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A small business blog featuring tips to help entrepreneurs succeed in the small business world. Topics include family business, human resources, marketing, money, networking, operations, ownership, startup, taxes and technology.
Tips for Adapting to the Postage Rate Increase
In 1847 the first U.S. postage stamps were released, the five cent Ben Franklin and the ten cent George Washington. And, in just a week, the rate for postage stamps will increase to 41 cents – more than eight times that of the Ben Franklin.
You may be asking yourself, why the increase, since we just did this a little over a year ago? The stamp increase is to help cover operational expenses. Last year’s increase was mandated by Congress to fund an escrow account.
While the stamp increase won’t severely effect most business owners, the U.S. Post Office is also changing the postage rates for packages and this may cause a bit of a strain. But don’t worry, there are some ways to work around the added expense.
First, the USPS has delayed the effective date of the stamp increase for periodicals, newspapers, magazines and the like until July 15. While the stamp increase may not effect all of us, the publishing industry needs more time to update computer software and adjust to the new rate structure. I’m sure they appreciate it.
In order to help ease the transition for customers, USPS also announced a new concept to the postal world: The Forever Stamp. This first class stamp, featuring the Liberty Bell and the word “forever,” will sell for 41 cents but can be used for any future one-ounce letter mailing without requiring extra postage, regardless of how much a stamp costs at that time.
The USPS will be implementing a rate structure for packages that is now based more upon the package shape. A detailed list of these new rates and fees can be found in the USPS online rate and fee brochure.
As another means to help transition your business through the rate changes, USPS recommends possibly changing the way you send mail. For example, if you us a two ounce large envelope to mail items (9×12 in size) so that you don’t have to fold the contents, you will be paying $0.97 to send it. However, if the contents are small enough that they could be folded and put in a regular No. 10 envelope, you would pay $0.58 to mail it even if it was a little bulky. At a savings of $0.39 – if you’re mass producing mail, that could add up to a lot.
There are other obvious alternatives, such as purchasing cheaper mailers. Then, of course, some not so obvious alternatives may be to outsource your mail. Companies such as FlyDoc will do all the work for you. All you have to do, once you’ve typed a letter, is choose the “FlyDoc Printer” on your print menu and the document is sent to their worldwide network where they are stamped, addressed and sent automatically by mail, fax or e-mail. It is a pay-as-you-go structure with no setup fees or minimum purchases.
With DYMO Stamps, you still do the work, but no longer have to wait in line at the post office because they provide the equipment and tools to make the process smoother with a desktop mailing package ($230) that includes a scale, stamp printer and stamp software.
And, if one of your marketing strategies is direct mail advertising, you could always consider transitioning to e-mail advertising instead. MailChimp provides an e-mail marketing service complete with templates at a cost of $0.03 to $0.05 per recipient (in bulk, of course).
No matter what you choose to do to transition into the rate increase more smoothly, your business should be safe from being in the red. Like with the price of gas and milk, postage is a necessary part of our everyday lives, and, when the price goes up, you cut corners somewhere else in order to make it work. Fortunately, a few cents here and there shouldn’t do a lot of damage.
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