What is Standard Mail?

When considering direct mail pieces, individuals and businesses have to factor in variables such as the price and speed of delivery, and in a case where items sent have incorrect addresses, senders will consider options for mail forwarding and mail returns.

The standard mail campaign is a direct mail campaign that is worth considering for those primarily on the business side, who do not have as much time and cost pressure.  

What Is Standard Mail?

Also referred to as marketing mail, marketing mail is the service or pricing scheme for large commercial mailing campaigns.

Standard mail is basically for advertisements, flyers, newsletters, small parcels or merchandise, catalogs, and printed marketing pieces identical in content, all these are mainly sent as standard mail.

Forms of printed matter that contain personal correspondence or confidential information like bills, receipts, personal messages, and statements do not qualify as standard mail.

Standard mail is cost efficient, though not time sensitive. However, it still delivers within five working days locally and twenty-one working days nationally. It is the best choice for businesses that are conscious of saving money and also have a flexible timeline.

Features of Standard Mail

  • Mail pieces must weigh below 16 ounces.
  • The maximum weight for the letter is 3.5 ounces.
  • Price savings ranges compared to other mail options are from 32% – 68%.
  • The minimum quantity for this mail campaign is 50 pounds of mail or 200 pieces. These must be of identical sizes and weigh similarly.
  • Mail cannot be handwritten or typed using a typewriter.
  • It does not involve personal correspondence like bills, receipts, or statements.
  • Delivery is within five to twenty–one business days.
  • Standard Mail doesn’t include forwarding and returns services.

Regular and Non-Profit Mail

Regular mail and non-profit mail are two classes of Standard Mail. By comparison, overall rates of regular mail are higher than that of non-profit standard mail.

It is important to note however that the USPS content and design requirements for qualification as non-profit mail are quite strict and are strictly enforced.

Only non-profit organizations are eligible for discounted bulk postage prices. Locally and nationally, non-profit mail delivery takes 2-5 days and 1-4 weeks, respectively.

Approval to receive non-profit mailing rates, organizations require authorization from the US Postal Service. This authorization applies to educational, philanthropic, scientific, agricultural, religious, fraternal, labor, veteran organizations, and some political committees only.

To check and know the requirements for your company regular or non-profit, set by the USPS, go to their website.

How to Send Standard Mail

Sending a standard mail is easy if you follow this step-by-step guide

Step 1: Choose a postcard or envelope and address your mail by writing your address ( the sender’s address) at the top-left corner and the receiver’s address at the bottom center.

Step 2: Calculate and apply postage by purchasing the standard postcard stamp and placing it in the provided space close to the delivery address. Remember, postage for letters is mainly dependent on size and weight.

Step 3: Send your mail when you are sure that the envelope/postcard has the right addresses and postage. Take it to the post office and drop it in a mailbox.

How Long Does It Take for a Standard Mail to be Delivered?

Standard mail has no specified delivery time. But, 9 to 21 working days is recommended for any item sent through standard mail. Mailers who use standard mail are those who are not time sensitive.

Seasonal peak volumes and other factors also caused the delay in the processing and delivery of these mail pieces.

How is Standard Mail Class Tracked

There is a standard mail tracking service provided in the United States Postal Service (USPS) through the use of the Intelligent Mail Barcode (IMB).

The IMB tool picks barcode scans on pallets of mail that go through the USPS delivery system. As the mail navigates through the system to get to where it is going, the service keeps updating its position and location.

How Can We Forward Standard Mail

There are free automatic returns and mail forwarding offered with standard Mail. In place of this, a special endorsement is required for this service, which attracts a certain fee. Undeliverable standard Mail with no endorsement will be rejected by the USPS.

In order to prevent this situation of wasting time and money on standard mail sent to addresses that no longer exist, it is advisable to update the information database prior to sending the mail.

How to Pay for Sending Standard Mail

Standard mail rates vary but begin from about $0.197. Paying for postage is done mostly from a permit account.

A postal or mailing permit is linked back to a funded postage account. This account requires you to pay both an application fee and an annual fee to keep it running.

With this permit, you are granted ‘permission’ to send commercial mail from the post office where you paid the fees.

What Is Pre-sorted Standard Mail?

As the name implies, pre-sorted standard mail is mail sorted and put together by service type, ZIP code, and size. Since this saves time for the USPS, speeding up the delivery process, they offer up to a 20% discount for those who pre-sort their mail.

How Do Standard Mail and First Class Mail Differ

Notable differences between Standard Mail and First Class Mail pieces are in the area of cost, delivery speed, mail forwarding, and mail return options for items with wrong addresses.

  1. Standard mail has a significantly lower cost than first class mail
  2. First class mail delivery time is consistent at 1 – 5 days while Standard mail take up delivers between 5 and 21 days
  3. Standard mail doesn’t include forward and returns service, while First class mail includes free automatic returns and mail forwarding
  4. First-class accepts mail that is 13 ounces and below, on the other hand, Standard mail pieces must weigh less than 16 ounces


Standard mail is mainly intended for bulk mailings, which do not need to be delivered in a rush. This reflects in its over 30% less cost non-availability of certain mailing delivery options.

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