Congress is bumping up against a May 15th deadline to pass USPS (United States Postal Service) reform legislation that will authorize the termination of Saturday delivery and the closure of thousands of post offices and hundreds of mail processing centers. A voluntary moratorium on facility closures instituted by the USPS at the request of Congress expires on May 15.
The legislation will also allow the USPS to increase prices for postage in excess of the rate of inflation and to pursue new business opportunities.
Businesses can expect slower mail delivery, long lines at post office service counters, a severe reduction in the availability of post office boxes, and much higher mailing costs as a result of this legislation.
Here are some suggestions for coping with the coming changes at the USPS:
- Set up an online account with USPS for the purchase of postage, the printing of mailing labels for Priority Mail® and Express Mail® services, and to access other USPS products and services, or use a private reseller of USPS products and services such as Stamps.com.
- Use the Automated Postal Center® at select post offices to purchase postage and other services 24/7.
- Use satellite postal locations. I just received an advertisement from Office Depot that indicates it is now possible to buy stamps, mail letters, and ship packages (up to 70lbs) at their retail locations.
- Explore the use of technology for billing customers and for the payment of bills. Many of your vendors may already allow for the payment of bills over the internet. Small business accounting software often allows invoices to be emailed to customers. Payment solutions providers such as PayPal offer electronic invoicing and payment, but charge a fee for such services.
- Investigate the use of email rather than direct mail for delivery of marketing messages.
- Fine-tune targeting of direct mail marketing pieces.