The numbers of delivered mail items are decreasing, but the postal service is still processing huge amounts yearly. In 2018, there were 146.4 billion letters or parcels delivered in the United States and its territories.
For the average person, this number means nothing. For them, buying stamps and sending mail may be a hassle, but it’s the only option they have.
However, people who send mail in bulk can have other and more convenient options. Such are postage meters and Stamps.com. These are two of the most popular services for mid-sized companies.
If you’re looking for the right mailing solution, you may consider using a postage meter or the software – but not before we help you assess which is better for you.
Keep on reading to learn the differences between the two and how they compare against each other.
1. What is a Postage Meter?
Did you know that you can now print the stamp on the parcel or letter instead of sticking a stamp on it?
That’s what a postage meter is for – it’s a machine that prints the stamp. The postal service recognizes it as official. It also indicates that they don’t need to collect payment for that parcel.
It’s useful for both homes and businesses. You can lease it from an authorized provider, but you must have a permit to use it.
With a postage meter machine, you’ll be able to send first-class mail, first-class packages, priority mail, international mail, media mail, and many more. You must, however, secure any additional postage in the Post Office for extra services like USPS tracking and certified mail.
2. What Are its Advantages?
The billions of pieces of mail delivered in a year are the reason why a USPS postage meter is important today. It makes it convenient to send mail in bulk.
It’s much faster to print the stamp rather than stick individual stamps to high volumes of mail. You also won’t need to make a trip to the post office every time you need to buy stamps.
These increase work efficiency, giving your employees more time to finish other tasks. The automation of mailing will allow marketing, sales, and other teams to tend to other company matters.
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It doesn’t only print postage, too. You can also print other materials onto the mail, such as your logo, text, or other design images. Through this, you can self-promote, increase brand awareness, and even share some news with your clients.
Most meters are compatible with letters and small packages that are 2 to 5 lbs heavy. There are, however, advanced models that can accommodate larger packages.
If you’re not sure of the weight, you can check it on the postage meter itself. It has a built-in scale to make weighing and applying postage an easier process.
There are some monetary benefits, too. You can enjoy huge discounts on standard mail and a 1% discount on first-class mail.
You may opt to get a meter with a financial reporting option. This will let you keep track of your savings and compare it to using regular stamps.
Because the postage meter will print out the information, the chances of mistakes also decrease.
3. What is Stamps.com?
Stamps.com is another option that will save you the travel time to and from the post office. It’s an online mailing service that will also allow you to print the postage on the letter or parcel.
It integrates with the USPS, so you don’t have to drive to the nearest drop-off station to send your mail. The USPS will pick it up from your location on the scheduled date and time.
You can download the program to your computer or you can use it on your browser. Unlike the postage meter, you don’t need a special printer. The printer you have at home or work will work fine.
4. What Are its Advantages?
Stamps.com’s biggest advantage is convenience. You can do everything within the software: buy and print postage, print in bulk, schedule pick-ups, and many more.
Those aside, it shares some similar benefits with the postage meter. The chances of making a mistake decrease, and so you also eliminate the return risk. You can print other information on the mail apart from the postage, as well.
You don’t need any additional hardware to operate it, though, unless you need a scale or you don’t have a printer yet. You won’t need special ink for the printer, too.
You can also send notification emails to your clients once you’ve shipped their package. If they wish to return a package, you can also create a return shipping label and email it to them.
5. Stamps.com vs. Postage Meter
Note that the Stamps.com is subscription-based, which means you have to pay a certain amount monthly to keep using it. As of this writing, a subscription costs $19.99 per month, not including the cost of postage.
Renting a stamps machine can cost about the same, but it’s often higher. The ink costs would be higher, too, since a regular printer’s ink is cheaper.
Postage meters also charge a reset fee every time the postage price increases. As you know, price increases are regular occurrences. You can learn more about these rates here.
With Stamps.com, the changes in pricing reflect on the software without you needing to do anything.
However, the cost of extra mailing labels can be more expensive on Stamps.com. You may also lose your records once your subscription ends. You’ll have to make sure these are well-documented; it works with Quickbooks, though.
Another factor to consider is that Stamps.com don’t work on a Mac. The software may also come with glitches and bugs, which can hinder the mailing process.
Try Out Both Options
If you want to try both options, get a free trial first. Both services offer a four-week trial period, allowing you to get a feel of which is more convenient for you. Make sure to cancel the trial before they bill you, though.
If you want to learn more about the postage meter and other mailing options, take a moment to read our other posts now.