What USPS Mail Form is Right for You?

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What USPS Mail Form Do You Need to Get Your Direct Mail Out?

The USPS can be confusing on many levels. One area where mail lingo gets confusing for people in direct mail is in dealing with the USPS mail forms.

The mail process begins with a list. Your mailer will take your list and make sure it has been cleaned—referred to as data hygiene—which means all your records are up to date and mailable. The list is then sorted by USPS software for discounts based on qualifying categories. The more concentrated your mailing area is, the more discounts you are likely to be eligible for. The sorting of the mail list, or “pre-sort”, is the order in which the pieces will be addressed. This is often looked at before the addressing is actually done, so you can review and confirm that it was sorted as instructed. This form also gives the final postage cost. This pre-sort USPS mail form is Form 3602.

The 3602 USPS mail form is then used to enter and pay for mail; it is basically your receipt for your mailing once the mailer presents it for verification and payment. In the past, the 3602 mail form was date stamped as proof of entry into the post office on the stamp date and that postage was paid. This form also has information about the mailing, the permit, and the quantity.

Because having every sheet hand stamped and physically inspected is very labor intensive and time-consuming, there is now a more streamlined process available. Verification is often done electronically through Postal One accounts (web based) or through SST (Self Service Terminal). These produce USPS mail form 3607, which is essentially the same as the old stamped 3602 mail form—it has a date stamp as well as the other information needed from the 3602 mail form.

So, now your mail has been entered, verified, and paid for. You also have your 3602 or your 3607 mail form…now what? Well, you are done if you entered close to where your mail will be delivered.

In some cases, you will want to ship the mail from your local entry USPS facility to a destination closer to where the mail will be delivered. The post office will do this for you, of course, but you can save time and money (postal discounts) by shipping the mail yourself. However, when you ship it yourself you have someone transport your mail—which you have paid thousands of dollars of postage for—so you need to be able to verify that they actually deliver your mail as instructed and on time. The form that the post office supplies for this chain of custody verification is USPS Form 8125. This mail form is filled out by the original entry facility and sent with your mail to be signed and dated by the facility that receives the shipment. This is your documentation that the trucker delivering your mail did not take a few days off between pickup and drop off and your mail is actually back in the mail stream.

Do you have questions about any other USPS mail form for your direct mail campaign? Drop us a note.