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Learn About Presorting


If you’re sending enough to qualify for commercial pricing, it helps to know what to expect if you decide to do your own presorting.

To take on the task yourself, you’ll need to…

Apply for a Permit
Your mailing permit is permission to use a certain postage payment method for bulk and commercial mailings, so you’ll need to pick a payment method first. There are no permit fees for precanceled stamps or a postage meter, but there is a one-time fee for using a permit imprint. This one-time application fee pays for setting up your permit imprint account.

You need to hold a permit and pay an annual mailing fee at every Post Office™ you use to enter and pay for commercial mail.

Learn more about payment options ›

Get Supplies
The Postal Service™ provides mail sorting and preparation supplies for free— not just trays, lids, and sacks, but also labels, labeling lists, and postage statements. You can pick up most of these at the business mail entry unit (BMEU), the place at a Post Office where mailers drop off business mail. A BMEU clerk will help you find exactly what you need.

Find a Business Mail Entry Unit ›

If there isn’t a BMEU near you, check with your local Post Office for assistance.

Find a Post Office ›

You’ll also need to buy strapping material to secure your trays, which you can find at most large office supply stores.

Sort Your Mail
Presorting your mail is essentially grouping it by ZIP Code™ or carrier route. All of the pieces going to the same destination get grouped into the same bundle or tray. You’ll sort to specific areas, work your way up to more general areas, and put all leftover pieces together at the end.

Direct mail web sites, presort bureaus, and letter shops can help you sort and prepare bulk mailings, and some can do everything from creating your mailing to dropping it off at the Post Office. Presort software is another option—it presorts your addresses, figures out how many mailpieces will qualify for which postage prices, and prints out a completed postage statement. Look for “PAVE certified” presort software at your local office supply store.

Pack & Prepare
Once you’ve sorted the mail into the correct containers and attached the correct labels, the trays need to be sleeved and strapped and the sacks cinched to keep your mail secure throughout processing and transport.

Then, make sure your documentation is ready to bring with you to the Post Office. This means…

  • a complete tally of what you’re mailing (or printouts from your presort software).
  • a signed copy of your postage statement.

A postage statement documents the pieces in your mailing and their postage prices, and certifies that your address list is up-to-date. They vary depending on what class of mail you’re mailing and your payment method and are available online and at your BMEU.

Drop Off Your Mailing
It’s a good idea to call ahead before you take your mailing to the Post Office that holds your permit, in case there are special hours or parking areas. Be prepared for a clerk to check though everything—and have a way to pay any additional postage or fees if you need to.

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