All the USPS Business Mail Classes Explained
September 1, 2023
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The U.S. Postal Service assigns mail into different services, called “classes.”
Each USPS mail class has its own features, service levels, postage prices and presort requirements. There are big benefits to understanding the mail classes, including service options, postal optimization, and reduced postage rates. We've included a breakdown of all the different mail classes below and a mail class chart so you can see the benefits at a glance! Let's dive into it:
Delivery in one to three business days
First-Class Mail is the most widely used mail class for sending letters, postcards, and small parcels up to 13 oz. It’s truly first-class service for your important business and customer communications. Plus, prices remain the same regardless of how far the mail travels, including forwarding and return services. FirstClass Mail® is the most common class because it’s fast, easy, and affordable. First-Class Mail also includes options for business reply mail (BRM), certified mail, and registered mail, which provide added security and tracking capabilities.
Tip: Did you know that using a postage meter can save you 5% on First-Class letters? Check out Postage Meters now!
Delivered in one, two, or three business days, depending on origin and destination
Priority Mail is a popular choice for sending packages and envelopes that need to arrive quickly but at a more affordable price than express services. This mail class provides delivery for letters or parcels up to 70 lbs. Saturday and residential delivery are included in the price at no extra charge, along with free USPS Tracking and up to $50 insurance. Unlike some other carriers, you won’t pay fuel surcharges for this service. Plus, supplies such as boxes and envelopes are available for free with Priority Mail service, including flat rate boxes and envelopes. You may remember the famous slogan, “If it fits, it ships.” Flat rate prices are fixed, regardless of what’s in the box, as long as the item fits without altering the box or envelope. This can be especially handy for small but heavy shipments, like auto parts or paperweights.
Tip: Dimensional weight involves factoring the box size into pricing. If the dimensional weight exceeds the actual weight, the shipping rate is based on the dimensional weight instead. Learn more
Priority Mail Express®
Guaranteed overnight delivery 365 days a year, including Saturday!
For the fastest delivery service within the United States, Priority Mail Express is the go-to option. This service provides guaranteed overnight delivery 365 days a year, including Saturday and residential delivery at no extra charge. It’s the fastest option offered by the Postal Service and includes free USPS Tracking and up to $100 of insurance. As with Priority Mail, you won’t pay fuel surcharges with Priority Mail Express, and it includes free supplies like regular and flat-rate boxes and envelopes.
USPS Marketing Mail™
Flyers, circulars, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and other advertising materials!
Standard Mail, now known as Marketing Mail, is used for sending promotional and advertising materials. This mail class offers lower postage rates but comes with strict requirements regarding content and preparation. It's ideal for businesses looking to reach a wide audience through direct mail marketing campaigns. It applies to bulk mailings of at least 200 pieces or 50 lbs. Mailings must be less than 16 oz. and of a promotional nature. Examples include flyers, circulars, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs, and other advertising materials, which can be in the form of letters, flats, or small parcels. USPS Marketing Mail is for domestic mailings only.
Published to a list of subscribers at least four times per year
For mailings up to 70 lbs. the Periodicals mail class is designed for newspapers, magazines, and other publications that are mailed to a list of subscribers. That includes everything from listings, magazines, photographs, illustrations, graphs, comic strips, legal notices, and other editorial material. Your mailings can qualify for this mail class as long as they are published at regular intervals and at least 4 times a year. The Postal Service also requires that the materials contain less than 75% advertising.
The USPS Periodicals mail class is for:
- comic strips
- legal notices
- other editorial materials
You also need to meet specific standards for circulation and record keeping. If your periodicals are created for Nonprofit, Classroom or Science of Agriculture, you can access even lower postage. Just submit a formal application to get the process started. Once accepted, your business can access these those lower rates. You can check to see if you’re eligible and apply at USPS.com.
This chart from the USPS can help you determine which class of mail is right for your needs business and type of mailings:
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