Standard Mail (Bulk Mail): Difference Between Flats & Letters

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Get the best postage rates by knowing the rules. The two most popular kinds of Standard Mail are “Flats” and “Letters.” Flats generally mail for $.553 each and Letters mail for approximately $.301 each. Greater postage discounts are available depending on the Zip Code concentrations of your mailing list. So it really pays to design and mail your piece to mail as a “Letter” if possible! Postage regulations are complex but these are the basics:

Letters can be folded self-mailers, jumbo postcards, booklets or various items a sealed envelope containing one or more items. All must be rectangular in shape, fit within a USPS template and have the following characteristics:
– Height at least 3 1/2 inches and no more than 6 1/8 inches
– Width at least 5 inches and no more than 11 1/2 inches
– Thickness at least .009 inches and no more than 1/4 inch
– Weight no more than 3.3 ounces
– Flexible—not rigid
– Mailing address must run the same direction as the longer side
– Folded self-mailers and booklets must be tabbed shut with wafer seals according to the size and folds. (Tabs will be required on the top or sides or both in some cases. Without proper tabbing the piece will be mailed as at Flat.

Flats are mail pieces like all those above that are too big or thick to qualify as a letter:
– Shorter side is more than 6 1/8″ but less than 12”
– Longer side is more than 11 1/2″ –but less than 15”
– Must be under 16 ounces
– Flexible—not rigid

When mailing with Standard Mail, both Letters and Flats must be barcoded for best “Automation” discounts.

Above are the basics but there are pages of Post Office rules for both printing and mailing that must be followed to earn the best rates. There’s a handy template, too. Businesses throughout the San Fernando Valley, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties rely on Clear Print economical printing and mailing. Call us at (818) 709-1220 or email sales@clearprint.com for more information or a quote.

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