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admin : January 17, 2014 12:41 pm : News, news headlines

USPS® Unveils Major Upgrades to Priority Mail

admin : November 8, 2013 11:18 am : Blog, old-usa-posts

Priority Mail Unveiled

Priority Mail Unveiled (Cat/box image from USPS Catober commercial video)

In October, the U.S. Postal Service® implemented several key changes to the Priority Mail® program. These changes came in response to a third-quarter financial report that showed continuing growth in USPS’s shipping business — an area that has increased 14 percent in the last two years.

Customers can expect to see many improved features, such as free insurance, better parcel tracking, and explicit delivery time estimates. The changes are projected to generate more than $500 million in revenue for the USPS within the next year.

Deliveries are now be scheduled for one, two or three days, depending on the package’s destination and origin. The delivery’s schedule information, as well as detailed tracking information, will now be prominently visible on the customer’s retail receipt and also be accessible online using the USPS Track & Confirm tool.

To help bridge competitive marketplace gaps, USPS will offer free shipping insurance. This feature has the added benefit of addressing the needs of small business owners and other individuals who frequently use the postal service to ship packages. The one-day, two-day and three-day shipping options will include either a $50 or $100 insurance backing, and the amount will depend on whether or not the delivery was paid for at a retail counter or online.

USPS will continue to offer many of its past competitive services, including:

  • Free package pickup, regardless of the size or number of packages
  • Free supplies, such as envelopes and boxes
  • No hidden fuel or residential surcharges attached to delivery costs
  • Many different packaging size options, as well as multiple flat rate and variable pricing options

Of the various delivery services found in the United States, USPS is the only one that reaches every address in the nation. It does not receive any taxpayer money for operating expenses, instead relying on the sale of postage, services and other products to fund its operations. Despite the increasing prevalence of ecommerce and changing shipping habits, USPS has maintained 31,000 retail locations around the country, brings in approximately $65 billion annually and delivers nearly 40 percent of the world’s mail.

The upgrades USPS has made should provide a number of key benefits to businesses and organizations across the country, and looks to position the agency well against private-sector competitors like UPS®, FedEx® and others.

Nine Tips for Preparing Your Invoices for Mailing

admin : November 1, 2013 6:00 am : Blog

Invoice GoodnessCreating and sending invoices is one of the more time-consuming aspects of running a business. However, making sure you prepare invoices correctly and professionally is vital when it comes to running your business efficiently and eliminating late payments caused by incorrect or confusing billing statements. To make sure this process goes as smoothly as possible, take the following tips into consideration:

1. Understand tax laws

Tax laws change depending on your business’s location. If you’re a new business owner, be sure you understand what taxes you need to charge and what registrations you should complete before moving forward. When creating your invoices, you should clearly itemize the tax amount and include any other required information, such as a business registration number. For some operations, such as nonprofits, you may need to include a tax identification number, as well.

2. Use an invoice numbering system

Generating invoice numbers is helpful for both you and your customers. This will make it easier for you to track and organize your invoices for accounting purposes, and it will be crucial in the event of an audit. Customers will find these numbers helpful if they have questions about a specific invoice and for their own bookkeeping records.

3. Don’t forget the date and payment terms

Many late payments can be avoided if the invoice clearly states the date of the bill and the payment terms. For example, specify if the invoice is due in 30 days, 15 days or upon receipt.

4. Follow up on unpaid invoices

Even if your invoices contain no mistakes, you’ll still have to deal with late payments. While it may be an unpleasant process, reminding customers about unpaid invoices is an important part of maintaining a successful payment cycle and a professional image for your business.

5. Include clear seller and customer information

Make sure your company’s name, address and telephone number are clearly visible on the invoice. This is important in case customers would like to call right away with questions about their bill.

The invoice should also include the customer’s full name and address. If the order or purchase came from another company, it’s a good idea to specify the individual who placed the order or authorized the purchase.

7. Include quantity, description and price

Each invoice line should state the quantity of services or goods purchased and the per-unit price. If the customer is being charged a flat rate for goods or services, state this on the invoice. A good rule of thumb is to be as specific as possible.

8. Thank your customers

Consider adding a message box to the invoice template to thank customers individually, explain important account information or offer a special promotional offer. These types of personal communications demonstrate an extra level of care on your part and help encourage repeat business.

9. Use a postage meter to increase efficiency

Sending invoices in bulk can be a time-consuming ordeal. Using a postage meter eliminates the need to make trips to the post office to buy stamps or to weigh letters and packages. Postage meters let you refill your account online at any time and easily track your mailing and shipping expenses for more efficient bookkeeping. You can also secure better USPS rates and save a great deal of money.

By taking these steps, you can make invoicing a more efficient process for you and your business.

