May 7 2010 09:38 AM

Why is Certified Mail used in such high volume by businesses across the United States?
Since Certified Mail provides both proof of mailing and proof of delivery, a copy of each Certified Mail transaction is kept on file by the United States Postal Service. For decades, the signature from the recipient was provided via the Return Receipt Green Card that is attached to the outbound mailpiece, signed for and returned to the sender. Since 2005, the USPS has been offering the option for senders of Certified Mail to obtain a digital signature from the recipient. This option, called Electronic Return Receipt, reduces the cost to obtain the signature from $2.30 for the Green Card signature to $1.10 for the Digital signature. To take advantage of this $1.20 in postage savings offered by Electronic Return Receipt, senders of Certified Mail must go through a series of time-consuming steps after sending their mail. First, the Certified Mail number must be keyed into the USPS website and tracked. Next, the user must click the button for Electronic Return Receipt, which takes them to a form. They must then key in their First Name, Last Name and email address and click “Submit” to complete the process. When the digital signature is available, the USPS sends it to the specified email address as an attached PDF. For companies that send large amounts of Certified Mail, this manual process defeats the purpose of using Electronic Return Receipt because the $1.20 in postage savings is quickly erased due to the manual labor and associated costs involved. 

So how do businesses solve this problem? 
They use USPS-approved Certified Mail software and forms that can be printed using standard inkjet and laserjet printers. These USPS-approved Certified Mail solutions also offer the ability to automate the Electronic Return Receipt processing as well. The software automatically uploads the required information to the USPS each day and provides the users of the software with the ability to download the signatures in bulk each week. Companies taking advantage of these USPS-approved Certified Mail solutions no longer have to waste countless hours having their staff manually hand write the Certified Mail forms. They just import their list of addresses into the software and print the Certified Mail forms in a fraction of the time it would take to manually hand write them. This labor savings, combined with the $1.20 in postage savings offered by Electronic Return Receipt, is helping companies across all industries improve their bottom line. 

So how much do USPS-approved Certified Mail solutions cost? 
Most companies provide the software for free and only charge customers for the Certified Mail forms, which can be printed using standard inkjet and laserjet printers. The forms cost between $.16 and $.30 a piece depending on the volume purchased, a small price to pay for saving $1.20 in postage on each Certified Mail piece and countless hours in labor. 

Josh Fabel is the President of LaserSubstrates. For more information regarding the use of USPS- approved Certified Mail software and forms, please go to or call 800-538-4900 to request more information.