Tritek M-Sorter

The Value of ‘In-House’ Mail Presorting

Almost all organizations that generate high volumes of mail take advantage of workshare presort postage discounts. The US Postal Service offers postage savings to mailers who presort their mail before handing it off to the USPS. To presort their mail, companies have a choice: they can enlist the services of a presort company or they may choose to sort the mail themselves.

With local or national service companies that pick up your mail, mingle it with mail from other companies, and send it at a discounted rate, outsourced presorting may seem like the path of least resistance. For many companies, outsourcing is the best solution. When your own mail lacks the geographic density to qualify for the deepest postage discounts, the co-mingling performed by a presort bureau can lower the overall postage spend in ways you could not achieve on your own.

And yet, many major organizations do opt for in-house mail sorting. In some circumstances, in-house mail sorting is the best approach. Let’s explore the pros and cons of in-house USPS mail presort. From turnaround time and security implications to scheduling concerns, this article will point out the factors that will influence your organization’s mail presorting strategy.

Presort Vendor vs In-House Sorting: A Comparative Analysis

While utilizing USPS mail presort services might be a viable choice for most organizations, determining whether it’s the best fit for your specific needs requires careful consideration. Understanding the advantages and drawbacks of both outsourced and in-house sorting is crucial to make an informed decision.

Outsourced pre-sorting is a service that allows mailers to benefit from postage discounts without doing the sorting work themselves. Organizations submit their completed mail to a presort service company, which then combines your submissions with others. Most of your mail will undoubtably qualify for cheaper postage rates, compared to postage costs for unsorted mail. The savings depend on your contract with the presort service provider, determined by the makeup of your mail.

Before proposing their rates and fees, the presort vendor will analyze your mail to determine the work necessary to sort your mail, and their likely level of discounts. They will advise you about the postage rate at which you should meter your mail. This rate will be less than the full retail price you would otherwise pay for unsorted business mail. This is where your savings originate.

By mingling your mail with the pieces they process for other clients, the presort vendor will qualify your mail for even deeper discounts. Their revenue source is the spread between the postage you apply, and the postage charged by the USPS for highly sorted mail. The presort company receives the difference as postage rebates from the USPS. Presort vendors may also charge you a fee, which may lower your savings.

In-house Mail Sorting puts all the responsibility for qualifying for workshare postage discounts on your organization. This includes sorting the mailpieces, separating them into trays, sacks, or pallets, labeling the containers, and preparing the USPS forms and documentation. The level of sortation and the degree of discounting will be based on only your own firm’s daily mail.

This sounds like a lot of work, but postal software, hardware, and automation handle many of the details. If your organization consistently generates large volumes of mail, an in-house solution may be the best approach. This is particularly true when the mail is usually destined for a fixed geographic area where you can maximize discounts because of ZIP code density.

Unlike working with an outsource presort provider, you keep all the presort savings yourself and pay no extra fees to outside entities for the presorting and preparation of your mail.

The Real Worth of In-House Mail Sorting

For many large organizations with high-volume mailing needs, the benefits of in-house presorting outweigh the extra work and expense necessary to handle this task yourself.

Schedule Control

When you have full control over your mail handling, you may align it more efficiently with your overall business procedures. Because the presort vendors must collect mail from all their clients, their truck may arrive at your facility in early afternoon each day. Any of the day’s mail yet to be finished at your site would wait until the next day before being transported to the outsource presort operation. 

For some applications, documents sitting in your mail center an extra day can be costly. Payments for outgoing bills and invoices, for instance, will arrive later because bill delivery will be delayed for day (or more, on weekends). For organizations that invest their cash daily, a delay of incoming payments may be financially significant. The impact of other time-sensitive communications like cancellation notices can also be affected when mail must wait to coincide with the presort company’s schedule.

Security and Privacy 

Another benefit to consider is the safeguarding of sensitive information. With in-house sorting, you confine the process within your organization’s boundaries. No third-party service provider would handle sensitive documents.

If your organization handles sensitive materials, in-house sorting might come across as an appealing option for your security-conscious clients.

Faster Turnaround

Presort companies make money by assembling mailings so as many pieces as possible qualify for the lowest postage rates. Sometimes, if a day’s mail volume or the mix of ZIP codes they process in a day does not meet the vendor’s targets for presort density, they may hold some mail for an extra day.

Some presort mail service providers truck mail from one of their processing centers to another in attempts to achieve more favorable postage rates. This extra transportation step can prevent your mail from entering the USPS delivery network on the day you expected. You won’t necessarily be notified if this occurs.

If you are sorting your mail in-house, you will always know when you turn your mail over to the USPS.

Equipment Utilization

Some equipment, such as Tritek’s mail sorting solutions, can do double-duty. The same machines you buy to presort your outbound mail every afternoon can be integral components of your inbound mail processing solution. Use Tritek’s unique feeding and scanning features to process incoming mail in the mornings to expedite sorting to internal courier delivery routes. Our inbound mail processing software can even facilitate implementing a digital mail delivery solution that makes it easy to satisfy the needs of a mobile and work-from-home workforce.

Making the Choice

Presorting outbound mail is the number one method for lowering postage costs, but how a company implements their presort strategy depends on several factors. Smaller organizations, or those who execute large mailings infrequently, are probably best served by contracting with a presort mail vendor to handle the task. By co-mingling their mail with other organizations, they can qualify for lower postage rates than they could by sorting in-house.

Companies that have consistently high mail volumes or mail to fixed geographic areas should evaluate the benefits of sorting their mail in-house, keeping document control under their own roof from beginning to end.

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