Mailing evaluation

Taking Care of Business

It’s time to do some direct mailing. Do you use a professional mailing service or mail it yourself?

The following illustration is based on people or companies who prepare bulk mailings and may be uncertain about the most economical and efficient way to have their mailings prepared, whether to process themselves in-house or to out-source to professional mailers.

When a company is about to prepare its own bulk mailing, there are several factors to consider, which help to determine costs, efficiency and timeliness in preparing a mailing. When these factors are properly evaluated, one would be able to compare the logic of preparing the mailing in-house or outsourcing to a professional service.

Let’s list some of the factors for such evaluations:

First, consider factors based on the customer processing his or her own mailing:

  1. How much do pressure sensitive labels cost?
  2. How much time is spent printing the labels?
  3. If preparing your own flyers, how much time and effort does it take folding the paper to letter size and affixing the required sealing tabs?
  4. If inserting letters into envelopes, how much time and effort is spent inserting by hand and sealing the envelope?
  5. How much time is spent manually
    applying the labels to the mail pieces?
  6. Once all the mail pieces are addressed, how long does it take to properly sort, bundle, tray, prepare the postal forms and deliver the mail to the post office? Are you aware of the postal regulations to properly prepare your mailings?
  7. How much labor time was spent preparing your mailing?
  8. To obtain postal discounts, are you maintaining the list properly under the new postal regulations of having the list updated within the previous 95 days of the mailing or the mailing is not accepted at bulk mail discounts?
  9. Are you able to obtain the additional discounts allowed by barcoding while addressing and maintaining the required CASS certification to allow for those discounts?

Now, consider what occurs when using a professional mailing service:

  1. In most cases, professional mailers will be direct inkjet, spraying the addresses onto the mail pieces. No labels required. This job is generally done at speeds of 6,000 to 15,000 pieces per hour. This not only eliminates the need for labels, but also gives a better eye-appealing look to your mail piece.
  2. Folding to reduce mail pieces to letter size is processed by automation on machines that fold at rates of 18,000 to 25,000 pieces per hour. Affixing sealing tabs is done by automation at speeds of 6,000 to 10,000 flyers per hour.
  3. If inserting material into envelopes, mailers have inserters that generally can insert up to six pieces into envelopes at speeds of 3,000 to 6,000 envelopes per hour.
  4. Prior to addressing the mail, professional mailers process a mailing list through National Change of Address, CASS certify the list, presort the list and print the addresses with postal barcodes, allowing the customer to obtain much lower postage rates. By barcoding while addressing, not only is the customer obtaining greater postal discount, but also automating the mail reduces the delivery time.
  5. By presorting the mailing list through the computer, the tray tags and postal forms are automatically generated, insuring the greatest postal discounts available. Mail pieces are automatically sorted to bundles and trays as they exit the machines.
  6. Since professional mailers stay current on postal regulations, customers are advised about the best design to meet postal regulations for the best possible postal discounts.

Professional mailers are able to update and validate mailing lists, process mailings at automation speeds and obtain the best postal discounts. In most cases, the additional postal discounts that professional mailers are able to obtain are either greater than their charges to the customer, or go a long way to offset the cost of such services. In the majority of cases, it is less expensive and more time efficient to use a professional mailing service than to process the mailings by oneself.

Contact your favorite professional mailing service for an evaluation of your mailing needs.

Editor’s Note: This is the third in a series of four columns about bulk mailing. Look for the fourth column related to this topic in a future issue.

About Joe Lieberman 4 Articles
Joe Lieberman is president and owner of Peninsula Data Service Center. He can be reached at 757-873-2132 or by email at

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