Bulk Mailing Procedures

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To save on sending mail that is meant as advertising, an organization may choose to send mail as “bulk mail.” Bulk mail is technically referred to as “standard mail” by the U.S. Postal Service. USPS offers discounts on bulk mail because the sender does some of the work that would have to be done by the USPS. The guidelines should, however, be followed carefully or they will be considered non-machinable and will be returned.

Bulk Mailing Process

Senders who intend to have mail classified as standard mail are encouraged to attend training or to carefully review the guidelines of the USPS. Returned mail that does not conform to the requirements will have a surcharged applied for each piece that can cost higher than first class mail. The permit given by the post office may also be canceled.

Senders should also visit the local bulk mail center beforehand to determine the services and costs before preparing the mail. It is also important to determine the specific instructions and to get the proper forms of the center beforehand. Get authorization at least one week in advance, fill out the proper forms and assure that the account has adequate funds.

Standard mail or bulk mail should total 50 lb. or consist of at least 200 pieces. It should be of generally identical content and sent out for advertising purposes. These include newsletters, form letters and flyers. All other mail, including bills, statements, personal correspondence and payroll checks, should be sent as first class mail.

Regulations set by the USPS in setup and addressing should be followed. They should all have an indicia and city department return address. Folds, closure tabs, and wafer seals should also be set up according to the regulations. Staples are not allowed as it will make the mail non-machinable. Non-address printing should be placed above the address label delivery line.

Determine the necessary supplies and forms that are needed and pick them up in the bulk mail center. Containers, bands and stickers are likely to be needed for sorting the mail.

Once it has been determined that the bulk mail has met the processing criteria, they will need to be sorted according to ZIP code. The mail should be grouped according to the first three numbers of the ZIP code. When there are 10 or more pieces of the same group, band them together with all addresses facing the same direction. Take note of the maximum thickness required by the local bulk mail center.

The sender should be certain of the availability of funds and know the permit number before going to the bulk mail center so as not to waste time. There are also forms to complete before processing the mailings. Only originals are accepted and not photocopies.