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Top 10 Ways to Optimize your USPS Permit Accounts

Postal Advocate manages the USPS® permit spends for some of the largest organizations and it is amazing what most overlook regarding how they are managing this category.  The lack of oversight can lead to overspending, funding issues and lost postage. This webinar focused on the top things you can do to create better controls and optimize the spend.

Items We Covered:
1.) Using the USPS Business Customer Gateway
2.) Using the USPS Electronic Payment System
3.) Using the USPS Enterprise PO Box Online System
4.) Consolidating locations to master permits
5.) How to analyze Business Reply Mail accounts
6.) Managing funding levels
7.) Knowing your USPS contact
8.) Scheduling regular reviews/audits
9.) Managing and confirming refunds
10.) Centralizing permit management

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Top 10 Ways to Optimize your USPS Permit Accounts

  1. 1. Top 10 Ways to Optimize your USPS® Permit Accounts
  2. 2. Adam Lewenberg - Background and Experience • President of Postal Advocate Inc. – The only mail audit and recovery firm in the US and Canada – Manage a portfolio of over 160,000 pieces of mailing and shipping equipment for the largest US companies. – Speak and teach nationally on mail savings and industry trends. • Former Industry Co Chair- Boston Postal Customer Council/Mail Systems Management Association member. CMDSS and MDC Certifications. • Featured Writer for Mailing Systems Technology Magazine. • Worked for one of the largest mailing vendors for over 17 years – Director of national sales for presort, tabletop inserters, addressing hardware/software and green offerings. – Was one of the top 5 account managers nationally working with some of the nation’s largest accounts. • Not affiliated with any mailing vendor - Unbiased advice. May 21, 2020 2
  3. 3. What We’ll Cover: 1. Using the USPS® Business Customer Gateway 2. Using the USPS® Electronic Payment System 3. Using the USPS® Enterprise PO Box Online System 4. Consolidating locations to master permits 5. How to analyze permit accounts for maximum savings 6. Managing funding levels 7. Scheduling regular reviews/audits 8. Managing and confirming refunds 9. Centralizing permit management 10. Knowing your USPS® contact May 21, 2020 3
  4. 4. USPS® Business Customer Gateway Manage your entire USPS relationship through this portal – Create accounts and permits – Manage activity and produce reports – Create Business Reply Mail envelope templates – See USPS incentives – Access educational information May 21, 2020 4
  5. 5. Manage All Aspects of Your Account in One Place May 21, 2020 5
  6. 6. Use the USPS Enterprise Payment System (EPS) Create payment linkage to fund all permits and pay annual/quarterly fees through a single account – Pay and manage services online using a single account – Self-service customer experience – Enhanced security features, centralized balance and account management – Fund as ACH Debit or Trust Account – Mobile Check Deposit- allows you to deposit funds into your trust account using the camera on your mobile device – No manual application forms submitted to CAPS Service Center – Intuitive and interactive mailing reports May 21, 2020 6 Supported through EPS Supported through CAPS First-Class Mail®, Letters, Cards, and Flats Electronic Verification System (eVS®) Priority Mail® Parcel Return Service (PRS) First-Class Package Service® PC Postage® USPS Marketing Mail™, Letters, Flats, and Parcels Scan Based Payment (SBP) Parcel Select® Merchandise Return Service (MRS) Media Mail® Official Mail Accounting System (OMAS) Library Mail Premium Forwarding Service Commercial (PFSC™) Bound Printed Matter Share Mail® Periodicals Intelligent Mail barcode Accounting (IMbA) International Products Business Reply Mail® (BRM) Every Door Direct Mail (EDDM®) eDoc (Mail.dat/Mail.XML) Postal Wizard or the Intelligent Mail® small business (IMsb) Tool PO Box Caller & Reserve Services (EPOBOL) Address Quality Products (AEC, AECII and ACS™) Most common for business mailers
