Could you be paying less for your postage? Possibly. This article is meant for a quick reference to help guide you to the right place if your mail currently (or could in the future) qualify for postage discounts.
Full Canada Post resources are linked at the bottom of this article!
So what’s the Deal?
The deals vary a bit depending on the intention of your mail. The two big categories that could be eligible are Incentive Lettermail and Publications Mail. Each type has a particular definition, requirements for the mail piece composition, and requirements for the preparation in order to get the discounts. In this post, I’m going to be discussing the Incentive Lettermail specifically, simply because it is by far the more common application that I find across most businesses. If you produce and mail your own magazines or publications, you will definitely want to check out the Publications Mail (PUBS) section in the doc below.
The bottom line is this: if you do some of the sorting and prep work for Canada Post, they give you a break on postage. And it all starts with making sure you have machineable mail . . .
Machineable Mail simply means that your mail meets the requirements Canada Post needs in order to process your mail automatically through various sorting stages. Spoiler: if you’re handwriting your address, you aren’t there yet.
- Envelopes (when applicable) must be within machineable range
- Must be paper and not wrapped in plastic
- Recipient information must be complete, in the correct location, typed, and in a standard easy-to-read font that stands out from the background
- Postage indicia (pre-printed or postage meter) must be in the proper location on EACH envelope and of the correct size
- Must be sealed (and really there is a whole list of more critical reasons your mail should NEVER EVER EVER leave your building unsealed)
- Self-mailers (anything with no envelope) must have the fold at the bottom of the piece
That’s the brief but the most commonly needed list of what to check regarding your mail. The full list with all of the particulars of each criteria begins on page 16 of the Canada Post document linked below.
The most straight forward way of defining ILM is: mail that says PAYMENT REQUIRED. Anything that you send to your customers in order to trigger payment generally falls into this category (ironically, so do voting notifications). Invoices/bills, receipts, periodical financials, and statements are the most common of these documents. I know what you’re thinking: “Wait! I can spend less on the mail that gets me paid?” Correct . . . with a few other rules:
- 1,000 envelopes per mailing
- Provide a sample to Canada Post to ensure compliance (strongly recommended before creating 1,000+ mistakes!)
- Must be machineable (see above if you skipped that bit on the first go-round)
- Needs to be submitted to a Canada Post facility in the proper containers (which you get from your CP facility) WITH a statement of mailing (which you create at canadapost.ca)
- Needs to be paid for either via Canada Post Account, via Postage Meter indicia, OR at the point of drop off.
The beauty of this one is that you don’t need an account and it doesn’t require an overall annual volume or anything that only large businesses can achieve. And what do you save? About 7% on standard lettermail (up to 30g) and approximately 14% on lettermail 31 – 50g. So in a real world scenario, if you send out 1,500 quarterly statements that are 6 – 10 pages each, you are going to save $270 in postage. Pennies per piece multiply into dollars worth saving really quickly!
Quick Reference Chart on Canada Post Letter Prices:
This can be a game-changer in the business world. The cost of postage has often been slotted into “the cost of doing business” column and forgotten about. However, there are some manageable steps and tools to help along the way for businesses wanting to take a closer look at what they can do to help manage spending.
The Other Line Item That Bleeds Money
Another tool that can significantly help reduce the cost of your postage is managing (and, one hopes eliminating) Return Mail. Here’s a hair-raising formula:
spoiled postage + spoiled envelope + ((time to search (phone, email, google) for the correct address + time to update CRM) x employee wage) + new envelope + new postage = COST OF EACH RETURNED PIECE OF MAIL.
Easily $10/piece and in my experience closer to $20. “Well we only get 10 or 12 back when we do our monthly statements and we are probably closer to the low end on that estimate” = $1,200/year if you’re right. But if I’m right, that number doubles (and what if no one has really been counting??!?!). It’s also one of the most frustrating things to deal with and distracts employees from truly critical tasks. And it’s completely avoidable with Address Validation tools like iAddress by Quadient.
Don’t want an office full of bald employees? Don’t let them keep pulling their hair out over tracking down address updates.
It Doesn’t Have to be A Soul-Killing Process
Neither the Canada Post Discounts nor the Address Cleansing process have to be manual or difficult. There are available tools and available resources almost every step of the way. You don’t have to specialize in Mail or Canada Post products to manage those costs either. A quick and painless process audit can do wonders for understanding where you are at and where you can get to!
That Canada Post document with all the nitty-gritty details can be downloaded here: Canada Post Commercial Mail Information