Is it Time For a New Mailroom?

In an ever-changing world, the importance of looking for ways to improve our current situation is key. When we strive to make our lives better, our relationships better, our environments better and our jobs better, well…it tends to make everything better, generally speaking. This applies to all areas of life, including the workplace.

On that note, let’s get a little bit more specific about the workplace and jump into talking about improving your current mailroom situation, shall we? In fact, let’s get even more specific and break it down to talking about your in-house mailroom. Meaning, as a business or company you internally print and send out letters to your customers. Maybe you’re an HOA (homeowners association) who needs to mail out important information to your community. Maybe you’re a law firm that needs to mail letters to clients. You get the idea.

So how does talking about your current in-house mailroom relate to improving your current situation? Good question. Running your own in-house mailing can come with a lot of responsibilities, time and struggles if we’re being honest. It comes with added roles within the organization that probably have nothing to do with your product or service. Remember someone internally has to do the physical work of printing and mailing the letters.

If you are managing, dealing with or struggling with your in-house mailroom, we have some ideas to help you find a better solution for it.

Mail is mission-critical

First off, let’s call it what it is. A mailroom is mission-critical, meaning it’s very important…just like your internet access is super important. However, your company didn’t build its own internet company to get internet access into the building, did they? No, your company found another company that offered that service and said “Here, you handle this, while we handle what we are experts at.”

So, the question is, “What’s up with your mailroom?” “Why do you have one?” “Is there a visible career path beyond the mailroom?” Basically, why have an internal place to do mailings when you can have a company that specializes in it do it for you?

Your first thought might be that you have a mailroom because again, mail is mission-critical and it must go out ASAP. To that, we completely agree. However, why do YOU have a mailroom? You said MAIL is critical and MAIL must go out but, you didn’t say your mailroom is mission-critical, did you?

On that note, let’s get you introduced to the mailing industry experts. Hi, we’re LetterStream, a print and mail online service that a large number of companies are turning to in order to free up their time spent on mailing jobs.

Freeing up time away from handling their company mailings, people are able to find new jobs with their current employer, doing truly mission-critical work within the company; mission-critical work that provides growth an opportunity beyond being the chief of the mailroom.

The Mailroom Manager

So, how can they do that? Well, let’s unpack the roles and responsibilities of a Mailroom Manager because these roles can essentially all go away.

Mailroom Manager Roles and Responsibilities

  • Keeping informed of new and emerging printing and mailing technologies.
  •  Creating connections in the printing and mailing industry to know where to purchase equipment and supplies.
  •  Negotiating with vendors each year who constantly want to increase their prices.
  •  Reviewing contracts every couple of years on printers, folders, tabbers, inserters, and postage meters, to name a few.
  •  Staffing your department with people to make sure that the mission-critical mail can always go out.
  •  Managing people and processes each and every day to keep employees productive, accurate and motivated.
  •  Dealing with suboptimal equipment that struggles to produce in the key moments when you are counting on it the most.
  •  Arguing with service vendors who don’t show up when expected or who don’t solve the problem that you’re dealing with.
  •  Justifying the office space your team needs to store supplies, stage equipment, and create a mailroom that can produce the mail volume when it is needed.
  •  Being called into meetings to discuss what went wrong when one of your internal customers didn’t give you the instructions you needed to be successful.
  •  Driving to the Post Office to drop off mail, get supplies or have a face-to-face meeting about why, despite everything being done perfectly, the mail clerk decided to reject your mailing.
  •  Studying the latest, and ever-changing Domestic Mail Manual, to know what you can and can’t continue to do and how you need to make sure your postage meters and rate charts and price structures are all updated.
  •  And finally not getting the credit for the heroic effort you put forth day after day. And let’s face it, mail is extremely important and you are so good at your job, that you may be too valuable for anyone to move you out of that role.

Your new non-mailing job

It might be time to take those skills that you are developing and find a way to participate in your organization in areas that are both mission-critical AND a core product or service that your company needs. But how do you do that when you are needed to get the mail out? It’s easy! You find someone who can do your job as well as you can. May we propose that the answer is to send the mail to a mailroom that is turn-key and ready to go?

Consider an expert print and mail company

There are probably several good printing and mailing companies around who’d love to take on your mail projects. While we might propose any decent mailing company can help take the responsibilities off of your plate, it’s actually an excellent mailing company that would also keep you from being sucked back into your current situation. Meaning, that many companies bring print and mail back in-house because their former vendor couldn’t perform.

But trust us, there are plenty of high-performing print and mail vendors, so before being tempted to believe you are the only company that can make mail correctly, you owe it to yourself to look around.

On that note, our shameless plug is to contact us, LetterStream. Actually, you don’t even need to contact us. Just go to LetterStream.com and use the promo code “MyNewMailroom2023” to get $10 of free mail to test out what LetterStream can do for you. We send everything from First-Class Mail, Certified Mail with an Electronic Return Receipt (USPS tracking and signature), Registered Mail and even FedEx letters to invoices and postcard printing and mailing.

