Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Stamps.com Blog» Tips and Tricks to sending USPS First Class Mail

First Class Mail is the most economical way to send a package weighing 13 oz. or less (4 lb max for International Mail).  While it is not a guaranteed delivery service, First Class Mail is generally delivered within 1-3 days for mail sent within the continental United States.  Here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of this inexpensive mail class.

Size Matters

While, most mailers are aware that weight affects postage requirements, it is important to note that the USPS charges different prices depending on the size of First Class Mail.

Depending on the length, width, weight, thickness, and aspect ratio (length divided by height), First Class mail is classified as either a Post Card, Letter, Flat Mail/Large Envelope, or a Package.  Because the USPS charges different prices for each of these mail classes, it is important to know which type of mail you are sending.

To help identify your mailpiece’s appropriate mail class, we have developed the following two tools:

Online First Class Mail Classification Tool: This new page contains a complete breakdown of the characteristics for each type of First Class mail.  Includes step-by-step instructions to help determine your mail class.

Shape Based Template: This new product developed by Stamps.com is the easiest way to determine which type of First Class mail you have.  As shown below, simply place your mail piece in the corner of this template and use the color-coded guide to determine your mail class and whether or not it is subject to any non-machinable surcharges.  This tool is available from the Stamps.com Store for only $7.99.


How to send First Class Mail with Delivery Confirmation

Did you know that packages are the only First Class Mail class that can be sent with Delivery Confirmation?  An easy way to turn a First Class mailpiece into a package is to make sure it is at least ¾” thick at any point.  Once a mailpiece is more than ¾” thick, the USPS considers the mailpiece to be a thick envelope which is subject to package rates.  Although packages require slightly more postage than letters and large envelopes, this is the cheapest way to send a mailpiece with delivery confirmation.  For added security, you can also use signature confirmation on First Class Mail packages; if you are a PayPal shipper, this is important as PayPal requires Signature Confirmation for any item over $250 in value.


First Class Mail International – Cheapest Way to Send Internationally

If you are looking to send mail internationally, First Class Mail International is the cheapest shipping method available for items 4 lbs and under.  As an example, a 9-ounce package sent from the US to Italy is only $9.04 with First Class International compared to $12.78 to send the same shipment using a Priority Mail International Small Flate-Rate box.  With Stamps.com, you can print postage for any international mail class, including customs forms.

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Good Advise! Thanks!

Jason Archambault

Posted via email from Shipping Headlines & Tips by Fastpack.net

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

Shipping Out the Holidays to Military Heroes - Recommended Mailing Dates for APO/FPO Destinations

WASHINGTON — Ensuring care packages arrive in time for the holiday season is a priority for friends and family members of military personnel serving around the world. To help get packages on their way, the U.S. Postal Service offers a discount on its largest Priority Mail Flat Rate Box.

The recommended mailing date for the most economical postage to overseas military destinations, including Iraq and Afghanistan, is Nov. 12.

Mail sent to overseas military addresses is charged only domestic mail prices. The domestic mail price for the Priority Mail Large Flat Rate Box is $14.50, but for packages to APO/FPO addresses overseas the price is reduced to $12.50. Additional discounts are available for customers printing their Priority Mail postage labels online at Click-N-Ship.

Environmentally friendly Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes are available at no cost at any Post Office, or can be ordered online at shop.usps.com. Postage, labels and customs forms can be printed online anytime using Click-N-Ship.

The Postal Service continues to show support to those serving in the armed forces by offering free Military Care Kits, designed specifically for military families sending packages overseas. The mailing kits can be ordered by phone by calling 1-800-610-8734 and asking for the Military Care Kit. Each kit includes two “America Supports You” large Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, four medium-sized Priority Mail Flat Rate boxes, six Priority Mail labels, one roll of Priority Mail tape and six customs forms with envelopes.

For online ordering of the large Priority Mail APO/FPO Flat Rate boxes featuring the “America Supports You” logo and information about mailing letters and packages to military destinations, go to Supporting Our Troops.

“Shipping holiday packages early helps ensure that they arrive in time for the holidays," said Pranab Shah, vice president and managing director, Global Business. “They are a great morale boost for those men and women serving their country in places far from home.”

To ensure delivery of holiday cards and packages by Dec. 25 to military APO/FPO addresses overseas, the Postal Service recommends that mail for service members be sent no later than the mailing dates listed below. Mail addressed to military Post Offices overseas is subject to certain conditions or restrictions regarding content, preparation and handling. APO/FPO addresses generally require customs forms. To see an online table of updated APO and FPO addresses and mailing restrictions by individual APO/FPO ZIP Codes, click here, select “Pull-Out Information” and click on “Other Information.”


Military Mail Addressed To Express Mail Military Service (EMMS)1/ First-Class Mail          Letters and Cards Priority Mail Parcel Airlift Mail (PAL) 2/ Space Available Mail (SAM)3/ Parcel Post
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 090-092 Dec-18 Dec-10 Dec-10 Dec-3 Nov-26 Nov-12
APO/FPO AE ZIP 093 N/A Dec-4 Dec-4 Dec-1 Nov-20 Nov-12
APO/FPO AE ZIPs 094-098 Dec-18 Dec-10 Dec-10 Dec-3 Nov-26 Nov-12
APO/FPO AA ZIP 340 Dec-18 Dec-10 Dec-10 Dec-3 Nov-26 Nov-12
APO/FPO AP ZIPs 962-966 Dec-18 Dec-10 Dec-10 Dec-3 Nov-26 Nov-12

1/ EMMS is available to selected military post offices. Check with your local Post Office to determine if this service is available to an APO/FPO address.
2/ PAL is a service that provides air transportation for parcels on a space-available basis. It is available for Parcel Post items not exceeding 30 pounds in weight or 60 inches in length and girth combined. The applicable PAL fee must be paid in addition to the regular surface rate of postage for each addressed piece sent by PAL service.
3/ SAM parcels are paid at Parcel Post postage rate of postage with maximum weight and size limits of 15 pounds and 60 inches in length and girth combined. SAM parcels are first transported domestically by surface and then to overseas destinations by air on a space-available basis.

The Postal Service receives no tax dollars for operating expenses, and relies on the sale of postage, products and services to fund its operations.



You may want to print this for future reference to ensure that your APO packages are delivered on time.


Jason Archambault


Posted via email from Shipping Headlines & Tips by Fastpack.net