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.

Las Vegas Debt Connection Symposium and Expo 2019

LetterStream

LetterStream takes on Vegas!

Come say Hi, and meet some of our LetterStream team. There are many ways that you can meet us, but in this case, all you have to do is stop by our booth. Were talking about the Las Vegas Debt Connection Symposium and Expo being hosted at the Red Rock Hotel, September 10th-12th, 2019. Our booth at this Expo will be stocked with our fantastic and passionate staff.

This Expo will be “focusing on networking and connection with clients, service providers, product suppliers, agencies, and attorneys- at a whole new level… This symposium and Expo’s concept is to have an opportunity to meet peers and other industry professionals, as well as finding new products and services that might make your job easier, better, more efficient, more productive, etc.”  (DCSE)

LetterStream is going to have staff on hand to explain why outsourcing print and mail projects makes the most sense, as well as showing how mail managers can get their important mailings out the door in as little as two minutes. We’re sure there will be many questions about how Certified Mail can be sent and tracked online without ever going to the post office, and will be more than happy to answer every last one of them.

Please stop in and see us about your first-class mailing, statement mailing, payment coupon booklet printing, FedEx letters, annual meeting notice, postcards, certified mail, and any other mailing projects that you might need for a better solution.

Be sure to stop by booth #202, and say hello. We will be awaiting your arrival. See you soon!

Welcome Ashlee, our New Customer Service Manager

Ashlee

Hold on, hold on, before you panic at this headline, Mike hasn’t left the LetterStream team.  He is now our Director of Customer Experience.  We figured that Mike could get a promotion if he could find someone just as awesome in customer service as he is.  That said, we didn’t think Mike would ever get a promotion.  Enter Ashlee.  We aren’t sure how Mike did it, but he actually found someone who can bring help and joy to customers as well as he can.  Ashlee has been with us a few months now, so some of you have already experienced her good nature, knowledge of our systems and overwhelming desire to help people out.

Ashlee has some 5-star training from Marriott hotels and resorts and has supported many different clients in an earlier payroll processing career.  These experiences are quite helpful to her on the job, but nothing can compare to the enthusiasm that she has to be a part of our team and her tremendous desire to support all of our customers.

Next time you call in, be sure and say “Hello and Welcome” to Ashlee.

USPS Postage Rates 2019

stamps

It’s that time of the year again.

The United States Postal Service (USPS) filed their proposed price changes with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), which were approved.  The approved price changes will officially be in effect on January 27, 2019.

LetterStream will be implementing our new prices to reflect the rate increases on Friday, January 25th at 4pm Arizona Time (6pm EST), so we recommend planning ahead and approving your mailings before the price increases are officially in effect.

Any job in our system that has been approved and paid for prior to 4pm on the 25th will have old postage prices, even if we mail it on Monday the 28th.

Following is a list of postage changes for some of our primary products.

2019 USPS Postage Rates:

– First Class Stamps up from $.50 to $.55
– First Class Postcard Rate staying at $.35
– Extra Ounces down from $.21 to $.15
– International Rates staying at $1.15
– Certified Mail up from $3.45 to $3.50
– Return Receipt staying up from $2.75 to $2.80
– Electronic Return Receipt up from $1.50 to $1.60
– Registered Mail up from  $11.90 to $12.40
– Flats (.0001 – .999 oz) postage staying at $1.00
– Flats extra ounces down from $.21 to $.15

For more information, click here to review the USPS press release.

For a complete list of rate changes, you can download data files from the USPS website by clicking here.

LetterStream Participates in Code Red Water Drive

created by dji camera

While the summer winds down in Arizona, the food pantries around the valley have depleted their stockpiles of bottled water and seek to replenish their inventories.  Brown Management, a longtime customer of LetterStream, participated in the Code Red water drive this year and invited us to join along.

Code Red is the name given to the annual water drive that the Phoenix Rescue Mission promotes in order to replenish their water supply.  The mission, operating in the Phoenix area, is committed to assisting families and individuals with their physical needs with a special focus on the homeless population and frail seniors.  Their drive collects water for distribution throughout the valley to prevent heat related deaths.  According to their website (www.phoenixrescuemission.com/codered) over 100 people die each year in Arizona as a result of excessive heat.

