Is the Postal Rate Increase Larger Than Reported?

A blog post at Law Practice Management talks about the upcoming postal rate increase from $0.39 to $0.41. The significant aspect of this change is not the rate increase, however. Instead, it is the post office’s decision to switch to a shape based pricing method. As explained at the Law Practice Management post:

Currently our postal system operates on strictly a weight-based methodology. Aside from a slight up-charge for the first ounce on “oversized” envelopes (e.g. our flat letter-size tyvecs) everything is based on weight. Each ounce adds an additional amount. Effective May 14th, we will move to a shape-based pricing system. Under the new system, there will be three different pricing factors: size; thickness; and weight. There are even some rigidity factors which can influence cost, meaning that if you stuff the envelope so tightly it cannot bend, there is an additional cost.

The post gives some examples:

First, let’s look at a typical flat (the 8.5” x 11” or larger size tyvec envelope) with 2 ounces.

First class flat current rate: 39¢ plus 24¢ for each additional ounce
First class flat new rate: 80¢ plus 17¢ for each additional ounce
Bottom line impact on a 2 oz flat: cost INCREASE from 63¢ to 97¢
(a 34¢ = 54% increase)

Get the picture? All we’re hearing about is the modest 9% increase on the standard first class letter, and how those additional ounces will actually result in a modest savings. And that’s all true. But it will be more than offset by the whopping increase on your flat envelopes.

Next, let’s look at the typical overstuffed envelope.

A #10 letter envelope with 12 pages inside will not squeeze through the 1/4” thick dimension. So even though it only weighs approximately 2.4 ounces, it will have to go into a flat. Here is the impact on cost:
First class overstuffed envelope weighing 2.4 oz at current rate: 87¢
Flat envelope weighing 2.4 oz at new rate: $1.14
Bottom line impact on 12-page mailing: cost INCREASE from 87¢ to $1.14
(a 27¢ = 31% increase)

I encourage you to check out the original post. It includes some excellant advice for ways in which you can save money on postage by understanding how the pricing method works.