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How much do UK mailing services cost?

Addressed mail delivered to the 29 million homes in the UK may have dropped in recent years and the cost of sending may have increased, but posted mail is still vital for businesses.

It’s still the most effective communication channel for advertising literature when it comes to delivering ROI. Plus, the majority of post through the letterbox is transactional B2C post: bills, statements, etc. Furthermore, business mail makes up more than 90% of all letters in the UK, much of it in bulk mailings.

The postage cost makes up a considerable part of the mailing service spend and, because the cost depends on a number of factors, this article is unable to quote specific pricing, but it does help explain how mailing costs are calculated and how money can be saved.

What determines the mailing cost?

In the UK, the postage cost is calculated on:

  • size
  • weight
  • urgency
  • destination
  • volume.

The mail type will also be a big factor. Are you sending business mail, advertising mail, or publications (periodicals)? Royal Mail and other postal operators worldwide are promoting mail as an advertising media, so often offer additional discounts for advertising mail. And in many countries periodical mail postal costs are subsidised in order to help the publishing industry survive.

Whether you produce your mail in-house or outsource production will impact on cost too. And it is important to take into account those hidden in-house costs such as energy and consumables, and the staff costs when they are stuffing envelopes and handling printer-jams.

Volume, particularly, can help you keep your mailing service costs down and the easy way to take advantage of this is to consolidate your mail through a mailing house.

Mail consolidation; keeping your mailing costs down

If you’re mailing in excess of 4,000 pieces of mail each time, you can attract notable volume-based discounts on the normal tariffs. But what if you’re not mailing that kind of volume? The answer is to consolidate.

Although Royal Mail determines the cost of a stamp in the UK, mailing houses have the facilities to consolidate mail and sort it ready for collection, thus keeping costs down for Royal Mail and other downstream access (DSA) providers, like TNT, DHL, UKMail, etc. A proportion of these cost savings are passed on to you, meaning your postage costs are less than if you franked or posted them from your own office or dedicated mailroom and this will have a significant impact on your mailing cost overall.

Around 18 million pieces of mail in the UK were handled in 2012 by DSA providers. These operators have been able to process and distribute mail since Royal Mail’s monopoly ended several years ago, but they typically only deal with consolidators (or mass mailers).

Look out for zonal pricing too. There are discounts to be had for bulk mailings being delivered to different zones in the UK. The zones are specified by Royal Mail and, while there are exceptions to consider, it may impact your costs favourably. And if you’re in a real hurry or require insurance, check out hand deliveries by courier services which also consolidate their consignments.

One of the world’s leading postal operators based in the UK, is Asendia. Their mailing houses in the UK offer postage savings on all mail categories, including:

  • letters
  • large letters
  • packets
  • parcels

covering items such as:

  • direct mail
  • catalogues and brochures
  • business mail
  • small goods
  • magazines and journals

with next day and 2-3 day UK postal services.

If your business is large enough to deal directly with DSAs and you get a preferential rate, or you are simply tied into a contract, Asendia can still fulfil your mail and use your own postage accounts. Asendia also offers a DSA postal solution that can save you up to 10% on a comparable Royal Mail service. Call Asendia to find out how much you can save.

In addition, mailing houses can provide much more than just postal services. At Asendia, there are even more cost- and time-saving advantages by using their end-to-end printing and postal service. Not only will Asendia digitally print your mailings in black and white or full colour, they will collate and envelope (or polywrap), add inserts, postage and mailsort ready for delivery.


Asendia is one of the world’s leading postal operators and consolidators, as well as one of Royal Mail’s largest partners, processing over 4 million pieces of mail a month. 

Asendia’s 110,000 sq ft ISO 9001 and ISO 14000-accredited printing, fulfilment and distribution centre also processes printing and post for another of its companies, hybrid mailing service Maileva. If your mailing requirements are simple and you want to mail from 1 to 30,000 letters a day, then Maileva can also save you essential time and money.

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About the author
Catherine Jackson is an NCTJ-qualified journalist and has been a publishing professional for over 30 years, working in newspapers, magazines, and marketing in the education, retail and travel sectors. She has also worked as a freelance copywriter, editor and proofreader before joining Asendia UK as Content Marketing Executive & Copywriter. Google+