To get the most from this time-saving device, it’s important to select a model with the right features
Postage meters, aka mailing machines, are popular among businesses of all sizes, and it’s easy to understand why. Instead of running out of stamps, running to the post office, and standing in line to get packages weighed and shipped, a postage meter can print a USPS stamp directly on any small envelope, along with the date and other official post mark symbols –just like at the post office. A postage meter is “charged” with a specific amount of money (typically $1000) and this account draws down automatically as stamps are printed. More money can be added to the account using pre-paid cards, via phone, or through an online postal account.
With a postage meter, your company mailroom essentially becomes a branch of the U.S. Postal Service (USPS). You have access to all USPS mailing services –like Priority Mail®, Express Mail®, Media Mail®, First-Class Mail® and Parcel Post®. Thanks to password-protected access, there are no worries about employees taking stamps. And as a bonus, your postage meter will provide easy, automatic and foolproof tracking of your mailing & shipping expenses.
Choose a meter with the right features. Pitney Bowes developed the first mass-marketed postage meter, which was made available to businesses back in 1920. Today the USPS authorizes 7 companies to produce postage meters and lease them to businesses. The most advanced postage meters are often equipped with automatic feed, stacking and envelope-stuffing functions, but most businesses can get by with basic models that are compact but capable.
Make sure your postage meter includes a built-in scale so that you’re certain to get the right postage fees. A manual-feed meter is adequate for most businesses, and costs much less to lease than larger models equipped with automatic or power feed features. Choose a postage meter that can print stamps as well as package labels. This will enable your mail room to process envelopes as well as packages. Most meters in use today are digital models that have password-protected access to prevent unauthorized use. It’s also useful to have a postage meter that is network enabled. This feature allows you to operate the meter directly, or via a computer, using an online postage program (see below). Check to make sure your network-enabled postage meter has automatic postage rate adjustment, to ensure that meter rates comply with current USPS rates.
Postage meters are typically provided through a year-long lease. Ask your meter provider about the availability of tech support and maintenance, in case functional issues come up. Finally, you may want to expand your shipping and mailing capabilities by adding an online postage program in the future.
Pitney Bowes, for example, can provide postage meters as well as online postage programs that enable authorized employees to print stamps and mailing labels from any online connection.