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How Long a Mailing Takes:

When planning a mailing, keep the following in mind and do it like this:
Pick a day you'ld like your mailing piece to arrive in the recipient's hands. (Count business days only.)

  • Go back 2 days to a week for the mail piece to travel through the USPS system during light mail times locally and 1 to 2 weeks across the country. For periods near Christmas, Valentine's Day, tax day, Easter and Mother's Day add as much as another week. If you can allocate at least a week for local delivery time for any mailing, that is best. Often, 1 or 2-day delivery does occur but, if your mailing piece promotes something that happens on a particular date, such as a sale or event, it's best to plan on the longer delivery time. In most cases, it's okay if it arrives early. If you don't want it to arrive early, we'll chose a mail date that reflects delivery time at the current point in the year.

  • Go back 1 day in case your mailing is chosen to be checked by MERLIN. MERLIN (Mail Evaluation Readability Lookup INstrument) is now the "god" of the Business Mail Entry Unit. It's purpose is to decrease the occurrence of problems as mail moves through the big USPS machines. MERLIN checks everything from the readability of the barcode to paper thickness to how the mail was sorted. MERLIN helps keep the mail moving smoothly so it is a good thing but if your mailing is chosen to be checked by MERLIN, your mailing will be delayed another day. Mailings that will be checked by MERLIN are randomly chosen by the USPS computer.

  • Go back 3 days for mailing house preparation time.

  • Go back 1 to 2 days for tabbing (when needed) or other bindery work (such as folding). If handwork is required (like envelope stuffing & sealing), add 2 or more days on to that estimate (depending on the size of your mailing) and the amount of handwork required. We'll help you determine this estimate.

  • Go back 1 week for the printing, or 2 weeks if we haven't spoken to the printer because he might be really busy.

  • Go back 2 days for proofing and changing the graphic design.

  • Go back 2 days to a week for graphic design (depending on the complexity of the piece and how busy your graphic designer is).

  • Go back a week or more for you to decide what you want to send.

  • Then add on a week to cover unforeseen events (equipment problems, bottleneck somewhere along the line, extreme weather, acts of God). The end result is the date that you should start working on your mailing.

  • Summary: That start date is usually 1 to 2 months or more before you want your mailing piece to arrive.


Turn-around time: Specifically regarding the mail preparation services here, our normal turn-around time for any mailing is 3 days (after all the parts of the mailing arrive). Note that most mailing houses take around a week. Any mailing that requires bindery or hand work adds time to that. Although each mailing may not require three full days, this period gives us the room to meet all our customers' deadlines despite the many things that often happen here all at once.

Tight schedule: If you are reading this when it is too late to keep to this schedule, don't worry! We'll do our best to meet the deadline required by your event. Believe me, we are masters at pulling off the impossible. We just don't want to do it every time. But be sure - and this is important - to tell us and any others involved (your graphic designer and printer, if you are working with them directly) that you are on a tight schedule. Don't assume that we can keep to your schedule if we don't know about it beforehand. And be aware that a mailing with a very tight schedule may be subject to a rush fee.

List: In the middle of the preparation, make sure the mailing list is sent to us (or a new list is purchased) in time for us to work out what the postage will be and so you can get a postage check in our hands before mailing time. The list should get here before the printing. If there are any duplicates or bad addresses in the list, and we get it beforehand, we can tell the printer how many to print so that you won't pay for extra, unneeded printing. If the list is not purchased or we have not worked on it yet, add additional days to give us time to make the list the best it can be.

Advance schedule: And -- this is important -- when you decide to do the mailing, call everyone involved, especially your friendly mailing house so we can all put you on our schedules. Pre-scheduled work always gets first priority. It all has to be done on a first-come/first-serviced basis because the date you intend to get the printing to us is often not the date it actually arrives, but pre-scheduled work always gets first priority. Sometimes the mailing sitting right before yours is really big, so pre-scheduling will help ensure your delivery date will be met.

All these things don't usually take as long as what's listed above but sometimes they do. Everyone in this business deals with deadlines and every customer wants instant service. Our recommended graphic designers, printers and binderies - are all very service-oriented so you can expect us to do everything we can to get your job done quickly and professionally. But, things happen sometimes that delay the best-intentioned person, especially when dealing with a time-critical mailing piece. So, it's best to follow the schedule as laid out above. If we get it done early and you want your mailing mailed on a particular day, we can simply hold it until the desired mailing date.

That all said, we'll get your mailing done as soon as we can and we will do our very best to meet your deadline.


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