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POPULAR NEW BOXES DEFY GRAVITY; FLYING FROM POST OFFICES
WASHINGTON, D.C. -December 16, 2004- The U.S. Postal Service provides customers with quick, easy, convenient ways for sending holiday gifts this season. Postal officials expect that many travelers will make their journeys less complicated by mailing gifts ahead - saving space in their vehicles, and time in airport security lines. Using Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes, customers will be able to mail domestic packages - regardless of the parcels' weight or destination - for just $7.70 each.
The new boxes don't have to be weighed, and there are no zone chart or rate calculations required. The concept is the same as the popular Priority Mail Flat-Rate Envelope, which costs $3.85 to mail, but the boxes are much larger. A bright red circular seal appears on every side, and complete instructions are printed right on the box. Local Post Offices provide Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes (and other Priority and Express Mail containers) free-of-charge, customers then fill them and apply postage.
Customers can get the value of Priority Mail in two convenient shapes at one consistent price. "Services that are easy to access and simple to use provide real value for our customers," said Stephen M. Kearney, Vice President of Pricing and Classification for the U.S. Postal Service.
The Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes are available in two shapes: 11-7/8 inches x 3-3/8 inches x 13-5/8 inches (ideal for garments, board games, books and other relatively thin items) and 11 inches x 8-1/2 inches x 5-1/2 inches (perfect for shoes, model cars and taller items).
Knowing the $7.70 price in advance helps customers ship packages quickly and easily, making the boxes very convenient. Paying the flat-rate Priority Mail box postage also is simple and convenient. Customers can also affix two $3.85 Jefferson Memorial stamps, use postage meter indicia or any combination of U.S. postage stamps.
For the ultimate in ease, customers can use Click-N-Ship, offered online though USPS.com, print a shipping label paying the $7.70 postage, and use Carrier Pickup online notification to let their Post Office know they have a package to be collected when their letter carrier delivers their mail the following day.
Because mail for military personnel overseas is handled as domestic mail when it is addressed to an APO or FPO address, Priority Mail Flat-Rate Boxes make great sturdy care packages. While the recommended deadlines for timely delivery of holiday mail to overseas military addresses has passed, these boxes can hold pounds and pounds of non-perishable treats.
"The new flat-rate box options for Priority Mail are as simple as one-two-three," offered Kearney. "One consistent price, two conveniently-sized boxes, and three words that sum it all up - Quick, Easy, Convenient."
News Release No. 04-093
Using a mailing service can save businesses time, money
REBECCA WOLFSON firstname.lastname@example.org
The college didn't have the space to prepare a bulk mailing, said Kathy Waters, the lead worker at MATC's mail center. And they didn't have the machinery to make the process easy, meaning they were looking at having to do the job by hand.
But there was a solution, which saved the college $5,000: Use a mailing services company, one that had the machinery and expertise to get the job done fast and efficiently.
"Mailings can be a very effective way of doing business," said Terri Bouffiou, customer relations coordinator for the Madison branches of the U.S. Postal Service. But she added, "as well as a big cost to a company."
Mailing-services companies' assistance may be more important and timely beginning next month, when postal rates rise by about 5 percent.
Everything from the color of ink to the shape of an envelope can add cost to a mailing. Mailing-services companies sort items, which saves money per piece.
The Postal Service created the mailing service industry by offering mailing discounts, said United Mailing Services district manager Mark Colb. Mailing-services companies, by sorting mail, take away much of the Postal Service's workload.
United Mailing has five branches in Wisconsin, including one in Madison, and 500 employees.
"We are the mail business, we know about the postage industry," said J&J's Bauer. When businesses use mailing services companies, "they can focus on the core business that they have."
Mailing-service companies advise clients about the best ways to get mailings noticed. They also provide automated inserting equipment and mailing lists.
"I just met with a law firm that sends mail out at full rate and also uses a carrier service," Bauer said. "I went in and educated them and I figured out I'd save them about $2,000 per year. Once their mailing equipment lease is up, I can save them another $1,200 per year."
"A lot of this is educating the customers about their options," said J&J's operations manager, Jeff Utter.
Design errors are one of the the most common mistakes people make with mailings, said Bruce Virgin, vice president and general manager of First Class Mailers on North Fair Oaks Avenue in Madison. A flower company he worked with made a $3,500 mistake when they printed a direct mail advertisement on the wrong color of paper. The paper was too dark, so the post office couldn't distinguish between the paper and the text, Virgin said.
Capital Newspapers, publisher of the Wisconsin State Journal and The Capital Times, also provides mailing services through its Target Marketing program.
Nonprofits can also save big. Volunteers often stuff envelopes and put stamps on mass mailings, Virgin said. But these groups can save more money by bringing the job to a mailing service because as a nonprofit organization, they can receive a special bulkmail rate, bringing their cost from 18.5 cents per piece - the best price if they do the mailing on their own - to as cheap as around 9 cents per item.
Mailings also often take longer than expected, Bouffiou said. Before a mailing is sent out, it needs to be designed and printed. The company needs a mailing permit and a mailing list. Mailing-services companies, however, can provide all of that and complete most mailings in less than a week, Bouffiou said.
Capital Mailing Systems on Advance Road in Madison mostly caters to small businesses. The most common and costly mistake businesses make is formatting for bar code, said business manager Daniel Phelps. Incorrect bar codes can cost businesses an extra 5 cents per piece, which, for a large mailing can mean thousands of dollars.
"The domestic mail manual is hundreds of pages long and people in mail services are people who are experts of that book," Phelps said.
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