It has been a while since our last COVID-19 update, but that’s because nothing much has changed in our protocols or a capability to process mail. Our systems remain strong despite large increases in web traffic and our team remains healthy because of the many safety measures that we’ve been operating under.
We do have some concerns however about how the United States Postal Service will keep up with the increase in mail volume this December. There are large increases in package deliveries this year as shoppers avoid stores and shop online due to the Cornavirus. These packages will take up truck and delivery vehicle space and may limit the amount of mail or the speed at which mail can be delivered. We are already seeing our inbound freight shipments being delayed. That said, we encourage all our customers to send mail early this year for timely delivery.
While not promoted heavily on our website, we do offer electronic delivery of documents in the event you have email addresses for your recipients. If interested, please contact our support staff or your sales representative.
Thanks to all of you for supporting us and remaining loyal to us during COVID-19. It’s been a number of weeks since we’ve given you an update so we thought we’d pass along our current status.
As an essential business, as defined at both the states and federal level, we are still open and operating, and, aside from suspending our Express Letter job type, there has been practically no negative impacts on our speed of service or quality.
I have to express our overwhelming appreciation to our team for reacting positively to a great many restrictions that we imposed on them, like canceling their free gym memberships, closing down our breakroom, getting rid of shared food, and breaking up comfortable workgroups by spreading workers around the clock. We have been blown away by our team’s flexibility and commitment to us and to you our customers.
Going forward, as the country attempts to get back to some level of normalcy we are working on our next phase of operating, taking into account both state and federal guidelines and recommendations. The Governor of Arizona recently announced that we are in Phase One of his reopening strategy. Group gatherings are to be limited to 10 or fewer people and social distancing is still to be observed. Phase Two is likely to occur at the end of the month if all state metrics are trending in the right direction.
In Phase One we will continue to practice social distancing, equipment, and workplace disinfecting and frequent hand washings. Our breakroom and common areas will remain closed and essential employees are encouraged to wear masks. Non-essential employees will continue to work from home and meetings will be handled via conference calls, zoom meetings, and the like.
When the Governor declares Phase Two, we will cautiously work to remove some obstacles to productivity all the while continuing to embrace appropriate methods of cleaning and disinfecting. In Phase Two we anticipate reintroducing non-essential employees into the building in a limited capacity and may receive an occasional prospective client for a company tour.
Keep in mind we remain highly vigilant for the health and safety of our employees, customers, and those in our community and will always choose safety over convenience or profit. This period calls for fluid decision making that is the best interest of all. All that to say, our plans may change but know that we are striving to be the best possible us, so we can do our best for you. Thank you one and all!
LetterStream continues to print and mail your critical business correspondence.
Arizona, home of LetterStream, Inc., has yet to implement a shelter in place order but even if they do so, both the State and Federal language around Essential Services should allow us to remain operational for the foreseeable future.
Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order on March 23, 2020 which classifies mail and shipping businesses as Essential Services. A similar order came from the US Department of Homeland Security, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) on March 19, 2020 stating that “Postal and shipping workers, to include private companies” are a part of the Essential Critical Infrastructure. That said, we believe we will continue to process your mail even if conditions worsen across the country.
Additionally we are taking extreme steps to make sure our workforce is practicing CDC recommendations as well as embracing preventive measures as quickly as we implement them.
To improve Social Distancing we have taken three key actions. First, we have asked that all administrative employees to work from home. Secondly we have extended our normal operating hours allowing fewer people to be working at any one time. And finally we have temporarily suspended the use of our Express Letter job type (click to learn more – Express Letter Temporarily Unavailable ). Each of these actions along with the commitment of all the amazing LetterStream team members should keep us positioned to get your mail out.
Thank you for your continued support of our business and for trusting us with your critical mail.
LetterStream is paying very close attention to the Coronavirus situation and is meeting and taking new actions daily.
