When it comes to determining the final postage costs of your postcard order with Conquest Graphics, there are realistically only a few factors about the order that will truly have any changes on the price you’ll end up paying per piece to the USPS in postage.
And usually the same goes for other printers unless they upcharge the postage in your final bill as part of their “service fees.” Conquest Graphics will never charge customers any more than the post office is charging them to mail their printed postcards from our mail center.
So what are the factors about your postcard order that are actually causing the postage to cost as much as it does?
It’s as simple as looking at two key specifications in the order… The size and the quantity.
Classes of Mail
The USPS offers several "classes" of mail that you can use for a mailing project. You've likely heard of "First Class" mail, but there are a few other options available that may fit your needs better. Each class of mail offers its own set of benefits and requirements, and selecting the right one may seem difficult at first. However, there are some basic points to know that can help you along the way.
First Class Mail
First Class is the type of mail that most people have heard of it. When you are putting a letter in your mailbox with a stamp on it, you are using a type of First Class Mail. However, this is also available when you sending out a bulk mailing. The main aspects about First Class Mail are:
- Speed - First Class Mail is treated by the post office as the most important mail, hence the name "First Class." As a result, mailpieces sent out with this class are delivered to recipients very quickly, often within 2-5 business days.
- Cost - In relation to the other types of mail, First Class is the most expensive. You can expect to pay 40% or more compared to Standard mail.
- Quantity Requirements - First Class Mail offers a non-presort option, which means you can mail as few items as you'd like. However, to receive "Presort" pricing, you will need to mail at least 500 pieces.
Standard Mail (AKA Marketing Mail)
Standard Mail (also called Marketing Mail) is most commonly used for bulk marketing purposes because it is cheaper per piece than First Class Mail. With the lower cost, the post office gives Standard Mail a lower priority than First Class, and therefore delivery times are longer. Unless you have a specific deadline or a fast-approaching event, you can take advantage of this type of mail and save a considerable amount of money.
- Speed - The USPS provides a range of 3-15 days for delivery times.
- Cost - Standard Mail is significantly less expensive than First Class Mail.
- Quantity Requirements - All mailpieces sent out as Standard mail must be presorted (which is described in further detail below), and the minimum quantity is 200.
- Nonprofit Options - If you are a nonprofit (as verified by the IRS), you are eligible to mail using special Nonprofit Standard rates, which offer a major discount off of the normal prices.
Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM)
Every Door Direct Mail is a relatively new class of mail that allows you to send mailpieces to entire postal routes at a time. These mailers do not require addresses to be imprinted on them, as the postal carriers place a piece in every single mailbox on a given route. The delivery times are similar to Standard Mail, but the costs are even lower because the post office does not have to do any address processing.
- Speed - The USPS provides a range of 3-15 days for delivery times.
- Cost - EDDM is even cheaper than regular Standard Mail, making it a very cost-effective option.
- Quantity Requirements - There is no minimum quantity, but you do have to mail to entire postal routes. A postal route can contain as few as tens of mailboxes, or up to nearly 1000 mailboxes.
- Nonprofit Options - Like Standard Mail, the USPS offers special EDDM rates for nonprofit organizations.
Presorted Mail Versus Non-Presorted Mail
While technically not a mailing class, there is a "Presort" rate available for both First Class and Standard Mail. “Presorting” basically means that you or your mailhouse will take responsibility for the organizing of your mail by destination ZIP codes to make it easier for the Postal Service to get your mail to its destination. As the USPS site states: “All of the pieces going to the same destination get grouped into the same bundle or tray. You'll sort to specific areas, and then work your way up to more general areas. All leftover mail pieces are combined together.”
To make the presorting actually worth it, you do have to be mailing a high enough quantity of mail. The minimum quantities are 500 for First Class Presort and 200 for Standard Presort.
For doing all the sorting for them, the USPS rewards you with a lower postage price per piece that can save you hundreds of dollars, just for organizing your letters into postage boxes beforehand.
