Postal Rates to Rise in 2013

By Hope Yen, The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP)-It’ll cost another penny to mail a letter next year.

The cash-strapped U.S. Postal Service said Thursday that it will raise postage rates on Jan. 27, including a 1-cent increase in the cost of first-class mail to 46 cents.

It also will introduce a new global “forever” stamp, allowing customers to mail first-class letters anywhere in the world for one set price of $1.10. Currently, the prices vary depending on the international destination, with letters to Canada and Mexico costing 85 cents.

Under the law, the post office cannot raise stamp prices more than the rate of inflation, or 2.6 percent, unless it gets special permission. The post office, which expects to lose a record $15 billion this year, has asked Congress to give it new authority to raise prices by 5 cents, but lawmakers have failed to act.

The mail agency also will increase rates on its shipping services, such as priority mail, by an average of 4 percent.

The post office, which is struggling with debt and low cash flow, said the rate hikes were partly aimed at bringing in new revenue while maintaining its pricing advantage in the shipping business. Private companies such as UPS and FedEx, which offer similar shipping services, regularly adjust their prices.

The post office lost $5.1 billion in fiscal 2011, mostly due to a 5.8 percent decline in revenue for first-class mail. Financial results are expected to be even worse when final figures for fiscal

2012 are released next month. Earlier this year, it was forced to default on two payments due to the Treasury totaling $11.1 billion for future retiree health benefits because it lacked sufficient cash reserves.

While the Postal Service has said it will continue seeking ways to cut costs, Postmaster General Patrick Donahoe has made clear that the agency has little left it can do to bring in significant new revenue. After months of congressional delay, he said it’s now up to lawmakers to pass a postal fix when they return to Washington after the November elections.

The latest rate increase, for instance, will make only a small dent in the Postal Service’s losses, caused by the economic downturn, movement of mail to the Internet and a congressional requirement that the mail agency fund future retiree medical benefits years in advance. Earlier this year, the mail agency floated a proposal to Congress aimed at increasing stamp prices to 50 cents as a way to generate $1 billion in new revenue.

The Postal Service has also asked Congress to allow it reduce mail delivery from six to five days a week and reduce its annual $5 billion payment for the future retiree health benefits.

The current 45-cent rate for first-class mail in the U.S. has been in effect since January. Since 2006, the Postal Service has now increased the price of the stamp five times, from 39 cents to 46 cents.

Because stamps are now being issued as forever stamps, they will remain good for first-class postage. But buying new forever stamps will cost more when the prices go up.

While the price for the first ounce of a first-class letter will rise to 46 cents, the cost for each additional ounce will remain at the current 20 cents.

Other price increases:

  • Postcards will go up one penny to 33 cents.
  • Priority mail, small box, $5.80; medium box, $12.35; large box, $16.85.
  • Priority mail, regular envelope, $5.60; legal envelope, $5.75; padded envelope, $5.95.
  • Delivery confirmation will be free on packages, including priority mail and parcel post, rather than being an extra charge.

The Postal Service, an independent agency of government, does not receive tax money for its day-to-day operation but is subject to congressional control.

#2 Fastest-Growing ASI Promotional Product Distributor

Regency Print Solutions was featured in ASI’s Counselor magazine, May 2012 issue. We were recognized for our outstanding success as a promotional products distributor.

Regency’s service and pricing drove a 346% increase in sales, making us the #2 fastest-growing ASI promotional products distributor in the nation!

We gained this status by forging relationships with key vendors to achieve competitive pricing and fast turnaround. This has helped to fulfill our customers’ needs and create lasting relationships.

Our focus on technology and creation of custom e-stores streamlines the ordering process and provides online access to hand-picked promotional items and thousands of other searchable items. In addition, Regency offers kitting, assembly and fulfillment services, and inventory capabilities with strategic locations around the nation for quick delivery and cost savings.

 

#2 Fastest-Growing ASI Promotional Product Distributor in the Nation!

 

Counselor Magazine Top 10 Chart

Regency’s service and pricing have driven a 346% increase in sales, making us the #2 fastest-growing ASI promotional products distributor in the nation!

We gained this status by forging relationships with key vendors to achieve competitive pricing and fast turnaround. This has helped to fulfill our customers’ needs and create lasting relationships.

Regency also offers:

  • Inventory capabilities with strategic locations around the nation for quick delivery and cost savings.
  • Kitting, Assembly and Fulfillment Capabilities
  • E-stores that host both hand-picked promotional products and access to thousands of items online.

 

#1 Fastest-Growing PSDA Print Distributor in the Nation!

Regency Office Products was named the fastest-growing print distributor in the nation by Print Solutions magazine! Regency doubled its print sales in 2010 and increased by 74% in 2009. Regency’s back-to-back success and expansion across the country is a direct result of their commitment to technological solutions and out-of-the-box innovations.

Regency is a diversified business solutions company, who initially sold office supplies. Over time, they expanded their services and products to include printing, promotional products, personalized apparel, paper shredding, certified e-waste management, toner replenishment and much more. But, what makes this company unique is their use of cutting-edge technology. For example, Regency offers print-on-demand websites that allow their clients to personalize items, such as business cards and corporate apparel, by simply logging into a secured website and entering text. Clients can view instant online proofs and place print orders. The web-based system reduces overhead, is accessible from any location, and maintains a consistent brand appearance. And, it’s changing the way companies do business!

Regency also offers e-store websites that allow clients sell their own personalized products and apparel online. One client, a private school, uses the e-store to offer branded apparel, gifts and supplies to students, parents and even grandparents. The shipping, credit card processing and storage are handled by Regency, easing the school’s busy schedule and allowing them to focus on what they do best–helping students.

Regency is committed to staying on top of the newest services and technology, ensuring their continued growth, as well as their clients.

2nd Fastest Growing Print Distributor in the Nation

While other companies cut back on staff in 2009, Regency Office Products did not lay off any employees. “We had a temporary freeze on hiring sales people, but that has been lifted,” Director of Value-Added Services Pete Redondo says. Instead, the distributorship added more infrastructure to its Value-Added Services department, began exploring back office and operational software to create efficiencies, and focused on training. “We had a heavy focus on training and development for our existing sales force so we would be poised for a big 2010,” Redondo says.

To read the full article, click here.

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Postal Service Has Mandated Tracking Starting in January 2013

Given all of the issues we hear about the USPS recently, it has become difficult to predict, with any degree of certainty, the time line for delivery of a direct mail piece. Delivery could take a few days or it could take a few weeks depending on the class of mail and the distribution of the pieces across the country. We mail campaigns every day and the only way, up until now, we were able to determine the delivery time was by seeding the list or waiting for responses to come in.

Why would you want to know when a mail piece is being or has been delivered? With delivery information, you could:

      1. Begin measuring response rates and ROI
      2. Prepare your team to expect and respond to inquiries
      3. Send an imminent delivery email notification to the recipient that raises their interest level in anticipation of receiving the forthcoming direct mail piece

So how can you know when a mail piece is or will be delivered? Look no further than the Intelligent Mail Barcode. The Postal Service has mandated that we all switch to the IMB in January 2013. At this point, in the transition to IMB, over 95% of all mail is being scanned and “clocked in” when it enters the postal system and at several points along the delivery path including the “stop the clock” final delivery point facility just before it goes into the carrier’s hands for delivery to the mail box.

By identifying the date of actual delivery, sending an email to alert the recipient that an important mail message is coming today or tomorrow could mean a significant increase in response rates. The anticipation of knowing that a personalized, highly relevant mail piece is being delivered can become a strong marketing message.