Postal rate increases for 2012 are coming January 22nd. See my post about the new 2012 Priority rates here.
This year the increase is not going to be all bad news for online sellers because USPS is doing some good things with both the Regional Rate Priority service they introduced in 2011 and discounts for shippers who use internet postage.
This is a plug:
If you are a micro-seller and not already subscribing to endicia (basic rate $9.95 month for PC higher for Mac) you may wish to rethink that policy. The savings of time, convenience and cash will be considerable as shown in the charts below. Yes, you can get the same postal rates using Stamps.com for $15.99 a month (60% more) plus the cost of your special labels for NetStamps, or ship packages paying for each batch at Click N Ship, but you will not have:
- a customer database on your computer complete with space for phone numbers and emails
- a printable shipping log
- a complete record of all your postage costs for the year in one place
- access to a variety of insurance options billed monthly
- downloadable updates before you need them
First Class Commercial Rates vs Retail
As of January 22 USPS First-Class Parcel service will be split into two separate classes: First-Class Package Service® and First-Class Mail Parcel®. The First-Class Package Service offers commercial discounted rates, but requires an integrated postage label and the special Intelligent Mail parcel barcode (iMpb) introduced last year.
2012 commercial price increase is 8c per piece in all weight tranches except the heaviest, 13oz, which is a 2c increase. Delivery confirmation charge is now included for First-Class Package Service a savings of 19c (11c net). Click the small image to get the bigger one.
If you are not already using Priority Regional Flat Rate, why not?
I am absolutely amazed to see how few sellers are using Regional Rate, to clarify that, not one seller I have bought from since the service was introduced in 2011. Do you actually enjoy paying more than necessary? Regional Flat Rate is basically the same service as regular flat rate but priced and designed for commercial shippers, us.
- If it fits it ships, but with weight limitations
- some of the discounts are over 50%, highest savings on heavier items going short distances but still cheaper than regular Flat Rate to Zone 8, Alaska and Hawaii.
- order boxes online delivered to you free of any charge
- schedule free pick up by your regular mail carrier
- no minimum for carrier pick up, one box is fine
You should note three things:
- You must use the Priority Regional Flat Rate boxes
- These boxes are not available at your local Post Office but must be ordered online.
- If you take one to the Post Office without an online printed label you will be charged $0.75c extra.
The chart below shows a comparison of box sizes with the current (pre 2012 increase) rates. I will update it as soon as exact information becomes available. Best estimates are that Box C, which will be available for order January 22nd, will cost an ‘average price’ of $30, figure average as Zone 5 from you. Click the small image to get the bigger one.
You can download a USPS Zone Chart for your website here. Just input the first three digits of your zip code.
Redirection of Mail
I have saved the best news for last. If you get scammed you will be able to use the new Package Intercept service to get your package back before it is delivered. The service is available for any Domestic Express Mail, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail, First-Class Package Service, Parcel Select, and Package Services, letter, flat, or parcel measuring not more than 108 inches in length and girth combined, with a tracking barcode. There is a fee and I believe you may also have to pay the return postage at the same rate you paid outbound. Even so, it is better than losing the package and the payment.
“Retail and commercial customers may request Package Intercept by submitting PS Form 1509, Application for Package Intercept, at the Post Office of mailing along with valid photo identification. Intercepted mailpieces are only redirected to sender.”
Y’all come back for the (much shorter) updates in Part 2!