Mailing Like a Pro: 5 Post Office Tips for Frequent Mailers

Have you been mailing a lot of packages lately? Be sure to check out these helpful tips to optimize your post office experience.

When trying to get an important letter or package to someone, the US Postal Service has always been a reliable and economical option.

Today, there are even more reasons to utilize this service as there are so many online tools to help you with important things like deciding the best packaging material, which service to use, and of course, how much postage you need.

If you are already using the post office for most of your mailing needs and want to make the whole process easier, read on for five helpful tips on how to ship a package.

Correct Packaging of Boxes

Knowing the correct way to package your shipment is vital to ensure that it arrives in the same condition as it left. You should always use a sturdy box that is as close to the size of the shipment as possible.

You do not want the contents to have room to slide or flip inside during transit. If you need padding, use bubble wrap, Styrofoam or tissue paper.

You may repurpose a box, but make sure any labels, markings or stickers have been completely covered or removed so only the information for the current shipment can be seen.

The overall cost of the shipment will be less if it can pass through the standard mail-processing equipment. Make sure the box is able to close completely and all sides are flat, with no bulging or gaps.

It is not a good idea to wrap the box in paper. Paper can get torn when going through the equipment and damage the box and potentially the contents.

The weight limit per piece is 70 pounds, and in most cases, should be under 108” in total length. There are some exceptions for retail shipments.

Be sure to use packaging tape specifically designed for shipping. You should not use plain cellophane tape, masking, or duct tape. You should also not use cord to tie the box closed as it will get caught in the mail processing equipment.

There are also free boxes available at the post office and online for Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express.

There are some items that cannot be shipped by the Post Office, including alcohol and perfume. Here is a complete list for review.

Shipping Methods

Each shipment must have a designated service. The options are Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Package Service-Retail, USPS Retail Ground and Media Mail.

Choosing the right service depends on how quickly it needs to arrive, special handling instructions, tracking information and the contents. Priority Mail Express comes with $100 worth of insurance, but you can purchase additional insurance for any option. You can also choose to be notified when the package has been delivered and signed for.

There are even options available for Sundays, holidays and early morning delivery.

Also, did you know certified mail can be sent to a PO box? Check out this useful resource for more information.

Each shipment should have a clearly written or printed ship to address along with a return address. It is also recommended to put a card inside the box or envelope with both addresses in the event of a damaged shipment where the addresses are no longer legible.

Here is a breakdown of the various shipping options for more information.

Postage

The amount of postage required depends on several factors; weight, travel distance, and shipping method. Using the correct postage guarantees it arrives on time. Packages without enough postage will either be returned to you, or the receiver will have to pay the balance.

Calculations can also be done by the clerk at the Post Office at the time of drop off, or online. There are also other options available.

Postage meters are available for use at your home or business to make shipping easier and faster. Many postage products also offer precise scales for accurate calculations and accounting software to track expenses.

Flat Rate boxes are available in a variety of sizes for with Priority Mail and Priority Mail Express. Using these boxes guarantees an affordable flat rate for shipping.

Package Drop Off or Pick Up

We all know we can drop off mail or packages at a post office. There are also blue collection boxes at various locations for easy drop off on the go.

Packages can also be picked up at no charge during the regular delivery of mail at your home or business. You can even schedule a pickup up to three months in advance.

The post office now also offers PickUp On Demand. If you have a specific time you need a package to be shipped, you can schedule a pick up for a small fee with the post office. They will guarantee the pick up within a two-hour window. The correct postage must already be attached to all packages. The number to call to arrange pickup is 1-800-222-1811.

Mailing Supplies

There are a lot of supplies needed for the various shipping options, and many of them are free and all of them can be ordered through the online store of the postal service.

The Priority Mail Express and Priority Mail envelopes and boxes are free and can be ordered and stocked to be available when you need them.

Customs envelopes and declarations pouch for international shipments are available free of charge as well as a variety of labels. You can order address labels, tracking labels, certified mail receipts, priority mail stickers as well as special handling or fragile stickers.

You can order commercial invoices as well as COD forms and registered and certified mail tags.

For purchased items, you can buy pre-inked stamps that read “Confidential” or “Special Handling – Fragile”. You can also purchase a tape gun, along with the tape, and bubble packaging material. Cushion mailers in a variety of sizes are available in packs of 24.

The postage meters and scales are also available to order online.

Quick and Easy

When you are looking for how to mail a package, the US Postal Service has all the answers you need.

Whether you are mailing a birthday card across town or shipping a fragile package across the country, they have a solution for you.

For more information, visit the official site of the USPS.

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