201d, Designing Flats for Automated Processing
Physical Standards (201)
Maximum weight: less than 16 ounces.
For an overview of the physical standards for commercial flats, see Quick Service Guide 201c.
Prices and Fees (243.1.0)
For a complete list of commercial USPS Marketing 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 NDC/ASF, SCF or delivery unit (DDU) (246.2.0).
Annual presort mailing fee applies.
Flats containing mailable items not required to be sent using First-Class Mail can be sent using USPS Marketing Mail. USPS Marketing Mail is typically used for advertisements, flyers, and catalogs. Additional content restrictions must be met for authorized nonprofit mailers (703.1.0).
Eligibility Standards (243.8.0)
Mailings of 200 or more addressed pieces (or 50 pounds of addressed pieces) must be automation compatible (201.6.0), bear an Intelligent Mail barcode (204.1.0), 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 243.8.4; for barcode quality standards, see 204.1.0; and for CASS/MASS standards, see 602.9.0. 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 pieces and pay parcel prices (243.3.2.1).
Mailers can apply Repositionable Notes. See 202.7.0.
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 602a.
Postage Payment and Documentation (244)
Precanceled stamp (604.3.0), meter (604.4.0), or permit imprint (604.5.0).
Additional standards apply to mailings of nonidentical-weight pieces.
Mail Preparation (245.10.0)
Marking on each piece in the postage area (202.3.0):
- Regular: “Presorted USPS Marketing” or “PRSRT MKT,” “Marketing,” “MKT,” “PRESORT MKTG,” or “MKTG.”
- Nonprofit: “Nonprofit Organization,” “NONPROFIT ORG,” “NONPROFIT,” “NONPROFIT MKT,” or “NONPROFIT MKTG.”
Marking on each piece prepared to FSS zones (705.14.0)
Use of the “AUTO” marking is optional.
Barcoded sack labels required (245.4.0).
Palletization is preferred (see Quick Service Guide 705d).
Any mailing job that contains comailed bundles of Presorted flats and bundles of automation flats must be prepared using 705.9.0 or 705.11.0.
Mailpieces intended for delivery to FSS zones must be prepared under 705.14.0.
Enter and Deposit (246)
Mailing entered at an acceptance point designated by USPS.
Bundling and Sacking Sequence (245.10.4)
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) (203.7.0).
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.
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.
Bundles: Any remaining pieces must be bundled in mixed ADC bundles.
Labels: Tan Label X or OEL.
Price: Mixed ADC
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 “MKT FLTS 5D SCH BC.” For 5-digit sacks, “MKT 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.
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.
1. Mailers 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.
2. Bundles 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 (203.4.12).
3. Use “MKT FLTS 5D SCH BC” on 5-digit scheme sacks; use “MKT FLTS 5D BC” on 5-digit sacks.