PROPOSED 2018 USPS Rate Increases

USPS Price Increase2
On October 6th, 2017, the United States Postal Service (USPS) announced a price increase to take affect January 21st 2018.

The new price schedule increases the retail price of first class postage for letters and postcards by 1 cent each.  Certified Mail with Electronic Return Receipt will see a 15-cent increase.

Keep in mind, the USPS “proposes” their new pricing, but the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) must approve the pricing before it can become official.

Historically the PRC has denied or adjusted price increases if the USPS attempts to raise prices too high compared with the current consumer price index (CPI).  In this case the USPS is only raising rates by 1.9% which is believed to be accepted by the PRC.

Below is the primary list of rates that may impact LetterStream customers.  Also keep in mind that LetterStream historically does not raise prices on any item beyond the actual USPS price changes.  If you are working on a First-Class Mail project for the new year, we’d encourage you to schedule it before the new rates are implemented.

2018 UNOFFICIAL Postage Rates:
– First Class Stamps up from $.49 to $.50
– First Class Postcard Rate up from $.34 to $.35
– Extra Ounces staying at $.21
– International Rates staying at $1.15
– Certified Mail up from $3.35 to $3.45
– Return Receipt staying at $2.75
– Electronic Return Receipt up from $1.45 to $1.50
– Registered Mail up from $11.70 to $11.90
– Flats (.0001 – .999 oz) postage up from $.98 to $1.00
– Flats extra ounces staying at $.21

For more information review the USPS press release:

http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2017/pr17_062.htm

For all the gory details, see the USPS NOTICE OF MARKET DOMINANT PRICE ADJUSTMENT that was filed by the USPS with the PRC:
https://www.prc.gov/docs/102/102038/Notice%20and%20Attach%20ACD.pdf

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USPS Stamp Prices Going Down in 2016!

USPS Postage Rates 2016

USPS Cuts Price of First-Class Stamp!

The biggest news in the mailing business, in maybe forever, or since the forever stamp.  The United States Postal Service (USPS) is LOWERING the price of a first-class stamp.  The price DECREASE goes into effect on April 10, 2016, when your cost for a first class stamp will be reduced to 47 cents each.

The last time the USPS decreased the price of a first-class stamp was in 1919, when the price dropped a single cent from 3 cents each to 2 cents each.  Now, the greatest price decrease in the price of a first class stamp since 1885; the USPS is cutting the price of a first-class stamp by a whopping 2 cents!  For more information check out the wikipedia page on the History of United States postage rates.

Why are Stamp Prices Going to 47 Cents?

The federal regulatory body that governs USPS pricing is the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC)(http://www.prc.gov).  This organization decides whether the Postal Service can raise prices and by how much.  A year ago the USPS was given a special waiver by the PRC to increase prices by more than the maximum amount allowed (according to their rules), so now the PRC is making the USPS roll prices back.

It really makes no sense though, as the USPS is still operating at a loss.  Follow this link to read the USPS press release on the topic of lowing prices (http://about.usps.com/news/national-releases/2016/pr16_009.htm).

What Other Postage Prices are Changing in April?

In addition to the decreasing price of a first-class stamp, other stamp prices are going down as well.  In fact, nearly every increase that took effect in 2015 is being reversed.  Seems a bit odd that the Postal Regulatory Commission and the USPS couldn’t work out a meet-in-the-middle solution, but their loss turns out to be mailers’ gain. Here’s a sampling of new postage rates:

  • First-Class Postcards will decrease from $.35 to $.34 each (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Additional ounces for First-Class mail will decrease from $.22 to $.21 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Certified Mail base fees will decrease from $3.45 to $3.30 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Certified Mail Return Receipt Green Card fees will decrease from $2.80 to $2.70 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Certified Mail Electronic Return Receipts will decrease from $1.40 to $1.35 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • International First-Class Letters will go down from $1.20 to $1.15 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • One ounce First-Class flats will decrease from $.98 to $.95, and 2 ounce pieces will fall from $1.20 to $1.15 (reversing last year’s increase)
  • Registered Mail letters will decrease from $12.20 to $11.70 (falling more than last year’s increase by another 25 cents)
  • The price of a First-Class Stamp will fall from $.49 to $.47 (there was no increase in the price of a first-class stamp last year)

We encourage everyone to take advantage of the cheaper postage prices in 2016 and send more mail.  If you need some help with that, give us a call, we are what you call experts.

