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postage meters, postage, shipping, shipping costs, stamps, stamp prices

Before looking at the meters you have to understand how today’s postage rates are set up.  The recent reduction has moved the cost of the basic one ounce stamp back to 47 cents.  The cost for the oversized envelope is 94 cents for the first ounce.  Now here’s the price that might make the meter worthwhile – the cost of the second ounce for either is only 21 cents.  Think about how many times you’ve just put that second forever stamp on an envelope when you weren’t sure how much it weighed.

So, does your office need a meter?  Of course the answer depends on how much you mail.  In a very low volume mailing situation, it probably doesn’t make a lot of sense.  Just make sure you buy the right stamps.

Once your volume goes up however, there can be some great savings with a meter.  Savings can come in different ways.  First, you can save the hassle of going to the Post Office that gets more understaffed every day.  Today’s meters by law are all digital and postage can be downloaded electronically.  You just need an account with your meter providor.  And running mail through the meter is a lot easier than peeling and sticking the stamps on.  (And much easier than printing out postage on your printer from one of the postage companies.)

The second savings comes from putting the accurate postage on each piece.  Years ago, I attended a sales convention of a large postage meter company.  Their entire presentation was built around “the sale starts with a scale”.  The real value comes from having an electronic scale that ties into the meter to accurately weigh and meter each piece.

The entire financial justification of a meter (and scale) is that your savings from putting the proper postage on the piece will offset the cost of the hardware.  Now, understand the costs.  By law, you can only rent the meter from the meter companies.  That’s USPS money that sits in those meters and they want to keep control.  You can however buy or lease the scale.  Figure the cost of the meter rental (less than $30/mo) and the scale lease (maybe $20/mo) versus the savings in both postage and convenience and the more professional appearance of metered mail.
Every business is different and you have to take a look at your situation to see if metering makes good business sense.  Hopefully, this blog post has explained some of the basics you need to make a decision.

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