Announcing PostBase 85: Speed, Control & Advanced Features

admin : October 21, 2013 6:32 pm : Blog, Home Page Feature, old-usa-posts, Product

postbase-85-blog-post

PostBase 85 is here!

The engineers back at the FP mother ship in Birkenwerder, Germany have been at it again. And what they’ve come up with will blow your socks off!

We’re pleased as punch to add the PostBase 85 to our existing lineup of PostBase models 30, 45 and 65.  Based on the same reliable PostBase platform, the new “85” model sets a new standard for mail processing speed and capabilities that appeals to small and midsize businesses that regularly send out a substantial volume of mail.

First up is a 31% speed increase over the PostBase 65, allowing mail processing as fast as 85 letters per minute. This will satisfy the needs of most businesses and organizations who would have previously selected FP’s older UltiMail 95.

The PostBase 85 also comes bundled with FP’s popular oneBase software suite, which includes RemoteOne, ReportOne and MailOne 2.0. This software includes computer-based operation of the PostBase meter, usage & cost logging and reporting, USPS-style shipping labels, and certified mail.

The new higher speed is enabled by a standard automatic feeder/sealer, making mail processing a breeze.

We’re excited to introduce this new model to FP’s growing PostBase product line. To see if you’re a candidate for a PostBase 85, click to our Contact page and ask for one of our friendly sales reps to discuss your needs.

Making Sense of Looming USPS Rate Hikes

admin : October 16, 2013 4:48 pm : Blog, Home Page Feature

exigent-increase-caution-signOn September 26, 2013 the USPS proposed a collection of rate increases on so-called “Market Dominant” mail, which includes first-class letters, postcards and flats. We’re here to simplify the rates and distinguish between what is definite and what is only possible.

While the first-class stamp rate attracts the most media attention, the proposed increases include numerous USPS products. And if that wasn’t enough, there are actually two different increase requests in play, one of which would result in larger rate hikes.

The USPS “competitive” mail classes (package shipping) are under a separate request that is still pending and not covered in this article.

The CPI Increase

Postal regulations allow the USPS to request annual rate increases proportional to the rising Consumer Price Index (CPI). You can think of this as keeping up with the rate of inflation.

Since the CPI rose about 1.6% in 2012, the USPS asked for a similar increase in its postal rates. The Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC), the federal entity that governs the USPS, is likely to approve this request by early November, after which the increases will go into effect on January 26, 2013.

From this CPI-based increase, first class stamps will rise from $0.46 to $0.47 (about 2%, but that’s as close as they can get with one-cent increments).

We expect most USPS products to see rate increases in line with the CPI.

The Exigent Increase

The what?

If you’re not familiar with the term “exigent”, join most of the rest of the English-speaking world. Think of this as the “difficult times” increase. The USPS exigent request would be in addition to the CPI increase.

If approved, first class stamps would increase three cents ($0.01 CPI plus $0.02 exigent) on January 26, 2013.

Provisions for exigent increases were built into postal regulations to allow for raising rates in emergency or catastrophic conditions. While nobody would argue that the USPS is having difficult times, there is some debate over whether its current financial situation constitutes the required “emergency” conditions.

The postal service requested exigent increases at the same time as the CPI request. The PRC has until Christmas Day 2013 to approve or deny the exigent increase.

Increases at a Glance

The table below gives you a simple look at upcoming USPS rate increases for selected Market Dominant mail classes.

USPS Product Current Price CPI Increase
(pending approval)
Exigent Increase
(proposed)
Total Possible Increase
First-Class Stamp $0.46 $0.01 $0.02 $0.03
First-Class, Each Additional Ounce $0.20 $0.01 $0.02 $0.03
Single-Piece 1-Ounce Metered Letters $0.46 -0- $0.02 $0.02
Single-Piece Metered Mail, Each Additional Ounce $0.20 -0- $0.01 $0.01
Postcards $0.33 -0- $0.01 $0.01

Hopefully we’ve demystified some of the USPS rate outlook over the next few months. You can count on at least a small across-the-board increase, but it will be substantially larger if the exigent request is approved.

We’ll let you know about the package shipping rate increases when the USPS request for Competitive products is available.

FP Launches Exciting New Video Series to Showcase Products

admin : August 5, 2013 12:09 pm : Blog, old-usa-posts, Product

as the mailroom turns - title screen

As the Mailroom Turns – FP’s New Product Video Series

We’re excited to announce our latest product demo video — an entertaining look at MailOne 2.0, software  supercharges mail processing for FP’s PostBase postage meter.

You’ve probably seen typical product videos. Boring, right? We agree. That’s why FP’s marketing team decided to show off MailOne 2.0’s coolness in a short, narrative package that will hold your attention and make you smile. Plus, it lasts only three-and-a-half  minutes.

