Benefits to Using a Postage Meter
Table of Contents
|1. What is a Postage Meter & How They Work||4. How Much Do Postage Meters Cost?|
|2. Benefits to Using a Postage Meter||5. Comparing Popular Postage Meter Dealers|
|3. Features to Look for in a Postage Meter||6. Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Contract|
If your business requires sending mail or packages, postage meters offer a variety of benefits, with two in particular taking center stage: decreased spending and increased productivity. Of course, the extent of those benefits depends on your organization's shipping practices and the type of meter you choose. For example, some postage meters include discount rates on certain mail services.
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Postage meter benefits also vary according to the types of features you choose, as most of these add-ons are designed to increase efficiency. Processing speed, automatic feeders, integrated scales, and similar items lead to significant increases in productivity, especially for organizations with high volume shipping needs.
One of the top reasons organizations choose to move from stamps to a postage meter is the financial savings. On average, organizations save 15 to 20 percent on their shipping costs with metered mail. A number of factors combine to lead to this level of savings.
- Metered mail ships at a lower rate than standard mail. Rates change, but as of 2017, the rate for the first ounce of metered mail is $0.46, whereas stamped mail costs $0.49. Three pennies doesn't sound like a lot, but multiplied by the number of letters you send, those pennies add up quickly.
- Lower rates don't end with first class mail. The USPS offers other discounts. However, many of these vary by dealer and, of course, they change along with the USPS's rates. When looking at different postage meters, don't forget to ask about the rate discounts available to your business.
- Today's postage meters connect directly to the USPS, making updates to rate changes automatic. With the integrated scale, it's also easy to print the exact amount of postage required to send your item, even when you send a bulky envelope or large package. That means no more wasted stamps or delayed shipping due to insufficient postage.
- If you make a mistake when printing your postage, the USPS refunds your money, minus a 10 percent processing fee.
- Your postage is secure. You don't have to find a safe place to store physical stamps away from sticky fingers, or worry that the drawer they're locked in belongs to an employee on leave, or even that they'll be lost. You may also implement a PIN code system to ensure only authorized users may access the postage. Typically, if you spend $50 or more every month on postage, you'll find that a postage meter saves you time and money.
Improved Tracking and Accounting
Closely tied to the financial benefits of postage meters is the ability to track your spending on shipping. The machine allows you to load as much postage as you need and to refill it via your USPS account, ACH, or direct debit as you deplete funds.
Tracking and accounting features go beyond simply uploading funds, though. Some postage meters allow you to include account coding. Taking advantage of this feature lets you charge shipping costs to the appropriate fund and department, automating budgeting and reconciliation. You see exactly where these dollars go and can include this information in your calculations when writing proposals or requesting project funds.
Increased Workplace Efficiency
The amount of time saved with a postage meter is directly proportional to how much mail your facility processes. If you send the occasional mailer, invoice, or payment, efficiency savings are more modest. For this type of office, your timesavings typically amount to no more post office runs or time spent applying stamps. Of course, if your staff is small enough, this represents a significant benefit.
Some smaller offices – especially those with few employees who each wear many hats – enjoy enormous time benefits, even if time saved can be counted in minutes per day rather than hours. In large organizations with heavy mailing, the productivity gains are obvious, but small organizations, where resources are stretched thin, often need those timesaving devices even more. If you're still in the start-up phase, or experiencing a growth spurt, automating whatever functions you can helps improve production immensely, creating valuable time for those tasks requiring your expertise.
Of course, if your organization performs mass mailings, regularly sends promotional materials, bills by mail, or any other tasks that involve shipping via the post office, efficiency savings are often substantial. This is doubly true if you choose a meter with extra features, such as automatic feeder, address printing, and sealing. Today's postage meters offer a staggering array of timesaving benefits, especially with the advanced models that include full keyboards and desktop integration. Automation allows the operator to weigh the item, apply the correct amount of postage, add the recipient's address, print a message onto the envelope, and seal it, all in a matter of seconds. Other advanced features include inserts and folding brochures, a popular option for sales offices and other organizations that regularly send promotional materials.
Self Promotion and Image Enhancement
In business, everything you do affects your image, including the appearance of your mailers. If you're looking to create a professional tone, there's no denying that metered mail looks more professional than stamps. This is especially true with larger envelopes and packages, both of which look amateurish when papered with multiple stamps.
Many postage meters also offer the ability to print messages, logos, coding, slogans, and more directly onto the envelope, turning the mailer itself into an advertisement for your business. Depending on the machine you choose, you can get exceptionally detailed with these messages, printing everything from a simple line of text to full images. Postage meters networked to your desktop allow you to transfer designs and slogans directly to the postage meter and even personalize it for the individual recipient.
If you choose a postage meter that allows you to print the recipient's address, you also enhance your business's image, since printed envelopes look much more professional than hand-written ones do. This also reduces the risk of human error and failed delivery.
The Bottom Line
If you spend at least $50 a month on shipping items through the post office, consider making the move from stamps and long lines to an in-house postage meter. Many dealers offer risk-free trial periods (just make sure, if you're going to cancel, to do so within the trial period), which allows you to experience the benefits firsthand. Leases typically start at around $20 per month, with the average business spending around $45 per month.