New to mailing services -- need help getting started

jdr999

Well-known member
Hi All,

Please bear with the new guy :-D

I'm new to mailing services and need help figuring out a basic job -- 8k addressed #10 envelopes, with postage if possible.

I've got a fiery G100 which has VDP built in -- although I've never used it before. (For small jobs I'd do a mail merge and print....)

How easy or hard is it to run a job like this through the G100?
And what are my options with postage?

Am I out of luck or can I pull this off?

Thanks!
Joe
 

jrsc

Well-known member
Google fiery freeform and you will lean the built in variable data. Basically you send the background art then you do the mail merge like you do for small jobs on just a blank page. Then the fiery will overlay it on the background.

That's the easy part. Navigating postal permits and regulations is the hard part and more than I can explain in this post. If you don't have a bulk mail permit with the post office that is step 1. Next you would normally need mail software to standardize and presort your list. I think there are some pay per record services popping up online but I don't remember what they are. This part of the process can get very difficult and complicated depending on how much of a postage discount you want. You may be able to start at a higher rate using all mixed aadc so you don't have to deal with a lot of sorting. When you go to the post office to get your permit tell them this is your fist mailing and ask if they can help you through it.
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
My best advice for you on this particular job would be to outsource it to a mail house. You CAN do this, but, it's going to be 2 - 3 weeks just to get everything you need from the USPS in order to do these types of jobs (permits, mailer ID, a PostalONE online access account, Postal Sortation software, etc.), and, another couple of months for you to somewhat understand the postal rules, regulations, and preparation requirements.

For instance, what is going in those 8,000 #10's? Is it advertising, or is it "transactional" (invoices, statements, bills, etc.). If it is transactional, it can only be mailed First Class. If it is an advertisement, or solicitation, it can be mailed either First Class or Bulk (now called "USPS Marketing Mail"). You will need to know how much the piece weighs, and, how thick it is (you'll need a caliper for that). A piece's thickness will determine whether or not it can be mailed as a "Letter", or a "Flat". It will also be needed for your sortation software to determine how many pieces will fit in a tray. A piece's weight may determine whether or not you can mail at an "automated" rate (up to 3.5 ounces) or a non-automated rate.

These, and, many other rules and regulations you can learn over time, but, for now, in order to get this job out, I would suggest either outsourcing it to a mail house, or, just addressing them with no sortation or barcode and then either metering them straight First Class (if you have a postal meter) or affixing a straight first class stamp (if you don't have a meter)
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
Also, with regard to the content of the envelope, there are certain things that are illegal to mail through the USPS , so, it is important that you understand what those content items are to keep yourself out of the pokey (for instance, any wording that facilitates or entices someone to take part in a lottery, pieces that are made to look like an invoice but are really a solicitation (without the proper disclaimer), pieces that mislead that recipient in to thinking that it came from a branch of the Federal Government (fake seals, etc.), and many other wording-content items.
 

jdr999

Well-known member
Thanks guys, I think I understand. We don't have an inserter, tabber, mail software, or permits so it looks like we have a long way to go.

The customer was actually going to stuff and stamp the letters themselves and asked if we could add postage so they didn't have to. I have a feeling they're also not up to speed with available mailing house services. (Last year they only asked for 1k).

If I just wanted to add first class postage to the 8k envelopes, what would be the easiest and most efficient way?
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
Postage Meter (check with Pitney Bowes, NeoPost, Hassler). Alternatively, if you know someone who has a postage meter (many business offices have postage meters) you might be able to ask them if you put the postage on their meter, would they let you run your job there.
 

PricelineNegotiator

Well-known member
Get a metering machine for the above request.

Don't let your customer get involved in the insertion process if your permit is going on there. Bad juju.
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
It'll also be cheaper than putting a stamp on it. First Class Stamped Mail (if it is not over 1 ounce) is $0.49/each. First Class Metered Mail (if it is not over 1 ounce) is only $0.46 each. That's a 3-cents savings per piece. For 8,000 pieces, you would save $240.00!!
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
Inside Mail Business Hint: Save yourself, and, your client a lot of headache. Hand-Inserting 8,000 pieces is tedious and time consuming. It will probably take them several days to insert (depending on how many people they have on it). A mail house with a machine inserter can do this in 1 to 2 hours (depending on how fast their inserter is), AND, it will be relatively inexpensive. Typical machine insert rates are around $25 per thousand for a 1 or 2-piece insert job. For 8,000 pieces, it should cost you around $200 (relatively low considering the postage alone on this job, if metered First Class, will be $3,680.00 (8,000 x $0.46).
 

davarino

Well-known member
DEFINITELY use a mail house for all the services that you can on your first mailings. You will save your customer and yourself loads of money and trouble.