Trust us, we will be fast. We will be accurate. We will be committed to supporting you never having to utilize print and mail services internally ever again.

FedEx 2Day Now Available at LetterStream to Send Letters

For those of you who see us promoting FedEx letters on our website but can’t quite find the button to make it happen; we have great news! Most of you will now be able to send FedEx 2Day letters, with ease on our website.

What is FedEx 2Day?

FedEx 2Day is just one of the many FedEx fast delivery products that is offered. FedEx 2Day offers the speed, security, tracking and confidence that all FedEx products offer. It’s like an overnight letter that takes one extra day to get there.

LetterStream offers the standard FedEx 2Day letter option, which will get your letters or documents delivered by 5 P.M. the second business day from when you mail it. FedEx does offer a 2Day A.M. product, which we do not currently offer.

How Fast is FedEx 2Day?

FedEx 2Day is pretty quick. Like the name implies, it will take two (2) business days for your letter to arrive and will arrive by 5 P.M. to most destinations. Let’s break this down. If you combine the speed that LetterStream offers along with this FedEx product, then your letter will get there in no time.

If you were to load the documents to our website on Monday, then they will arrive at your intended destination by Wednesday. Keep in mind; no trips to the FedEx store, or post office, no scheduling pickup for your letter, no hassle of buying a FedEx envelope. Just the ease of sitting at your computer, uploading your document and easily sending it on its way.

FedEx envelope with FedEx letter to represent FedEx 2Day shipping.

Why Would I Choose FedEx 2Day?

FedEx 2Day is a great solution for sending a lot of different documents, since it’s not that much more expensive than Certified Mail, especially when you need to send a lot of documents to a specific location. Around 50, 8.5 in. x 11 in. documents, can be placed in a single FedEx 2Day envelope and be delivered for around $18.

FedEx gives you tracking information so you can see where your letter is at any moment. It provides you with proof of mailing and proof of delivery. Unlike other items with tracking, FedEx is dedicated to ensuring your letter reaches its destination. This allows them to achieve a much higher delivery rate than maybe some of their competitors, in our humble opinion.

What’s more, FedEx is a known and trusted brand for delivering on time, nearly every time. When a FedEx package arrives, you know it is something special, that it’s something important that you should embrace and open.

Some competing products that offer tracking don’t quite capture that same vibe. Think about it; have you ever received a letter with a green bar across the top and put it off because you might not want to know what is inside? FedEx generally doesn’t give people that same feeling. Wouldn’t you agree?

How Do I Send FedEx 2Day?

Oh yes, I nearly forgot. You are probably wondering, “how do you actually send a FedEx 2Day letter?”

Sending FedEx 2Day letters is an easy selection when you start to create your mailing on the LetterStream website. You simply click “To Send a Letter,” and you can choose from multiple options like First-Class, Certified Mail, and now FedEx 2Day.

Step-by-Step Process for FedEx 2Day

Backend of LetterStream portal where you create a job and choose send letters
  1. Head to the homepage for www.LetterStream.com.
  2. Log into your LetterStream account.
  3. On the main dashboard page, select the button to “Send Letter(s).”
  4. Name your job, select the address source and then, on the same page, choose the delivery method on the right hand side. There should be an option for FedEx 2Day to select.
LetterStream online portable that shows where you upload your job and how to choose the FedEx 2Day option

If by some chance you’re not seeing that seeing that option:

For security reasons the FedEx product is not available to users who have not been a customer for less than 90 days. It gets complicated but let’s just say we don’t want to block any users from finding this product, so if you have a legitimate need for the FedEx2Day option and you can’t seem to find it, reach out to our support team and we’ll get you taken care of.

When Will Overnight Options be Available?

The FedEx overnight option is currently available to a few select customers who meet our criteria. However, if you have the need to send more than 100 overnight letters per year, reach out to us and we may be able to qualify you for this added service.

To learn more about FedEx 2Day, click here.

20% off Orange Paper and Postcards!

October Promotion

No tricks here, we are giving you a treat this Halloween season.
For the month of October, we will be offering 20% off all Orange 8 ½ X 11 paper and Orange Express Postcards.
You have a business to run and customers to keep happy, so we want to help you! For your festive holiday letters and notes look no further than LetterStream. For your fast mailing and printing needs, we’ll get the job done. Don’t wait until it’s too late and all the candy is gone, let us help you this Halloween season.

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:

View the Press Release Here

For all the gory details, see the USPS NOTICE OF MARKET DOMINANT PRICE ADJUSTMENT that was filed by the USPS with the PRC

USPS Stamp Prices Going Down in 2016!

USPS Postage Rates 2016

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 mail 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)(https://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 post office is still operating at a loss.  Follow this link to read the USPS press release on the topic of lowing prices (https://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.1353b7f

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 Instagram

Hey 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.