The U.S. Postal Service is the most efficient postal service in the world, with some of the lowest postage prices of any industrialized country. Dollar for dollar, you get a lot of value from your mail.
A postage price is more than a number. A price is the balance between the value and service you get from the Postal Service and the amount of work you're willing to do to prepare your mail. The Postal Service offers commercial prices because you do some of the work that otherwise would have to be done by the Postal Service (for example, sorting the mail by ZIP Code or taking your mail to a certain postal facility). Everyone benefits from this "work-sharing." The Postal Service's costs are reduced, and you pay less postage.
In general, the more up-front work you do, the lower the postage you'll pay. What will it cost you (in time, in work hours) to get the price you want? Are you willing to do the work yourself? Or is it more cost effective to send your mailing to a service bureau? Smart mailers will weigh their choices BEFORE they do a mailing.
Postage prices can be based on a number of factors:
- Content: What class of mail is it?
- Size: How big is it?
- Shape: Is it a letter, flat, or parcel?
- Weight: How heavy is it?
- Distance the mail travels: How far is it going?
- Quantity: How many pieces do you have?
- Nonprofit status: Does your organization qualify for nonprofit prices?
- Speed of delivery: Priority Mail Express, Priority Mail, First-Class Mail.
- Mail entry point: destination entry prices.