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New ways to send cool letters and save money on shipping
Welcome! Mail’s a joy, right? I mean, real mail. Not email. Or junk. Or bills. In this week’s Wonder Tools post I’m sharing a unique letter-sending service and pro shipping tips from a reader. To get future posts in your inbox, subscribe👇
🔮 In today’s post:
✍️ A cool way to send letters that look handwritten
📬 The best sites for shipping and receiving packages
Handywritten for letters
If you ever want to send letters that look handwritten to clients or anyone else, try Handywritten. It’s useful when you want to reach out to a big group of conference attendees or clients but don’t have the time or handwriting prowess to handwrite hundreds of notes.
The sample letters I received when testing the service were written by robots, but looked like they’d been handwritten by a person. It’s not cheap — cards tend to cost $3.25 to $3.75 each, plus postage. But as a business cost to reach donors or customers, it’s reasonable. And I like that you can choose from more than 20 handwriting styles to find one that suits you.
Limitations: I found the service’s address book function frustrating to use. The selection of cards is slim. And the subscription option doesn’t save you much. Other services like Postable are cheaper, but don’t replicate human handwriting.
Tips from a shipping expert
Wonder Tools reader Paul Schreiber (@paulschreiber) is a Director of Engineering at Tech Matters. He also happens to be an expert on all things mail. Below he shares insights he’s gleaned from years of shipping.
Dealing with packages can be a hassle:
🤪 waiting in line at the post office
💵 paying way too much to send things
📦 missing important deliveries
With the right tools, shipping can be (almost) stress-free.
𐄷 Use Shippo to simplify shipping
In the United States, people generally ship via the USPS, UPS or FedEx. Each has multiple services with varied delivery times and complex pricing. Comparing pricing and services across carriers can be a hassle. Shippo makes this easy. Get instant quotes for ground and air shipping and choose the speed and price that suits you.
💸 Save money
Ever wonder why big companies like Target and Amazon can ship you stuff so cheaply, yet when you walk in to a FedEx Office or UPS Store you pay so much more? It’s all about discounting. Carriers dispense discounts like candy … if you ask. With Shippo and PayPal shipping, you get deep discounts off the rack rate.
Suppose you are shipping a 5-lb box from New York to San Francisco. Here’s a snapshot of what you’d save, based on a recent search:
📬 Tips for shipping
Go with ground. If you’re not in a hurry, ground services offer significant savings.
Use first class for light stuff. For items under one pound, go with first class packages. It’s significantly cheaper than Priority Mail. If you try to use USPS.com, you won’t get that option. You can get it in-person at the post office, but it’s cheaper online.
Use media mail to ship books, CDs, DVDs and vinyl albums and similar items. These can be shipped inexpensively—but slowly— via media mail. Neither USPS.com nor Shippo support this — only PayPal shipping does.
📦 Tips for packing
Get half-sheet labels to avoid scrounging around for scissors and tape when you want to ship something
Get a dedicated package scale for accurate shipping weights
🧧 Tips for receiving packages
In the case of UPS and FedEx, you can redirect the package to a nearby store if you won’t be home, reducing the risk of losing packages to porch pirates.
OneTracker is the best service I’ve found to track packages. It handles dozens of carriers, gives you push notifications when packages move, and has a clean, minimal interface. It’s free to start, and $4 to remove the ads.
Thanks to Paul for those shipping tips.