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Direct Mailers Take Note: January Effective Date for New Tabbing Regulations

Presort.com   December 13, 2012    

Tweet If you send folded marketing mail that’s not in an envelope, then you need to get up to speed quickly on the new tabbing regulations from the USPS that take effect on Saturday, January 5th, 2013 . These new USPS rules will require you to pay attention to a variety of factors including: the location of your tabs the size of your tabs the weight of your mailer the required number of tabs the thickness of the paper that you use the orientation of the fold inclusion of a staple Raise your hand if you like more rules. Of course you don’t but, the USPS has indicated that their rationale for these stricter rules is to assure that your mail piece actually makes it through the mail without being destroyed. Let’s face it, there’s not much point in investing money in direct mail marketing if there’s a good chance that your piece won’t make it through the mail, so I have to admit that the rationale behind these changes does make sense. Everyone sees USPS employees out delivering the mail, but what most people don’t realize is the complex and expensive sorting equipment that the USPS uses to route the mail to the correct location. It’s these pieces of equipment that “eats” tabbed mail that is not prepared based on these new guidelines. New rules apply to letter-sized folded self-mailers only : Before reading further, you should know that these new regulations will only apply to letter-sized mail pieces. For self-mailers we’re talking about pieces of mail that measure 6″ x 10.5″ or smaller when dropped into the mail-stream.   Note : the minimum size is 3.5” x 5”. For mail pieces that are not considered self-mailers (like postcards and letters in an envelope) size requirements are slightly different. In my experience, the most common example of a self-mailer is the typical nonprofit newsletter, that gets folded down to 8.5” x 5.5” and mailed without an envelope. Here are a few things that will disqualify your mailer right away: self-mailers that use only 1 tab using tabs at the bottom of your mailer using perforated tabs self-mailers with a gate-fold paper that is too thin Letter size bulk mail should always be designed so that it folds at the bottom and tabs at the top . How thick does my paper have to be? Standard copy paper won’t cut it anymore for self-mailers. The minimum paper thickness is either 28# bond or 70# text weight paper. Self-mailers printed on paper thinner than this will not be accepted by the USPS. If you’re mailing a document that uses more than 1 sheet of paper (for instance a newsletter), then the thickness requirement only applies to the outermost sheet of paper. How many tabs do I need? All letter-sized bulk mail pieces will require at least 2 tabs , and in some cases 3 tabs. Self-mailers, like the sample below with just one tab placed in the center will be rejected. Does the location of the tab matter? Yes, the location of the tab is critical! The edge of all tabs must be within 1″ of the corner. Please carefully review the samples below. The top sample would be rejected by the USPS; however the bottom sample would be acceptable. In addition, to being…

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Direct Mailers Take Note: January Effective Date for New Tabbing Regulations