Our Business

Mailing Industry Dialogue

USPS maintains a leadership role in the mailing industry through our participation in key groups, such as the National Postal Forum and the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee. At the National Postal Forum, we showcase new products and technology and build relationships in the industry. Working with the Mailers’ Technical Advisory Committee, we facilitate efforts to advance technology and enhance the value of mail.

Products and Services

USPS delivery services fall into two categories: Mailing Services and Shipping Services. Mailing Services include First-Class Mail and Standard Mail. Shipping Services include Priority Mail, Express Mail and parcels.

2008 Revenue by Service Type
Mailing Services
Pie chart showing breakdown of 2008 revenue by service type. 52% is First-Class Mail, 27% Shipping Services, 11% Standard Mail, and 10% Other Mailing Services.

First-Class Mail makes up more than half of USPS total revenues. It includes domestic and international postcards, letters and other advertisements or merchandise up to 13 ounces.

Standard Mail is offered for any item ― including advertisements and merchandise weighing less than 16 ounces ― that isn’t required to be sent using First- Class Mail. Standard Mail, typically used for bulk advertising to multiple delivery addresses, makes up nearly a third of USPS revenues.

Other Mailing Services include delivery options, such as Periodicals (newspapers and magazines) and Media Mail (books and CDs), and mail enhancements such as Certified Mail and Delivery Confirmation. Additionally, the Postal Service offers money orders, which provide a safe way to send cash through the mail.

Shipping Services

Priority Mail is a 2–3 day package delivery service used to send documents, gifts and merchandise up to 70 pounds. It also is offered internationally, providing customers with a reliable and economical means of sending correspondence and merchandise to more than 190 countries and territories worldwide.

Express Mail is an overnight guaranteed delivery service, providing tracked and insured delivery to most destinations in America 365 days a year. Express Mail is offered internationally, with service guaranteed to select destinations.

Parcel Select and Parcel Return Service are two products designed to provide economical means of shipping packages by partnering with other companies to take advantage of the Postal Service’s “first and last mile” capabilities.

Leadership and Governance

The Postal Service operates as an independent establishment of the executive branch of the government of the United States. While it does not receive government funding, USPS is subject to congressional oversight and regulation by government agencies.

An 11-member Board of Governors oversees the Postal Service, with responsibilities comparable to the board of directors of publicly held corporations. In addition to the Board of Governors, the Postal Regulatory Commission has oversight of USPS.

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