Learn About Bulk Mailing and Tracking → Bulk Parcels

How to Save Shipping Costs with USPS Bulk Parcel Shipping Rates

Scott HochbergScott Hochberg
 Postage $aver Software


Bulk main rates aren't just for cards and envelopes. USPS offers bulk mail rates for parcels too! And they can save you substantial amounts on postage compared to USPS retail rates.

Postage Saver software makes postal bulk mailing easy There are different bulk parcel categories for different purposes. Here are the most common:
The rates can be used only for domestic mail (including military addresses, Puerto Rico and U.S. territories and possessions). If you need to send large quantities of international mail, check out this guide.

Here's what this page covers:

red dotWhat are the rates?

red dotHow many pieces do I need?

red dotWhat are the size and weight limits?

red dotCan I add services like tracking and insurance?

red dotHow much are permits?

red dotWhat else do I need to get started?

Postage Saver for Parcels makes preparing bulk parcels easy

How much will I save by using USPS bulk parcels?

Bulk Parcel Postage Rate Calculator


Rates updated for latest USPS changes effective July 10, 2022, and include the USPS holiday season rate increases effective October 2.

Make the selections below to find the rates available for your parcels:

Mailer is:
Commercial (includes political candidates)
Nonprofit

Parcel Shape:
Rectangular
Other (tubes, triangles, etc.)

Weight:
Less than one pound
One pound or more

Weight in ounces:


Mailed At: What are these?

(Rates will appear here when you fill in the information above.)

How many pieces do I need to get bulk parcel rates?

For each of the mailing categories, there are minimums per shipment. But there are no minimums for any one zip code or area. Your mailing can be to just one zip code or all across the country. There are also no monthly or yearly minimums.

First Class Package Service: Parcel Select Ground: Marketing Mail Marketing Parcels,
Marketing Mail Nonprofit Parcels, or
Parcel Select Lightweight:
Bound Printed Matter:

What are the size and weight limits for bulk parcel rates?

First Class Package Service:
Parcel Select Ground:
Marketing Mail Marketing Parcels:
Marketing Mail Nonprofit Parcels, or Parcel Select Lightweight:
Bound Printed Matter:

Can I add services like tracking and insurance?

Yes! Here are some of the extra services you can add to bulk parcel shipments:

Tracking: Insurance: Available for all services except Marketing Mail Marketing Parcels;

Signature Confirmation: Available for all services except Marketing Mail Marketing Parcels;

Restricted Delivery: Available for all services except Marketing Mail Marketing Parcels;

Registered Mail: Available for First Class Package Service only;

Certified Mail: Available for First Class Package Service only.

These are just some of the additional services available. Please ask us or check with USPS if you need a service that is not listed here.

How much do bulk parcel permits cost, and how do I get one?

You must have a mailing permit before you can use bulk parcel rates. The good news is that for most parcel services, there is no charge to get your permit. But you do need to get a permit from USPS. A vendor cannot issue a mailing permit to you.

If you are using: then both fees are waived!
Scroll down to "How to Apply".

For Marketing Mail Marketing Parcels and Marketing Mail Nonprofit Parcels, there are two fees that may apply.

Annual Mailing Fee:

The Annual Mailing Fee for Marketing Mail is $275/year, but if you are using Marketing Mail for parcels only (not for letters or flats), then USPS waives this fee.

If you are using Marketing Mail for letters or flats in addition to parcels, then USPS also waives the annual fee if all of your letters and flats mailings are prepared using full-service barcoding. Parcels do not use full-service barcodes, so that requirement doesn't apply to parcel shipments.

If you use Marketing Mail for letters and flats, and you don't always use full-service barcoding for those mailings, then you will be charged the annual mailing fee, whether or not you are also mailing Marketing Mail parcels.

Permit Imprint Authorization fee:

The Permit Imprint Authorization Fee is $275 one time (not annually). This fee lets you print a "postage paid" box (aka "indicia") on your mail, instead of putting a stamp or meter imprint on each piece.

If you are using the USPS Electronic Verification System (eVS) to submit your shipping file to USPS electronically, then you must use a postage paid box on your shipping labels, but USPS waives the Permit Imprint Authorization Fee.

The fee is also waived if you use stamps or a postage meter to pay your postage. But note that stamps may not be used on containers that could be reused, such as boxes, cases, or bags.

