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By Tony Kuchta, Director

We Are a Proud Authorized Quadient Dealer

Get Your Mail Into Shape

In today’s business climate, it is more important than ever to make sure you are getting the best value for your dollar. In the world of the USPS, small changes in how the mail is presented to the Postal Service can result in significant savings in postage dollars. With the chance to meet with so many Postal customers on a daily basis, I am amazed at how many businesses are still not compliant or aware of the rules relating to Shaped Based Pricing (SBP). Below is a summary of Shape Based Pricing and a few recommendations on how to “Get your Mail into Shape."

Small tweaks can add up to BIG savings!


In 2007, the USPS instituted a comprehensive restructuring of the process for rating First-Class Mail. Commonly referred to as Shape-Based Pricing, it incorporated brand new criteria for classifying mail as a letter, large envelope or package.

Today, postage for First-Class Mail is based on mail piece size and thickness measurements in addition to the weight. Under the Shape-Based pricing program, looks can be deceiving. Mail that looks like a traditional letter might actually be considered a large envelope because it exceeds the maximum thickness or weight limit. Mail sent in large envelopes, or flats, can also be re-categorized as packages if outside of specifications, causing postage costs to soar.

Without the proper tools to accurately weigh and measure your outbound mail, it is very easy to under-post important mail pieces. Mail that is under-posted may be delivered to your recipient with "postage due" or may be returned to you for "insufficient postage.”


  • Convert flat mail sent typically in 9” x 12” or 10” x 13” envelopes to letter-size mail by folding the contents and save over 40¢. Typically, as many as 22 sheets of paper can be folded in half, stuffed into a 6” x 9” envelope, and be below maximum letter dimensions and weight.

  • Analyze the multi-page documents that you mail to determine if duplex printing is possible. In many cases, cutting page counts in half may allow you to convert flats to letters.

  • Check to see if your mail piece contents can fit into a flat envelope and measure below ¾” in uniform thickness before you use a box that requires over 30¢ more.

  • Folding machines & envelope inserters produce precision folds that keep your mail as thin as possible. Some inserters can automatically fold and stuff up to 10 sheets into a letter-size envelope!

  • Create mail that’s machine-ready. Avoid mailing envelopes that are: secured by clasps or strings, enclosed in plastic material, bumpy from odd-shaped contents, square or low-rectangular in shape, rigid and difficult to bend, or extremely thin and flimsy. Each of these easy-to-overlook examples can require a 20¢ “nonmachinable” surcharge.

  • If your mail volume is low, a commercial-grade rate classification guide that simplifies size and thickness measurements can help increase accuracy.

  • For moderate volumes, many postage meters offer differential weighing technology, a 40% efficiency booster for semi-automatic processing of mixed weight mail. If your mail volume is medium to heavy, a mailing system equipped with a dynamic scale can fully automate the shape-based rating process. Dynamic scales can measure size, thickness and weight and accurately meter your mail on-the-fly, providing perfect accuracy in a fraction of the time.

  • By implementing some of these ideas, the impact on postage savings could be substantial. We all know, in this business environment, every penny counts!