Ever get into that position where you need to mail something by a certain date but you aren’t sure how you can make it to the post office in time?
Sometimes you need to get a cancellation letter or an acceptance letter or one of many other letters of a legal nature postmarked by a certain date. Or maybe it’s a bid for an upcoming project. Whatever the case for needing a postmark, and needing it today… there’s a chance we can help.
One of the many neat benefits of knowing a mailing company out west, in Scottsdale Arizona to be exact, is that we can drop your letter at our local post office which is typically still open even after your office closes, especially if you live or work on the East Coast.
This is where the speed of the internet can warp the speed of time. If you live in New York and it is 6 pm, the post offices are already closed, and your letter has no chance to be mailed today. However, if you take 2 minutes to load your letter into the LetterStream.com website, you’ve effectively turned back time by 3 hours (April – October)*, making it 3:10 pm with the post office still open (in Arizona).
We’ll print your letter and get it in the mail before the day is out.
There is some fine print here… if you want to make sure your letter gets mailed the same day, you will need to choose “Rush” on your order, which will increase the price slightly, but we do guarantee same day processing or your money back if you choose that option. Also keep in mind that Arizona doesn’t participate in Daylight Saving Time (DST), so some months there is only a 2 hour difference.
LetterStream turned off dedicated servers at Go Daddy today and moved to the cloud with Amazon Web Services (AWS). We’ve enjoyed our time with Go Daddy over the past dozen years, but it’s time for us to move on to a more powerful and hopefully more reliable network and hosting partner.
As you are probably keenly aware, we like excellence. We thrive on it. We love offering it. We love getting it. It’s just who we are. Because excellence is in our DNA, we need strategic partners who are like minded in their pursuit of perfection.
The most recent Go Daddy outage that impacted us happened just today, June 22, 2015. The prior outage we experienced was June 9th. On both occasions Go Daddy didn’t know our dedicated servers were unavailable. Today, after being left in the dark about the status of their network and being in queue for 30 minutes for a server reset, we felt the need to re-evaluate why only our backup servers were operating in AWS.
In pursuit of uptime perfection we’ve officially decided to move our primary servers to AWS. This move should deliver greater availability as well as scalability, both of which are designed to give you comfort with your choice of LetterStream as your print and mail partner.
Please know that we are around for you. We don’t want to hide behind long chat queues, or multiple tiers of technical support, nor do we want to partner with organizations who are not mindful of how important you are to us. We are optimistic that this migration will allow us to continue to offer the outstanding service that you deserve.
It’s official; new postage prices go into effect on May 31st, 2015. On May 4th the Postal Regulatory Commission approved the USPS proposed price change request.
As a recap, the price of a USPS First-Class stamp remains unchanged at $.49. Therefore there is no need to stock up on Forever stamps.
However, most other postal mailing categories will see increases. Below are some of the highlights for First-Class Mail.
First-Class Postcards will increase from $.34 to $.35 each
Additional ounces for First-Class mail will increase from $.21 to $.22
Certified Mail base fees will increase from $3.30 to $3.45
Certified Mail Return Receipt Green Card fees will increase from $2.70 to $2.80
Certified Mail Electronic Return Receipts will increase from $1.35 to $1.40
International First-Class Letters will go up from $1.15 to $1.20
One ounce First-Class flats will increase to $.98, and 2 ounce pieces will be $1.20
Registered Mailletters will increase from $11.95 to $12.20
The price of a First-Class Stamp will remain at $.49
Keep in mind, we are quoting the new USPS postage costs, not LetterStream prices. LetterStream typically increases prices only to the extent that the USPS fees increase, but review your invoice when creating mailings online for exact pricing.
It’s generally difficult to find the new postage rate charts at USPS.com before a postage rate change is implemented, but with a little digging, the rate tables can be found. Follow this link for the new postage rates for 2015. You can download an Excel file in the left sidebar called “Mailing Services Prices excel – Proposed Updated 05/01/15”.
We don’t recommend using the “Calculate a Price” postage rate tool on the USPS website for mailings after May 31 until that date has passed. While the tool technically allows you to enter the future date of a mailing, it doesn’t take into account the new rate increases. (Don’t ask us why.)
Does it seem like your First-Class letters don’t travel as quickly as they used to? Well, it’s not just your imagination. The United States Postal Service (USPS) has been intentionally and systematically slowing down First-Class letters in order to reduce costs and create efficiencies in their mail handling operations.
