Answers to frequently asked questions.
What is the difference between First Class mail and Standard Bulk Rate mail?
First Class mail is delivered faster by the USPS than Bulk mail. First Class mail is generally delivered in 1-3 days locally and 3-5 days nationally by the USPS. First Class mail is also more expensive than Bulk Rate mail. Rates are based on size and weight. Certain types of mail must be sent via First Class mail, such as invoices, statements, and other personalized mail. First Class mail is also forwarded automatically or returned to the sender if it is undeliverable. First Class mail is generally perceived to be of higher importance by the recipient, so it generally gets looked at more closely by the recipient.
Bulk mail is generally delivered by the USPS in 2-5 days locally and 1 – 3 weeks nationally, but in exchange for the slower delivery, Bulk Mail is less expensive than First Class mail. Bulk mail is not automatically forwarded or returned to the sender if it is undeliverable (though you can pay extra to receive these services). Bulk mail can’t be used to mail invoices, statements, or some other kinds of personal mail. Bulk mail rates are also based on the size and weight of the mail piece. There is a minimum quantity of 200 pieces in order to mail at bulk rates.
How do I decide whether to use First Class mail or Standard Bulk mail?
Review your mail piece with us and we will recommend a rate most appropriate for your mail.
Can I send my mail as Non-Profit mail?
Only organizations that have a current and valid Non-Profit postal permit can send mail at Non-Profit rates. Non-Profit mail is a sub-class of Standard Bulk mail and is processed and mailed by the USPS in the same manner as Bulk mail, but Non-Profit postage rates are less expensive than Bulk mail. Organizations such as Charities, Religious organizations, Colleges, and Universities often open Non-Profit postal accounts in order to qualify for Non-Profit postage rates. Non-Profit mail cannot contain any advertising within the mail piece and must have a return address on the mail piece.
What is the difference between a Letter-Size mail piece and a Flat-Size mail piece (and why is this important)?
A Letter-Size mail piece is defined as being at least 3 ½” x 5” in size, but no larger than 6 1/8” x 11 ½”, and is uniform thickness.
A Flat-Size mail piece is defined as being larger than 6 1/8” x 11 ½”, but no larger than 12” x 15”, and is uniform thickness.
Letter-Size mail pieces generally qualify for postage costs that are much less than Flat-Size mail pieces.
What are the options for affixing postage to my mail piece and why is this important?
Postage can be affixed in 1 of 3 ways for most classes of mail: Using postage stamps, using a postage meter, or printed a postal permit indicia on the mail piece.
Using postage stamps generally creates a more personalized look to the outside of your mail piece and is often used on envelopes. The more personalized your mail piece looks, the better your response rate will be.
Affixing postage with a postage meter is commonly used for statement or invoice mailings that are mailed in an envelope.
Using a pre-printed postal indicia is generally used on self-mailers, such as postcards, newsletters, and catalogs. Using indicias is generally the least expensive way to affix postage to your mail piece.
What is a Self-Mailer?
A Self-Mailer is a mail piece that does not use an envelope as a carrier. Examples of self-mailers include postcards, brochures, newsletters, and catalogs.
Folded self-mailers that are letter-size (no larger than 6 1/8” x 11 ½”) should be tabbed or glued shut in order to qualify for maximum postage discounts.
Flat-size self-mailers (larger than 6 1/8” x 11 ½”) do not require tabbing or gluing in order to qualify for maximum postage discounts
Types of payment we accept at Direct Connection
We accept cash, checks, and credit card payments (MC, Visa, and American Express) at Direct Connection. We do not accept third-party checks and we do require proper identification when accepting checks or credit card payments.
Payment terms at Direct Connection
Payment of postage costs is always required prior to the mail date.
Payment of services are COD unless payment terms have been established in advance (download credit application form here)
How often do postage rates go up?
Postage rate increases occur every year and are set to in line with the current rate of inflation.
What is Direct Connection’s minimum job size?
There is no minimum job size requirement at Direct Connection, but our minimum service fee for mailing services is $215 and does not include postage costs or printing costs. Our minimum printing cost is $150.
Direct Connection processes client jobs that range from 200 pieces to 1 million pieces, so we are equipped to handle almost every job size quickly, efficiently, and economically.
What is the turnaround time to get my job completed and mailed by Direct Connection?
The turnaround time for mailing jobs is generally 2-3 business days after the client has approved samples and authorized the mailing for standard mailings.
The turnaround time for printing jobs is generally 1-5 days after the client has approved proofs and provided authorization.
Does Direct Connection print all jobs that they mail?
No, Direct Connection also provides mailing services only for jobs that have been printed at another location. Direct Connection can print and mail or provide mailing services only to our clients.
Should I review my mail piece design with Direct Connection before I print it?
Yes, yes, yes! Please allow us to review your mail piece design before you print it (even if we are not printing it). We will review the mail piece from a postal acceptance standpoint and let you know if it qualifies for maximum postage discounts. Direct Connection will also review the mail piece to ensure that it can be processed by us economically to avoid incurring additional fees for things like addressing, folding, inserting, etc.
Why is using a good mailing list so important?
Using an accurate, targeted, and up-to-date mailing list is the single most important factor in determining the success of your mailing. You should use a list that your offer or appeal is relevant to. In addition, you should update your mailing list at least once a year to check the list for people who have moved. Direct Connection has the tools necessary to help you update your list and keep it accurate.
What format should I supply my mailing list to Direct Connection?
We accept mailing lists on diskette, CD, email, or via our FTP site. We prefer lists that are formatted as Excel, Access, or Delimited formats. We can also accept a variety of other formats-check with your Direct Connection account representative if you have questions about the format of your list.
We also accept hard copy lists on Peel & Stick labels or on Cheshire labels or as print-outs
Can Direct Connection supply a mailing list for our use?
Yes, Direct Connection can supply you with targeted mailing lists, including residential addresses or business addresses, with a variety of demographic selections available. If you require a specialty-type of mailing list, we can refer you to a list supplier that specializes in those types of lists.
Postage rates are setup in a tiered structure. What does that mean?
Discounted and presorted postage rates are determined in large part by the density of the mailing. For example, if you are sending 10,000 mail pieces that are destined to a Los Angeles County, you will pay a lower postage rate than if you were mailing the same 10,000 pieces all over the U.S.
What type of quality control procedures are in place at Direct Connection?
Each and every job that is processed by Direct Connection is checked at least 3 times by 3 different staff members as the job makes its way through our production process. Each step in the production process requires a written authorization from a manager before it is processed.
Direct Connection has established a comprehensive written job processing procedure that is followed for every job that is processed by us.
What steps is Direct Connection taking to be environmentally responsible?
Direct Connection is committed to environmental responsibility and minimizing our impact on the environment (click here for more information).
Does Direct Connection handle international accounts?
Are you printing your mail pieces in Asia and then shipping the mailers to a Los Angeles port? If so, you should contact Direct Connection to provide your mailing services. We are based in Los Angeles, so you won’t incur high trucking costs to get your mailers from the L.A. ports to our facility.