 

Happy Veterans Day!

On that day let us solemnly remember the sacrifices of all those who fought so valiantly, on the seas, in the air, and on foreign shores, to preserve our heritage of freedom, and let us reconsecrate ourselves to the task of promoting an enduring peace so that their efforts shall not have been in vain.

-Veterans Day Proclamation by Dwight D. Eisenhower

 

Veterans Day Stamp

 

Happy Veterans Day from LetterStream!

 

Even though the Post Office is closed today, we are open and able to process and mail your critical correspondence.

New LifeShow Slideshow. (Say That 10 Times Fast)

LetterStream lobby slideshowWe’ve found an innovative way to show off photos and display our logo in our company lobby. Since the price of a mounted flat panel HDTV was less than a custom made sign, we decided to opt for technology and electronics over old-fashioned plastic cut-out letters. Turns out the technology is pretty amazing, especially when combined with LifeShow.

We created a slide show of various pictures of certified mail, registered mail, trays of mail, post office locations, blue collection boxes and a host of other mailing related products with our logo intermixed. Then, via LifeShow we have shared the slideshow on Google+, Facebook and most importantly the flat panel in the LetterStream lobby.

The craziest part!? We are even able to share it in this post!

Use your arrow keys to scroll through our collection of mail related photos (you might need to click on the image first to get it rolling).

You can now pretend you are sitting in the leather overstuffed chairs in our lobby, listening to our peaceful background music, knowing that behind the lobby wall, we are printing and mailing your letters, documents and postcards for you.

If you have fun photos of mail that you’d be willing to share, send them our way and maybe they’ll make it on our slideshow!

Making Express Letters at LetterStream

color_envelopes

If you need to get a mailing out the door quickly, our Express Letter option is about the quickest way to get it done.

Here’s all we need from you:

1. A mailing list saved as a CSV file

Most software allows you to export addresses in CSV format, and MS Excel allows you to save your spreadsheet as a CSV (comma separated values) format.

Check out our YouTube video for assistance:

2. Your document saved as a PDF

There are various ways to create a PDF from an MS Word document. Word 2010 has the option included. You can also use Adobe products or download a free PDF tool at primopdf.com.

See our help video for more information:

When you have these two items, log into (or sign up for) your LetterStream account and choose Express Letter as the job you want to create. You’ll be prompted for your address list and your document (or documents). If you have a logo with your return address built into it, you can even use it for the outside of the envelope.

There are other options as well:EXPRESS-MAILING

  • the ability to share a proof with others
  • notification when mailing is complete
  • the ability to add newsletters, fliers or other documents to the mailing
  • the ability to add additional promotional wording to the outside of the envelope

See our YouTube video for help with this:

What do we do next?

  • We print your document in black and white or color print
  • We print your document on white or color paper
  • We address a #10 white envelope with your return address and recipient name
  • We add USPS First-Class postage
  • We fold your document(s), put them in the envelope, seal and mail them

We guarantee you’ll be pleased with the speed, quality and service you receive from LetterStream, every step of the way.

Still not convinced? Click here for more information about sending Express Letters via LetterStream.

Follow @LetterStream On Instagram!

LetterStream photos on InstagramHey all you #hashtag #instagrammers!

Over the years we’ve collected a lot of fun #photos of mail and related items, and we thought… why not share them with the world on Instagram?

If you aren’t familiar with Instagram, it’s a great way to share cool photos with friends and family… and the world. You can get the app for iPhone and Android phones alike. If you don’t want to install the app to share your own pictures, you can still use Instagram just with your computer. Go to instagram.com/letterstream to find our pictures, or click on the new Instagram button at the top right of this page.

Anyway, check out @letterstream or #letterstream on your Instagram app, or visit the website above.

When you take a cool picture of a post office box, USPS stamp, mail box, blue collection box, certified mail envelope or any other mail-related item, tag it with @letterstream to let us know!

