Do you know the difference between the Machinable Rate and the Special Handling Rate at Canada Post? If you don’t you better read on. Because the difference could cost your next campaign big time.

You may not even know that Canada Post has renamed the category to Personalized Mail ™ instead of Addressed Admail.  That’s another  subject altogether…

Just recently, I heard about a mistake at another mail service provider that resulted in a whopping $10,000 in unnecessary postage charges to one of Canada Post’s regular clients. And it came about because someone didn’t know the the difference between what should go out at the Special Handling Rate  vs what can go out at the Machinable Rate.

Here is the scenario:

shutterstock_131197262smSize 5/7/8” x 9.5”

Thickness: 2.3mm

Weight: 78g

Qty: 57,491

Machineable Rate: $41,209.55 ($0.7168)

Special Handling Rate: $31,620.05 ($0.55)

As background, you may remember that Canada Post recently upgraded its sorting equipment. The new sorting machines read addresses and sort mechanically a lot faster and with more accuracy than the previous “LCP pre-sorted” equipment.  

By all accounts this was a great advance.  But as with any new technology there are sometimes unintended consequences. One of those being, what happens when your carefully designed mail piece suddenly does not qualify for Machineable Admail?

The magic number to think about is 50 g. And when you exceed it your budget takes a significant hit because it no longer qualifies as machinable. Consider a 50,000-piece, normal-sized mailing that weighs less than 50 g. It will cost you $0.45 per piece or $22,500. But, if you miscalculate the weight by as little as 4 grams you cross into the non-machineable category with a whopping jump in postage of $11,660 if not properly designated as a Special Handling piece! Yes, those 4 grams will cost you 11 Gs. Of course Canada Post will probably still use the sorting machines and it won’t cost them much more to process. It’s a price-sheet threshold, not a physical limitation to using the sorting machines.

The warning message is this: cross the 50-gram threshold at your peril. For years the 50g line had little significance when we pre-sorted our mail for Canada Post, but now, in the Machineable Admail world you will be slapped with a HUGE surcharge as you drift into the Oversize machineable category. The same 4 grams in 2014 would have cost you only $500 because you’d probably be using the old LCP pre-sorted non-machineable category that was our industry’s default for years.

So beware… make sure you always make sure to know when your material is Machinable and when you need some Special Handling.  The quick test is the 50g threshold.  Everything over 50g is going to be less expensive using Special Handling.