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What is Bulk Mail? Is it Right for You?

The term "bulk mail" refers to quantities of mail prepared for mailing at reduced postage rates. In Business Mail 101, the term "bulk mail" means discounted First-Class Mail and advertising mail (called "Standard Mail" by the Postal Service). Discounted rates are available for other classes of mail, too. The Postal Service uses the terms "bulk" and "presorted" interchangeably.

Bulk rates are discounted from "single-piece" rates. "Single-piece" means that you pay the full postage rate; when you put a 37-cent stamp on a letter, you're paying the single-piece rate. Many mailers pay single-piece rates even though they are doing large mailings. Why? Because they don’t want to do any extra preparation work—they don’t have the time, or it’s just not cost effective for their business. Business Mail 101 will help you make smart choices about your own mail to determine if bulk rates are right for you.

What Are Bulk Rates?

The Postal Service offers discounts for bulk mailings because you do some of the work that otherwise would have to be done by the Postal Service (for example, sorting the mail by ZIP Code or transporting the mail to a different postal facility). Everyone benefits from this "worksharing." Mailers make an investment in time and technology, and the Postal Service’s costs are reduced and you pay less postage.

In order to mail at bulk rates, you need to:

Get a mailing permit (permission to mail) and pay an annual mailing fee.
Pay postage using one of several convenient methods: precanceled stamps, postage meter, or permit imprint.
Make smart choices about the size, shape, and weight of your mailpiece.
Ensure that your addresses are accurate.
Presort the mailpieces (separate or sort your mail by ZIP Codes).
Take your mail to the post office where you hold your mailing permit.

The choices you make can result in significant postage savings. Click here for a discussion about the postage rates you'll pay.

Minimum Quantities for a Bulk Business Mailing

To qualify for certain postage discounts, you must mail a minimum number of pieces:

500 pieces for First-Class Mail.
200 pieces (or 50 pounds of mail) for Standard Mail.
50 pieces for Parcel Post.
300 pieces for Presorted or Carrier Route Bound Printed Matter.
300 pieces for Presorted Library Mail.
300 pieces for Presorted Media Mail (sometimes called "book rate").

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