Piper...direct mail questions...

First off thanks for typing all you did on direct mail awhile back. I have read it several times over the past few months trying to understand it. For some reason over the past 15 years I just cannot seem to grasp the bulk mail permit procedure…so I am hoping you can help because it seems to me I could save some money.

Right now I buy postcards and print labels. We label and stamp then drop off at post office…and that is it. If I buy a permit is it cheaper to do this same thing?


So you buy a permit and the indicia permit. You have postcard printed with the stamp thing on it…this is where I get lost…

I want to direct mail using my database of current customers. I would print and affix to a post card using an address label… What next?

Does this cost less? Or is bulk mail specifically used with a list from lets say melissa data where you are just sending it out to a mass?

Thanks for your input especially typing in the huge post about mail saturation.


Kris, do you mail the same piece to all of the customers in your database? What do you currently pay for postage for these postcards?


One thing has happened lately at the post office, they are cutting down the locations you can send bulk mail from.
I don’t know if piper ran into this, I cannot drop off mail at the post office I have my permit with anymore. I have to drive about 45 minutes to the nearest post office that takes bulk mail. I’ve mailed for the last 10 years , menues, postcards, & magnets, about 100,000 pieces a year. I’ve saved alot of money doing it myself, but now I started using a service to do it all for me. I have a company that mails out 1000 pieces a week and they bill me weekly, so it is a little eaiser on the wallet.

Yes we mail the same postcard to all the customers in my database. We pay 28cents for the postcard stamp.

I have looked and looked at the post office website and am starting to get more educated but at the point of figuring it out I just keep getting overloaded with information and eventually go back to what we currently do.

I don’t think going to a list from a source like melissa data will be beneficial to me because it is just blasting to the mass. My database is filled with people who have and still do order from us.

I saw taradel is now doing the direct mail but again it would be mailing to a mass rather than my customers.

My belief is it will be more beneficial to get customers to come more rather than trying to convince a new customer. (I could be wrong here and certainly welcome an opposing view)

As for driving to a drop off location I don’t really have any issue with that.


What if there are a few carrier routes that you have such a market presence in that the 50% reduction in postage would allow you to mail the whole carrier route for the same or nearly the same price? I am not talking about mailing every carrier route in your area this way, but it is probably worth checking to see if this may be the case on the areas you have the best market penetration in. Yes you will definitely not get the same redemption percentage as you would only mailing your customers, but you’ll still get the same number of responses from your customers and some of the rest of the masses will try you out. You might just find that you can fish for new customers for a lot less money than you thought.

hey what…

do you use that “shark” company?

how does that work for you?

Hi Kris,

That original post I made was for saturation mail. Mailing to a database is slightly different.

Yes, you can use your bulk mail permit for your database mailings. The rate is going to vary by how much you sort and where you take it to.

For reference, check out this link: http://www.usps.com/forms/_pdf/ps3602rjuly.pdf

You want to look at section “A”, which is automation letters. “Entry” is where you take it to, “Price Category” is how much you sort. If you just take it to your local post office you won’t get any entry discount, so you’re looking at the “None” lines. 3-Digit and 5-Digit means how much you sorted by ZIP code. If you separate all of the ZIP codes into individual trays you get the “5-Digit” discount. If you only separate by the first three digits if the ZIP you get the “3-Digit” discount.

I do 5-Digit and drop them at my local office, so I get the price on line A1 - 23.3 cents. Your price will vary on your circumstances.

If you’re close to the DSCF (basically, the “main” post office for a large area) then you can drop there and get a much better discount. I’m only 15 minutes from my DSCF, so I should really get a permit there… it’s on my list of things to do because I"ll drop down to 19 cents per piece.

These mailers must be barcoded, but if you’re doing a mail merge off of Word it will do it for you.

Technically, your list also needs to be “cleaned” by software, which is called CASS certification. You can purchase software to do this. My local post office, however, doesn’t seem to care about that so I never do it :slight_smile:

What, I haven’t had any problems dropping at my local post office yet. Post offices that accept bulk mail are called BMEUs, or “Bulk Mail Entry Units.” Are you in a rural area? My local post office isn’t a BMEU, but the nearest one is about 2 miles down the street. There’s another one 3 miles the other way… I’m surprised your nearest one is 45 minutes away!

