Private Mail Services

ICBM (click here) Postal Presort (click here) react (click here) Stampsjoann (click here)

Mail Consolidators

With the advent of postal discounts for presorted First Class mail, a new opportunity arose for private industry to take advantage of the price difference between the discounted rates and the single piece rates.

While the discount rates are complicated depending on the amount and type of work performed by the mailer, the following table shows a sample of the discounts compared to the single piece rates.
Date Single Piece Basic Sort 3 Digit Sort 5 Digit Sort Carrier Route
Jul 6, 1976 13¢ 12¢
May 29, 1978 15¢ 13¢
Mar 22, 1981 18¢ 15¢ 14¢
Nov 1, 1981 20¢ 17¢ 16¢
Feb 17, 1985 22¢ 18¢ 17¢
Apr 3, 1988 25¢ 21¢ 20¢ 19.5¢
Feb 3, 1991 29¢ 24.8¢ 23.9¢ 23.3¢ 23¢

Two basic principles apply to the discounts the United States Postal Service offers.  First, the more work the mailer does (and the USPS doesn't have to do) the greater the discount.  Second, the difference between the single piece rate and the discounted rate increased over time making it more advantageous for the mailer to perform more of the post office's work.

Beginning in the 1980's when both the computer power and mechanical sorting machines became more readily available to private industry, commercial mail consolidators sought to leverage the new technology into increased profit potential.  Mailers throughout the country sought to find the mail volume necessary to meet the requirements for these discounted postal rates.

Commercial mail consolidators would solicit business from large volume mailers by offering reduced postal rates.   For example a consolidator in 1991 might offer a mailer a 26.5¢ per piece rate and hope to make a profit sorting the mail to be able to take advantage of actual USPS charges of 24.8¢ or less per piece.  The more customers a mail consolidator had the greater the possibility of larger profits through meeting the increased postal discounts.

All mail I have seen from commercial mail consolidators had metered postage applied.

Private Delivery Services

Private delivery services also appeared during this time.  Delivery directly to a recipient, quicker than regular mail and at a cost higher were the hallmarks of such service.

Intra County Business Mail (ICBM) began in California and used its own stamps for proof of payment.  Click the ICBM link below for examples of usages and stamps including a trial/dummy stamp.

At least two other mail services attempted to provide discounted First Class delivery to individuals; Postal Presort in Wichita Kansas and React in Utah.  Each provided "stamps" for the individual user to apply to his/her envelope.  I do not know if these services were mail consolidators, private delivery services or some combination of both services and would appreciate any information you might have.  Click below for examples.
ICBM (click here) Postal Presort (click here) react (click here) Stampsjoann (click here)