What Marketers Need to Know about the 2018 Postal Rate Increases

It’s that time of year again. A time when marketers and direct mailers are busy setting their budgets for the upcoming year and trying to figure out how USPS rate hikes will affect them.

You may have heard about the proposed rate changes back in October, however, they were only recently approved by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC). Now marketers are researching how the new USPS rates for 2018 will impact their bottom line.

If you do a quick google search on postal rate increases for 2018, you’ll see a lot of articles on the subject. And unless you are a postal expert, it might get a little confusing. That’s why we wanted to provide a quick and simple breakdown of the changes without all of the background information about how postal rate increases are calculated and approved. Marketers and direct mailers have enough to do without getting bogged down with those details.

So let’s skip right to it.

Below is a simple chart showing how popular retail postal rates are changing for 2018.

Beyond the retail rates listed above, mailing services product prices will rise approximately 1.9 percent, and most Shipping Services products will average a 3.9 percent price increase. But there is a good news. Marketers and bulk mailers can receive postal discounts when they qualify for presort and automation discounts and ensure that their mailpiece is machinable.

What are USPS Presort and Automation discounts?

  • A USPS Presort is a discount for customers who sort their mail before sending it off to USPS like Shawmut does for our customers. It offers a sliding scale of discounts based on service level, mail shape, and weight.
  • Automation discounts apply when your mailpiece is machinable and includes a properly coded Intelligent Mail barcode.
  • When your mailpiece is “machinable”, meaning it can be processed on USPS equipment without additional intervention, you are also able to avoid non-machinable surcharges which average .21 per piece.

Without going into a ton of detail here, the basic requirements for presort and automation discounts are as follows:


  • Minimum of 200 pieces for Marketing Mail (formerly Standard Mail)
  • Minimum of 500 pieces for First-Class Mail


  • Mailpiece must meet physical size and weight standards for each mail class (see our full 2018 Postal Rate sheet for more info)
  • Be made of good quality white or light-colored paper
  • Contain no sharp or bulky items
  • Be sealed securely
  • Be readable by automation equipment (includes IMb)

To see the rates for commercial mailers and how to qualify for these presort and automation discounts, download our full 2018 Commercial Postal Rates Sheet.

If you have any questions or want to learn more about the discounts you may be eligible for, feel free to reach out. One of our mailing experts will be happy to help!

Download our 2018 Commercial Postal Rate Sheet

Tags: Direct Mail, Marketing, Postal Rates

Picture of Carlos Moreno

Carlos Moreno

Carlos serves as Shawmut’s director of mailing and data services and has been with the organization for more than 14 years. He continuously receives training to stay ahead of the changing USPS guidelines and helps each client achieve optimal deliverability rates and postal savings. Carlos recently became certified as a Mail Piece Design Consultant (MDC), by the Mail System Management (MSMA). He spends his free time coaching soccer and staying involved in his children’s extracurricular activities.

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