FAQ’s

What format do you need for data files? We can accept and convert most file formats such as Excel, comma separated value (csv), dBase, Access, and tab-delimited.  Another common format is quote-comma delimited ASCII text.  We cannot work with files that are already in a label format

What is the aspect ratio? The aspect ratio pertains to letter-size mailers, and it is the length of the piece divided by the height.  In order to get the lowest postage rates, it must fall between 1.3 and 2.5.

Can we mail an odd-size piece, like a square? You can.  However, if the piece is letter-size, you will pay the higher, non-machinable postage rate.  For example, a 6-inch square piece would have an aspect ratio of 1.0 (see above).  We could not get the barcode discounts in postage, and the non-machinable surcharge would apply.

What is the proper size for a postcard? In order to get the “postcard” rates in First Class mail, the card must be at least 3.5 x 5 and cannot exceed 4.25 x 6.  In Presorted Standard mail, there is no special recognition of a “card” in the rate structure.  Cards, envelopes, and folded self-mailers go at the same rates.  A folded self-mailer can be as big as 6.125 x 11.5 and still mail at the same rates as a 3.5 x 5 card.  The aspect ratio described above should be met.

How big can a mail-piece be before it gets into higher postage rates? A “letter” can be as large as 6.125 x 11.5 and up to .25 thick.  Once any one of these dimensions is exceeded, the piece becomes a “flat” and is subject to higher rates.  The aspect ratio described above should be met.

What is the minimum thickness for a mail piece? In general, the finished mail-piece should be at least .009” thick.  With folded self-mailers or envelope packages, the thickness is usually not an issue because there are multiple panels of paper added together.  The thickness is especially important for cards.  If the thickness is less than .009” we could not go after barcode discounts in postage, and non-machinable surcharges in postage would apply.  (If the card is no more than 4.25 x 6, you can get away with .007”.)

How much area do we need to leave open for addressing? In order to accommodate a barcode, we need an area at least 1.5 high by 3.5 wide, as measured from the right edge of the piece.

Do we need to have a return address on our mail piece? A return address is required for any class of mail when some type of return service is requested, for all nonprofit mail, for mail with a pre-canceled stamp, or for mail with a “company” permit imprint.  It is also required in other special situations.

When are tabs required on self-mailers? Tabs, or wafer seals, are required on letter-size (maximum size 6.125 x 11.5), folded self-mailers and booklets.  For our purposes here, a booklet is a self-mailer that has multiple pages bound together by some sort of fastening, such as saddle-stitching.  For regular self-mailers, if the closed or single edge is at the bottom as you look at the address panel, we need to affix one tab in the top center.  If the closed edge is at the top, we need to affix tabs in both corners along the bottom edge.  For more details, please click here to view a postal document with illustrations. If the piece is a saddle-stitched booklet, we need to affix three 1.5-inch, non-perforated tabs.  The construction of the mail-piece dictates where the tabs need to be positioned.  For more details on booklets, click here and go to section 3.15.

Can you ink-jet on glossy or colored stock? We have Research Ink dryers mounted on our ink-jets so that we can ink-jet on most glossy stocks and aqueous coatings.  Other coatings and varnishes will probably not work. To be certain, it is always a good idea to get us samples of the stock you are proposing to use so that we can test it.  The issue with colored stocks has to do with the barcodes.  The Post Office requires sufficient reflectivity and contrast of the barcodes against the background color to enable their barcode readers to see and interpret the barcode.  Again if you can get us samples of the stock you are proposing to use, we can take test pieces to the Post Office for evaluation.  This process usually takes twenty-four hours.

How much clearance do you need to be able to insert by machine? Following the manufacture’s specifications, we need a minimum of .25-inch clearance on each side and across the top after the inserts are inside the envelope.

What can we mail at nonprofit rates? The regulations regarding non-profit postage rates are strictly enforced by the Post Office. First of all, your organization must be approved by the Post Office to mail as a nonprofit (there is an application process to go through).  Then, the content of each mailing must be analyzed.  Generally speaking, any mailing promoting travel, insurance, or credit card offers cannot mail at nonprofit rates.  In addition, any ride-along piece or any promotion of a for-profit company cannot go as non-profit mail.  You can click here to view and download the Post Office’s Nonprofit Standard Mail Eligibility Publication 417.

Where should the address be positioned on a flat-size mailer? In general terms, the address must be in the top half of a flat-size mailer.  The trick is to determine where the top half actually is.  Click here to view a postal document with illustrations.

How much time should be allowed for delivery through the postal system? First Class letters should be delivered overnight in the metro Denver area and within three days coast-to-coast.  Presorted Standard mail has no guaranteed delivery times.  However, there are service objectives of three days within the metro Denver area, five days within other parts of Colorado, and three to ten days nationally.  Flat-size mailers can take considerably longer in Presorted Standard mail.  If an “in-home” date is critical, Presorted First Class would be recommended.

We don’t have a postal permit.  Should we get our own? Currently, there is a one-time application fee of $185.00 for your own permit.  In addition, there is an annual-use fee of another $185.00, which means that it will cost you $370.00 to get your own permit and another $185.00 (or more) each year after that.  If you plan on doing a lot of mailings and want to be able to view your permit activity online with the Post Office, then it may be worth this expenditure.  On the other hand, the Postal Service allows other companies and nonprofits to use the permit of a mail-house at no cost, so we can save you that initial investment of $370.00.


Last update: July 24, 2017