Definitions
We will add more definitions as time goes on. No question is too dumb so don't be afraid to ask.

Ancillary Endorsement:
These are a few words added onto your mail piece that will instruct the USPS how to treat your mail if the address on your mail piece is no longer valid. The most common placement is 2 lines below the return address. The choice of which endorsement you use will decide how much you will be charged for the additional handling and what is done with the mail piece itself. The one we most often recommend is "Return Service Requested" which will return the piece with the reason for non-delivery and will also give you the new address if it is available. You will be charged the appropriate first class rate based on the characteristics of the piece. Other endorsements will incur a weighted fee which is more than twice the first class rate. Go here for an explanation of the 4 choices.
Aspect Ratio:
Width divided by height. This number must be between 1.3 and 2.5 for automation compatible letter size mail and postcards.
Automation:
If something is to be automated, it means it must be machinable and it must have a bar code applied. If it is machinable it will include several characteristics including having the proper aspect ratio. If a bar code can be applied (which will not smear) and be readable by the USPS automation equipment (don't use any dark papers) then your mail piece should be okay. See our automation checklist for help in designing for automation.
Carrier Route:
The actual route your postal carrier takes when delivering mail. They can be small, below 200, and large, around 600. Of course, some carriers have to work really hard and cover more than one route. Knowing your own carrier route can be helpful if you having anything to discuss with your local post office.
Consumer List:
A mailing list with contact names (see occupant list below). When ordering this type of list you can tailor the list with several different criteria (income, home value, ages, etc.)
DSCF (Destination Sectional Center Facility):
This is where we take the majority of our client's mail and it allows for the greatest entry discount (see work sharing below) for most mail that will be delivered within its servicing area. For St. Louis, that means any zip codes starting with 620, 622, 630, 631 and 633.
Entry Discount:
A discount is given when mail is presented to one of 3 locations – a DDU, a DBMC or a DSCF.

DDU = destination delivery unit and this entry discount is only given to carrier route sorted mail that is handled by a particular unit. Think of this as your local post office branch.  This discount only applies to the flat processing category.

DSCF = destination section center facility is given to all mail serviced by that center (by far the most often used entry discount). In St. Louis this is the main post office located at 18th and Market downtown – just across the street from historic Union Station.

DBMC = destination bulk mail center. Covers a wider geographical area but less often used.
Inkjet Addressing:
Using a high speed commercial inkjet machine, we can apply addresses and other information at speeds over 20,000 per hour. Try labeling that fast!  Not all mailing pieces will move as quick but it can be done with some.
Letter Size:
A mail piece whose dimensions are 6 1/8" high and 11.5" wide and 1/4" thick (or less). Outside any of these and you likely have a flat. Postage rates are higher for flats so ideally you will keep your mailers within the letter size dimensions.
NCOA Processing:
Go here for a page all about this.
Occupant List:
A list of addresses only. There are no contact names with this type of list.
Postcards:
These technically are single piece mailers, at or under 4.25" tall and 6" wide. They also need to be at least on 7pt. (.007 thick) stock. Larger than this, they may look like a postcard but are really a letter (see above). This size only matters however when mailing at first class rates. At bulk mail rates, they mail the same as larger letter size pieces (under 3.3 ounces however). Minimum size any piece can be is 3.5" x 5".
Precanceled stamps
These are stamps applied that do not get cancelled by the accepting post office or any other post office. The advantages are the look of a stamp but the cost of discounted postage. Also, using precanceled stamps can give the impression the mail piece was sent from the location of the return address. Have questions about this? Please call us.
Tabbing (Tabs):
Otherwise known as those round sticky things that close a mail piece (also known as wafer seals).
Walk Sequence (also know as Walk Sequence Saturation):
This is a type of mailing based on carrier routes in a zip code. The absolute lowest possible rate of any mailing is a carrier route walk sequence saturation rate. This rate currently ranges from 18.2 cents to 13.9 cents (depending on the entry discount taken). For non-profits,  the rates range from 11.0 cents to 6.7 cents (the absolute lowest of all rates).  These rates are for the letter processing category.  There are others.
Work Sharing Discount:
This is what bulk mail rates are based on. A letter gets dropped in a mailbox and a carrier needs to come pick it up. The letter then makes its way to the local post office where it goes into containers and gets a rough sort (local and not local). At some point, the letter is transported to a larger facility where it is mingled with mail received from other parts of your area and letters from around the country. Once mingled and sorted, it then goes back out to the local post offices for delivery to your home. This is a very simple version of events. When mail is presorted and presented to a bulk mail acceptance unit you will receive discounts for saving the USPS some of this work. They also offer entry discounts for taking your mail to certain postal centers rather than your local post office.

 
   
     
   
 
   
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