Presorted First Class mail saves postage without some of the disadvantages of typical "bulk mail" service, which USPS calls Standard Class. Presorted First Class postage prices are higher than Standard Class, but less than regular First Class retail rates. Presorted First Class is also sometimes called First Class Commercial mail.
Here's when you would use Presorted First Class instead of Standard Class:
You are mailing invoices, statements, checks, or similar personalized material. In general, Standard Class mail cannot contain personalized information (other than the name and address), although there are exceptions; or,
You want your mail to be delivered more quickly than Standard Class. Presorted First Class moves as quickly as regular First Class mail. (It may actually move more quickly, since you sort it before you submit it to USPS.) Standard Class mail is lower priority service, and is processed after other mail classes.
This page is about Presorted First Class postcard, letter and flat sized mailings. For information about First Class parcels, please see our parcels help page.
How many pieces do I need for Presorted First Class mail?
To get Presorted First Class pricing, you need to send at least 500 pieces of mail at one time. Unlike Standard Class, there is not a lower minimum for heavier pieces.
You don't need to send a certain number of pieces to any particular zip code or part of the country, etc., as long as all of your mail is going to addresses within the United States (which can include military addresses, Puerto Rico and U.S. posessions). There are also no monthly or yearly quantity requirements.
What are the size and weight limits for Presorted First Class?
The weight limit for Presorted First Class depends on the size of the mail piece.
The longer side of each piece must be no more than 15 inches long. The shorter side must be no more than 12 inches long. The piece can be no more than 3/4" thick.
Pieces that are larger, or that aren't flexible enough to go through postal sorting equipment, may be able to be sent as First Class parcels, which is a very economical service for parcels under one pound. See our help page on saving money on bulk parcels.
What are the postage rates for Presorted First Class?
Make sure you know whether your mail piece is a postcard, letter, a flat, or a parcel. That is determined by the size of the piece, not by what it contains.
For example, a 9 x 12 envelope containing a letter is considered a "flat" because of its size, while a 5 x 8 card is considered a "letter", even though most of us would call it a postcard. For full information on the categories, see Letters vs. Flats.
The postage price for Presorted First Class depends on the size and weight of the mail piece. For barcoded pieces, the price also depends on how many pieces you have going to a particular zip code or area.
So, for a barcoded mailing, there's a pretty good chance that you'll pay several different postage rates on different pieces in the same mailing, depending on where the pieces are going.
Unlike Standard Class, nonprofits do not get lower postage prices for Presorted First Class. Also, Presorted First Class does not offer "entry discounts" for sending your mailing from a major sorting center.
However, Presorted First Class does offer special, low postage prices for cards, if they are the small cards that USPS officially considers to be "postcards".
You can use our Presorted First Class postage price calculator to find the rates available for your mailing.
Presorted First Class Postage Price Calculator(Prices updated for USPS postage reductions effective April 10, 2016.)
postcard - up to 4¼" x 6"
letter - up to 6⅛" x 11½" x ¼"
flat - up to 12" x 15" x ¾"
Larger? Please see our parcels help page.
Enter Weight in Ounces:
Weight must be 3.5 or less for letters, or 13 or less for flats.
Weight is not used for postcards.
For letters, does something (like an unusual shape) make this mailing
yes no See here for explanation.
If you already have the list you want to mail to, we recommend you download a free demo copy of our Postage Saver bulk mail software, and run your list through it. It will figure out the exact postage you'd pay for mailing that specific list, and let you try various options.
How do I pay the postage?
If you buy a permit imprint number, you can print an "indicia" box like this on your mail instead of putting a stamp on each piece. That saves a lot of work! For details on what goes in the box, click here.
The most common way to pay your postage is to maintain an account at the post office. Every time you
bring in a mailing, the bulk mail acceptance crew will verify your postage calculations and then make sure
you have enough in your account to pay for it.|
When you open an account, you'll get a permit number that you include in the "indicia" box you print on your mail. Since the indicia is not really postage, you can have it printed as part of the printing on your mail piece, just like your return address. So you don't need any special software to print an indicia.
Some mailers believe it is worth the effort to use stamps or a meter on their presorted mail, instead of an indicia, to make the recipient think it is not bulk mail. The choice is up to you.
How do I get started with Presorted First Class?
Presorted First Class works very much like Standard Class. To get started, and to prepare your first mailing, follow the same steps shown on our Getting Started with Bulk Mail page.