Postage is one of those necessary expenses that most of us don’t think deserves a second thought. The cost of postage is fixed, and it’s really not that inconvenient to have to run to the Post Office or UPS store to get a package out the door on time, right? Well, not exactly. Most business owners would be surprised to find out how much money they waste “rounding up” by placing to many stamps on outgoing mail- many waste thousands of dollars a year by not calculating postage exactly. Using a postage meter not only helps you save big on costs, it can also help you become more efficient- you’ll be able to get packages out the door without the added trips to shipment centers. A postage meter, or a digital mail system, is a great tool for businesses that rely on mailed correspondences, or that ship products to customers directly. Here’s a quick guide to choosing and using a postage meter:
How much postage do you use?
Potential savings depend on your current shipping costs. If your business mails fliers, promotional brochures, or even invoices to a large number of clients or potential customers, a postage meter can probably save you a lot of money. Postage meters can also be used for shipping packages- home businesses that sell items on eBay or manufacture products for sale can benefit from an easy, quick shipment process. Since postage machines allow you to pay exact postage, you’ll never overpay.
Postage machine features
Mailing machine equipment can be customized for the specific type of mail you send. For example, you can choose a machine with envelope sealing and stacking features to send promotional materials, or choose a machine with a scale to weigh and send packages. The most basic machines have a light scale and a meter only- if you want a feeder tray to send large mailings, you’ll need to look for a machine that has these additional components.
You can also choose a machine with online access, which allows you to you “fill up” your meter online- usually up to $1,000. Online access also allows you to download current postal rates automatically, so you’ll have access to the most up-to-date-information and avoid overpayment.
You can’t purchase a postage meter- they’re always leased to businesses, usually for about $20/month. Postage machine equipment (scales, feeder trays, etc.) can be leased or purchased. The more complex the equipment you need, the more expensive it will be. The lease or equipment purchase charges do not include the actual cost of postage that you’ll pay. You should also consider the cost of supplies like ink, envelope sealant, etc. Make sure that you’ll be saving enough using the meter to cover it’s overhead costs.
Most meters come with some sort of maintenance or service contract. The contract usually covers the meter equipment and any necessary repairs. Make sure you know the details before you make a purchase, especially if your company relies on outgoing mail for core business practices. You should know when an on-site repair is necessary, the length of time between a service request and the actual repair, and your share of repair costs, if any.
Using a postage meter is a smart idea for any company that relies on outgoing mail for marketing, correspondences, or even to ship products. Make sure you shop around, consulting several different leasing companies, before you make your final choice.