Saving money and headaches with a mailing service

If your organization or company is planning a mass mailing, you’ve probably encountered the intricacies of Postal Service rules and requirements. Mailing services, also called lettershops, are companies that specialize in making mass mailings easier — and they can save you headaches, time and money!

I recently chatted with my friend George Fiala, who has owned the mailing service Select Mail since 1988. George can be reached at or 718-624-5568.

What does a mailing service do?

A mailing service prepares your mailing list; addresses, stuffs, and sorts your mailing by zip code; and delivers your mailing to the post office. Because they have a working relationship with the Postal Service, they are able to make the mailing process go smoothly.

A good mailing service will check your proposed designs before printing for correct address area placement, indicias and overall size. If your piece is designed right and the mailing is zip code sorted correctly, you can save up to 25% of the postage.

What is the difference between bulk, non profit permit, and first class mail?

Bulk mail (now called standard mail) and non-profit mail are less expensive than first class. First class gets delivered quicker: 1-2 days, versus 7-10 days for standard and non-profit. However, this depends also on the distance the mail has to travel. We have had non-profit mail delivered in Brooklyn in as little as 2 days, while mail sent to the West Coast can take two weeks or more.

Another difference is that if first class mail can’t be delivered, it is returned to the sender. For standard and non profit mail, there is an additional fee for return to sender.

There is a cost effective alternative service for return to sender called NCOA (National Change of Address) service. This service compares your mailing list to the Post Office master list and updates addresses of people that have moved, or eliminates ones that have no forwarding address. Most lettershops will offer this service at a reasonable price — this is the best way to keep lists up-to-date. I recommend it to be done at least once a year.

Give us some helpful hints in working with a mailing service:

Even though the mailing is the last step in the process, make your mailing service a partner from the beginning of a project. That way you can be assured that your mail-piece will qualify for the best postage and cheapest processing costs.

For example, the cost of large mail (called flats) was recently increased by much more than regular letter-sized mail. What this means is that postage for an 8 ½” by 11″ catalogue might be almost double compared to a slightly smaller piece. A catalogue 6″ x 11″ qualifies for the much cheaper letter rate, and I have already seen some non profits take advantage of this.

Also, If you need to purchase a list, a good lettershop can direct you to a list-broker who will offer you the best options.



The first novel ever written on a typewriter was “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer.