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Postage Meters - What They Are And Why You Need One

6/11/2014 10:09:35 AM | by Anonymous

Postal Scales

What is a Postage Meter?

A postage meter is simply a machine that weighs mail and prints the correct postage mark and price (indicia), often on a sticker but also on the mail itself. With a postage meter, you do not need to bother with stamps. Postage is paid in advance either online or through dedicated software within the machine and loaded into an account. Each time a piece of mail is processed, this relevant amount is deducted. You cannot go overdrawn with a postage meter and must top up credit when it is running low.


Will It be Suitable for My Business?

Postage meters are suitable for businesses of all sizes that process a reasonable volume of mail each month and the more mail you process, the more benefit you will see in renting or leasing a meter. The minimum postage spend to justify a meter would be around 50 dollars per month, and for this you can use a relatively basic and low cost meter.


Who Manufactures these Meters and are they Hi Tech?

Postage meters are manufactured by a select group of authorized manufacturers, including Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Data-Pac Mailing Systems Corp, Hasler Inc and FP Mailing Solutions. They are becoming more and more technologically advanced, being fully equipped with useful business applications, web connectivity, custom printing options and bespoke software. They can also now process all mail classes offered by USPS, including parcels.


Where Can I Buy a Postage Meter?

You cannot legally purchase a postage meter in the US. That is because postage meters and postage itself is tightly regulated by the United States Postal Service under federal law. Postage meters, regardless of their age, can only be leased to you by authorized dealers. You cannot even purchase an off-hire one for your own use.


Where Can I Lease a Postage Meter?

You can lease or rent a postage meter for your business from a large number of authorized dealers. Postage meter manufacturers do lease machines directly but it is more common to find that they lease their machines through partner businesses.


Why Does my Business Need a Postage Meter?

Postage meters bring a range of benefits to your business. The more mail your business deals with, the more you benefit from having a machine rather than processing mail manually.


The main benefits to leasing a postage meter are:

- Savings on postage with commercial/bulk mail rates
- Faster and more accurate mail processing
- Increased staff productivity - less time wasted manually processing mail
- Convenience - print mail at any time of any day with no trips to the post office
- Enhanced branding opportunity - personalize your mail labels
- Cost control and postage cost accuracy
- Reduction in returned, under priced mail.


Are there any Disadvantages to Renting a Postage Meter?

It is fair to say that postage meter benefits far outweigh the disadvantages, but it would be naive to think that there were no disadvantages at all.


Possible negatives include:

- You may not get on with the postage meter you have chosen but be tied into a contract
- You may find later in your contract that your mail volumes drop but you still have to pay your rental fee
- Postage meter rental is an extra business overhead that does not provide a direct return on investment. It may enable staff to generate extra revenue by freeing up time but, ultimately, it is an indirect cost.


How Much does it Cost to Rent a Postage Meter?

Postage meter rental prices depend heavily on a variety of factors. What type of machine, what peripherals you take with it, who you choose as a supplier and the service package you choose all influence the price.


For the smallest, cheapest and slowest postage meter, expect to pay around 20 dollars a month. For a top of the range, commercial mail processing hub with a host of extra features, figures well in excess of 400 dollars per month would be normal. An average sized business with average requirements is likely to be looking at around 35 to 65 dollars per month, dependent upon the above factors.


Manual feeder machines tend to be cheaper but the processing capacity is drastically reduced. If your main priority is to speed up the mail processing function, or your business processes large volumes of mail, then pay more for semi-automatic or preferably, fully automatic feeders.


Service packages and extras can add significantly to the rental price. For peripherals, such as scales and tape, you could consider purchasing these separately as they are not regulated. This way you won't be paying monthly for something you could own then sell when and if you have finished with it."


Ian Wright writes for Expert Market us, helping people answer postage meter questions to help small and medium sized businesses reduce their mail costs. When he's not helping businesses owners reduce their costs you may find him mountain biking.

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