Insider’s Guide to Commingling Mail and Why You Should Care

Let’s review the basic goals of anyone involved in the direct marketing world.

Goal #1: Reach your target audience and get them to notice your mail.
Goal #2: Engage the direct mail recipient so they interact with your company or organization.
Goal #3: Achieve goals #1 and #2 at the lowest cost and fastest rate of speed.

Super easy right? Sure.

While I can’t promise the recipient will notice or interact with your piece, I can guarantee that by using commingling, it will reach the recipient faster, cheaper, and in better condition than traditional mail delivery. I understand the topic of commingling often makes people’s eyes glaze over and suddenly think of tons of really important things to do other than read this article, but hang in there – it’ll be worth it.

In a nutshell, a commingling service consolidates millions of pieces of mail, pre-sorts to the closest destination point, and processes them through a high-speed delivery point barcode scanner which then directs the piece to one of 294 USPS locations. It is NOT the same as combining mail together in one bin and drop shipping from a bulk mail unit; way more sophisticated stuff. Commingling is a mail optimization tool that does most of the work for the post office, thereby getting it very close to the end delivery point so USPS barely has to touch it. In return for this convenience, USPS grants significant work share discounts saving you lots of money.

In addition, because the mail bypasses many of the USPS processes and machines, it arrives very quickly and in great condition. You know what I’m talking about, that gorgeous direct mail masterpiece you created that arrived ripped, covered in black streaks, and horribly mangled. I promise that won’t happen with commingling.

The commingling process conducts zip sorting primarily at the deeply discounted 5-digit level and because of the massive volume also meets the hefty minimums required by USPS. Numbers don’t lie, on average a typical presort of 50-100k names results in 37% at ADC rates and 60% at the 3-digit zip discount tier. With commingling of 3 million pieces 77% qualify at the 5-digit zip discount tier and 19% at the 3-digit zip discount tier. Even after commingling fees that could mean a sizeable chunk of change to keep in your piggy bank.


1. A commingling service delays delivery because of additional processing time required. FALSE
Three Dog Sorting runs commingling processes in real time every day; we recently increased our capacity by 30% making us the largest privately held sorting facility on the East Coast.

2. Commingling services can save money for small or large direct mail campaigns. TRUE
While cost reductions will compound faster with larger mailings, merging small campaigns with the millions of pieces processed every day will qualify for top-tier discounts delivering significant savings for all of our clients.

3. Commingling services are too expensive for our organization. FALSE
Direct mail and its huge cost is a necessary evil for your business so if you can save even a penny per piece why wouldn’t you?

At Three Dog Sorting, we sort millions of pieces of mail every day and can most likely deliver significant savings for your business. Visit or call 410-284-5494 ext 220 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.