How to Send Certified Mail Safely From the Office

how to send certified mail safely from office mailing

Do you have important documents or sensitive papers you need to send to a sister business? This can be a stressful process as you don’t want to risk your documents getting lost, or worse, opened by the wrong person.

Is there a way to safely and securely send your sensitive documents? With certified mail, there is.

Learning how to send certified mail the correct way will ensure your sensitive papers reach their recipient without a hitch. Unfortunately, many businesses don’t know about certified mail or how it works. This puts their documents at risk.

Sending certified mail is quick and easy. You have options to send it right from your office or the post office, whichever option is easier for you.

Do you want to send your mail safely and securely with certified mail? Here is what you need to know about secure mailing.

What Is Certified Mail?

The United States Postal Service or USPS offers a special service known as certified mail. When you send packages or documents via certified mail, you will receive a receipt as proof that your item shipped.

When the mailpiece reaches its destination, the mail carrier will require the recipient to sign the receipt. USPS will store the signature in their database (for about 2 years) for you to check to make sure the mail you sent reached its intended recipient.

You can also add an electronic or physical return receipt service to receive a copy of your recipient’s signature upon delivery. The electronic option sends a copy of the signature to your email right away. The physical option will send you a postcard containing the recipient’s signature.

You’ll know right away that your certified mail reached its correct destination. If there happens to be a problem, you’ll be able to find out who received the mail item and possibly sort out the problem from there.

When Should You Use Certified Mail?

How do you know if using certified mail for business is the best option for you? Anytime you need or want proof of the delivery of your mail item.

Many companies collect delivery receipts to ensure their recipients received the mail. Companies will collect these receipts in case a recipient claims they never received the mail piece. Recipients also won't confuse your important documents as junk mail when sent as certified mail.

You can also add your certified mail to USPS’s other services such as First-Class Mail, Priority Mail, and First-Class Package Service.

How to Send Certified Mail the Old-Fashioned Way

Do you prefer to send your important documents right from the post office? This is an easy and secure option for those with the time and only a few mail items to send.

Complete the Proper Forms

When you get to the post office, you’ll need to fill out a little green form known as a Certified Mail Form 3800. The form comes with a green and white sticker with a bar code that allows you to track your mail piece.

Fill out the form by writing the recipient’s name and address in the proper box. Fill out your name and address in the return to sender box. Leave the Complete this Section on Delivery section blank.

This form also contains a receipt. Remove it and keep it as proof that you mailed the item. 

Prepare Your Materials

If your documents are already sealed in an envelope, peel the barcode sticker off of the mailing form and attach it to the top edge of the envelope. It should sit right above the recipient’s address. Make sure to leave room to the left of the barcode to affix your postage.

For those sending a package, place the barcode sticker to the left of the recipient’s address. If you have questions, the USPS is happy to help you.

Pay for the Service

With your certified mail ready to send, you’ll have to pay for the postage and mailing fees. Both the Certified Mail service and Return Receipt service have fees. When you choose the Return Receipt service, you’ll still have the option to receive it electronically or physically.

You can fill out additional options and pay at your Post Office’s help counter.

How to Send Certified Mail Online

Sending certified mail online is a better option for those who have a lot of important documents or simply don’t have the time to run to the post office. Save time and hassle by sending certified mail directly from your office.

Benefits of Electronically Mailing Your Items

Mailing physical copies of important documents is a relatively safe process. It’s a federal crime for anyone to open or tamper with mail that doesn’t belong to them.

If you’re uneasy about or have had bad luck with sending physical documents by mail, consider electronically mailing your items. Mailing important documents electronically gets them to your recipient faster.

Electronic mailing is often safer and more secure. You don’t need to worry about your documents getting lost in the mailing process.

If time and security are issues for you, try electronic mailing.

Sign Up

USPS allows you to send certified mail online but doesn’t offer the service directly from their site. This means you’ll need to find and sign up with a reputable company that offers certified mail delivery through USPS.

There are many companies offering an online certified mail service. You’ll need to research them to make sure they’re reputable and work with USPS.

Set Up a Payment Option

Once you’ve signed up with a highly-rated web service, you’ll need to add your payment method. Most web services require payment right away but allow you to pick which service or services to use. This way you don’t need to pay extra for unwanted services.

Most online services offer several payment options including credit cards, debit cards, electronic checks, and sometimes wire transfers.

How Do You Want to Mail Your Items?

How do you want to send your documents? With this online option, you can choose to mail physical copies of your documents or scan them and mail them electronically.

When sending physical copies, you’ll need to fill out and print a label. You will also need to purchase certified mail envelopes to do it yourself. A post carrier can pick it from your office or you can drop it off at any USPS drop-off location.

When sending mail items electronically, you’ll need to scan all of your documents into a PDF and upload them to your account. Some services have additional shipping fees for electronic mailing. You should note that not all web services offer electronic shipping.

Prepare and Send Your Materials

As with any mail, you need to properly prepare your materials for mailing. If you’re mailing a physical copy of the paper, simply print and prepare the letter as you normally would.

When sending papers electronically, you can directly upload them to your account. Existing physical copies will need scanning.

The site will prompt you to fill out shipping information such as the recipient’s name, their address, and the option for a customized message. You’ll also have the option to receive an email verifying the delivery. It’s best practice to take advantage of this feature to ensure your mail delivers to the right person.

Once everything is ready to send, make sure to double-check the address, payment, and service options. If everything looks good, you can hit send.

You’ll receive a receipt verifying the date of the shipment along with a tracking number. If you don’t receive one, contact the web service or USPS.

When sending physical copies, attach the label and send it with your company’s mail carrier.

Does USPS Offer Certified Mail Tracking?

A major benefit of using certified mail is you can track your mail in real-time. You’ll know where your mail piece is in every step of the delivery process. Should there be an issue, such as a lost item, you’ll be able to find where it gets lost and contact the proper people.

Track your certified mail by logging into USPS or your web service provider. They’ll ask for the tracking number which you can find on the certified mail receipt.

Delivery time depends on the type of mailing service you choose. First-Class delivery will take between 2 and 5 days while Priority delivery will take 2 to 3 days.

How Much Does Certified Mail Cost?

Certified mail is an additional cost of $3.35 and the Return Receipt costs $2.80 as of 2020. The email version of the Return Receipt costs only $1.70. These prices change from time to time so make sure to double-check if you’re unsure.

In addition to these costs, you’ll need to pay for the postage and any other services such as Priority, First-Class delivery, or packaging fees.

Use Certified Mail to Send Any Important Documents

Learning how to send certified mail online or in-person is a great way to ensure your important documents get to the right recipient. You can relax knowing your important mail will get to your recipients safely.

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