If you want to make money in real estate investing, chances are you are going to have to spend a little bit of money. Whether it be on gas to drive around looking for vacant houses, on lists of possible motivated sellers, on stamps for you direct mail marketing campaigns, bandit signs, etc. Though you cannot control the price of gas, you can reduce the cost of your stamps by half or more if you know what you are doing. When we first started out in real estate we did direct mail marketing like a majority of investors do and I wish someone would have told me that I didn’t have to pay 45 cents to mail a letter. With the amount of letters we sent, this added up to hundreds of dollars a week, money that we could have used towards other marketing campaigns. Here I am going to explain the requirements and how to get discounted postage in Houston, TX (I am sure it applies nationwide, but I only know the pricing for Houston).
- Minimum 200 pieces of mail per mailing. This is for similar pieces only. If you have 100 letters and 100 post cards, you will not meet the minimum requirements. Post cards and letters count as two separate transactions
- 150 minimum per price category. There are 3 different categories that you can use.
- In the city of Houston, zip codes that start with 770 and 772 ($.222 per letter)
- Surrounding area of Houston, zip codes between 773-778 ($.265 per letter)
- All other zip codes ($.281 per letter)
- Use postal approved boxes (you can find these at the downtown post office)
- You must put postal strapping around all boxes that go outside of the city
The first thing that you are going to need to decide is what kind of postage permit you want. This is really just a matter of preference and time.
The first permit is a permit imprint. This is where instead of a stamp; you have a printed image with you permit number in the top right hand corner of your letter or post card (shown below). The benefit of a permit imprint is saving time. Instead of putting a stamp on every piece of mail, all you have to do is have your imprint printed on your envelope and/or post card. Though this is a great time saver, it does cost more money, an extra $190 to obtain a permit imprint number. Before your mail is accepted by the post office, you will need to create a deposit account and you have to have sufficient money in your account prior to each mailing.
The next choice is precanceled stamps. With precanceled stamps, you purchase rolls of stamps that cost 10 cents each to put on your mail just like you would a normal stamp. When you drop off your mail to the post office, you will pay for the remaining postage with a check or debit card.
The third type a permit is metered mail, but this type of mailing does not apply to letters or post cards. This is more for grocery ads and similar items.
Once you have decided on what type of permit is right for you, you will need to go to your main post office (the one on Franklin St. downtown) and apply for a permit. You will pay an annual fee of $190 for your permit number. There someone one will explain the process and requirements to you just like I have above and you will be on your way to getting cheaper postage.