Mail In-Depth FAQ

What’s the difference between Direct Mail and regular mail?
When you write out a letter or postcard and then stick a stamp on it you’re putting in a lot of working and paying full price for postage. “Direct Mail” includes several elements which make it more effective and less costly than manually sending out letters. Direct mail is a form of direct marketing, which is targeted marketing based on the person who will receive the message. By using a direct mail professional, you can save on addressing and postage while improving the effectiveness with better mailing lists and services.

How does Direct Mail work?
Direct mail is easy. When using Grow Mail we handle all the hard work. We’ll prepare the artwork, print it, and mail it.

Can we use Direct Mail ourselves?
Yes, but to get postage discounts, you’ll need a permit, some software for processing mailing lists, addressing equipment and delivery to the business mail entry unit. We do not recommend this in most cases, because all of this would cost more money than what you would save.

How do I pay for postage?
Some orders are packages which have the postage rolled into our costs, you can view what part of the cost was for postage or we can provide that information to you. Some customer prefer to pay for postage separately after the mail has been printed but before the pieces are mailed. This is a great way to split the payment and control when your mailer will go out.

How much is postage for bulk mail?
It depends on the size and service requested, but here’s some of the basics.

How long will it take for mail to get delivered?
First class mail has a 1-4 day service time, and Standard Mail ranges from 1 to 10 days.

How long does it take from the time I order to the time it gets to the post office?
While times vary depending on the particular of the production, a postcard will take a little over a week usually to go from payment and approval to delivery at the post office.

How do you verify that the postcards have mailed?
Upon request, we will provide you with an image of the postal documents verifying delivery. Additionally, we have tracking services available for some mail. Ask us for more details.

Are there discounts for non-profits?
If you have a non-profit permit, yes. Please contact us for more info, we can help you apply for a permit and request permission for third parties to mail under your permit.

What if the address is bad or the person has moved?
We will process your mailing list to remove as many bad addresses and old addresses as we can, this way you do not have to pay postage for these entries on your mailing list.

What is the difference between standard mail and first class mail?
First class mail has faster delivery times and includes forwarding and return service. Standard class mail does not include the forwarding or return service and could take a few more days to reach it’s destination. Of course, when we process your list, we update the addresses against the National Change of Address database. Once addresses are updated on our end, first class mail only become necessary for transit time and returns.

Is there a minimum number of pieces I need to mail to get discounted postage?
For standard mail, the minimum is 200 pieces. For first class mail, the minimum is 500 pieces.

Should I include a return address on the postcard?
It’s usually a good practice to include a return address. It’s not required, but to receive returns for first class mail, the postal carriers will need to know where to bring the mail piece. More subjectively, it makes the mail piece look more legitimate, no matter the class.

How much space should I leave for the address and the permit on my design?

If your mailer is addressed, you should have a 4 inch wide by 2 inch tall white space for the address and 1 inch by 1 inch for the permit. For EDDM you have to leave enough room for us to add the appropriate information.

If there are leftover prints, what do you do with them?
We can store them for future mailings for up to 6 months, recycle them, or you can upgrade your order to ship them to you.

What is the difference between Presorted Standard (formerly Bulk Rate) and First Class Mail?
There are several differences including contents, postage costs and preparation, and speed of delivery. Personalized items (such as statements of account, bills, etc.) cannot be mailed as Presorted Standard. They must go as First Class Mail. Presorted Standard is used for mailing of generic items (newsletters, notices, etc.). Postage for Presorted Standard is less than First Class but has to meet certain sorting requirements established by the U.S. Postal Service. Most First Class Mail will be delivered in 1 to 3 days within Florida and 1 – 6 days nationwide. Presorted Standard usually takes 5 to 10 days for delivery within Florida and 5-15 days nationwide.

