Direct Mail Marketing

First-Class Mail: How Much Does it Cost?

February 18, 2022

If you're a business owner, there's a good chance that you need a lot of mail to keep your business going. The mail is the heart of any successful communication strategy, from invoices to offline marketing.

USPS First-Class Mail is the perfect option for sending lightweight parcels within a tight timeframe for most companies. It features fast delivery times and is cost-effective for both senders and receivers.

But what exactly does this service include and what is the cost of a first-class letter?

This article will look at what is First-Class Mail,  First-Class Mail price, and some other essentials.

In the end, you will know how to send First-Class Mail and be able to make an informed decision whether to use the USPS First-Class Mail system for your business correspondence or look at other solutions.

What Is First-Class Mail? Why Should Businesses Use It?

First-Class Mail is the most popular option for sending envelopes and lightweight packages. This type of Mail is common for postcards, letters, large envelopes, and small packages.

When it comes to delivering mail in a timely fashion, First-Class Mail is typically one of the quickest options available to businesses and individuals.

To put this statement into perspective, note the following statistics:

From the moment you send your package to the moment it arrives at its destination, you'll enjoy many benefits with first-class package service, including:

Affordability. First-Class Mail rates start as low as $1.30 for a 1 oz envelope. Hence, you can save money over other shipping options by mailing lighter packages.

Speed & Delivery Time. On average, First-Class domestic packages arrive at their destination in 2-3 days, but delivery can be faster depending on the distance between the origin and destination.

Customization. You can customize your package with any size or shape of an envelope or box to better protect your items during shipment.

Besides, First-Class Mail provides the advantage of sending letters to their destinations without worrying about out-of-date addresses. USPS will either forward the mail pieces to the appropriate recipient on its own or redirect them back to the sender for no additional charge if it's undeliverable for any reason.

This is a huge advantage for organizations that send out a significant amount of advertising through direct mail. No more worrying about lost mail or needing to pay for return postage.

Standards Required for First-Class Package Services

Unlike bulk or standard mail, First-Class Mail services have a set of requirements or restrictions that you must follow to use the service.

Only packages weighing less than 13 ounces are eligible for First-Class Mail parcel delivery. Currently, letters cannot exceed 3 1/2 ounces. The dimensions of these items should be 3 1/2 inches to 6 1/8 inches high, 5 inches to 11 1/2 inches long, and as thick as .007 inches to 1/4 inches.

Like packages, large envelopes cannot weigh more than 13 ounces. The maximum dimensions are 12 inches high by 15 inches long and 3/4 inch thick. The total length and width of the package cannot exceed 108 inches.

The item's weight mainly determines the First-Class Mail price. Plus, a surcharge may also apply to tubular items.

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Difference Between First-Class Mail and Standard Mail

Even though First-Class Mail and standard mail are two services offered by the USPS, they are both unique in individual ways.

First-Class Mail is the most commonly used type of shipping for personal and business correspondence. The postal service sorts it by hand and delivers the letters to homes and business addresses as soon as possible. First-Class Mail letter delivery time varies by destination but usually takes one to three days.

Companies and other bulk mailers use standard Mail to send advertisements, solicitations, discount cards, and similar materials at discounted rates.

Standard Mail is a catchall term for everything that doesn't qualify as First-Class Mail. You send it on a nonurgent schedule because the USPS doesn't guarantee how quickly it will arrive at its destination. That said, the First-Class Mail price is a little bit higher than that of standard mail pieces.

Tracking and Other Add-Ons for First-Class Mail

When sending personal or business correspondence via post, you expect to be able to track your package at every point in time. Unfortunately, tracking is not a standard feature in First-Class Package Service and First-Class Mail, meaning that you will not be able to tell where your letter is until it arrives at your destination.

Still, there are some ways to get an end-to-end view of where your package is.

USPS Tracking automatically comes if you mail an FCPS-R or FCPS-C item. You can also purchase extra services that allow attaching a tracking barcode for scanning. Therefore, if you want to track packages sent using the USPS First-Class Mail service, you'll need to pay more.

Fortunately, upgrading your First-Class Mailing to include tracking information isn't that expensive.

How Much Does First-Class Mail Cost in the US?

Now that you know what is First-Class Mail, the next thing is to understand what First-Class Mail rates.

First-Class Mail cost is calculated based on the size, weight, and shape of your mailpiece. The table below shows a breakdown of what to expect when sending First-Class Mail.

USPS First-Class Mail Types Postage Rates
Letter (1 oz.) $0.58
Letter (additional ounce) $0.20
Flat (1 oz.) $1.16
Flat (additional ounce) $0.20
International Letter $1.30
First-Class Package Service (1-6 oz.) $3.37 and above


Even though the First-Class Mail rates seem low, they will considerably affect your operational expenses. Hence, you must carefully calculate the cost of direct mail and use address verification to make sure the addresses you have are mailable. It makes the delivery more reliable and cuts the cost since fewer mail pieces fail to reach the destination causing financial losses.

How Inkit Send's Automated Direct Mail Is Better Than First-Class Services

While it is true that the First-Class package service helps businesses reach their customers, Inkit Send delivers a better direct mail solution thanks to its integration capabilities, tracking features, and automated workflow system. It's an API you can connect with your current system to print, deliver, and monitor tailored mail pieces automatically. Send works jointly with other software to send personalized mail pieces based on triggers. Besides, thanks to the cooperation with USPS, mailing rates are low.

With Inkit Send, brands can scale up their direct mail campaigns without having to worry about whether or not their print communication has been sent or delivered.

Sign up for a free trial today to see how it works.

Ready to captivate your customers?
Send personalized direct mail automatically based on customer actions.
By submitting this form, I confirm that I have read and understood Inkit's Privacy Policy.
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