If you have previously paid a Permit Imprint Authorization Fee for another service, such as First Class Presort, you do not need to pay the fee again to use your indicia on Marketing Mail parcels.

How to apply: You can apply online for a permit to use any parcel service. Or, you can apply in person using USPS form 3615.

Either way, you'll need to choose a post office where your permit account will be kept (unless you are using Electronic Validation Service (eVS), which does not use a local USPS account). You should select the post office where you expect to take your mail. That would normally be the post office that is most convenient for you, but not all post offices accept bulk mail, and sometimes you can get a better postage rate by taking your mailings to a regional sorting center.

In suburban and rural areas, many post offices accept bulk mail. But in major cities, bulk mail is generally accepted only at the regional sorting center and sometimes at a few smaller post offices.

To find out whether bulk mail is accepted at a specific post office, find the post office using the post office locator on USPS.com, and see if it shows "Bulk Mail Acceptance Hours" in the chart of that office's hours. To find all of the post offices in your area that accept bulk mail, call the USPS District Business Mail Entry office for your area, which you can find using the USPS locator screen.

If you're not far from the USPS sorting center for your area, and much of your mail is going to addresses processed by that sorting center, you'll sometimes get better postage rates by mailing your bulk mail from that sorting center. You can see your possible savings by using the rate calculator above. If you will be mailing from the sorting center, you should get your permit at that center rather than at your neighborhood post office. These discounted rates are called "Destination Entry" rates.

Destination Entry rates are available for Marketing Mail Marketing Parcels, Marketing Mail Nonprofit Parcels, Parcel Select Lightweight and Bound Printed Matter. (For Bound Printed Matter, they only apply on shipments of 300 pieces or more.) Destination Entry rates do not apply to Bound Printed Matter shipments of less than 300 pieces, or to First Class Package Service or Parcel Select Ground shipments.

USPS "Mailer ID" number: When you get your permit, you will be assigned a "Mailer ID" number, which is NOT the same as your permit number. The Mailer ID number is a 9-digit number that begins with 9 (unless you are a very large volume mailer). Make sure you find out what it is, because you will need your Mailer ID when preparing your mailing.
Postage Saver for Parcels makes shipping bulk parcels easy Postage Saver for Parcels makes shipping bulk parcels easy
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What software and other supplies do I need to prepare USPS bulk parcel shipments?

To prepare your shipments, you'll need software to do the required sorting and to print the necessary postal paperwork. You'll also need USPS mailing sacks, and, for some parcels, rubber bands.

Parcel presort software: To qualify for most bulk parcel rates, your mail must be sorted and placed in mailing sacks according to very detailed USPS rules. Sorting is not required for First Class Package Service or Parcel Select Ground. Sorting is not required, but is recommended, for Bound Printed Matter shipments of fewer than 300 pieces.

This sorting is not just sorting by zip code - various zips must be combined with others, depending on quantity, where you're mailing from and to, the size of the mailpiece, etc... It's literally a book full of sorting rules, and the routings change each month. You'll also need to print paperwork for submitting your mailing and special barcoded tags to label each mailing sack.

Generally, you'll also need to print USPS tracking labels and to upload a special tracking file to USPS. (For most categories, you can avoid this requirement by paying a penalty, but if you want to track your parcels, you must prepare them the correct way. And we strongly recommend following the requirements if you are doing more than a one-time shipment.)

The easiest way to do all of this is to use software designed to prepare USPS bulk parcel shipments. Our Postage $aver for Parcels is a low-cost way to meet all of the requirements.

USPS sackMailing containers: For those categories that require sorting, you'll need sacks to keep them sorted. (For larger shipments, pallets without sacks can sometimes be used.) The sacks are provided by the USPS at no charge. You can pick them up at the post office where you are mailing your bulk mail.

Size 64 rubber bands (or whatever works): If you are preparing non-rectangular parcels less than 10 pounds as a Bound Printed Matter shipment, you'll need rubber bands to bundle your pieces. You can buy a bag at your favorite office supply store.

Congratulations! You're now ready to move on to actually preparing your mailing.

Ready to start saving postage right now?
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Scott Hochberg
Scott Hochberg started Postage Saver Software in 1994. He's been helping small businesses and nonprofits save postage with postal bulk mail for more than 25 years. Scott's based in Austin, Texas. He's happy to answer your bulk mailing questions!