What is CASS Certification?
The CASS™ system improves the accuracy of carrier route, five-digit ZIP®, ZIP+4®, and delivery point codes that appear on mail pieces. CASS is offered to all mailers, service bureaus, and software vendors who want to evaluate their address-matching software and improve the quality of their ZIP+4, CRIS, and five-digit coding accuracy. This process is graded by the United States Postal Service®, National Customer Support Center (NCSC), and the results returned to mailers in order to provide useful diagnostics for correcting deficiencies. CASS enables the Postal Service™ to evaluate the accuracy of address-matching software programs in three areas: (1) ZIP+4 delivery point coding, (2) carrier route coding, and (3) five-digit coding. CASS allows vendors/mailers the opportunity to test their address-matching software packages and, after achieving a certain percentage of compliance,to be certified by the Postal Service. CASS does not measure the accuracy of ZIP+4 delivery point, five-digit ZIP®, or carrier route codes in a mailer’s existing files. CASS enables mailers to measure and diagnose internally written, commercially-available, address-matching software packages. The effectiveness of service bureaus’ matching software can also be measured. There are two stages in the CASS process: Stage I, which is optional,and Stage II, which is required for certification.

Are there other benefits to using First Class mail?
Yes. First Class offers a lower postcard rate that applies to our smaller size cards such as 4×6 and 4.25×6. Our larger sized cards such as 8.5×5.5 or 6×9 can mail at the regular First Class letter rate. One other benefit is that First Class automatically includes the forwarding or return of mail if the recipient has moved. Bulk mail is not forwarded unless you use an Ancillary Service Endorsement and pay additional fees for those forwarded and returned pieces. Contact our Mailing Services Department for more details.

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 PSC, 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).

Can you mail my Standard size postcards at Bulk rate?
Yes, but it is rarely cost-effective to do so and may actually cost more than mailing this size card at the First Class postcard rate. Bulk rate only offers discounts from the higher letter rate and does not offer lower postage for postcard size pieces.

Are there lower postage rates for Non Profit organizations?
Non Profit groups can apply to the U.S. Postal Service for approval to mail at special Non Profit postage rates. This class of mail is a lower priced Bulk Mail rate with the same delivery timeframes. Once this approval has been received, GrowMail can mail for your organization at this postage rate once you have sent us the proper documentation. This includes a completed Postal Service Form 3623 plus a request for additional entry on company letterhead signed by a responsible organization official. We will forward these documents to our local Post Office for their approval.

What if I want to mail the remaining leftover postcards?
Can I simply put them in the mailbox if they already have your “Postage PAID” indicia on them?
We only invoice you for the postcards we will be mailing using GrowMail postal permit. In turn, we pay the Post Office for each piece mailed at the appropriate rate for the mailing class you specify. If you want to mail your leftover cards, you will need to place a postage stamp or meter imprint on each piece.

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 Code, 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. Check out our “prepare files to mail” section to determine if you will meet automation requirements.

Should I include a return address on my postcard?
This is all up to your preference. Including a return address enables you to update your list after each mailing. You also may benefit by reducing postage costs and increased sales (your information reaches who you intend it to). We mail all small postcards via First class mail, and bounced mail is returned free of charge.
When you send out your postcards via First Class Mail, the USPS automaticallyforwards your mail to individuals or companies that have moved and submitted a Change of Address (COA). However, that forwarding is only good for 12 months. For the next 6 months, the Post Office will return the pieces to the sender and indicate the new address that they have on file.

What is RETURN SERVICE REQUESTED?
This service notifies the USPS to return the piece to you with updated address information.

What is Address Service Requested?
ADDRESS SERVICE REQUESTED means you want them to forward the piece to the new address they have on file and to separately send you a notice with the new address information. For Bulk Mail, both of these services are provided at an additional fee on just the forwarded or returned pieces. FORWARDING SERVICE REQUESTED is an endorsement that will forward pieces at no charge but will not provide a separate new address notification back to you. For all ASEs, your Return Address must be on the card. For
more information on Ancillary Service Endorsements, go to the USPS website.

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