verification and clean up services offered by CEC. Next, we covered advanced verification with NCOA processing. Now it is time to move on to presorting.

Presort Discounts
After your mailing list has been NCOA processed, CEC can then presort the list for the post office. Presorting is exactly what it sounds like – sorting the addresses before sending the items to the post office. As this saves them time, the USPS offers discounts for mailings that have been presorted. The amount of the discount depends on the type of mailing, number of pieces and how deeply sorted the list is.

For example, if you were to mail a letter unsorted first-class, it would cost 44 cents ($0.44). That same letter, when included as part of a presorted mailing using the base discount, first class presorted, would be a little over 41 cents ($0.414). While that’s only 2.6 cents per piece, on a presorted first class mailing project you’d save at least $13.00 total in postage (based on the required minimum of 500 pieces). And that is the most basic level of sorting. The discounts are also based on how close an address is to the post office of origin, so within a mailing there are usually some pieces that go at a even lower rate.

To save even more, you can presort for standard mailing (instead of first class). The savings per piece versus unsorted first class (or stamped/metered) are substantial. A base presorted standard letter will mail at just over 25 cents ($0.256), a savings of over 18 cents ($0.184) per piece. The quantity requirement for presorted standard mailings is lower as well, requiring only 200 pieces to qualify.

The USPS offers a business mail postage calculator free to use on their website. While the numbers aren’t going to be exact, it does offer a general idea of what a mailing meeting certain criteria will cost.

Other Considerations: Standard vs First Class
While the savings for standard presorted mail versus unsorted mail are greater than first class presorting, there is more to consider. Presorted first class mail is delivered in 3 to 5 business days, though there is no guarantee of delivery time. Also, if an item is mailed first class and is undeliverable, it will be returned to the sender at no charge. Presorted standard mail can take up to 2 weeks to be delivered (usually less, however), and if it is undeliverable it will simply be discarded with no notification.

Presort Guidelines
In order to receive presort discounts, your mailing list must:

  • be CASS certified (see Mailing with CEC, part 1).
  • be NCOA Processed (or have the phrase “or current resident” included in the address block) (see Mailing with CEC, part 2).
  • have a minimum of 200 addresses for standard mailing, 500 for first class.

There are also some specific requirements for the mail piece itself – such as the address block being within a white or very light colored area – so it is best to let us check your design prior to placing the order.

Check back for the next part of this series – automation mailing – as well as other blogs over the coming weeks. If you have specific questions about an upcoming project, please contact a client service representative for immediate assistance.

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