Greetings, fellow researchers and valued partners in the public opinion research industry!
DataForce Research here with another article close to heart for our research partners – Postage Rates vs Delivery Timelines!
Anybody in the field of survey research, who engages in mailing projects, is familiar with the balancing act required between project timelines & project budgets.
This week, we want to help you make an informed decision when deciding which class of postage to use for your projects.
The most popular option that many people opt for is First Class Postage. With the understanding that the in-home delivery rate is quicker than standard class, this makes sense, but you will pay more per piece due to the higher postage rates.
Often, many researchers waffle between First Class Postage & Standard Class Postage, where one is cheaper, but takes longer to get in-home.
Does it really take Standard Class mail that much longer to get in homes, and is the additional cost worth it for First Class postage?
Based on our experience, we have found that most First Class mail arrives in-home within 1-5 business days from mailing. Standard class is generally 4-6 business days, depending on how far across the country you are going.
However, the use of First Class Postage will generally cost you around 35% more than if you were to use Standard Class Postage.
Another consideration that may have you leaning towards First Class Postage, is how your undeliverable mail pieces will be handled. If your project requires that you collect data on the undeliverable mail items, you may think that First Class Postage is your only option, but there are workarounds available should you desire the use of Standard Class Postage.
Perhaps the simplest option is to have a mail tracking report added to your project for a small fee, so that you can receive the data for undeliverable mail pieces, electronically.
If your project requires that you physically receive the undeliverable mail, you can add an endorsement to your project, “Return Mail Requested,” and USPS will charge full first class rates for each return. To clarify, you would only need to pay the full First Class Postage rate for undeliverable mail items. For the items that successfully delivered, you will only be charged the Standard Class Postage rate.
In our opinion, unless you are sending mail to the other side of the country, it probably makes more sense to use Standard Class postage. The in-home rates will be comparable to First Class, but the savings will be significant, allowing you to put funds in other areas of your project.
Another option available for researchers is the ‘Flat’. Unless you absolutely must use this due to the size of your materials, we advise staying away from this option. The cost is so much higher, and there is no guarantee of when your pieces will arrive in-home. One of the biggest issues with Flats is that most USPS locations have to handle these manually, and they reflect that effort in their cost.
If you have any questions regarding which option would be best for your project, please contact our business office today for a free consultation.