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Grow Your Business Sales & Marketing

Small Business Guide to Postage Meters

using direct mail for business
Credit: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock

As noted by USPS, a postage meter prints postage directly onto mail or onto a meter tape. It can be used for all mail services except periodicals. Small and midsize businesses that send bulk mail should consider postage meters to save time and money. Forget the cumbersome task of sticking stamps on envelopes or wasting money by putting multiple stamps on a thick envelope that may only need one. Postage meters take the guesswork out of required postage, reduce time at the post office and streamline the way you send mail.

There is no such thing as purchasing a postage meter. You'll have to lease a machine instead. Federal law prohibits the purchase of postage meters because it sees stamps and indicia as a legal tender. Therefore, when inquiring about a postage meter, you can't walk into just any office supplies store – postage meters must be ordered through an authorized vendor. Lease rates and most other fees associated with the machines are set by the authorized vendors.

The best place to look for a postage meter is via BuyerZone, which will walk you through the process and help you choose the type of meter you need.

Editor's note: If you're looking for information to help you choose the postage meter that's right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site BuyerZone provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free.

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Popular vendors include Pitney Bowes and Neopost. Pitney Bowes offers a 60-day free trial for the SendPro C200 model, which starts at $36.99 per month. The SendPro Plus has a 90-day free trial and costs $75 a month after that.

Neopost offers low-volume postage meters, mid-volume mailing systems and high-volume mailing systems. Prices vary by system and are available upon request.

A good starter model for offices that send a lot of bulk mail is the IS-280 Postage Meter. The IJ-15K Digital Mailing System, by contrast, is considered a high-end solution.

In general, businesses that need midlevel postage meters can expect to pay a lease fee of around $35 a month. A business that requires high-volume meters should expect to pay upward of $1,300 per year.

Understanding the parts of a postage meter helps you make a more informed decision about your lease. A postage meter is just one part of a mailing system. These are some of its additional parts:

  • Base – has been called the "envelope handler." This is the hardware that the postage meter sits on. In addition, it helps transport envelopes that need to be stamped. 
  • Feeder – guides envelopes through the meter. Not all models include a feeder, but sending a lot of mail takes extra effort without one.
  • Postage scale – weighs postage and tells you how much postage each piece of your mail requires.
  • Sealer – moistens the flaps of envelopes and closes them. Some models have a sealer built into their feeder.
  • Stacker – stacks envelopes, helping to clear mailings from the equipment. Some low-volume and cheaper models use a tray as a stacker.
  • Tape dispenser – applied through the meter when indicia can't print directly onto a mailing piece, stamping the tape with the indicia or postage amount.

Regardless of which model you choose, it's important to know that the meters come in small, medium and large, and there's a meter for every business. Typically, a long or short contract is required. It's also important to know that, in addition to service and leasing fees, you'll need to pay actual postage fees, the cost associated with compatible tape or labels, a reset of postage rates, property taxes for mailing equipment, and for possible machine add-ons, according to Business.com.

The USPS sets all the rates and regulations for postage meters. When postage prices increase, your vendor representative is advised to notify you. At the end of the day, no matter which postage meter you choose, having one is always helpful for sending bulk mail.

Marisa Sanfilippo

Marisa is an award-winning marketing professional who loves to write. During the day, she wears her marketing hat in her marketing director role and at night she works as a freelance writer, ghost writing for clients and contributing to publications such as Huffington Post and Social Media Today. Follow her: https://twitter.com/marisaasan