Entitled “Rookie Saves the Day”, this new video marks the first in a planned series of similarly formatted product demos called “As the Mailroom Turns”. Look forward to more episodes soon!

We invite you to check out MailOne 2.0 below. If you’d like to comment, go to the FP’s YouTube Page and let us know what you think.

[do action=”embed-youtube-video-iframe” youtubeid=”X8lFIHGR6To” width=”670″ height=”414″/]

USPS July 28 Changes

admin : July 30, 2013 3:21 pm : Blog, Home Page Feature, old-usa-posts

July 28, 2013 saw several changes to USPS Priority Mail service.

July 28, 2013 marked the rollout of some changes to USPS shipping services. The changes don’t require you to do anything different when you ship packages via USPS. Plus, there are no new rates or fees.
more »

Commercial Base Pricing Unmasked! A Quick Guide to Reducing Your USPS Shipping Costs

admin : July 24, 2013 1:04 pm : Blog

Are you taking advantage of an easy-to-use but little-known shipping postage discount called Commercial Base Pricing (CBP)?

In 1968, the USPS charged a mere $0.80 to ship a one-pound package to the closest mail zone via Air Parcel Post. In 1991, the USPS rolled Air Parcel Post into Priority Mail, at which time it cost $2.90 for the same package. Today, the retail price for shipping this package the closest distance via Priority has risen to $5.60.

With the pressure of continuous rising costs, it’s imperative to use all available shipping discounts.

The cost to send Priority packages is rising dramatically.

Commercial Base Pricing to the Rescue!

cbp-save-63-percent

CBP is BIG savings!

The USPS launched CBP discounts in mid-2008 as a way to reward shippers who use scannable postage markings and send the package data to USPS systems electronically. Electronic automation saves the postal service money and time, which is returned to the user as the CBP discount.

CBP applies to shipping only, not letter mail. There’s no minimum volume, so nearly any business or individual can take advantage of significant discounts ranging from 5% to 63% off USPS retail prices.

What You Need

There are several postage methods that support Commercial Base Pricing. What they all have in common is the ability to print scannable postage codes and send data to the USPS.

Shipping Postage Methods Compatible with Commercial Base Pricing

  • Postage Meters & Mailing Systems that print IBI (Information Based Indicia) and send data to USPS.
  • USPS Click-N-Ship online service
  • PC Postage services
  • Permit Imprints

An example of this is FP’s Classic MailOne and MailOne 2.0 software products that interface with our postage meters to print the electronically readable postage information and send the item data directly to the USPS.

MailOne 2.0

Who Should Use CBP

Commercial Base Pricing is a broad ranging discount program, supporting packages up to 70 lbs, expedited flats, and even shipping internationally from the U.S.

There is no minimum shipping volume to ship with CBP. Any business, organization, or individual shipping a small-to-moderate volume of packages and/or flats annually can—and should—use CBP discounts. (Higher volume shippers who ship tens of thousands of packages annually via Priority Mail may qualify for greater discounts under Commercial Plus Pricing.)

USPS Shipping Services Compatible with CBP

  • First Class Package
  • Priority Mail
  • Express Mail
  • First Class Package International
  • Priority Mail International
  • Global Express Guaranteed

How Much Money Can I Save with CBP?

CBP savings is significant, averaging 8.6% for Priority shipments and 17.5% for Express. Here’s a typical scenario to put this in perspective:

Unbreakable Cups Inc. ships 1,000 packages in 2013, averaging $5.50 each at USPS retail Priority rates, for a total of $5,500. But using Commercial Base Pricing drops their shipping costs 8.6% to $5,027. In a market of thin margins, that can spell the difference between profitable success and business failure.

The tables below show current CBP savings (as of June 2013) for shipping a 1-pound package with Priority Mail and Express Mail.

1-Pound Package via Priority Mail

Flat Rate Type or Zone Retail CBP Discount
Flat Rate Envelopes $5.60 $5.05 9.8%
Legal Flat Rate Envelope $5.75 $5.25 8.7%
Padded Flat Rate Envelope $5.95 $5.70 4.2%
Small Flat Rate Box $5.80 $5.15 11.2%
Medium Flat Rate Box $12.35 $11.30 8.5%
Large Flat Rate Box $16.85 $15.30 9.2%
Large Flat Rate Box APO/FPO/DPO $14.85 $13.30 10.4%
Local, Zones 1 and 2 $5.60 $5.05 9.8%
Zone 3 $5.70 $5.23 8.2%
Zone 4 $5.85 $5.35 8.5%
Zone 5 $6.00 $5.54 7.7%
Zone 6 $6.20 $5.75 7.3%
Zone 7 $6.45 $6.02 6.7%
Zone 8 $6.95 $6.51 6.3%
Average $7.85 $7.18 8.6%

