The 3 Ps of the USPS Rate Hikes: Parcels, Presorts and Periodicals

[responsive]USPSeagle[/responsive]“Just in the nick of time, the U.S. Postal Service filed price increases averaging nearly 2% late Thursday on most mail except Forever Stamps,” writes D. Eadward Tree last week.

The biggest rate jumps are going to hit businesses in the pocket come late April. Presorted letters and postcards go up by 2.417%; parcels go up by a hefty 10.18%; and Every Door Direct Mail jumps by 5%.

What about catalog and magazine mailers? Look for around 2% there, but Tree urges us to remember that this is average. “Those are average increases, but I’ve never met an average mailer,” he writes.

And if you mail flats, be aware that there will be more regulations for you.

“Flats mailers will face ‘required FSS preparation for all flat-shaped mail pieces destinating in FSS zones’ but also pricing incentives to reward mailers that prepare and enter flats that are most advantageous to the Postal Service,” Tree notes.

And this from Tree: “Postal officials seem especially concerned with the consumer confusion that would result if the price of Forever Stamps were increased and then decreased during the same year, which is probably why they left the price alone.”

Well, at least they realize, and are trying to mitigate, the effect all of this has on the consumer. Let’s face it, the average person checking their mail box doesn’t understand how the Postal Regulatory Commission and Congress play into their rates; they fail to grasp how the USPS is not like a real business, unlike FedEx or UPS. They are largely blissfully unaware of the recent shenanigans in Congress and how that impacts the hamstrung USPS management. It’s just not on their radar screen. They do know that it costs more and more for the same (or worse) service and they still need their mail.

An interesting aside to all of this: According to an article in Post & Parcel, the USPS is running some promotions ostensibly to help businesses use direct mail more effectively. They’ll be encouraging marketers to do things they already do, like include BRM envelopes in their First Class mailings and use mobile technology to engage customers.

Thanks just the same, but it seems like there are plenty of mailing experts out there offering this kind of help and advice. How about something on preparing FSS mail to maximize savings? You know, something that might help both the USPS and the business customers that are forced to use them.

UPDATE: The PRC may take up to 45 days to review the filings to determine and confirm whether the rate increases are consistent with applicable law. If approved, the postage increase on market-dominant products will be effective April 26, 2015.