Generally speaking, an individual or a small business won't be able to do the sorting on their own, as it requires special mail software and a permit with the USPS. As a result, partnering with a mailhouse or a full service printing company is typically the best way to do a presorted mailing. If you are sending out a mailing over the minimum quantities, taking advantage of the presort postage rates is a no-brainer.
There are many sizes available that you can use for your mailing, but the size you choose will directly determine the type of class you can utilize. The most common sizes range from 4" by 6" all the way up to 6" x 11".
Starting on the smaller end, you've got postcards that are 4” x 6” or 4.25” x 6”. Mailing smaller pieces like these allows you to take advantage of a special First Class "Card" rate if you’re mailing 500 or more of them. The average price for this special class is 28 cents per piece, which is about the same cost as sending out a larger postcard using Standard Mail. This gives you some significant postage savings while also providing you with the quicker delivery times that First Class offers. The only downside to these sizes is that your room for content is limited.
If you’re mailing slightly larger postcards, say… around 6.25” x 9” or 6” x 11”, you’re reaching postcard sizes large enough to qualify for a class of mail the USPS calls Every Door Direct Mail (or EDDM).
EDDM is an entirely different method of targeting audiences, as there is no longer a list of names to which your postcards are mailing, but a list of mailing routes. When you select the EDDM option, you’re taken to a mapping tool that lets you choose the routes you want to ship to, and from there, the USPS will deliver one of your postcards to each mailbox along their route.
The mapping tool lets you evaluate the various routes based off a variety of useful demographic datasets including average household size and average household income.
You can also hyper-locally target certain neighborhoods with this tool and ensure everyone within a 5 mile radius is fully aware of your promotional messaging.
Just by choosing to print slightly larger postcards, you unlock a whole new set of marketing possibilities for your postcards.
But going big isn’t the only way to decrease postage costs. If you choose to go with a standard postcard size, you can take advantage of “First-Class presort card” mailing that provides a significant discount on postage just for choosing a standardized smaller size for your flat mailer.
How many stamps should I use on my mailed postcard?
If you're sending a single postcard or a small collection of postcards to family or friends, or even just a small subsection of your customer base, you will have a set amount of postage that must be paid for USPS to deliver your mail piece. Usually one stamp will be more than enough to cover your postage if you're mailing domestically.
Generally, postcards that are 6 inches long by 4-1/4 inches high by .016 inch thick or smaller will cost you $0.35 or one postcard stamp to mail anywhere in the US. If you have postcards larger than that, but smaller than 11-1/2 inches long by 6-1/8 inches high by 1/4 inch thick, you will have to pay somewhere around $0.55, which is one domestic Forever stamp or multiple stamps of a smaller value.
Sometimes these prices vary depending on where you're mailing to and from and whether you're mailing the postcard internationally. If you are unsure of how much it will cost you to mail your postcards or if you're mailing them internationally, you can input the details specific to your postcard mailing in the postage price calculator.
If you wish to calculate the price of your mailing for a higher quantity of recipients,you are welcome to get a postage calculation using our postcard product page or you can feel free to call our customer support at 800-707-9903.
FREE Postcard PDF Template Downloads
Now that we know how size can affect the pricing of your postcard mailing order, let’s go on to examine the next factor that influences postage prices for postcard mailings.
When it comes to postage prices and quantities, it’s sometimes hard to see how much you could end up saving yourself in postage by just ordering a few more postcards to mail.
For First-Class Presort mailing options there is a minimum count of 500 pieces, and for Standard mailing options it's 200 pieces.
If you have any fewer pieces in your total order, you should probably add just a few more to reach the next level so you can get a significantly lower per-piece postage cost.
The one mailing option that you should see for all shapes and sizes and quantities of the postcard product (at least for everything other than the EDDM-sized postcard that mails exclusively as EDDM) is First-Class Non-Presort.
This option is always available, regardless of quantity since you are paying more for it in order for the postal workers to do the ZIP code sorting for you.
If you want to save money on your postcard order, check out our blog on How to Reduce Direct Mail Postage Costs.
Postcard Postage Cost Guide (Updated Fall 2018)
It’s easy to make an effective brochure when you have lots of money to spend, but here we help you make an effective marketing brochure on a tight budget.
By Conquest Graphics