At AmeriList, we specialize in getting your message delivered. Our direct mail specialists know how important it is to choose the most cost-effective options when it comes to postage, which can become expensive. We will help you determine what mailing options are right for your business, and will get your mailer out the door effectively and efficiently!


First Class Mail vs. Standard Class Mail

Which class of commercial or bulk mail is best for your business?

First Class / 1st Class Mail “Bulk 1st Class Mail"

What is first class mail?

First class mail is mail that is handled by the USPS with priority; it gets expedited straight to the front of the line. First class mail will usually be delivered in 1 to 2 business days if you are mailing locally, or within 3 to 5 days if you are mailing nationwide. 1st class mail also comes with some perks - for example, if a recipient or addressee has moved, the USPS will forward the mail if the recipient has moved within 1 year. Additionally, any undeliverable mail or mail that cannot be delivered as addressed will be returned to you at no extra charge. You will also get a stamp showing the reason for non-delivery.

Bulk First Class or First Class Presort Mail

First Class Presort, also referred to as First Class Bulk Mail, gets the same first-class priority processing, but offers about a 20% postage savings if your mail qualifies for bulk service (when you have 500 or more mail pieces).

Std Mail or Standard Mail "Commercial Marketing Mail"

Commercial Marketing Mail, or Standard Mail, which is also called “bulk mail“ or 3rd class mail, is the most popular class of commercial mail for a few reasons:

For starters, and probably the most important reason, is that it is less expensive. The postage rate for std mail can range based on the specifics of your mailer, but generally speaking, its cost is much lower than 1st class mail. Additionally, Std Mail class allows for additional weight – up to 3.3 ounces as opposed to its counterpart (1 oz. for First Class). One downside is that Standard Mail is processed by the USPS on a “time available“ basis. Therefore, there is not a guaranteed delivery time. If your mailing is time-sensitive, then you should not choose to mail Standard Mail. It is highly recommended that if you are mailing anything that is time-sensitive, i.e promotions, events, or special time-dated materials, it should be mailed as First-Class mail.

Standard Mail Delivery Time

If you are mailing within your local area, "Standard Class Mail" could be delivered in around 4-7 working days, whereas nationally mailed materials that are being sent Standard Class Mail could take between 7-21 days. Standard mail is neither forwarded nor returned if undeliverable – it merely goes into the USPS recycling bin. All mailpieces must be identical.

Non-Profit Mail Rates

What exactly is "Non-profit Postage Rate"?

Non-Profit postage rate is just a favored postage rate for non-profits that fall within Standard Mail class. Non Profit Mail is processed the same as Std Mail but gets a more aggressive discount, which can be as much as 70% lower than the cost of first-class mail. To qualify for Nonprofit rates, an organization must apply to the USPS and complete the USPS Nonprofit Standard Mail Application (form 3624).

Presorted Mail and Presort Automation Mail

What is the difference between Basic Presorted Mail vs. Presort Automation?

There are two levels of mail discounts available from the USPS:

  • A - Presort Automation (the lowest rate)
  • B - Basic Presorted Mail (non-automation)

Presorted Automation Rate or Machinable Mail is the physical capacity of a mailpiece to be sorted by mail processing equipment as long as its size, shape, configuration, and weight are within the specifications and tolerances of the machine, therefore making it easier to process.

Basic Presorted Mail (non-automation) or NonMachinable is the opposite of the above, which is the incapacity of a mail piece to be sorted on mail processing equipment according to size, shape, content, or address legibility. Such mail must be processed manually and may be subject to a surcharge or a higher price.

What is Mail Presort?

Presorting is the process by which a mailer or mail house, like AmeriList Printing prepares, mail so that it is sorted to the finest extent required by the USPS standards for the price claimed. Generally, presort is performed sequentially, from the lowest (finest) level (e.g., 5-digit) to the highest level (e.g., mixed ADC), to those destinations specified by standard, and is generally completed at each level before the next level is prepared. Not all presort levels apply to all mailings. For some automation price categories, all levels may be optional to prepare mail by presort levels to qualify for specific prices.

Got a question about mailing? Call us toll-free 1.800.457.2899 to speak to a direct mail specialist.

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