YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) — Addressing and mailing a letter or package seems pretty easy, right? Name, address, ZIP code — done. Well, maybe not.
Most mail is sorted by machines, and scanners are looking at the address and zip code. There are a lot of things you can do to screw up that process — maybe some you never thought about.
First, all mail you send should have a return address in the top left corner — not on the back of the envelope, as you may have seen. This should be complete with a full name, address and ZIP code. The recipient’s address should go in the bottom center. Again, full name (not Dad, Mom, Aunt, etc.), address and ZIP code.
Keep in mind if you have poor handwriting, try hard to print clearly — no cursive. You can try it, but it’s a crap shoot whether the machine will read it. When it gets kicked out to a human being, they have to try to decipher it.
Did you know this? Print the city, state, and ZIP Code on the same line.
According to USPS, fancy type fonts, such as those used on wedding invitations, do not read well on mail processing equipment. They may look great but could slow down your mail.
If you are printing a label, some fonts work better than others. USPS suggests these:
- Courier New
- Lucida Fax
- Lucida Sans
- OCR-B MT
- SF Sans Serif
Not all cards and letters will go through the mail system at the same cost. You can’t load up a card or letter and stick a Forever stamp on it. Weight matters. If it seems bulky and you put more in the envelope than just the card or a letter, you will most likely need to know what it weighs to get the right postage affixed.
Some other tips: Don’t put anything under the city and ZIP code. If the letter goes to someone’s attention, write that at the top.
Also, if you can’t put the apartment or unit on the same line as the street address, put it on the line above — not below — the delivery address.
Words like “east” and “west” are very important and could keep your mail from being delivered to the right place.
Almost 25% of all mailpieces have something wrong with the address, according to USPS. If you mess up, the postal service will make every effort to figure it out and deliver the mail correctly, but many times it will be sent back to you.