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A Print and Mail Solutions Company

First Class vs. Standard Mail:
What’s the difference and which should I choose?

In a lot of work that we’ve encountered, so much time and energy goes in to making and designing the look and voice, that clients lose sight of how the mailings get where they need to go! And believe us when we say that the Postal Service, like most government offices, is a pretty complex beast. Here’s a short checklist of how to navigate the “in’s and out’s” of mail.

  • First: Don’t. Worry. We’ll help handle this beast.
  • Second: How soon does your message need to get to homes? A few days? A week?
  • Third: Oh, wait… you’re done! (Shoot… Where’d I put that “easy button”?)
Class: Description:

First Class

First Class mail is processed by the USPS on a priority basis… it goes to the front of the USPS line. Locally, first class will typically be delivered in 1-2 days and nationally; all of it should be delivered by about 4 days.

If your party has moved, your mail will be forwarded at no charge for a period of 1 year. If it’s undeliverable, it will be returned to you at no charge with the reason for non-delivery.

First Class Presort

If you have 500 or more mail pieces, First Class Presort offers about a 20% postage savings!

It’s handled with the same first class priority processing, but to receive the lower postage rate, the addresses must be NCOA address updated, CASS certified, and put in to a presort order. Leave that to us, just send us your mailing list and we can begin!

Standard Mail

Standard Mail is the new term for “bulk mail”, and if you want to go way back, it used to be called 3rd class mail. Standard Mail is processed by the USPS on a “time available” basis. There is NO guaranteed delivery time, only “typicals”. Local mail is typically delivered in about 3-6 work days, national mail can be 1-4 weeks… sometimes its faster… but sometimes its slower.

The “pros”: It’s the least expensive postage mode, a bit more than half the price of 1st class, which enables you to mail lots more for less. It also allows up to 3.3 ounces, all for the same low postage rate. And if your mail is heavier than 3.3, the weight surcharge increase isn’t too much more.

The “cons”: Due to the delivery time, NEVER use Standard Mail if you have a rapidly approaching event or expiration date. Standard mail is not forwarded and not returned if undeliverable. It merely goes in to the USPS recycling bin.

Nonprofit rate

Nonprofit is simply a favored postage rate within Standard Mail. It’s processed exactly the same, so the same delivery times apply, but gets even deeper discounts that can be 70% less than the cost of first class.

If you are a nonprofit, you can apply to the USPS for these special rates by completing application form 3624.


So, whatever the method, just let us know the timeframe and we’ll get the most cost effective postage rate possible to meet your deadline!