This slowing down process has been rolling out for several months now and will continue to be noticed as postal facilities consolidate and the new plans take shape. The most obvious change occurred in January of this year (2015) when the USPS eliminated next day delivery of First-Class mail. This change has effected almost everyone who receives First-Class mail.
Judging by the number of phone calls we’ve already received about this, it’s not necessarily what any of us expected. If there is an upside, the USPS still quotes a delivery service standard for First-Class mail of 3 days (from and to) anywhere in the first 48 U.S. States. (But don’t quote us on this; we are still a little skeptical).
If you want to dive into all the glorious details in a far-less user friendly document, you can review the implementation plan in the USPS Final Federal Register 39 CFR Part 121. This document spells out the specifics of the USPS implementation process. Phase one began on July 1, 2012, and phase two began on February 1, 2014.
In January of this year, the USPS posted a revised interactive service level map on their website in order for mailers to graphically see the service standards for various types of mail originating at your nearest post office. Follow the link to do some experimenting of your own based on your location. For LetterStream customers, use 850 PHOENIX AZ as your Originating point.
Keep in mind that the USPS service standards are not service guarantees. You know… “results may vary“.
In summary, your next day delivery of First-Class letters is probably gone for good, and we are likely to see additional days of transit built in as the USPS consolidates facilities. Editor’s note: Just between you and me and Mr. Stopwatch here; I’d caution you to not expect faster service if your letters already take 4 to 5 days for delivery.
We’ve updated our USPS Holiday Calendar with the latest information from the USPS. In addition, we’ve added important USPS early closing days which are not typically spelled out on the USPS Postal Holidays web page.
We’ve placed this information along with LetterStream’s holiday schedule on a Google Calendar so you can have all the information at your fingertips on your smartphone, tablet or Google account.
If you are already synced to the LetterStream calendar, awesome! Your job here is done. If not, see the instructions below.
One more important mention; most USPS retail counters close early on both Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve, so make sure you call ahead and/or plan accordingly. In conjunction, LetterStream will also be closing early on both of those days.
Click on the “+Google Calendar” button below to subscribe with your Google account.
January is the month that the United States Postal Service (USPS) has been using to introduce prices increases in recent years. However, for 2015 the USPS has no intentions of raising the rate of a First-Class stamp.
On January 15, 2015 the USPS published a press release about pricing titled “Forever Stamp Prices Unchanged“. The title might be a bit misleading as they are actually talking about the price of *any* First-Class stamp that you purchase for First-Class 1 ounce letters, not just Forever Stamps. Late in the press release the USPS specifically says:
Maintains single-piece stamp prices at 49 cents.
Keep in mind the USPS is requesting authorization to raise the price of other letter fees, including the cost for additional ounces (from $.21 to $.22), the cost of international letters (from $1.15 to $1.20) and the cost of postcards (from $.34 to $.35). “Requesting authorization” means that these price changes need to be approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission before becoming official.
If approved, the changes will take affect on April 26, 2015.
This holiday season we want to wish you lots of love, time with family, hot chocolate, and of course… all your mail delivered on time. We are thankful for your support in 2014, and we look forward to serving you well in the coming year as well.
Please note that according to the USPS, most post offices will be closing at 12:00 noon on Christmas Eve (Wed. Dec. 24th) and New Year’s Eve (Wed. Dec. 31st). Be sure to drop mail in blue collection boxes by noon on those days as well, as the USPS will be picking up mail early.
See LetterStream’s holiday hours below, and click here for a link to the 2015 USPS holiday calendar.
Getting an address list out of your software for the purpose of sending a mailing can be a confusing task at times, but we will attempt to decode things just a bit.
You have probably been entering your customer names and addresses into your accounting software or management software. You might even have names in a CRM (customer relationship management) package like Act! or an email program like Outlook. Wherever you enter names and addresses, there is generally a way to get them back out in order to send a mailing.
The process of getting your mailing list out of your software is called “exporting” or an “export“. If you know this simple term you can search the Internet or your software help files for more clues on the subject. Most software packages that allow you to enter names and addresses generally have an export function of some kind.
As it relates to software (not a website or web service), the process is usually as easy as clicking on the “File” menu on the upper left of the menu bar, then choosing “Export“. (The reason we excluded websites and web services is because the standard “File” menu doesn’t exist with websites, and most websites have their own unique way to export data.)
When exporting your data, there are sometimes a wide variety of file formats that you can save your file to. We recommend exporting your data to a .csv file, otherwise known as a “comma separated values” file. The nice thing about a csv file is that it can easily be opened by Excel or other spreadsheet programs, and it can be loaded into other applications as well.