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What should I look for when choosing a mailing house?

Choosing the right mailing house will depend largely on what exactly it is you want to mail. That said, there are a few general guidelines that all mailers should look for when choosing a mailing house: you’ll want competitive prices and flexibility for sure, but quality and reliability are bound to be paramount.

First of all, you need to be sure that the mailing house has the capabilities to deal with your mailing. Is it used to dealing with the scale of your mailing? Has it dealt with what you want to mail before? If you want to mail letters and parcels, then you can be sure it has. But what if it’s something unusual in shape or size that you want to send?

Where you want to mail to is another huge consideration. Look for a mailing house that has offices both in the UK and overseas, as well as partnerships in other countries. Look for a company with official mailing partners too and, in the UK, one that is connected with Royal Mail. This is important because Royal Mail will always be the “final mile” provider of letter post in the UK.

Connections with other Downstream Access providers is another important consideration when choosing a mailing house. It means the mailing house will be able to offer you an extensive network of postal routes and probable postage discounts, especially if they sort the mail using Mailsort, Presstream etc, at the fulfilment stage. A shift in business to Downstream Access providers has presented reductions in average prices on mail volumes, and there are benefits to be had for the customer.

Does the mailing house offer end-to-end services? Digital or laser printing, variable data printing, inkjet addressing, poly-wrapping, envelope printing, data management? What about mailing list provision or print management for your direct mail campaign, catalogues or magazines? Creating the complete service for you can save you money and valuable time.

An experienced mailing house will have a visible heritage. It will be able to show you past projects, testimonials, accreditations and should offer you a site visit to see jobs in action. Personal contact helps to add credence for you. The mailing house should also be able to prove itself if it has industry-recognised accreditations such as ISO 9001 for quality management and ISO 14000 for environmental management. If you are mailing a direct mail campaign, look for a mailing house that is DMA (Direct Marketing Association) approved. Your direct mail will be accompanied by a critical mailing list which you will want to be confident is secure, so look for a mailing house that is also registered under the Data Protection Act.

As parcel post in particular grows year on year thanks to e-commerce and the internet (it’s expected to hit 2.3bn items in the UK by 2023*) and a strong argument still for direct mail through the letterbox as email inboxes overflow with advertising, a greater emphasis is being put on the mail’s arrival at its destination. And that’s true whether you’re sending one parcel or a whole direct mail campaign to thousands of recipients. Look at whether the mailing house offers targeted mailing lists or can clean up one you supply, and if they capture data of any returned post for you.

Here at Asendia, these value added benefits come as part of the service, offering customers, large and small, the complete end-to-end printing, fulfilment and mailing service.

Asendia operates two ISO-accredited mailing houses in the UK. These are located in Bedfordshire and Southampton, and both mailing houses handle UK and international mail. Asendia can fulfil mailings of 100 or 1 million mail pieces. Our mailing houses services include printing, data, envelope inserting, polywrapping, and pick and pack.

So, when choosing a mailing house follow these checks:

Checklist TickCompetitive pricing – you don’t want to be paying more than you need to

Checklist TickCapability – reassurance they can cope with your requirements

Checklist TickReliability – confidence your mailing will be delivered correctly and on time

Checklist TickScope – access to national and international routes and partnerships with leading operators

Checklist TickValue added services – choice of printing, management and fulfilment facilities

Checklist TickRecognition – industry-recognised accreditations and feedback from other customers.


For more information, see


*PriceWaterhouseCoopers report for Royal Mail: Outlook for UK mail volumes to 2023. July 2013.

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+