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Jillian Voege

What is USPS Presort? (And Should I Be Using It?)

by Jillian Voege
People sorting mail in a mail room

If you're sending at least 5,000 mailers a year, USPS Presort can significantly slash your annual postage bill.

USPS Presort is a discount for customers who sort their mail before sending it off to USPS. It offers a sliding scale of discounts based on service level, mail shape, and weight. A good rule of thumb is: if you're sending at least 5,000 mailers a year, it's a good idea to inquire about USPS Presort and determine if it's a good fit for your business.

First of all, the USPS splits up Presort-eligible mail into Standard Mail and First-Class Mail:

  • Standard Mail is usually catalogues, coupons, and advertisements that aren't personalized. There's a 200 piece minimum for Standard Mail per Presort mailing.
  • First-Class Mail is usually personalized or unique items such as account statements and bills. The USPS is obligated to make its best effort to locate the recipient. There's a 500 piece minimum for First-Class Mail per Presort mailing.

Depending on the service level you use, you get different discounts. First-Class Mail offers a sliding scale of discounts, but Standard Mail gets a flat Presort rate, which means bigger savings when you're sending large amounts of heavier mail:

First-Class Mail Presort Rates
OuncesNormal RatePresort RateSavings
Standard Mail Presort Rates
OuncesNormal RatePresort RateSavings

So let's say you have a seasonal catalog (weighing at 3 ounces) going out to 10,000 subscribers. Normal Standard Mail would cost you $7,800, but Presorted Standard Mail would only cost $2,500, which means you save $5,300. You're cutting down your postage bill into a mere fraction of what it could have been.

Of course, USPS Presort is effectively USPS paying you in discounts to do some of their work for them. It only makes sense if the value of the savings matches up with the resources you can spare.

Let's say you have to send around 500 invoices a month, which means you qualify for First-Class Presort rates. Each invoice weighs 1 ounce, which means 500 invoices would normally cost you $220, while Presort would cost you $180. That's just $40 a month, which would not be worth the time, investment, and effort to implement a Presort operation in-house in most cases.

So should you be using USPS Presort? It really depends on how many mailers you're sending out. Businesses with extensive mailing lists for catalogs and advertising can gain the most savings with USPS Presort, while businesses that only send out mailers in short spurts wouldn't benefit much from the extra savings. If USPS Presort does make sense for you, then stay tuned for our guide to implementing an in-house USPS Presort Operation.