New postal rates for 2009 including a two-cent increase in the price of a First-Class Mail stamp to 44 cents went into effect on Monday, May 11, 2009.

While the new 44-cent rate covers the first ounce of first-class mail, the price for each additional ounce will remain unchanged at 17 cents.

Entire USPS Price List

Here’s a quick recap of the new rates:

Local Entry – 5 digit standard automated letter: $0.233
Local Entry – Non-profit 5 digit auto letter: $0.132

Local Entry – 5 digit standard automated flat: $0.346
Local Entry – 5 digit Non-profit auto flat: $0.212

But what about the impact of the new guidelines for first-class and standard rate mail, as well as the changes that will be required in preparing your data?

What you can expect for the future

Greater Emphasis on Size and Shape of Mail, and Data Accuracy
Different sizes, shapes and weights will require specific postal handling; the new rates are aligned with the actual USPS costs for mail processing and delivery.

The USPS will provide cost-saving incentives for

  • Mail pieces that are compatible with their sorting and processing equipment
  • Accurate address quality, derived from the use of address update solutions
  • Presorting mail, and depositing mail closer to final destinations

What you can do today

Data Preparation
Comply with USPS requirements on the use of NCOA (National Change of Address), CASS (Coding Address Support System), DPV (Delivery Point Verification) and LACS (Local Address Correction System) Software.

Run your files against NCOA move update to reduce undeliverable mail
As of 2009, it is necessary to update your files every 3 months for first-class mail, so this is a good time to get started.

Always use CASS to append your files with ZIP + 4 codes in order to qualify for automation presort discounts
Currently, CASS employs a number range to code street addresses (1 – 100 Main St.) and if your address (51 Main St.) falls into that range, the USPS gives it a ZIP + 4. New software is now being deployed that will tighten the match criteria, providing the ZIP + 4 only if your address has an exact match (you have 51 Main, USPS has 50 Main, no ZIP + 4 will be assigned). It is likely that the upgrade will kick-out a higher percentage of undeliverable records, which Broudy will report to you each time it processes one of your lists.

Identifying non-matches prior to CASS is made easy using DPV to verify the existence of the address, and LACS to convert rural routes into street addresses. In August 2007, DPV and LACS will be required for first-class mail in order to achieve automation discounts.

Design and Mail Preparation

  • Review your mail plans early and often, and target, target, target.
  • Involve everyone right from the start. Make sure your entire team and your outside partners understand the impact of the new rates and category specifications before you design your mail piece.
  • Strive for the letter category whenever possible. Redesigning flat mail into letter-size designs could pay off in postage savings.
  • Keep an eye on orientation. A 9” high 6” long flat converted to a 9” long 6” high letter can save you as much as 32 cents per piece.
  • Remember that non-machinable mail faces the stiffest increases. The size, shape, thickness and contents can impact whether your mail piece
    meets machinable-flat requirements. If you are in doubt, contact us.
  • Use lighter-weight paper stocks.
  • When mailing a box, make sure the thickness is .75” or less.
  • Practice impeccable data hygiene, and always presort. Broudy offers you fast and economical NCOA linkage and CASS-certification, as well as DPV and LACS processing options.


First-Class Mail

There is now separate category pricing for letters, large envelopes (flats), and packages (parcels).

  • Letters
    • The first ounce increases to 44 cents; each additional ounce is reduced to 17 cents
    • The maximum per piece weight is 3.5 ounces
    • Discounts for carrier-route automation are eliminated
    • Business Reply Mail pricing is subject to shape-based regulations
  • Flats
    • The one-ounce rate increases to 88 cents
    • All flats must be rectangular (includes squares), flexible (new standards apply), and uniformly thick

Standard Mail

There is now separate category pricing for machinable and nonmachinable letters and parcels. There are additional presort levels, and a new drop-ship
option for DDU delivery.

A brand-new category called NFM (Not Flat-Machinable) will pertain to mailers that are too rigid to be processed by machine.

  • Letters
    • The maximum per piece weight is 3.5 ounces
    • Any mail piece that does not meet one or more aspect ratios for standard mail or is too rigid will be processed at the nonmachinable letter rate
    • The nonmachinable surcharge is eliminated
    • Discounts for carrier-route automation are eliminated
  • Not Flat-Machinable
    • An NFM is a flat that is not rectangular, flexible, or uniformly thick NFM’s will be presorted, entered and processed, and delivered by the USPS as parcels

Click here to download the Broudy Postage Rate Summary Sheet.