5 Postal Rules You May not Know but Should

1)      When using a live stamp you must use a complete return address on your piece.  The only time this rule does not apply is if you’re using a full rate stamp.  For example:  Straight 1st class 49 cent stamp.

2)      Any folded mailer,  also known as a self mailer, must open at the top and have two tabs.  If it opens at the bottom your postage rates go up.

3)      Droop test – The droop test measures how flimsy your mail piece is.  If your piece is too flimsy, you will end up paying more in postage.  The droop test only applies to FLATS which is defined as a piece that is thicker than a ¼” or by a piece that is either over 6 1/8” in height or over 11.5” in length.   For example an 8.5 x 11 newsletter is considered a flat.  So is a 6.5 x 9 postcard.  The way you conduct the droop test is to take your mail piece and put it half way off the edge of your desk or table.  If the piece droops down more than 3” then you have failed the droop test.

4)      Aspect ratio – The aspect ratio is length divided by height.  If your mail piece has an aspect ratio of less than 1.3 then you are facing some steep postage rates.  Here are some examples of mailers that meet aspect ratio and ones that do not:


GOOD                                                                                                   BAD

4 x 6 = Aspect Ratio of 1.5                                                            5 x 5 = Aspect Ratio of 1

5 x 7 = Aspect Ratio of 1.4                                                             6 x 6.5 = Aspect Ratio of 1.083

6 x 11 = Aspect Ratio of 1.83                                                        8.5 x 10.5 = Aspect Ratio of 1.23


5)      One of the qualifications the post office has in order to qualify for their bulk rates is the number of pieces you are mailing.  The number does vary depending on the class of mail you choose.  If you are mailing 3rd class then you must have at least 200 pieces to receive any type of discount.  For 1st class you must have at least 500 pieces.

These are just a few of the rules that make up the USPS Domestic Mail Manual (DMM).  This document contains thousands of pages and more rules and specifications then you could imagine.  And just when you think you have the rules down, the post office goes and updates the DMM.  We don’t expect you to keep up with the ever-changing DMM; that’s what we are here for.  At Direct Mail Impressions we are consistently staying current with all of the USPS postal regulations.  If you are unsure about your mail piece, feel free to give us a call at 561-393-4722 and we will help you.

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