Firms offer postal discounts
If somebody walked up to you and offered to mail your 44-cent letter for 40 cents, you’d probably smell a scam.
But there’s a completely legal program authorized by the U.S. Postal Service that allows such a discount.
The catch is that a certain mailing volume is required — and we’re not talking about bulk mail.
Ronald Cline, sales and marketing director for in Kansas City suggested that cost-conscious businesses could look into an alternative service his firm and three other authorized providers give.
I don’t want to look like a commercial, but in this economy, any savings pointers are helpful. So in addition to , local providers of this service are , and KCPresort (all of which can be researched on the Web).
Those companies have Combined Mail Agreements with the post office, as well as some expensive equipment — think $700,000 to $800,000 for a special optical reader machine for starters.
Basically, they “work share” with the postal service. By taking over some mail pickup and sorting services “the post office bypasses three or four procedures at significant labor savings to them, which allows us to offer the permitted discounts,” Cline explained.
His firm finds it can offer 10 percent to 20 percent mail savings to organizations, generally those whose postage volume costs at least $2,000 a month. The exact break-even or cost-savings points vary among the Combined Mail providers and their customers.
The challenge, Cline said, is getting the word out. The first time a business operator gets a pitch from someone like Cline, the result is usually skepticism or confusion.
Most large-volume mailers know about bulk mail rates and know that to get that price break they need to have 200 or 500 pieces of exactly the same thing (the higher number being for first-class mail).
Those are higher thresholds than many mailers can meet, especially if their mailings have what the postal services calls different “characteristics.”
Combined Mail Agreements give the pre-sorters permits to commingle mail from several customers and combine them in larger pre-sorted discounts. The pre-sorted mail then goes to the post office for delivery.
Some hospitals, universities, school districts and companies in the metro are using Combined Mail services. Many others don’t have the mail volume to merit it.
But that leaves a bunch of organizations that aren’t getting the savings they might because they’ve never heard of Combined Mail.
To reach Diane Stafford, call 816-234-4359 or send e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. Read her recent columns and “Your Job” blog at http://economy.kansascity.com.