You are here

Home » Services » Printing & Mail » Mail Services » Mailing Tips and Guidelines » How to use the Mailing Instruction Form or "Pink Slip"

How to use the Mailing Instruction Form or "Pink Slip"

Filling out the form

The Mailing Instruction Form or “pink slip” ensures proper routing and charge back of your agency's outgoing mail. Follow these easy steps to properly use the Pink Slip:

  1. Date the slip.
  2. Check the box(es) that correspond with the service needed.
    Note: to comply with the Private Express Statutes all letter mail is sent USPS 1st Class unless otherwise specified. Letters and flats sent with unmarked slips will be sent presort.
  3. Optional: Describe special requests in the "Other" section.
  4. Optional: Request inserting services and provide a sample of the finished job.
  5. Attach the pink slip to the mailing with a rubber band.
  6. Place the item in your outgoing mail bin.

Order pink slips

CMS provides pink slips to you free of charge. 
Please do not photo copy the pink slip; the bar code may not scan on copied slips and information is subject to change.

  • New customers: Call (360) 664-9507
  • Existing customer: Order online or call (360) 664-9617
    Note: Please call instead of using the online form if you need to update any of your contact information.

Mailing Instruction Form Definitions

Pink slip example 

US Postal Service Mail Letters

  • 1st Class Presort (forward) - By using this service you pay less postage. If an address correction is available through our on-line system, CMS will make the correction and forward the mail. Sent same day if received at CMS before 2:30pm.
  • 1st Class Presort (return) - By using this service you pay less postage. If an address correction is available through our on-line system, CMS will make the correction and return the mail to you. Returning your mail allows you to update your mail lists, speeding future mail processing. After updating your list, return the unopened mail piece to CMS. We’ll upgrade the meter date and forward the mail to USPS.
  • 1st Class Same Day - Sent same day. If CMS receives it before 2:30 p.m., it will be sent at the presort rate. If received after 2:30pm, it will be sent out at the full postage rate.
  • Other - For requesting special services. Please describe in the space provided.

US Postal Service Mail Flats

  • 1st Class Presort - For large envelopes (flats) qualifying for postage discounts. Sent next business day.
  • 1st Class - For large envelopes (flats), generally 9 X 12. No postage discount. Sent same day if received at CMS by 5:00pm.
  • Priority - Expedited mail delivery for less cost than USPS Priority Mail Express. 2-3 day delivery time. Most cost effective on items over 16 ounces. (Priority mail is not trackable unless combined with an extra service such as Certified or Registered).
  • SmartMail - Use SmartMail to obtain postage discounts on qualifying Standard Mail flats and parcels.
    • Expedited - 2-5 day delivery time.
    • Budget - 5-10 day delivery time

US Postal Service Mail Parcels and Other

  • 1st Class - Parcels weighing up to 13 ounces. 2-3 day delivery time.
  • Priority - Parcels weighing 70 lbs. or less. 2-3 day delivery time.
  • Retail Ground - Use Retail Ground when value is most important. Thick envelopes, tubes and small and large packages can be sent using Retail Ground. 2-8 day delivery time.
  • Media Mail - Limited to books, film, sound recordings, video tapes, and computer media such as CDs, DVDs, and diskettes. Also called “Book Rate.” Media Mail cannot contain advertising. Less expensive than Standard Post. 2-8 day delivery time.
  • Library Mail - Items on loan from or mailed between academic institutions, public libraries, museums, and other qualified organizations. Limited to books, sound recordings, academic theses, and certain other items. Advertising restrictions apply. Each piece must show in the address or return address the name of a school or nonprofit organization.

USPS Accountable Mail

  • Insured $_____ - Provides up to $5,000 indemnity coverage for a lost, rifled, or damaged article. Complete USPS form #3813-P. List the insured amount in the space provided. No guaranteed delivery times.
  • USPS Registered - Use this service when sending valuable or irreplaceable items. Items you send with Registered Mail are place under tight security from the point of mailing to the point of delivery, and insured up to $25,000 against loss or damage. Complete USPS form #3806.
  • USPS Certified - Use this service when you need to verify that you’ve sent a letter or package. Complete USPS form #3800. Can be combined with Return Receipt form #3811 or Electronic Return Receipt (ERR) for proof of delivery
  • USPS Electronic Return Receipt (ERR) - Provides the sender with the same information as PS form 3811 for less cost. ERR Certified mail labels are required. Labels are available through CMS.
  • USPS Return Receipt (PS Form 38111 or 2865) - For proof of delivery, including recipients signature, name & address. Complete USPS form #3811.
    • Addressee's address - Anyone at the delivery address may receive and sign for the mail piece.
    • Restricted delivery - Use Restricted delivery when you want your mail to reach a specific recipient. Only the addressee or authorized agent can receive and sign for the mail piece. Complete section 4 of Return Receipt (form 3811).

International Mail

  • USPS First Class Mail International - Delivery times vary by location
  • USPS Express Mail International - Delivery in 3-5 business days
  • USPS Priority Mail International - Delivery in 6-10 business days
  • FedEx - Use International airbill and fill out customs forms.

Guaranteed Overnight Mail

  • USPS Express - Next day delivery to most domestic destinations if at CMS by 2:30 p.m. Use this service for overnight delivery to PO Boxes. Online tracking available.
  • FedEx Express - Use this for FedEx AM or PM next day service. Items must arrive at CMS by 4:30 p.m. in order to make the 4:35 p.m. FedEx departure time. Please prepare shipping labels prior to CMS pickup.

Package Services

  • FedEx Ground - Delivery in the US in 1-5 business days. Deliveries in Washington are typically next business day.
  • CMS Rate Shop (find best rate and ship) - CMS will compare vendor cost and send the most cost effective way. Do not choose this option for first class mail.
  • Insure amount $ - Enter amount.
  • Ship Notification - Enter your email address to have a tracking number sent to you.

Insert Section Worksheet

Please call (360) 664-9618 to schedule these services. Put the pink slip inside the container with the materials and address the item to PO Box/Mailstop 41055.

  • Job No. - Use this section only if you know the job number.
  • Insert Jobs - Insert documents into envelopes.
    • Fold - Fold documents.
    • Label - Apply labels.
    • Burst - Separate perforated documents.
    • Trim - Detach edge of continuous feed computer paper.
    • No. of Pieces per envelope - indicate number of pieces to be inserted into each envelope.
  • Return Extras - Indicate whether or not extra envelopes or documents need to be returned to you. CMS will recycle extras if no return is requested.
  • Return Envelope - Indicated if a return envelope is to be inserted in the mailing. Please provide the return envelope.
  • Please provide samples of the finished job - To help us complete the job as requested.