How Can You Send Mail on Postal Holidays?

USPS Post Office Sign

LetterStream can send your mail even when the post office is closed for a holiday. This might be hard to believe, but it is true! The United States Postal Service (USPS) will accept our mail at the post office on some postal holidays even though the front doors are locked.

The holidays that the USPS accepts and processes our mail include Martin Luther King, Jr. Day (MLK Day), President’s Day, Veteran’s Day and Columbus Day.

Our mailing process is a bit different than putting a letter in your personal mailbox or dropping letters in the big blue USPS mailboxes. In fact, we even skip the front counter of the local post office and go directly to the USPS Bulk Mail Entry Unit (BMEU).

BMEU’s process large quantities of mail each day and are basically the main drop point of large mailers across the country. In order to accommodate the large mailing volume, BMEU’s maintain a slightly different holiday schedule than the retail operations of the postal service. This allows larger mailers to keep their mail traveling through the postal system when most other organizations cannot.

So feel free to use LetterStream.com to create first-class mail, postcards, standard-mail and non-profit mail, even on holidays.

The only catch is that on holidays when we take mail to the post office, we are only able to mail Certified Letters if we have more than 200 of them (that is nearly always the case, but it is something to keep in mind anyway).

We recommend creating your certified letters anytime you have them–most holidays we do have enough to meet the postal minimum.

USPS to Cancel Saturday Mail Delivery

Just Announced on the AP this morning:

“Postal Service to cut Saturday mail to trim costs” (*see link to full article below)

According to the article, the United States Postal Service (USPS) plans to drop Saturday delivery of letters the week of August 5th, 2013 in an attempt to save the Postal Service $2 billion annually.

USPS mail truckThis change should have no impact on the way LetterStream prints and mails letters and correspondence for our customers. It should be noted that without Saturday delivery of mail, homeowner, consumers and recipients may receive their statements or other documents a day later than usual.

In the grand scheme of things we believe the impact will be minimal for the following reasons:

  1. Most of the “time sensitivities” and legal regulations of mail relate to when the mail piece is actually mailed, not when it is received.
  2. Most mail pieces that require a recipient to act in some way allow an appropriate number of days for the recipient to respond.
  3. Most businesses don’t pick up their mail on Saturdays anyway.

However, to reduce any impact this announcement may have, we encourage you to load your jobs to the LetterStream website earlier in the work week and schedule your mailings with this information in mind.

For those not currently using LetterStream for printing and mailing, we believe our services can cut time out of your current mailing process, thus negating the impact of changes to mail delivery.

To keep informed of this and other USPS changes, consider subscribing to our blog by entering your email address in the form provided to the right.

The full AP story can be found here:

http://bigstory.ap.org/article/postal-service-cut-saturday-mail-trim-costs

 

Mailing W-2s, 1099s, and/or Charitable Giving Statements?

Tax FormsIt’s January, which means it’s time to send out 1099‘s, W-2‘s, Charitable Giving/Contribution Statements and other tax related documents for the 2012 tax year.

If you are still trying to figure out how to get your documents mailed without mandatory all-night stuffing parties, we might be the right people to call.

With our hi-tech production facility and knowledgeable staff (friendly staff, too), we can take the burden out of printing, folding, stuffing, licking, stamping and mailing your critical documents.

Call us today and get some expert assistance no matter how many (or how few) documents you have.

CAI Trade Show in Las Vegas

LetterStream HomepageWe just returned from a trip to Las Vegas for the 2012 National CAI Trade Show.

This show was the debut of our new booth and newly redesigned brochures. We enjoyed seeing many of our customers at this show; it’s always great fun to hear how we liberate them from the folding and stuffing process of getting a mailing out the door.

It was great to see the traction of our mail-making API. Several of the software companies attending were already displaying the LetterStream partner logo and many others expressed interest in connecting to our servers via the API in order to send postcards, first-class mail and certified mail.

Currently we have partners consisting of community management software companies, collection companies, legal document prepares and large certified mail senders integrating with us.

Follow this link to learn more about the LetterStream API: http://www.LetterStream.com/api.php