Ask Randy: Detached Address Labels

Randy Weiler, SPC’s Director of Postal Affairs and Logistics, is here to help you navigate the labyrinth of the USPS. What does it take to efficiently move your projects through the USPS system? What efficiencies can you gain from SPC’s lettershop expertise? Who determines postal increases?

Every month, Randy fields your burning questions about mail and postal affairs in a Q&A format. You can email him at or post a question via Facebook or Twitter using the hashtag #AskRandyUSPS. We post the questions and his answers each month both here on the SPC blog and on social media. To see a full list of questions that Randy has answered, check the Ask Randy Index.

1) What is a detached address label mailing?

Mailings that utilize Detached Address Labels (DAL) are collaborative mailings (either Unaddressed Periodicals, Marketing Flats, Marketing Parcels or Bound Printed Matter) where the address and printed postage indicia are presented on a separate DAL mailpiece instead of on the primary mailed item. This allows the main mailpiece to be designed free of address info, which saves crucial visual space. It also separates production of the main mailpiece (like a publication) from the addressing and printing of the DAL piece, which saves time and gives greater flexibility.

In essence there are two mail pieces—the DAL (which often resembles a marketing postcard) and the other mailpiece (whether it’s Unaddressed, a Periodical, Marketing Flat, Marketing Parcel or Bound Printed Matter), which are delivered together, but not attached.


A Detached Mail Label (DML) is a slightly different type of DAL which allows for the inclusion of advertising content. On the other hand, the DAL restricts the front of the piece to addressing, payment (Indicia) and allows for inclusion of official pictures and data circulated by the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC). The USPS has been partnering with the NCMEC for over three decades in helping to locate missing children.

2) What advantages do you see for marketers?

The biggest advantage for marketers who utilize a DML is that the combination of a marketing-focused DML and the main mailpiece in effect yields two branded mailpieces hitting a mailbox on the same day for almost the price of one. (The DAL costs an additional $.04/pc).

3) What challenges do you see for marketers?

The biggest challenge I see for marketers wanting to conduct a DAL mailing is achieving saturation carrier route levels. Targeting of mail recipients has become the new norm, which typically doesn’t align with saturation. As mentioned in a previous answer, the USPS DAL/DML offering does not include letter sized mailpieces.

4) What are the size and dimensions of each of the two pieces?

The DAL must be between 3.5 and 5 inches in height and between 5 and 9 inches long.

The piece must be at least .007 inches thick. If the DAL is more than 4.5 inches high or 6 inches long the piece must be at least .009 inches thick.


The unaddressed piece must conform to the requirements of its class. For example a marketing class flat would need to be greater than 6.125” high or 11.5” in length or .25” in thickness but less than 12” high and 15” long and .75” thick and less than 13 ounces in weight.

5) Do the pieces need to be mailed as Saturation Rate? What percentage of total addresses on a route need to be hit versus percentages of residential addresses on a route?

Yes, DAL/DML mailings for Marketing Class Flats, Bound Printed Matter or Periodicals must qualify for Saturation density by being mailed to 90% of all residents of a carrier route or 75% of all delivery addresses including businesses.

6) Are there extra steps SPC needs to take to get a detached address mailing label project mailed?

There are additional responsibilities for Mail Service Providers processing DAL/DML mailings:

  • Each delivery office receiving a DAL mailing must be notified in writing at least 10 days before the requested delivery period.
  • A copy of that letter must be enclosed with the DALs when shipped unless the initial notice and the cartons used for the DALs and items each conspicuously bear a mailing identification number. This ensures that the delivery office can readily relate the notice to the cartons containing the corresponding items.
  • The letter must contain the following information: Name and telephone number of mailer or representative; Origin post office of mailing; Expected mailing date; Description of mailing; Number of addressees for each 5-digit ZIP Code; Number of DALs per carton or package; number of items per carton or package; expected delivery period (range of dates) and the requested action for excess or undeliverable DALs or items.



Randy Weiler
Director Postal Affairs and Logistics

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