If you haven’t read about it yet, get ready, because…
Postage rates are going up again!
Yes, you read that correctly. Postage rates are scheduled to increase again next month. On July 9, both First Class and Postcard rates are scheduled to increase by three cents each. As shown in the graph above, this will be the second rate increase this year, matching 2021 for the most increases in a year.
Paying more, getting less
If it seems like mail is taking longer to be delivered and more customers are complaining about it, it’s probably not your imagination. In addition to consistent rate increases, the Postal Service also slowed delivery times, effective October 1, 2021.
The map below shows delivery times from my home address in Durham, North Carolina. As you can see, most of North Carolina, represented by the orange region, is a two-day delivery time. The yellow region, representing most of the United States east of the Mississippi River, is a three-day delivery time. The light blue area is a four-day delivery time and, finally, the west coast and most of Alaska and Hawaii, represented in dark blue, is a five-day delivery time.
You can create a similar map for your utility’s delivery area by clicking here. Granted, most of your customers are probably local and should be unaffected by these delivery changes. However, you may have absentee owners or business with home offices many states away who are definitely impacted.
What can you do about this?
The obvious way around both higher postage rates and slower delivery times is ebilling. If you don’t currently offer your customers the option of ebilling, start now! If your current billing software doesn’t provide for ebilling, it’s time to consider outsourcing with a vendor that does.
The advantages of ebilling are twofold – you save the cost of postage for every customer who opts to receive their bill electronically and the bill is delivered immediately. This means no more delays by the Postal Service and you save money!
Are you still printing postcards?
Postage for postcards has increased 46% since 2019. This is a much more dramatic increase than First Class, which has only increased 20% in the same period. If you are still printing postcards to save on postage, that advantage may disappear with a few more increases.
If you are contemplating moving to outsourcing and are wondering what percentage of your customer base must opt in to ebilling in order for outsourcing to be a break-even, I have a calculator on my website that will help you determine this.
Utility Billing Mailbag
Don’t forget the new feature I’m calling the Utility Billing Mailbag. Send me your questions and I’ll take my best shot at answering them.
Complete the 2023 Utility Fee Survey
If you haven’t already completed the 2023 Utility Fee Survey, and would like to, please click here to complete the survey. It should take less than five minutes to complete.
If you have any questions, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 919-673-4050.
Thank you in advance for your participation in the 2023 Utility Fee Survey.
Are there other efficiencies you are missing out on?
Is your utility doing all you can to be as efficient as possible? If you’re not sure, please give me a call at 919-673-4050 or email me at email@example.com to learn how a business review could help you find out.
© 2023 Gary Sanders