A special thanks goes out to Brown Management for inviting us to participate in this important local event.

The LetterStream team, as they often do, rallied around the task and filled two pickups full of bottled water.  When all tallied up, nearly 2,000 bottles were donated by the team.  We love that the LetterStream team can come together to complete all sorts of projects, not just those related to printing and mailing.

Thanks team!

Printing and Mailing Company Water Drive LetterStream Participates in Water Drive

Complaints of Missing Mail: Can you prove it mailed?

Where's my mail?
Hey! Where’s my mail?

We always hate to hear about letters not making it to their desired destination, after all, we are a communication company.  And yes, we do get to blame some missing letters on the USPS, but sometimes the blame works its way back to us.  And that’s fine, its a role that we play, but I’d like to share a response that we’ve been able to offer to our clients to help them out.

Before I jump right into the details, I think it important that you know that we have processed over 1 million mailing jobs for clients.  And if each job had 1,000 recipients, then we’ve processed over 1 billion pieces of mail.  I say this not to gloat, but to let you know that the information we provide is from the viewpoint of an expert of experts.

The question is often presented to us as; “My customer thinks we didn’t get the mailing out properly.  Can you prove that it really went out?”

Here is the response we like to use.

So sorry to be the barer of bad news, but technically, no proof of mailing exists after-the-fact for First-Class Mail. We offer various forms of mailing proofs for purchase before a mailing is sent out. These include: certificate of mailing, certificate of bulk mailing, certified mail and affidavit of mailing. Since these items were not purchased in advance, there really is no “proof” that the mail happened.

However, we can offer an Affidavit of Prior Mailing, which is a legal document where we attest that we did everything correctly. Unfortunately the fees for this service are $50; mainly because we tear the building apart and attempt to recreate exactly what happened on the day in question. We really find out exactly what happened to every piece of mail.

All that said, I think you are really wanting to know if the mailing went out on time, to all the recipients listed in the address file. The easy answer to this is; certainly. We track every completed piece of mail with a high speed camera.  The camera looks at the unique mail piece ID and compares it to the database of pieces that need to be mailed.  If these items don’t match up exactly we jump in and find out what went wrong.  Ultimately all jobs “reconcile”. Are we 100% positive that every single piece made it to the postal service? No, but we are 99.9999% positive that your mailing went out exactly as specified.

“But why are the board members saying the mailing didn’t go out?” We hear this concern fairly often, but each time we research it, we find that we’ve done everything correctly. And ultimately the board members all receive their mail. The concerns are often brought up by homeowners and often in response to an HOA Board member asking them as they communicate casually in the neighborhood. 

There are a few things that can be done when board members express concern about missing mail. First, ask if they received their letter, and if not, ask if they would check their mail carefully. Second, ask the Board member who reported someone else’s lost mail to check back in with the homeowner and see if they received it.

A slightly different way to approach this topic is to review the use of the LetterStream tools that we make available to help mail get noticed. As I reviewed the outer envelope of the mailing in question, I noticed that you could have taken advantage of our free Endorsement printing. We allow our customers to put big bold text on the outer envelope to draw attention to the envelope. We offer this to prevent concerns exactly like this. By offering and encouraging the free use of an Endorsement, the amount of lost mail complaints has gone down. You can add things like “Important Neighborhood News” or “Urgent Community Meeting” or similar wording.

Another thing we encourage communities to do is make sure and use the community name in the return address area of the envelope. While community management companies would like to think that every homeowner knows who they are, this simply isn’t true. And if someone can’t identify the personal relevancy of a piece of mail to them, they generally cannot recall getting it. If you add the community name to the return address and add the endorsement printing I think you’ll find far fewer concerns about lost mail.

Hopefully this has provided a little extra insight into how people both mentally and physically process their mail.  In addition, maybe its given you some tools to ponder the next time you create a mailing in order to achieve maximum impact.

For more information, you might want to review the following help article: https://help.letterstream.com/article/175-are-you-sure-my-mail-went-out

USPS Postage Rates 2018

USPS-Price-Increase2 2

Postage rates are going up again this year as the USPS raises their prices to keep up with rising costs.