There are many "little" things that can trip up even the simplest project. (Like the raffle book problem, pictures of children, the publication not being the right paper weight, too few wafer seals, color of envelope, shape of envelope, position of address, wrong permit... and on and on.) Until you understand regulations and foibles of USPS, you're better off shoving it onto someone else's back.

I would go so far to say: get the mail house in as much as you can of any complete project - as early as the design, if possible. Most mail houses I've dealt with understand that printers can be very good sources of repetitive work and (usually) will not want to steal your customer.

By working as middle man you can mark up the service probably somewhere between 30% and 50%. And you'll learn something about mailing with every job, at reduced risk.

(Many nice sized print shops use manual processes or job out their mailing to avoid the investment in mailing equipment and floor plan... mailing IS usually a low-skilled, high-labor, low-profit, space-consuming increment process after all.)

When you find that you're doing a lot of mailing and you're willing to take the risk of the occasional piece "going south", then go in for equipment. But (as always) keep in mind that any machinery you buy will have to pay for itself.
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
What davarino said is absolutely correct! Most of the businesses I deal with (printers as well as end clients) will email me a PDF of their mail piece design before going to print with it, and, will not proceed without my written sign off that the piece is in compliance with all current postal rules and regulations. By the way, postal regulations are seldom "static", they are constantly changing and, if you are in that business, it's your responsibility as a mailing agent to stay up to date with the new changes. Printers also know that we would never jeopardize the steady revenue stream we receive from them by going after one of their clients.
 

jdr999

Well-known member
Thanks everyone. It looks like we should have a chat with the customer and present some other options..

So mailing services are not generally handled by the printers themselves? I see Midnight Print / Mail mentioned now and again so I thought it was something I could / should be doing....

Thanks!
 

Keith

Well-known member
So mailing services are not generally handled by the printers themselves? I see Midnight Print / Mail mentioned now and again so I thought it was something I could / should be doing....

I guess that makes me an exception to the rule? I am by no means a "mail house" unless that is defined as someone that mails in a house. Lol! I opened my shop ten years ago as a digital/quick print shop and in 2008 or 2009 I started mailing post cards for customers with a standard class permit. I used Postage Saver for presort, Mailers Haven for NCOA, Fusion Pro for the data and impositioning, and Freeform to print it. I started with runs as small as 250 on up to a couple of thousand. Now I do some 5,000 plus runs but still do a lot of sub-1000. Like this week, I have 507 6x11 post cards and 1,174 #10s to do. Next week, I have 2300 newsletters to print, fold, and tab. The first two jobs are for a print broker and the last one is for another print shop.

It's something like 50% of all printed pieces are mailed if that's true. Can't remember where I heard that from. But you are missing out if you don't mail. It's cool because you take a low margin post card and add a bunch of services to make it a not-so-low margin product. Plus, it's challenging. As everyone has posted in this thread, there are a lot of steps and a mistake at any one of them can be very expensive. One time, we forgot to print the indicia on the piece! What was funny, was that some pieces got mailed! Some got returned and some never left the post office.

You're 8,000 piece job reminds me of the first envelope job I ever did. It was 5,000 #10 and I had no inserter. So, I invited a bunch of friends over, got some pizza and beer, put on a movie and paid them per piece. Whoever got done the most got a bonus. it was a lot of fun!
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
You're 8,000 piece job reminds me of the first envelope job I ever did. It was 5,000 #10 and I had no inserter. So, I invited a bunch of friends over, got some pizza and beer, put on a movie and paid them per piece. Whoever got done the most got a bonus. it was a lot of fun!


Mystery Solved: So, THAT explains the tomato sauce on the outside of the envelope I received, and, the crooked letter with the pepperoni on the inside :) lol
 

MailGuru

Well-known member
So mailing services are not generally handled by the printers themselves? I see Midnight Print / Mail mentioned now and again so I thought it was something I could / should be doing....

There are many print & mail shops out there. We happen to be one, although, we only do digital print, no offset work. We will job out the offset to the same printers that feed us their mail business. We watch their back, they watch ours.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to discourage you from getting in the mail business. It's a great advantage for printers to also be able to mail. Not only does it produce additional value-added revenue streams, but, it also gives you a bidding advantage on those print shops that do not do their mailings (you can under bid the print and make it up on the mailing services, or, bid the print higher and low bid the mailing services). For the good of your company, I would highly recommend getting in to mail. Just know that it is a learning process that will take some time before you are proficient at it. Like davorino said, start off outsourcing and gradually start bringing it in house as you learn more about it.
 

Keith

Well-known member
For the good of your company, I would highly recommend getting in to mail.

Agreed. I love doing mailings and would be happy to do them all day, every day. In fact, that's the one product/service that I advertise almost exclusively. Start small and slow. Use a client that you have a very close relationship with.
 

What About Profitability?

Canon
What about Profitability?
Offset yields new advantages

Read All About It

   
Top