If your small or midsize business spends $50 or more on mail each month, then investing in a mailing system, and the appropriate equipment, can save you both time and money. However, you want to get the right equipment for your specific needs. That includes knowing what your budget looks like and which brands are worth trusting.
A postage meter calculates the correct postage for every piece of mail based on size and weight, and prints the cost of that postage on the mail, indicating that the postage either has been or doesn't need to be paid.
By calculating the correct postage for each item you mail, postage meters save you money that might otherwise be spent on unnecessary stamps, reduce the administrative burden on your staff, eliminate the need to store petty cash or stamps at your office and ensure that your mail never loses its postage in transit. Metered postage can save you between 6 percent to 20 percent compared to the cost of stamps, depending on how your mail is sorted.
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Postage meters are regulated by federal law and can only be leased from an authorized supplier, rather than purchased outright. When you rent a postage meter, you sign a contract for one or two years at a time and pay a monthly rental fee. How much you pay depends on your meter, contract terms and volume of mail you plan to send.
Price range: $20 to $1,000 per month
Many postage meters now come with software options that allow you to perform a variety of functions, including:
- Shipping label generation
- Image and logo design
- Compare shipping rates/carriers
- Batch processing
- Mail tracking
- Obtain and store proof of delivery
- Expense reporting
- Usage history
- Manage user roles
- Report generation
Mailing software allows you to manage your mailing list and expenses, and many platforms integrate with a variety of apps and mobile devices. Basic software programs may come included with your postage meter or printer, while others will require a monthly subscription fee or one-time purchase.
Price range: $0 to $100 per month
If you send out a large quantity of direct mail, letters or other documents that require folding, you can minimize administrative costs and cut down on the time your staff spends processing mail by investing in folding equipment.
These documents are designed to automatically fold and process letters of various sizes and can be set for a variety of folding options, including single, letter, double parallel and more. Desktop models perform a variety of simple folds but require you to insert mail into envelopes manually.
Larger models fold letters and insert them into envelopes. The most comprehensive folding equipment folds mail, stuffs envelopes, prints addresses and metering postage. Many can process up to several thousand documents per hour.
Price range: $100 to $15,000
Addressing and printing equipment
While most personal computers and printers can handle addressing and printing small volumes of mail, a business that sends a high volume of mail each month may need a specialty printer. [Interested in printers and copiers? Check out our best picks.
These printers are designed to print and address mailers of various types, from envelopes to direct mail postcards. Smaller models print labels based on your postage meter; larger printers can process as many as 15,000 addresses per hour for mail and packages of varying shapes and sizes. Specialty mail printers integrate with your mailing software and comply with barcode regulations.
Price range: $60 to $15,000
Popular mailing equipment brands
- FP Mailing Solutions offers postage meters, folding equipment and software that is specifically designed for small businesses. Many of its products are the size of a standard printer, making them suitable for a home office, and it has a variety of pricing options available for businesses on a more limited budget.
- Martin Yale Industries makes a variety of folding and document processing machines. Its desktop models are a good entry point for a small business that has a lot of mail to process but isn't ready to invest in more expensive equipment.
- Pitney Bowes offers postage meters, letter-folding machines and the accompanying software. Though many of its products are designed for larger businesses with high-volume mail needs, it offers solutions suited for smaller companies and entrepreneurs.
- Neopost manufactures postage meters, printers and folding equipment specifically for small businesses, along with a variety of software options. Its designs range from desktop printers to larger mailroom models, and many are available for free trials before purchase.