  7. 7. Use the USPS Enterprise PO Box Online System (ePOBOL) • Many companies will have multiple PO and Caller Boxes that are difficult to renew and manage especially having to interface with local Post Offices • Mailers can now manage (open, close, view, pay fees and renew) all PO Boxes, Caller, and Reserve Services for multiple locations from a single application and receives electronic notifications for renewals • With an ePOBOL and EPS accounts, commercial mailers can now pay for PO Box services with an ACH Debit payment account May 21, 2020 7
  8. 8. Consolidate your Locations into Master Permits Eliminate Annual Fees – The USPS has come a long way in allowing mailers to pay one permit fee and mail from different locations. This can save hundreds or thousands in annual fees. Central Visibility – Being able to see your data with ease and export reports to excel to simplify the oversight. Simplified Funding – Having the funds pulled from one EPS account done through an ACH connection is much easier and can make the funds available faster. Everyone has a story about not being able to get mail out until the check was cut. Now all permits can be funded from one place in real time. Example: Main Permit 1234-000 Boston 1234-526 Los Angeles 1234-527 Chicago 1234-528 May 21, 2020 8
  9. 9. USPS Mail Anywhere Program The Postal Service offers the “Mail Anywhere” service that allows a customer to use the same permit at every mailing location across the country. The service offers: – Greater flexibility managing production since mail can be shifted from one location to another without having to open another permit. – Mailers can maintain one locally held permit for mailings nationwide. – The same permit number, city and state can be printed on the piece and entered at any location. – Permit imprint fees are waved at additional locations – Annual presort fees are only required if the customer falls below the 90% full-service volume requirement. For more information and eligibility requirements: May 21, 2020 9
  10. 10. Analyze Outbound Permit Accounts • Are you getting the lowest rates? – Could a presort service be used? • For all mail • For the Mixed AADC and Presorted items. • For Destination Entry Discounts – Could mailings be timed for higher densities. • Are current paid permits being used? May 21, 2020 10 Weight Ounces Letters Flats Automation 5 Digit 1 $0.389 $0.430 Automation 3 Digit 1 $0.577 Automation AADC 1 $0.419 $0.620 Automation Mixed AADC 1 $0.439 $0.716 Presorted (Non Automation) 1 $0.460 $0.810 Weight Ounces Letters Flats Automation 5 Digit ≤3.5 $0.259 $0.418 Automation 3 Digit ≤4 $0.543 Automation AADC/ADC ≤3.5 $0.284 $0.608 Automation Mixed AADC/ADC-Origin ≤3.5 $0.299 $0.666 Weight Ounces Letters Flats Automation 5 Digit ≤3.5 $0.138 $0.240 Automation 3 Digit ≤4 $0.365 Automation AADC/ADC ≤3.5 $0.163 $0.430 Automation Mixed AADC/ADC-Origin ≤3.5 $0.178 $0.488 Letters Flats <4 Ounces Flats >4 Ounces DNDC $0.020 $0.043 $0.172 DSCF $0.026 $0.054 $0.216 Destination Entry Discounts for Marketing Mail Commercial First-Class Mail® Marketing Mail® Marketing Mail® Nonprofit
  11. 11. Analyze your Business Reply Mail (BRM) Accounts May 21, 2020 11 Business Reply Mail Basics Basic High Volume QBRM Basic QBRM High Volume Annual Permit Fee $240 $240 $0 $0 Annual Account Maintenance Fee $0 $725 $725 $725 Quarterly Fee $0 $0 $0 $2,460 Total Annual Fees $240 $965 $725 $10,565 Fee per piece $0.850 $0.093 $0.072 $0.015 Postage for 1 ounce mail $0.550 $0.550 $0.534 $0.534 Total cost - Fee and Postage $1.400 $0.643 $0.606 $0.549 Savings $0.794 Annual Cost by pieces 100 $380 $1,029 $786 $10,620 250 $590 $1,126 $877 $10,702 500 $940 $1,287 $1,028 $10,840 611 $1,095 $1,358 $1,095 $10,900 750 $1,290 $1,447 $1,180 $10,977 958 $1,581 $1,581 $1,306 $11,091 1000 $1,640 $1,608 $1,331 $11,114 2500 $3,740 $2,573 $2,240 $11,938 5000 $7,240 $4,180 $3,755 $13,310 10000 $14,240 $7,395 $6,785 $16,055 25000 $35,240 $17,040 $15,875 $24,290 50000 $70,240 $33,115 $31,025 $38,015 100000 $140,240 $65,265 $61,325 $65,465 250000 $350,240 $161,715 $152,225 $147,815 500000 $700,240 $322,465 $303,725 $285,065 1000000 $1,400,240 $643,965 $606,725 $559,565 Example 1: Location on Basic level with 50,000 returns $70,240 vs. $33,115 - $37,125 Savings - 53% Example 2: Location on High Volume with 250 returns $1,126 vs. $590 - $536 Savings – 48% Example 3: Location on High Volume with 500,000 returns $322,465 – $285,065 - $37,400 – 12% To find savings it requires visibility to all of your BRM accounts!
