So, you want to send a Certified letter but you’re not sure what the cost will be. Before we begin talking about that, let’s do a quick overview of what Certified Mail is, shall we?
What is Certified Mail?
Certified Mail is the right product when you need proof of mailing, proof of delivery and detailed tracking of the letter as it travels to its intended recipient. You can choose to have the recipient must sign for the letter. That is, as long as you choose to add a Return Receipt to your mailing. More on that later.
Certified Mail is only available for letters bound for addresses within the United States and can only be used on letters that weigh less than 13 ounces. This service is often used from important legal documents or for legal matters where you need to prove that you mailed something.
USPS Certified Mail Cost
Ok, so now that you have a brief understanding of what sending a letter by certified mail is, let’s talk more about the cost.
The cost of Certified Mail varies depending on the weight of your mail and whether you want a Return Receipt included. Again, we’re still saving that for a little later on.
Now keep in mind, if you’re sending Certified Mail the traditional way, through the United States Post Office (USPS), then you have some work to do on your end as well.
Not only do you have to provide the letter itself, through creating it and printing it, but you have to get an envelope, seal it, drive to the post office, wait in line, fill out the Certified Mail label, add postage to it, pay for it and then drive back home or to the office. Remember, time is money.
Keeping all of that in mind here is the breakdown cost of what the USPS charges to send a Certified Mail piece:
- First-Class Postage $.66 (up to 1 ounce (roughly 5 pieces of paper))
- Certified Mail: $4.35
- Optional Return Receipt – Green Card: $3.55
- Optional Electronic Return Receipt: $2.20
Here’s an example of what it would cost: If you want to send a 1-ounce letter with Certified Mail rates and a Return Receipt, the total cost would be $8.56. This includes the $4.35 certified mail fee, the $3.55 return receipt fee, and the postage for a 1-ounce letter.
Return Receipt Vs Electronic Return Receipt
Can we talk about a Return Receipt already?
Ok, ok. Now that we’ve broken down what the post office charges. Let’s do a quick overview of what a Return Receipt and Electronic Return Receipt (ERR) are and how they are different.
What is a Return Receipt? A Return Receipt is a physical copy of the green card, also known as the “PS Form 3811,” that is mailed back to the sender to show that the recipient received and signed for the letter.
What is an Electronic Return Receipt (ERR)? On the other hand, an ERR is the same as a Return Receipt except it is electronically sent back to the sender showcasing that the recipient received and signed for it.
A Different Approach to Mailing Certified Mail
Remember above where we talked about the extra time and effort that goes into sending a Certified letter by going directly through the postal service?
What if we told you there was an easier, more convenient and overall affordable way to send a Certified letter or letters?
LetterStream makes the process so efficient you’ll be asking yourself why you haven’t done this sooner. Instead of buying and using all of your supplies and instead of making the inconvenient trip to the post office, you can simply go to LetterStream.com, create or login to your account, upload your Certified Mail into our online portal (or create one from a template we offer) and send it on its merry way.
We handle all of the printing, inserting, and mailing so you don’t have to. Plus, we offer an Electronic Return Receipt that you can track right in your customer account.
Your cost for sending a single Certified letter online through LetterStream includes:
- Certified Mail Letter Fees
- Printing and mailing your letters in less than two (2) business days
- USPS Tracking Number
- Electronic Return Receipt
- Trackable Online Status
- Along with never having to leave the comfort of your home or office
This comes out to only $9.49 for a single letter. If you don’t want the Electronic Return Receipt then you can get a certified letter starting at only $7.25.
Why Would I Use Certified Mail?
OnlineCertifiedMail.com is a related partner site to LetterStream but is dedicated exclusively to the process of processing, mailing and tracking Certified Mail. It has an easy-to-use interface to quickly send a single letter or two.
To learn more about OnlineCertifiedMail.com click here.
Comparing Costs for USPS Certified Mail
The cost of USPS certified mail is comparable to the cost of other secure mail services, such as UPS and FedEx Ground Economy. However, USPS certified mail is often the most affordable option for sending a certified letter the traditional way.
For sending certified mail online or as e-certified mail (a new term being used for online Certified Mail), our service is actually the cheapest. When you factor in the supplies we include (paper, envelope), labor and sending of the letter (so you don’t have to use gas to drive to the post office and wait in line) and Certified Mail fees, our price is unbeatable.
Is Insurance Offered When You Send Certified Mail?
Insurance is an optional service offered by the USPS and you might be wondering what the cost is for that. However, insurance actually is not offered for Certified Mail. Instead, you can purchase insurance using Registered Mail. Registered mail is similar to certified mail as you get the tracking and proof of delivery, but with Registered Mail, you are also able send it internationally and get the proof of insurance you may be looking for.
We do offer this as an option at LetterStream. However, please keep in mind that the cost is quite high, starting at about $30 per letter. Plus, it generally takes between 7–30 days to be delivered (possibly longer depending on location), and successful delivery and signatures are not guaranteed.
All-in-all, the cost of certified mail is a fair price for the peace of mind that it provides. If you need to mail important documents, certified mail is a secure and affordable option. If you want the ease and convenience without the hassle of going to the post office to send your letter, then check out our Certified Mail page to get started!