At this point, we are still fully operational but we are reducing the number of active employees working at peak times in order to increase “social distancing” for our team. And while we expect minimal impact, we do know that the amount of mail we can get out the door the “same day” it arrives is likely to be diminished.
Keep in mind that FedEx, Certified Mail, and Expedited mail will have the same priority as always and we believe we will continue to hit those targets. The change will be in USPS First-class, NonProfit and Standard/Marketing Mail where customers may be accustomed to loading a job at 3pm and seeing it mail the same day, without paying for expedited service. We foresee this being the most impacted and highly unlikely for weeks ahead.
Here are some things you can do to help us stay in step with you about your mailing projects. If you need the mail delivered quickly, we highly recommend our FedEx overnight and 3-Day options. If you absolutely need your mail processed quickly by LetterStream, pay to have your job expedited through rush or expedited services in the shopping cart. If you just wish your mail would go out faster, I’d recommend trying to load your jobs earlier in the day. Lastly, please anticipate that delays are going to be occurring all around us and all around you. Please work on plans to compensate for the new normal so that your mailings will go out as needed.
As always, if you have any questions you can contact our awesome Customer Service team, all of whom are working remotely. Also, our website provides a lot of good help, solutions, and information via the Help button floating in the lower right corner of the screen.
Thank you for your business, for your frequent kind words and for trusting us with your critical mail. Stay well and hunker down.
Mark Your Calendars!
The proposed price changes that the United States Postal Service (USPS) filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) back in October, were approved. Starting January 26, 2020, these new prices will officially be in effect.
LetterStream prices will reflect the rate changes starting on Friday, January 24th at 5pm Arizona Time (6pm EST), so we recommend planning ahead and approving your mailings before the price increases are officially in effect.
As it goes every year, any job in our system that has been approved and paid for prior to 5pm on the 24th will have the old postage prices, even if we mail it on Monday the 27th. Following is a list of postage changes for some of our primary products.
Here’s the list of items unchanged by the 2020 rates:
- First-Class stamps staying at $0.55
- First-Class Postcard Rate staying at $0.35
- Extra Ounces staying at $0.15 (for letters, not flats)
- Flat base rate staying at $1.00
And some items that are experiencing an increase, such as:
- International Rates going up from $1.15 to $1.20
- Certified Mail going up from $3.50 to $3.55
- Return Receipt going up from $2.80 to $2.85
- Electronic Return Receipt going up from $1.60 to $1.70
- Registered Mail going up from $12.40 to $12.60
- Flats Extra Ounces going up from $0.15 to $0.20
Sorry, this year we didn’t find any fees that went down for the products that we offer.
If you want to review the USPS press release, click here.
For the complete list of 2020 rate changes, click here and download the data files from the USPS website.
We should remind you that LetterStream rarely raises our prices. We simply increase our prices by the amount of the USPS rate increases, and you can expect the same this year as well.
Again, LetterStream will be implementing these changes on January 24th, 2020 at 5 PM, so make sure you approve any jobs you can before the 24th to get the old postage prices.
Santa isn’t the only one busy this Holiday season!
We all get sucked into the hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, ordering, and MAILING!
The USPS becomes Santa’s little helpers as they deliver about 2.5 million pieces of mail this week alone and about 800 million packages between Thanksgiving and New Years. (WBRZ)
When sending out letters and packages to family and friends and want them to make it to the desired location by the big day, to do so make sure you follow the USPS shipping deadlines schedule.
Dec. 18 – APO/FPO/DPO (except ZIP Code 093) USPS Priority Mail Express
Dec. 20 – First-Class Mail (including greeting cards)
Dec. 20 – First-Class Packages (up to 15.99 ounces)
Dec. 20 – Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
Dec. 21 – Priority Mail
Dec. 20 – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail and First-Class Mail
Dec. 22 – Alaska to mainland Priority Mail Express
Dec. 22 – Hawaii to mainland Priority Mail Express
Dec. 23 – Priority Mail Express
If you want more information about these deadlines go to WBRC.com
Racing through Mexico!
