An Expert’s Guide for the 2018 USPS Postal Rate Increase

It’s official, starting Sunday, January 21, 2018, the United States Postal Service will raise postal rates across most of their mail and parcel offerings. How big is the impact? The annoying answer is that it depends, but surely everyone from consumers to the commercial sector will feel financial pain. The 2018 USPS increase targets both mail and parcels, with the rate increase for packages taking the heaviest hit. To help you navigate the murky and confusing mailing world, we at Three Dog Logistics are here to offer our expert advice and prevent your mailing costs from skyrocketing during this fast-approaching rate increase. Let’s dive right into the specifics: what services can expect an increase, and by how much?

Click for full list of increases by service and zone or Download this handy 2018 USPS Postal Rate Sheet

Depending on your business, an increase of up to 6% will surely mean a sting to the bottom line. Let’s face it. paying more for postage, ­while a necessary evil,  is absolutely no fun. The e-commerce industry, which is full of “free shipping“, is squirming big-time, and eBay has already announced to its sellers their postage service rates will also increase in January. If you’re thinking the way to fix this is to simply switch your shipping carrier from USPS to one of the other big guys, strike that thought. Both FedEx and UPS have also announced 4.9% rate increases to start January 1, 2018, and December 24, 2017, respectively. No one will escape the postal rate increase of 2018 unscathed, but with some expert guidance, it can be a less painful journey. Keep reading for steps you can take now in order to prepare for the 2018 USPS postal rate increase.

First on your To Do list: now is the time to seek experts to reduce your mailing costs even though rates are on the rise. Assuming your only option is to passively wait for the increase to impact your financials is a bad idea. Now is the time to engage mailing experts, like Three Dog, to conduct an audit of your current mailing requirements, there’s still plenty of time before January 21st! Audits are a powerful way to tweak and re-shape your mailing operation to reduce profit-sucking expenses even with the looming rate increases.

How Experts Can Reduce Your Mailing Costs Even with the 2018 USPS Postal Rate Increase

1. Conduct a current mailing operations audit and recommend improvements

The results of an audit are generally not complex to execute and typically result in cost savings, expedited delivery, precise mail tracking methods, and improved reporting. Most mailing experts provide this consultation as part of their business service with any contractual agreement.

2. Recommend options to First Class mail that also deliver stellar results

The mailing world is complex and can be difficult even for experts to keep up with. Seek postal professionals with extensive knowledge of First Class mail alternatives and experience executing solutions while maintaining service levels required. Careful evaluation is suggested, but excellent mail options like expedited drop shipping, commingling, and Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM) may cost much less while meeting your goals.

3. Select a parcel expert that offers low cost, warehousing, and real-time delivery tracking

Specifically, the firm must have experience with all private carriers and USPS to guarantee optimum deliverability. The more sophisticated the firm the better for your financials. For example, Three Dog developed a proprietary tool, Mail Rover, that compares rates for the specific delivery zip and box dimensions ensuring the most cost-effective shipper is selected for each order. In addition, they use a drop-ship model utilizing private carriers to get the package as close to the destination as possible, then using USPS local service to drop into the final destination. Deep USPS discounts using the drop-ship model can reduce shipping rates by 25% or more, thereby making the upcoming rate increase a bit easier on your bottom line.

4. Consult on direct mail and packaging requirements in advance to keep postage cost low

Requirements for postal discounts are very complex and can literally be measured in centimeters. A direct mail piece that’s 1/8 inch too large or .02 ounces too heavy can cost big bucks. Partner with a mailing firm that’s an expert in USPS regulations. Ask them, before design, to recommend the best size and weight for the piece to meet your budget. Being off by just a teeny bit could cost you a ton more for the same results. The same holds true for parcels, packaging details like size, weight, thickness, materials, and exterior coating can reduce cost and guarantee your package won’t be rejected by USPS automation. A good mail firm should offer consultation like this included with every project so call them in the design stage.

5. Verify shipping lists are clean and meet USPS guidelines for optimum deliverability

Sounds like a no-brainer, but USPS rewards clean list campaigns with cost-saving options and deeper discounts. Verify your mailing includes gratis NCOA/CASS certification of every list, virtually guaranteeing clean lists with 100% deliverability.

6. Provide management of warehousing components and logistics

Warehousing logistics can play a huge factor in the cost, delivery, and success of parcel mailings, not to mention a colossal waste of time for your company’s internal resources. Select a firm with capacity for warehousing, package fulfillment, and finishing services. Trust me, you’ll save yourself an incredible amount of pain and hardship.

7. Secure real-time tracking for mailings to save money on wasted internal resources

Real-time tracking is like a crystal ball, offering clients the ability to verify that mail or parcels have shipped and reached their destination on deadline. In addition, tracking allows real-time staff planning for customer service/order-taking call centers. The tighter you can project the actual dates support is needed, the less waste for the organization. At Three Dog we developed ObbaTrack to give our clients real-time visibility into every mailing, be sure to ask what your logistics firm has available for tracking is a very powerful cost-saving tool for any company.

Need an expert partner to prepare for the 2018 USPS postal rate increase? We’d love to assist you with a mailing audit, review, first-class alternatives, or suggest packaging recommendations to reduce your 2018 mailing costs. Download our handy 2018 USPS Postal Rate Sheet here. Remember, at Three Dog Logistics we take the bite out of postage and freight. Contact us at or call 410-284-5494 ext. 170 to schedule a complimentary consultation today.