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Postage Meters: Buyer's Tips
For companies that send out documents, bulk mailing or other forms of media to their vendors, employees and customers, postage meters become incredibly handy. A postage meter is a mechanical device that is linked up with a business account and provides paid postage for any mailing materials. In years prior, an employee would drive down to their local post office with a crate full of materials that had to be stamped and mailed out. Postage meters have taken this step out of the mailing process because envelopes can be stamped, postmarked and mailed from the office.
Postage meters are easy to use, refill and maintain. Often, you can add postage to their meters over the telephone, Internet or with prepaid cards. Users can also keep track of how much postage is left on their machines. Companies that frequently mail out documents, such as marketing materials, brochures, catalogs, products offered directly to customers and correspondences on a daily basis, can greatly benefit from postage meters.
Not sure if you should invest? Evaluate Your Postage Needs in our Buyer's Guide.
How they work
Although digital scales can be purchased, such as document feed trays and many more, the machine itself are always leased and not purchased. Postage machines must be obtained from a provider approved by the USPS, where there is usually a monthly charge fee.
You will have to pay for the current postage rate assigned by the post office as you incur charges. Like a parking meter, you will need to fill the postage meter either by online or mailing a check to the USPS.
Then and only then, can you stamp postages on your own envelope and send packages up to your pre-paid balance. When your balance is up, you would start the entire process all over again. Since most digital meters have online access, business owners can check their account balance, download current postage rates and add more money in the comforts of their own office.
Costs to Know About
Postage meters are supposed to save you money, and they can. However, when it comes to payments, there are two points you need to consider to be sure you're getting the right plan for your needs.
- Prepay in advance: Pay for your services up front on a monthly or yearly billing period.
- Pay as you go: You business is billed for postages and meter usages at the end of a specified period of time, but these arrangements carry additional charges and fees.
Since you will most likely sign a contract with a provider for the lease of a postage machine, providers will require a maintenance or service contract for the life of the postage meter, so make sure you know what you are signing up for. Compare a variety of different vendors and make sure you get written quotes from each one–the longer you are willing to sign up for, the lower your monthly user rate will be.
Depending on your requirements, mailing machine equipments varies. But no matter what type of mail or shipments you use, a postage machine will help cut down on total mailing costs. For businesses that mail products frequently can choose a postage meter with a scale, so shipping costs can be calculated to the exact price for each mail, while businesses that send out large amounts of certain items can choose a digital scale with stacking abilities similar to a copy machine. To find a specific postage meter, review our postage meter types.