Mail Services

What is Bulk Mail

Save Money with Bulk Mail!

What is “bulk mail” and what are the major requirements?
A bulk mailing is one that has a minimum number of pieces (200), and is sorted by zip code when it is delivered to the postal service. For PSU, the most commonly used bulk mail class is:

Non-Profit Standard Mail (formerly Third-Class Bulk Rate): Minimum of 200 pieces, all the same weight and size. Available for letters up to 3.4 ounces, and flats up to 16 ounces. Content restrictions: advertising for credit cards, insurance and travel is prohibited under all circumstances. Other advertising must be “substantially related” to the mission of the university (note: this requirement can be difficult to interpret; please contact Mail Services for assistance if you have any questions).

What is the difference between the presort rate and the automation rate?
Within Non-Profit Standard Rate there are two main rates, the presort rate and the automation rate. Both are sorted by zip dode, but other preparation, mail piece design, and addressing requirements must be met. You should always try to qualify for the automation rate , which provides the best service and has the lowest postage cost. If you cannot qualify for the automation rate, then you will have to use the presort rate. In this event, your postage and production costs will be higher. The requirements and tips in this guide are designed to help you qualify for the automation rate.

Current rates:
Please call the Bulk Mail Center for current rates.

Tips for designing your mailing:

  • Try to design your mailing to be less than 6.125 ” H x 11.5″ W (oriented to the address) so that it qualifies for the letter rate. Larger pieces are considered flats and are charged a higher postage rate, even if they weigh the same as a letter
  • Always design your mailing to the specifications in USPS Pub. 25 (letter) and Pub. 63 (flats), which are available through Mail Services at no charge.
  • If your mailing includes a Business Reply Mail (BRM) envelope or card, it must be automatable if you plan to send your mailing at the automation rate. The campus’ BRM templates are already automatable and available through the Mail Center.
  • Mail Services provides free design consulting service to help ensure that your mailing will get the best delivery at the lowest postage and production cost. We strongly recommend that you have us look at your design before you print.

Preparing your address data:

  • To get the lowest postage and production costs, you must provide your address data to Mail Services. Please do not print your own labels or label your own mailing; you will incur extra charges or your mailing may not qualify for Non-Profit Standard Mail Rates.
  • Ensure that you can send us your address data in comma or tab delimited ASCII (plain text) format. There may be additional charges if you use another format.
  • Structure your address data so that each address element is in a separate field: addressee, firm name, delivery address, city, state, zip (5 or 9-digit).
  • In the address data you send us, each address record must have exactly the same number of address elements. If you provide more than one address line for each name, identify which is the delivery address and keep it consistent through the entire list (example: if you use address1 and address2, address2 should contain the delivery address in all records).
  • Exclude address records that you do not plan to mail to. If you cannot do this, please provide a way to identify these addresses so we can exclude them.
  • Address data can be sent to Mail Services on 3.5″ diskette or attached to an email to dmegin@plymouth.edu
  • Unless you have mailed to your addresses very recently, we strongly recommend that you provide your address data at least one week in advance of your mailing. This gives us, and you, time to process your data and correct any problem addresses. We must have the final version of your data at least three days before your planned mailing date (processing time may be longer for some mailings).
  • Processing and follow-up: As a first step, your address data will be checked and standardized against the postal service’s national address database. Addresses that do not match will be returned to you. Mail Services will attempt to determine why addresses do not match. Addresses that do not match cannot be mailed at discount rates, and must be mailed at full first-class rates. You must let us know whether to include them in your mailing or not. At your request, we will send back to you all addresses that matched and were standardized. Since the standardization process sometimes makes minor changes and corrections to addresses, it may be beneficial for you to make these changes in your original data.

Other Helpful Hints:

  • Do not preassemble any part of your mailing without first consulting the Bulk Mail Center.
  • If you purchase a mailing list, try to get it in an electronic format, but at least be sure to request that the list be provided with barcodes already printed on the labels. Also request USPS Form 3553, “standard documentation”, and bar-coded tray or bag tags, for the class of mail and rate you will be using.
  • If you are going to make a self mailer (without an envelope) contact the Bulk Center or Mail Center for correct paper weight. Copy paper will not run in our equipment.

How to contact Mail Services or the Bulk Mail Center for more information or assistance:

For assistance with list maintenance, or to schedule a bulk mail job, coordinate pick-up of mail pieces, or for information on bulk mail services and prices, contact Dave at extension 2393, or email: dmegin@plymouth.edu

SUMMARY

United States Postal Service requirements for non-profit standard mail:

  1. Two hundred (200) piece minimum, same size & weight
  2. Zip code verification — every 12 months, before using mail list
  3. Zip code order — presort by destination
  4. Standard documentation: sorting & preparation, and PS 3602
  5. Address standardization & quality (optional for “automation rates”)

NOTE: Requirements 2 – 5 can be completed at the Bulk Mail Center if the list is sent electronically.