  12. 12. Do Not Put Your Accounts on Autopilot Set a schedule for review – Monthly or Quarterly 1. Are funding levels correct? 2. Are annual fees being paid? 3. Are all accounts being used (If not, should they be closed)? 4. Are the charges being allocated back to the departments or groups that generated them? 5. Are the lowest postage costs being utilized? 6. What trends are happening in mailing volumes and spends? 7. Are their USPS promotional incentives that can reduce costs? May 21, 2020 12
  13. 13. Manage your Funding Levels 1. Do you know the balance in all USPS permits? 2. Does this balance tie to your typical usage levels? 3. How often are these balances reviewed? 4. Does your organization view these balances as an asset or were the funds expensed when they were sent to the USPS? 5. Are all of your accounts connected to an ACH or do you require checks being sent in? 6. Are all of your annual fees being paid through the account or are they billed separately? May 21, 2020 13
  14. 14. Do Not Assume you are Getting Refunds for Closed Accounts Our Research • Tried to figure out what happened to lost funds. • Found 53,000 lost Pitney Bowes transactions turned over to 15 states as unclaimed property – Nothing from USPS or other vendors. • Did multiple Freedom of Information Act requests to the USPS to get information. • Had multiple meetings with different USPS account managers and management with no good answers on how to get access to the information. • Wrote the Jan 14 cover article for Mailing Systems Technology exposing the issue “Has the Post Service been holding millions of mailer’s dollars?” • The article prompted the USPS Inspector General to do a research project on Dormant Advance Deposit Permit Accounts. They acknowledged that funds are transferred as income to the USPS. USPS management did not want to make changes. • Wrote the Jan 15 Cover article for Mailing Systems Technology with the findings of the report. • Have had subsequent meetings with the Inspector General’s office where they are researching specific accounts to validate the issues. May 21, 2020 14
  15. 15. Do Not Assume you are Getting Refunds for Closed Accounts - Continued The USPS Permit Refund Process is as follows: – After 2 years of inactivity they will send a letter. – If you do not retrieve your funds in 60 days of the notice, they transfer to a different GL account and consider it income. – No future notifications will be sent – Money can be redeemed with customer proof of account. – We estimate there has been over $200,000,000 in lost permit funds since 2000. How do you search for you recover lost permit funds? – Build a listing of current and past permit numbers. This can be done by: • Searching accounts payable records for where there was past expenses. • Working with your USPS Account Manager requesting lists of permits. – Enter any permit accounts into the USPS Business Gateway to see what details can be found. – Reach out to the local Post Masters of the closed permits to see what details they have and if they can validate balances. – Fill out PS Form 3533 – Application for Refund of Fees, Products and Withdrawal of Customer Accounts form. May 21, 2020 15
  16. 16. Do Not Have Permits Managed Throughout your Field Locations • Lack centralized oversight, visibility and expertise. • Large value of funds – Can be the largest postal spends in an organization. • Change in business personnel, and closed offices lead to loss. • Acquisitions and divestitures create confusion. • Many permits are for mailings done by third parties outside of the organization. • Postal rules are confusing. • The new tools can make eliminate the issues above and provide an opportunity for savings. May 21, 2020 16
  17. 17. Have a Core Contact at the USPS May 21, 2020 17 You need someone who can guide you through questions without needing to call the main 800 customer service number. You want them to be familiar with your account. Here are the best recommendations for support: • Talk to your local PostMaster • Reach out to the mailing requirements group at the closest bulk mail center. • Ask who supports the closest major metropolitan area for business accounts. • Reach out to your local Postal Customer Council (Post Office and Industry Association) - customer-council/pcc-locator.htm
  18. 18. Summary • The USPS has come out with new tools to make managing permits easier with incredible visibility. • Funding can be done centrally and electronically for all permits and PO Boxes. • Permits can be consolidated to master accounts for ease of payment and in some cases single permits can be used nationally. • There are significant savings around outbound mail permits and Business Reply accounts by making sure each is set up at the right levels. • Proactive vs. reactive permit management to ensure savings. • Manage your funding levels to optimize your cash flow. • Request refunds from dormant accounts • Centralized vs. decentralized permit management to simplicity and control. • Find a dedicated USPS contract that can help you manage your account and questions. May 21, 2020 18
  19. 19. Helping multi-location organizations streamline their mailing costs Over 160,000 pieces of equipment, managed by Postal Advocate Recovered over $16,500,000 in lost postage, vendor overcharges and fees ENTERPRISE-WIDEMAILAUDITANDRECOVERY OVER $61,000,000 IN CLIENT SAVINGS $1.6M 58% Average Client Savings Average Equipment Savings HOW WE DO IT • 175+ years of industry experience • Comprehensive web-based tool providing visibility of all mail and equipment spend • Time Savings - Assistance in fleet management visit or call (888)977-MAIL(6245)
  20. 20. Sign Limited Agency Agreement/Kick-Off Call. Provide copies of vendor invoices, AP export, location list, equipment inventory list. Present savings opportunities and get client approval. Postal Advocate provides ongoing support, manages renewals, billing and vendor compliance. Provide enterprise visibility of all spend, costs and documented savings through enterpriseAdvocate. Provide client log-in. 1 2 3 4 5 6 HOW IT WORKS Work with current vendor to build population report, contract terms/start/end dates, postage volumes, costs. Analyze spend, check for contract compliance, billing errors, vendor fees/overcharges, lost postage. Identify savings opportunities. Submit vendor credit requests, lost postage forms and eliminate avoidable fees. Negotiate pricing. Create catalog. Work with locations - asset validation, rightsize, termination… Full implementation of savings. visit or call (888)977-MAIL(6245) Conduct Analysis NO COST – AUDIT PHASE CONTRACTED CLIENT
  21. 21. Upcoming Webinars How To Save Money on Carrier Management Services Across Your Enterprise June 17, 2020 – 11:00AM EST Register through May 21, 2020 22
  22. 22. May 21, 2020 23 Contact: Adam Lewenberg - President 888-977-MAIL X 501 Questions?