There has been an increased amount of emails this week concerning the costs of QSL Via Bureau, who should pay? There is an example of one QSL manager who charges US$1 for up to 3 QSL cards sent Via Bureau which many find quite concerning. Should the Bureau be FREE? But free for who? This is not a new question of course just one that is getting a louder voice now as postage costs rise.
Here at my QSL Bureau it costs in excess of US$1,000 a year to send all QSL cards Via Bureau and these costs have to be met by someone. In my case it is carefully managing income from Direct QSL cards, by finding the cheapest route for sending outward QSL cards, by having a good working relationship with my QSL Printer Max which allows flexibility in printing costs and also searching for the right costs for stationary, as envelopes, inkjet labels and printer ink all add significant cost to my Bureau costs over the year.
This week the RSGB QSL Bureau also informed me that some of my clients are not able to use the Bureau as they are not members of the RSGB, this is not a problem for us as most of our Bureau cards are not routed through the RSGB but instead I send Direct to World Bureaus every 10 weeks or so.
So the truth here is that Bureau QSL costs are met jointly by those who send Direct QSL cards, and a careful management of funds saving money wherever possible. Also there are many who send donations (Thank you!) even if it is only sending an extra IRC or dollar in with the QSL it all helps keep the United Radio Bureau going to keep the QSL cards flowing around the World quickly and as efficiently as possible. Then of course we also provide some sponsorship to DX’peditions globally where we are in a position to do so.
How can you help keep Bureau costs down? Well only by sending for Bureau cards that you actually want. For DX’peditions and many other callsigns that I manage “EMAIL REQUEST IT, DON’T SEND IT” This not only speeds up the Bureau QSL process but saves a lot of money both for the DX station AND for the World QSL Bureau’s. So before you send that QSL please spend a little time in checking with the QSL manager first.