Given today’s headlines it might sound treacherous to drive to Mexico; but how much more so, to make it a thousand-mile road trip through the country. And let’s add a twist of only traveling on unpaved and primitive roads.
Well, Dennis our Technical Services Manager is doing just that this weekend. But because Dennis loves a good challenge, he’s making the trip in a Volkswagen bug.
Dennis is racing in the 2019 Baja 1000, a grueling 1000 mile non-stop road race on nearly impassible roads in a car that’s over 50 years old and has a fraction of the horsepower of any modern car.
There are two things you should know about Dennis. First, he can fix anything (which LetterStream really benefits from and I’m sure his race team does too) and second he has a heart the size of the entire Baja Peninsula. Dennis has joined up with another Dennis, Hollenbeck, and his team to race Class 11 car 1121 through a brutalizing 1000 miles of dust and boulders. But car 1121 isn’t just a race car, it is owned and operated as an extension and fundraising arm of Real Life Ministries an organization that serves the less fortunate ones in Mexico.
So not only does Dennis get the joys of fixing even more things this weekend, he also gets the greater joy of participating in a journey to uplift the downtrodden and help shed light on a ministry seeking to do the same thing.
Dennis, we’ll be watching and cheering as you pound the rocky terrain of Baja Mexico and seek to make the world a little better for those around you.
Check out the following related websites:
Real Life Ministries. https://reallifeministries.org/ “committed to serving the less fortunate, tending to the sick, and providing shelter for the homeless. 365 days a year, 24 hours a day.”
Class 11 Car 1121. http://www.teamh12one.com/ “We are about Running the Race as it describes in Hebrews 12:one , “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us … run with perseverance the race marked out for us”.”
Baja 1000. http://score-international.com/ November 22 – 23rd 2019. View the livestream of the event at http://score-international.com/livestream-52nd-annual-score-baja-1000
Update: November 25, 2019:
The Baja team fought a brutal battle, enduring one of the most difficult courses in the 52 years of the Baja 1000 history. And congrats to the team, for taking First Place in the group of Class 11 cars. How amazing, to punish the car and driver for over 36 hours of non-stop CARnage and still drive across the finish line. Great job team!
A quick update on the water drive for Phoenix Rescue Mission.
Brown Community Management (https://www.brownmanagement.com/) invited us to participate with them again this year to help the Mission replenish their water supply of bottled water for needy and homeless individuals. And we gladly joined them again.
The Phoenix Rescue Mission is committed to reducing hunger and homelessness throughout Maricopa County. Their annual fall water drive replenishes their inventories as they work to prevent heat-related deaths in the valley. The water drive is called Code Red (https://phoenixrescue mission.org/codered) and we certainly encourage you to get your company involved in assisting in this event or finding others as a great way to give back.
We’d like to thank Brown Community Management for inviting us to participate. And a big thanks to OPACS (OPACS.com) who provided a box truck with a lift gate and a pallet of water to make this a record year for Brown and LetterStream in our contributions. But the biggest thanks goes to the LetterStream employees who grabbed a pallet, a case or just a bottle and dropped it off selflessly for the benefit of those less fortunate. Our LetterStream team donated 7,800 bottles of water.
Our next event is our annual Toys for Tots toy drive. If you are inclined, stop by and drop off an unwrapped toy if you are in the area. Or better yet, find a way to bring your organization together and share in the joys of giving through an event that you organize.
A quick but heartfelt thank you to all our customers, employees (present and past), vendors and encouragers who have cheered us on in some way over the years.
We say a big Thank You! October 2019 is LetterStream’s sweet 16th birthday.
It has been fun to serve all those who enjoy our service these many years. And one fun fact… as nearly 25 new users discover and sign up for our services each day now (including LetterStream.com, OnlineCertifiedMail.com, and MailMyLetter.com), to send one letter or 10s of thousands, we signed up our 16,000th user this month too!