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How USPS Mail Delays Will Affect You

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The holidays are coming up, and if you’re planning on mailing any packages, you may want to do it sooner.

Person partially opening mailbox to look inside

The United States Postal Service (USPS) is implementing changes which are impacting mailing timeframes and prices. Due to these recent changes to the USPS standards, it may take longer for delivery of mailed items, especially during higher-volume timeframes like the holidays. Here’s how delays in the Postal Service could affect your finances.

Updated Mailing Timeframes and Increased Prices

According to the USPS, the mailing timeframes for 61% of First-Class Mail and 93% of Periodicals will not be affected by these changes. Here are the service standard changes:

  • Single-piece First-Class Mail traveling within a local area will continue to be two days.
  • Mail traveling the greatest distances will be most affected, with a day or two of transit time added for some First-Class Mail and Periodicals.

In addition, the U.S. Postal Service is temporarily increasing its package prices for the 2021 holiday season. International products are unaffected. The new costs affect prices on commercial and retail domestic competitive parcels, including:

  • Priority Mail Express (PME)
  • Priority Mail (PM)
  • First-Class Package Service (FCPS)
  • Parcel Select
  • USPS Retail Ground
  • Parcel Return Service

The USPS implemented the temporary rates starting Oct. 3, 2021, and it will remain until Dec. 26, 2021.

Review Auto-Bill Payments

If you use any automatic bill payment services, you may need to schedule payments a few days earlier to ensure it arrives on time. While you may schedule a payment to a local vendor or merchant, the Bill Pay vendor sending your payment may be located out-of-state.

Plan Ahead

If you’re planning on mailing packages or letters, or if you’re ordering gifts, consider the travel time and plan ahead. For mail that requires a deadline or has a due date, it’s important to be sure to give your mail enough time to arrive.

When sending mail long distance, the USPS recommends mailing earlier. If it would take you more than a day to drive your mail to its destination, you’ll want to make sure it has extra time to travel via USPS.

If You Have a Business

Be sure to account for these delays, especially if you’re accepting mailed payments. From making it more convenient for customers, to maximizing sale opportunities, accepting multiple forms of payments can benefit your business. One way is by accepting online payments, which allows you to create and send invoices electronically.

Keep in mind, if you’re paying any bills via mail, be sure to allow enough time to meet any due dates. You may need to evaluate your cash flow, and consider creating additional revenue streams. Also, if your business does any sort of direct mail marketing, consider the impact on your timeline. You may need to adjust your strategy.

Why the Changes?

As reported by the USPS, these new service standards are in an effort to increase delivery reliability, consistency, and efficiency. The Postal Service says it will utilize vehicles to deliver mail, instead of air transportation, which is more expensive. By using ground transportation to deliver mail, the USPS says it can keep costs and postage rates affordable. To learn more, view the USPS Plan for financial sustainability and service standards.

Sources:

  1. Service Alerts, USPS
  2. U.S. Postal Service Announces Proposed Temporary Rate Adjustments for 2021 Peak Holiday Season, USPS
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