1-Pound Package via Express Mail

Flat Rate Type or Zone Retail CBP Discount
Flat Rate Envelopes $19.95 $18.11 9.2%
Legal Flat Rate Envelope $19.95 $18.11 9.2%
Padded Flat Rate Envelope $19.95 $18.11 9.2%
Flat Rate Boxes $39.95 $39.95 0.0%
Local, Zones 1 and 2 $16.05 $15.13 5.7%
Zone 3 $23.50 $16.99 27.7%
Zone 4 $28.30 $20.42 27.8%
Zone 5 $31.70 $23.23 26.7%
Zone 6 $32.85 $25.22 23.2%
Zone 7 $34.85 $26.95 22.7%
Zone 8 $35.90 $27.68 22.9%
Average $27.54 $22.72 17.5%

The USPS calculates shipping rates primarily by shipping service, weight and distance. The higher zone numbers reflect greater shipping distances. (Flat-rate boxes are the same regardless of weight or distance.)

Getting Started With CBP

Sample shipping label with Commercial Base Pricing

If your business or organization uses a postage meter, check with your meter manufacturer or dealer to see if the meter supports CBP. You may need to configure the meter and/or its companion software to use CBP.

Low-volume mailers who use PC postage or USPS Click-N-Ship should have Commercial Base Pricing.

To see how much CBP can save you, check out the USPS Business Price Calculator, where you can experiment with different package types and shipping services.

For speedy, reliable postage meter processing, we invite you to check out the ultra-friendly PostBase with MailOne 2.0 software, which will give you cost-saving Commercial Base Pricing.

B2B Sales Tips: How to Initiate Successful Cold Calling Conversations

admin : July 10, 2013 10:43 am : Blog

Whether you’re a sales professional delivering working from a large prospect list, or a business person on the receiving end of a cold call, the unsolicited sales call often creates discomfort in both parties.

But a review of tips from respected sales experts shows that cold calling can turn into a happy win-win situation for everyone.

Here are the top guidelines that experts consistently mention:

  1. Be genuine, be yourself. This requires real conversation, not reading scripts.
  2. Research your prospects to determine their needs and identify what you have in common that can be used to fuel conversation and create bonding.
  3. Delay pushing for your sales goal right away. Instead, focus on the prospect’s problems, which you can acknowledge and validate, demonstrating that you care.
  4. You only have a few seconds at the beginning of your call before you risk losing the prospect. Prepare a confident, concise opening statement that provides the all-important  WIFM (“What’s in it for me”), drawing in the prospect and creating the conditions for real conversation.
  5. Remember always: It’s not about you, it’s about the prospect.

Here are a couple of examples:

Inc.com (Inc. Magazine) suggests: “The most effective way to open a conversation is to connect your call to…’trigger events.’” What’s a trigger event? An event or announcement the prospect’s company has made that you can connect to your product or service solution. An example would be that the company recently opened a new facility. Inc.com offers 16 of these trigger events.

Also from Inc.com comes the case study of an art consultant who generated surprising sales from a list by using light-hearted, self-deprecating humor: “Hi, this is Patty Glass with the Art Co., and this is a cold call. I bet you get a million of these. Fasten your seat belt — here’s another one.”

 Sponsored by SellFP.com We’re looking for qualified individuals and office equipment dealers to help support our growth.

If you’re a sales professional open to new opportunities in the Business-to-Business market, check out SellFP.com!

A Golden Opportunity for Office Equipment Sales

admin : May 16, 2013 3:48 pm : Blog, old-usa-posts

Sell FP

FP Launches SellFP.com to Support Dealer and Sales Rep Recruitment

We’re excited to announce the launch of SellFP.com, a new program that provides a comprehensive platform for sales professionals to generate income selling FP mailing solutions.

Individual salesmen & saleswomen and office equipment companies have four golden opportunities to sell FP mailing equipment and services to the vast, under-exploited small-to-midsize business market.

Office equipment dealers who expand their offerings to include FP’s mailing equipment can elevate their market position, becoming Full Solutions Providers. Options are also available for launching new dealerships in the office equipment space.

Individuals with sales experience (especially B2B), or just looking to shift or start careers will be interested in either placing with an existing FP dealership, or selling FP products independently, perfect for home-based businesses.

Four SellFP Options

Sales Option: EXPAND YOUR BRAND BE THE BOSS JOIN A LOCAL WINNER BE YOUR OWN BOSS
Who is it For: Existing Office Equipment Dealers Startup FP Dealership Dealer Sales Rep Placement Independent Sales Rep
Description: Add mailing solutions to your product mix. Launch your own successful mailing solutions business. Get your foot in the door at an FP dealership. The sky’s the limit and you call the shots.

To learn more about sales opportunities, visit SellFP.com.

To be considered for an FP sales role, fill out the brief request form.

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