Technical Terms Explained: The Ins and Outs of Permit Post

Posted on July 2nd, 2014 | Tags: Design, Direct Mail, Technical

We all get letters with the mark saying Permit Post instead of a stamp. I bet you have wondered about it once or twice as you open your mail. I also bet you never thought that it could be part of your tool set to market your business to clients in a highly responsive and cost effective way. It’s not just for the big corporations but small business too.  Let me tell you about Permit Post and what it can do for you.

What is Permit Post and why use it?

In the simplest sense, Permit Post is a deal you get with New Zealand Post where you get a cheaper postal rate by providing mail that meets a very rigorous set of standards. It’s part of a group of mailing options called Bulk Mail which allow bigger companies to reduce the cost and simplify the process of sending mail out to people. What a lot people don’t realise that smaller businesses can make use of it too, through a Permit Post provider like us here at Copy Express.
When you mail out several hundred letters,there are lot of hidden costs you may not ever think about. Stamps are an obvious cost, but there is also the cost of someone putting them on each envelope. You can use prepaid envelopes, but they still work out as or more expensive than buying standard envelopes and stamps to put on them. If you aren’t using window envelopes then you have to print address labels and stick those on too, or write the addresses by hand, which is more valuable time consumed. Did you also realised that most normal mail ends up going through a persons hands at some point in the delivery process which adds to the time it takes to reach it’s destination, whereas permit post is machine sorted so has a shorter travel time.

What Are The Requirements To Make Use Of Permit Post

So what do you need to do to make use of Permit Post as a small business? There are a lot of things actually but going through us at Copy Express will take care of a lot of it. These are the key things to know.

  • There must be more than 300 addresses being mailed to at once. Lower than 300 is uneconomic as you will be charged standard postage for your mail anyway. If you have more than 1000 address, you will get even better savings.
  • For better rates you need a Certificate of Authenticity that certifies your mailing list as having over 85% of addresses as valid and properly formatted address. If you have less than 85% valid address then the entire batch is rejected and all mail is charged out at full rates instead of full price for only the few that fail. NZ Post has a whole of rules about  how you write addresses for mail. Follow this link to a two page basic guide for the rules. If you have all your clients in a database, spreadsheet, or accounting system, this a good time to make sure that your address data conforms to it. if you need to double check an address you have on file, NZ Posts Address and Postcode finder is a great online tool to check it.  We can help you clean up your list to a certain point and know a few tricks to get the best out of the process.
  • The addresses must be available in the form of an electronic file for preprocessing. When we lodge a permit post job, we also have to upload all the addresses for NZ Post to verify them as valid. Generally speaking a spreadsheet is the simplest to deal with, as we can analyze any faulty addresses and either fix them or lodge them as normal mail so that you will still get the best postal rates for the valid ones.
  • What is being sent out is in a sealed package. There are quite a few different rules and requirements for sending out items in the mail. Unless you are sending magazines or other bulky items, the easiest way is to have everything has to be able to fit inside an envelope. You aren’t limited to just one item either, as long as you don’t go over the maximum thickness allowed for the envelope, you can put in as many things as you like.
  • You must conform to the appropriate layout standards for your envelope or item to allow the piece to be machine readable.  This limits what can be on the address side of the item.
  • The item must be flexible and flat.  You can’t include paper clips or anything bulky that will stop it going through the reading machines.

Because of all the requirements we strongly recommend that you allow plenty of time for the process to happen – especially the first time. No matter what, there is a limit on how fast we can process a Permit Post, and the more work we have to do to make enough addresses pass the requirements the longer it can take. We generally won’t start production of the printed material until we are sure that you will be able to get the best rates for your mailing. This is where pre-planning your advertising campaign pays off. As a general rule of thumb allow up to 5 business days for preprocessing of the addresses the first time, and add 3 days for the actual delivery on top of the time it will take to print the material.

What Happens

Here’s the process for a typical Permit Post job.

  1. Contact Copy Express to discuss the job. If it’s your first time we recommend coming in for a meeting so we can help you sort out exactly what you want from using Permit Post. Together we can do 90% pre-planning of the job at this time. We can also discuss costs and production times in general terms and give you a provisional estimate.
  2. You supply us a address list. This is the most important stage of the process. The address list must meet very strict requirements to get the best rate. After review we can discuss solutions to any problems in the list. After address list receives it’s NZ Post Standards Of Address certificate. We then generate quote based on all information and if you are happy with it generate the invoice for payment.
  3. Design stage. This is where everything is created and tested to make sure that it will meet the quality you want, the price you like, and standards that NZ post requires
  4. On invoice payment, production begins. Depending on your needs some or all of the work may be outsourced. Your degree of involvement is up to you; you can be completely hands off, or save some dollars by doing part of it yourself.
  5. The NZ Post lodgement form is generated and the envelops are delivered to NZ Post. Again depending on the degree you want to be involved, we can take care of it for you or you can drop them off yourself.
  6. The mail is delivered to your customers within 2-3 days.

Will Permit Post Be Right For You?

The answer is a resounding yes. Modern marketing is all about making a personal connection to your client and responding to their needs. With finely focused advertising using the power of direct mail combined with the simplicity and economy of Permit Post, you will get the responses you want to help your business grow.

If you would like to give Direct Mail a try please phone us on 04-568-8773 and book a free consultation.  We’d be happy to discuss your marketing plans with you and tell you if we think Direct Mail is a good fit for your business.  We can help with the ENTIRE process from the overall strategy (integrating with your other marketing activities), designing the piece, printing and sending the mail.  We are experts at creating personalised direct mail pieces that help boost your business.