Kris, please ask away if you have any questions on this. I spent way too much time learning about this crap to not share it.

well I am sooo frustrated, I waited in line for 45 minutes at my post office today to plan my mailing campain. I got up to the counter and this really rude woman started off by sating it isnt worth doing a permit for if you are doing postcards because you have to pay 185.00 for the permit and 185.00 the first time you use it. and then procedded to tell me that I would only save about .02 each which means my break even would be 18500 in a year.
is this correct?

I often wonder if the Post Office makes this topic confusing on purpose.haha

The new rate for bulk mailing is .213 each. So compare that to your current mailing rate for what you are mailing and divide by $185 to get your breakeven pieces.

You must mail at least 200 of the same piece to get this rate. You fill in the EZ form and give a check and you’re done.

In my experience, letters give a higher response and putting something in it like a gift card or coupon, gets even better. I have also experienced that it is not so much the offer as the fact you are putting your name if front of them.
I have realized that the offers must be more aggressive when database mailing and not as much so when having phone specials.

I do a lot of database mailings on a monthly basis and use different things to mail so the customer doesn’t get a stale eye when he sees my name in his mailbox.


so it isnt 185.00 for the application and 185 for the permit?

Please clarify what categories you fall under to get a rate of .213 so the others in the thread can get a clearer picture of the process. According to the USPS rate card, .213 is the rate for non-automation letters, sorted to the AADC and dropped at the DSCF. Is that what you’re doing?

This is why there’s a lot of confusion about standard mail. There is no set rate for bulk mail; there are about 70 of them depending on your situation.

Depends. If you do not do any presorting and your piece does not allow automation, your rate would be .256. Go to the link I posted above and scroll to section “D”, which is for non-automation letters. Basically, if you print them all and throw them in a tray with no barcodes - you’re getting rate D1.

In this case, the employee you talked to was pretty close to you only saving 2 cents. You need to do a few things to get the discounts.

Your permit will cost you $185/year. The other $185 that she is referring to is for your indicia. The indicia fee is one-time and you can keep using that same indicia for as long as you hold the permit.

The indicia is what you print in lieu of a stamp. Please not that this is NOT required. You can use regular postage, pre-cancelled stamps or even meter it. But the indicia is much simpler since it all gets printed at the same time.

I also do all of my saturation mailings under that same $185 permit, allowing me to do an entire carrier route for .139 per house. $185 is a steal considering how much you can use the permit.


Geez piper you are really great at this…truly.

Okay, so I am getting it a bit more. I will again just have to read and re read these posts. Thanks for clarifying the pricing structure a bit…that is where I had totally gotten confused. Makes a bit more sense and I am sure will continue as I read and re read.

I agree with the other poster seems like they are trying to confuse us. :?

I currently have my database in Microsoft WORKS database, couldn’t find anything on barcodes…that is what I get for being a tightwad and not getting word or excel. But what I think I understand is if I am to do exactly what I do now, buy the permit and sort by zip, put in a tray I will save 2 cents. Which adds us over time. Should be easy enough since our whole town is one zip code. And the other location is all in one zip code…and both our in their own database.

Like I said I will keep reading and I thank you so much for the information…My goal is to have this figured out within a couple of weeks…so i will probably have a couple questions down the road.


Hey kris,

 Try [www.openoffice.org](http://www.openoffice.org) , I bet it handles barcodes.  Best of all, it is free!!!

Take care,

hey Kris…seams we are on the same page when it somes to mailers. thought I would share my progress…I found a place to get 5000 post cards front and back with uv coating and they looked great for 120.00 and that included shipping . any way I talked to melissa data and may be able to get a mailing list and get my cost down to .13 I will keep you informed

Rockstar what’s the name of the place? 5000 for $120.00 is a great deal. What size? What stock? And is it color front and back? When you say shipping included I’m assuming shipping of the box of postcards to your store not individual postage :).

We just paid $610 (printing, mail prep, postage) for 1,000 8.5 x 5.5 color front and back on 100lb. stock postcards. I’m trying to bring this cost down. Any suggestions?


I use these guys for full color both sides, uv coated, 12pt and AWESOME finished product.

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?Vi … %26otn%3D3

Oh Kris here is what I foud out, I can get a sequence list from Mellisa data
its 9.00 per 1000…not bad
with this list and out bulk permit we can purcase .10 stamps and then pay the remaining .03 at time of drop off
so to recap it will be .163 start to finish each! that includes printing, mailing list and postage…
ordered my 4 color 4by6 this week will be in next week and will let ou know the outcome or any hiccups.