What is a USPS Postal Qualified Wholesaler (PQW)? What should I look for in a USPS PQW? How can I locate a USPS PQW? These are just some of the questions that I hear from businesses throughout the United States daily and I will cover these aspects in this article.
A USPS Postal Qualified Wholesaler (PQW) is a distinction placed on very few business mailers in the United States. This designation provides assurance to businesses that this company (PQW) has undergone a rigorous vetting process with the United States Postal Service. It conveys a level of confidence that the operational processes of the PQW fully comply with all mail preparation and data requirements of the United States Postal Service. The PQW must undergo a rigorous screening process, meet certain volume requirements, and demonstrate the ability to prepare manifests and transmit the appropriate electronic data to the USPS acceptance facilities.
USPS Postal Qualified Wholesaler’s have access to bulk mailing products offered by the USPS that are not available to the general public. In essence, a PQW levels the playing field for many small business mailers allowing them access to discounts typically reserved to only the largest mailers in the country.
USPS PQW’s will have access to several service levels including the following:
- USPS International Priority Airmail (3-7 Day Transit Time) – This service is perfect for business mailers looking to send urgent items overseas. Typical mailers using this service would be sending invoices, statements, financial documents, and eRetailers. This is the perfect service for companies selling products on eBay and Amazon to insure timely delivery of your customers orders while saving significant amounts of postage.
- USPS International Surface Airlift (7-14 Day Transit Time) – This service is perfect for business mailers that have less urgent material being shipped internationally. This is a perfect service for companies sending out solicitations, magazines, newsletters, and journals.
What should you look for in a USPS Postal Qualified Wholesaler? While there several PQW’s throughout the United States, there are only a couple of them that fit the following recommended criteria:
Locations, Locations, Locations
When selecting a Postal Qualified Wholesaler you want to insure you are selecting one that has multiple locations. Disaster recovery is becoming increasingly important in today’s global economy. Working with a PQW that has locations spread across the United States will ensure your mail moves regardless of your local situation as the East Coast of the USA realized during Hurricane Sandy when most of the US Eastern Seaboard was shutdown. The ability to still mail your material, even during natural disasters, is a great way to stay ahead of your competition.
Working with a PQW that integrates directly with your current software platform just makes sense. For eCommerce companies using Endicia, Shipstation, Shipworks, Sellercloud, Teapplix and all the other order management systems out there; you should not have to switch to another software platform to use that PQW’s service. It is the PQW’s responsibility to integrate directly with your software application. If they do not integrate with your current application, use a different PQW.
Online Shipping Control Document Creation
In this day and age, using paper documents as evidence of your shipment with that PQW is inconvenient and ridiculous today. A shipping department should not shut down because they did not realize they used their last pre-printed shipping control document. Make sure your PQW is able to provide you with a customer login and password for you to create your shipping control documents and that you can view your previous shipping history online. In today’s electronic age, if your PQW does not have this basic feature you need to find a different one.
Volume, Volume, Volume
Make sure you ask your PQW how often do they dispatch shipments to the USPS International Sorting Center (ISC)? Not all PQW’s have the same volume, some can only drop off mail at an International Sorting Center once or twice per week. Make sure the PQW drops mail at the USPS ISC at least daily. Some PQW’s drop mail multiple times throughout the day at the ISC’s. The more frequently they bring their mail to the ISC’s, the quicker your mail will be in route to its final destination.
How do I locate a PQW?
Start with your USPS Global Account Manager, they are experts in International mailing solutions and will be able to help you in the selection process. If you are not familiar with your Global Account manager ask your USPS Shipping Solution Specialist for their contact information. Knowing that your PQW has an active and healthy relationship with your USPS Representatives speaks volumes to their ability to provide the services you are seeking.