Mailing System Equipment
The postage meter itself isn’t the only piece of equipment you’ll need if you want to send mail directly from your office. The value of postage meters is being the ability to send all outgoing mail- letters, packages, bulk and direct mail campaigns, and expedited shipping- from your own office location. In order to have these capabilities, you’ll need to invest in the appropriate mailing system equipment.
Postage Meter Base
The most basic type of mailing system- a postage meter base- is about as big as a fax machine. Outgoing mail in business-size (standard sized) envelopes is stacked in a feeder tray and “stamped” as it passes through the meter. Oddly shaped, oversized, or heavier mail cannot be fed through these basic machines- usually they are equipped with a sticker printer and postal scales for such mailings. Basic postage meters, or postage meter bases are typically inexpensive (several hundred dollars) and can be purchased used or refurbished.
Digital Scales and Other Equipment
If your business sends packages, non-standard mail (think square envelopes, brochures, etc.) or any other mailings that a standard postage meter base cannot accommodate, you have the option of upgrading to more advanced equipment. One of the most basic equipment components is a scale- since postage rates are determined by the rate of a shipment, an accurate scale ensures that you never overpay by “rounding up” for postage costs. Digital scales are the most accurate, have higher weight limits, and do not need to be recalibrated often. The cost of a digital scale will depend on the weight of the packages you mail. Most smaller scales can be purchased for several hundred dollars.
Here are a few other mailing system components that might be worth considering:
- Letter-folding machines: Folds materials and brochures for more cost effective mailing, i.e., folding a standard sized sheet of paper into a tri-fold formation and placing it in an envelope.
- Shrink-wrap machines: Wraps goods in vacuum-sealed plastic for shipping.
- Bundling/bagging equipment: Feeds a stack or “bundle” of documents or items into an Envelope for mailing.
- Self-seal envelope “tabbers”: Used often in direct mailing campaigns that involve self-sealed envelopes, these perforate the paper for easy opening by the recipient.
Ask postage meter vendors which mailing equipment they recommend, given the volume and type of mail you usually send. You always have the option of purchasing used or refurbished equipment, so long as it’s compatible with the meter system you plan to install.