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How to Send Certified Mail®: A Step-by-Step Guide

October 5, 2023


USPS® Certified Mail: A Step-by-Step Guide for Businesses

Certified Mail® is an important mail service that every business should know about. It’s a reliable and secure method of sending important documents and packages to customers and clients. We've outlined the steps to preparing Certified Mail and dive into the costs and benefits to your business.

Here's what's covered:

  • What is Certified Mail?
  • How is it different from other mail classes?
  • When you should use it?
  • How do you send it?
  • What does it cost to send USPS Certified Mail?
  • What are the benefits?


What is Certified Mail?

Certified Mail is a special mailing service that is available only through the United States Postal Service. Businesses of all sizes use Certified Mail for important, time-sensitive documents or items that require proof of mailing and secure delivery. When you send Certified Mail, you’ll receive a receipt at the time of mailing and proof of delivery when your mail piece reaches its destination.

You can learn more about USPS Extra Services on their website.


How is it different from other mail classes?

Certified Mail is an extra service that can be added to First-Class or Priority Mail services for delivery confirmation. Certified letters are usually delivered within 2 to 5 business days, but flat envelopes can be delivered even quicker using Priority Mail.

For an additional fee, Certified Mail is commonly sent with a Return Receipt that provides other necessary information, including the time of delivery and a signature. These mailing receipts are available in hard copy, called "green cards," or electronic PDF formats. Electronic Return Receipts cost a lot less and are easier to create, share and store.

 Tip: Certified Mail can also be sent to a P.O. Box. A delivery notice is left for the recipient inside the box, and they can easily sign for the document or package right at the Post Office!


When should you use Certified Mail?

Do you need proof of mailing and delivery? What about a signature on file to prove an important mail piece was signed for and delivered? If so, you should use Certified Mail. It provides a level of security that regular mail simply cannot match. Use Certified Mail when you require solid evidence that your document or package has been mailed and successfully delivered to the intended recipient. In many cases, courts and other agencies will only accept Certified Mail as proof of delivery.

Certified Mail is an essential mail service for healthcare, insurance, property management, financial services and many other regulated industries.

Use the service for your most urgent communications!

  • Legal documents
  • Healthcare records
  • Foreclosure notices
  • Debt collections
  • Tax returns


How do you send Certified Mail?

There are two ways to send Certified Mail, digitally or the old-fashioned way. Doing Certified Mail the old-fashioned way by hand is time consuming and prone to error! It’s also more expensive. Using an online, digital solution centralizes all of your important communications in one place. With an online tool like e-Certify, you’ll be able to manage your process as well as your entire team in one platform.

Let’s compare the steps to preparing Certified Mail the old-fashioned way to a more secure, digital process:


Tip: Avoid unnecessary costs and returned mail by validating mail addresses before sending Certified Mail.


What are the Certified Mail costs?

Certified Mail costs vary depending on the weight and size of your mailing and if you use additional services like Return Receipt or Restricted Delivery. However prices are significantly lower than other mailing and shipping carriers that offer similar tracking.

Choosing Electronic Return Receipt is the best way to bring down the costs of Certified Mail. This also creates a digital workflow that significantly reduces the time and effort it takes to prepare mailings. No more writing out green cards or trips to the Post Office!

Here are the current costs to send a Certified Mail piece:

First-Class Postage: $0.66 (Save 5% with a meter!)
Certified Mail Fee: $4.65
Hard-Copy Return Receipt: $3.55
Electronic Return Receipt: $2.20 (Unlock a 38% savings!)
Restricted Delivery: $11.45
Adult Signature Required: $11.45


Tip: Stay posted on any changes to Certified Mail prices by visiting our Postal Rate Hub.

What are the benefits of Certified Mail?

There are many advanages! Certified Mail offers an extra layer of accountability for your mailings that far outweigh any extra costs, as long as you create digital workflow to help your business automate the process.

  • Proof of mailing
  • Delivery confirmation
  • Increased security
  • Advanced tracking
  • Signature confirmation
  • Sense of urgency
  • Peace of mind
  • No more guessing!
  • Convenience
  • Better storage


Interested in saving time & money on Certified Mail?

Automating your Certified Mail process will reduce your mail costs by 38% and significantly impact your workflow, resulting in better visibility, accountability and reporting for your business.

Contact Us



Related Articles and Content:

The 7 Benefits of Online Certified Mail
6 Certified Mail Myths Debunked!
USPS Business Mail Classes Explained





October 31, 2019 at 8:06 am
Edris Tracy
How much is a Certificate of Mailing going to change to with the new rates? Currently it is $1.45 for them.
October 31, 2019 at 8:56 am
Hi Edris, great question, a Certificate of Mailing is going up from $1.45 per piece to $1.50. Thank you
January 23, 2020 at 12:41 pm
If you use a firm book the cost is only .43 each
Comments are closed for this article.
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