LetterStream gives back with The 2019 Code Red Water Drive!

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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.

LetterStream Celebrates Sweet 16.

Fireworks Birthday Card (2)

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.comOnlineCertifiedMail.com, and MailMyLetter.com), to send one letter or 10s of thousands, we signed up our 16,000th user this month too!

Thanks everyone!!

USPS Proposed Postage Rates for 2020

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The time has come, and the rates are in.

On October 9th the United States Postal Service (USPS) filed their proposed price changes with the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). These proposed rates are set to take place at midnight on January 26, 2020.

The best news is that First-Class rates are staying pretty much the same. A First-Class stamp will continue to be only 55 cents.

Like clockwork, extra services are increasing in the Certified Mail fees area, with Certified Mail base fees going up a nickel.

And with each proposed rate increase, there is always a twist of some sort. This year, USPS is separating out extra ounces of flats from extra ounces of letters. These two have historically been tied at the hip with “extra ounces” simply being the same rate for any type of First-Class letter regardless of size. Now, any First-Class letter with physical dimensions larger than 11 ½ inches by 6 1/8  inches (11.5” X 6.125”), known as a Large Envelope, or Flat will see a $0.20 per additional ounce.

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 $3.40 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.

Click here to review the USPS 2020 postage rate press release.

Click here to download the complete list of 2020 USPS postage rate changes. Keep in mind, the Notice 123 for 2020 is still in review by the RPC and subject to change, but the USPS generally gets the rates they ask for.

We should remind you that LetterStream seldom ever raises our base rates, instead, we just increase prices by the amount of the USPS rate increase so you can expect the same this year as well. LetterStream will be implementing these changes on January 24th, 2020 by 5 PM, so plan ahead and get your jobs in our system before the 24th to get the past prices.

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

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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

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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 this help article.

USPS Postage Rates 2018

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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