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Quick Service Guide 340b

Commercial Flats

Standard Mail Automation Flats

January 4, 2010
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Related QSGs

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301a, Designing Flats for Automated Processing

703, Standard Mail Nonprofit Eligibility

Physical Standards (301)

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Maximum weight: less than 16 ounces.

For an overview of the physical standards for commercial flats, see Quick Service Guide 301.

Prices and Fees (343.1.0)

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For a complete list of commercial Standard Mail prices, see Notice 123-Price List.

Destination discounts apply to mail prepared as prescribed by USPS and addressed for delivery within service area of destination BMC/ASF or SCF (346.2.0).

Annual presort mailing fee applies.

Content (343.2.0)

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Flats containing mailable items not required to be sent using First-Class Mail can be sent using Standard Mail. Standard Mail is typically used for advertisements, flyers, and catalogs. Additional content restrictions must be met for authorized nonprofit mailers (703.1.0).

Eligibility Standards (343.7.0)

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Mailings of 200 or more addressed pieces (or 50 pounds of addressed pieces) must be automation compatible (301.3.0), bear a delivery point POSTNET or Intelligent Mail barcode (708.4.0), and be sorted and marked as described below. Pieces are eligible if not required to be mailed at First-Class Mail prices or not eligible for Periodicals prices. Nonprofit prices require specific authorization (703.1.0).

Each piece must also include a complete delivery address with correct ZIP Code or ZIP+4 code.

For address standards, see 343.7.4; for barcode quality standards, see 708.4.0; and for CASS/MASS standards, see 708.3.0. Addresses must be matched using a CASS/MASS-certified process within 180 days before mailing date.

All letter-size reply cards and envelopes (Business Reply Mail, Courtesy Reply Mail, and metered reply mail) provided as enclosures must meet the standards in 201.3.17.

Rigid, nonrectangular, and pieces that are not uniformly thick must be prepared as parcels or Not Flat-Machinable pieces and pay parcel or Not Flat-Machinable prices (343.3.2.1).

Mailers can apply Repositionable Notes for an additional charge. See 705.21.0.

Addresses on all pieces must be updated within 95 days before mailing through a USPS-approved address update method (e.g., ACS, NCOALink, or the appropriate ancillary service endorsement (except Forwarding Service Requested) under 507.1.5.3). For an overview of the Move Update standards, see Quick Service Guide 230a.

Postage Payment and Documentation (344)

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Precanceled stamp (604.3.0), meter (604.4.0), or permit imprint (604.5.0).

Additional standards apply to mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces.


  • Postage statement:
  • Regular: PS Form 3602-R or approved facsimile.
  • Nonprofit: PS Form 3602-N or approved facsimile.
  • PS Form 3553 must be retained by mailer for 1 year (708.3.5.2).
  • Supporting documentation: required unless correct price is affixed to each piece or unless each piece is of identical weight and separated by price when presented for acceptance; documentation generated by PAVE-certified software (or printed in standardized format).

Mail Preparation (345.7.0)

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Marking on each piece in the postage area (302.3.0):

  • Regular: "Presorted Standard" or "PRSRT STD," "Standard" or "STD."
  • Nonprofit: "Nonprofit Organization" or "NONPROFIT ORG." or "NONPROFIT."

Use of the "AUTO" marking is optional.

Barcoded sack labels required (345.4.0).

Palletization is preferred (see Quick Service Guide 705d).

Any mailing job that contains bundles of Presorted flats and bundles of automation flats must be co-sacked
using 705.9.3.

Enter and Deposit (346)

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Mailing entered at an acceptance point designated by USPS.


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Bundling and Sacking Sequence (345.7.0)
Bundles: Scheme bundles required for 5-digit ZIP Codes in L007. Required with 15 or more pieces for mailings containing pieces weighing 5 ounces or less. Required with 10 or more pieces for mailings containing pieces weighing more than 5 ounces. Fewer pieces in a bundle not permitted.2
Labels: Red Label 5 SCH, Red Label 5, or optional endorsement line (OEL) (708.7.0).
Price: 5-Digit
Bundles: Scheme bundles required for 3-digit ZIP Codes in L008. Required if 10 or more pieces to the same 3-digit/scheme; fewer than 10 pieces in a bundle not permitted.2
Labels: Green Label 3 SCH, Green Label 3, or OEL.
Price: 3-Digit
Bundles: Required if 10 or more pieces to same ADC (see L004); fewer than 10 pieces in a bundle not permitted.2
Labels: Pink Label A or OEL.
Price: ADC
Mixed ADC
Bundles: Any remaining pieces must be bundled in mixed ADC bundles.
Labels: Tan Label X or OEL.
Price: Mixed ADC

This graphic shows the bundling and sacking sequence for Standard Mail Automation Flats as described in the text.

Sacks: Required at 125 pieces or 15 pounds to the same 5-digit/scheme; smaller quantities not permitted.
Barcoded Labels: Line 1: For 5-digit scheme sacks, use L007, Column B; For 5-digit sacks, use city, state, and 5-digit ZIP Code on mail. Line 2: For 5-digit scheme sacks, use "STD FLTS 5D SCH BC." For 5-digit sacks, "STD FLTS 5D BC."
Sacks: Required at 125 pieces or 15 pounds of pieces to the same 3-digit ZIP Code; smaller quantities not permitted.
Exception: After preparing all required sacks, prepare a sack for any remaining bundles for each 3-digit ZIP Code of SCF serving Post Office where mail is verified.
Barcoded Labels: For Line 1, use L002, Column A, for destination facility.
Sacks: Required at 125 pieces or 15 pounds to the same ADC; smaller quantities not permitted.
Barcoded Labels: For Line 1, use L004, Column B, for destination facility.
Mixed ADC
Sacks: Required for any remaining bundles placed in mixed ADC sacks.
Barcoded Labels: For Line 1, use L009, Column B.
Price is based on type of bundle regardless of sack in (or pallet on) which it is placed.
1Mailers must prepare all possible 5-digit scheme bundles and 5-digit scheme sacks before preparing 5-digit bundles and 5-digit sacks. Mailers must prepare all possible 3-digit scheme bundles before preparing 3-digit bundles and 3-digit sacks.
2Bundles may contain less than the 10 or 15 piece minimums when there are at least the minimum number of pieces to a destination and the bundle size would exceed the maximum size (345.2.10).
3Use "STD FLTS 5D SCH BC" on 5-digit scheme sacks; use "STD FLTS 5D BC" on 5-digit sacks.


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