This year the PRC didn’t squabble too much with the USPS over their proposed rates, so most will be the same as the October 2017 rate proposal.

These new rates will take effect on Jan 21st, 2018. LetterStream will be implementing our new prices to reflect the rate increases on Friday, January 19th at 5 pm. Any unscheduled job in our system that has been approved and paid for prior to 5pm will have old postage prices even if we mail it on Monday the 22nd. For that reason it pays to plan ahead and get your mailing out before the price increases are officially in effect.

As a reminder, LetterStream raises our prices by the amount of the retail postage increase.

Below is a list of postage rate increases for some of our primary products.

2018 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 a complete list of rate changes, you can download data files from this USPS web page:
https://pe.usps.com/pricechange/index

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

.

2017 USPS Price Changes

2017-usps-price-changes

At the start of each new year the USPS typically announces new pricing, and this year is no exception.  Effective January 22nd, new USPS prices will take effect.

You might recall our post from last year regarding the 2016 USPS price changes.  We talked a lot about the price of a First-Class stamp being decreased by $.02 (from $.49 to $.47).  This year it’s going back up two pennies.  Initially, this seems like a bit of a bummer.  But look at the bright side.  The decrease that happened last year was the first time the cost of postage went down since 1919.  So hypothetically, had it gone up a couple cents last year and this year again, we would be closer to $.53.  Let’s choose to be optimistic and still consider ourselves winners with the 4 cent swing.

You could also try and stave off the postal increase a little longer by purchasing a few extra forever stamps at your local post office before the new rates go into effect.

Below are some of this year’s notable changes (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 for exact pricing review your LetterStream job invoice when creating mailings on our website):

2017 Postage Rates

– First Class Stamps up from $.47 to $.49
– First Class Postcard Rate staying at $.34
– Extra Ounces staying at $.21
– International Rates staying at $1.15
– Certified Mail up from $3.30 to $3.35
– Return Receipt up from $2.70 to $2.75
– Electronic Return Receipt up from $1.35 to $1.45
– Registered Mail staying at $11.70
– Flats (.0001 – .999 oz) postage up from $.95 to $.98
– Flats extra ounces up from $.20 to $.21

Standard Mail Now Marketing Mail

Another notable change moving forward is that Standard Mail will now be known as Marketing Mail. Not to add to the confusion, but Standard Mail is/was the name of what many of us know as Bulk Mail.  Standard Mail should not be confused with First-Class Mail which is what most of our customers send regularly.

 

2D or Not 2D; That is the question.

2DBlog (1)

What’s that black square beside the Recipient address?

The little back square visible on some documents near the mailing address is called a 2D or two dimensional bar-code.  It is not yet on all of our mail pieces, but most of them (such as Express Letters, Certified Letters, Postcards, and many others).  It is currently being rolled out in phases to ultimately appear on all mail that goes through our building.

It’s not a traditional bar-code that is composed of various parallel lines, but instead is made up of tiny squares which allow a lot of information to be packed into a smaller space than other types of bar-codes.

But why is it on your mail?  This code is used by our high speed scanning equipment to make sure that we account for all the mail that our customers ask us to send out.  The 2D code shows through the window of an envelope (or appears next to addresses on postcards, fliers, flats, etc.) which allows us to see, at very high speeds, that each document went into its own envelope.  This system gives us detailed information so we can further prove that we are doing a great job for our clients.

2D or not 2D? Yes, it has been a philosophical debate for us to decide whether or not this is the right answer.  Because as it is, our mail is nearly perfect already.  Of all the jobs that we print and mail, over 99.99% are perfect.  (Yes, we can say this to you, because we know you will call us out if we are not telling the truth and because, well, we keep track.)  This 2D system is costly, but it is being implemented to give us greater insight into every piece of mail that travels through our facility.  Do we need this system?  Maybe not.  But do we think every one of our customers deserves perfect mail each and every time? Do we believe we can make more than 9,999 of 10,000 jobs perfect? Absolutely yes to both questions.

So if you are like us, wrestling with the appearance of a 2D bar-code on your mail piece, now you know why we thought it would be the best answer.