What Does A Postage Meter Do?
What does a postage meter do? We have the answer to that question and all the information you need to know about postage meters in 2019 listed in this article!
What is a postage meter, you ask? A postage meter is a machine that prints your postage on your mail whether it be a sticker that you put on a package or an envelope. It’s licensed by the government and usually rented by small businesses for their offices from government-licensed companies.
Many business owners use a postage meter because they do their own shipping to get a leg up on the competition whether it be with promos like same-day or free shipping or adding a personal service touch when sending off products.
And with worldwide eCommerce revenues expected to soar to $4.88 trillion in 2021, that’s a lot of competition and opportunity. So what else do I need to know about postage meters for my small business?
Keep reading to learn the basics about your future shipping favorite metered postage then try a postage meter for yourself.
A postage meter prints postage onto all types of mail — first class through fourth, registered, special delivery, air mail, and special service mail.
But how does it do this?
The Meter and Base
The key part of the machine is the meter itself. It stores the postage you buy from USPS ahead of time and prints the indicia, or stamp, with the chosen amount. It has an ink cartridge just like your printer.
It has a base that moves mail through the meter. The base includes a feeder that does the actual transport, a sealer that moistens and closes the envelope, a stacker to hold the envelopes after they’re stamped, and a tape dispenser with adhesive stickers to put postage on if you have a package.
Some models have advanced stackers that hold envelopes away from the meter so they don’t jam. Some don’t have the feeder but require hand-feeding.
Some models have software that can be managed by a computer to make your life easy. Meters have built-in apps that let you load postage by buying it online. You can manage and keep track of expenses.
You can also keep your machine secure with the PIN security system lock that comes on the meters. You can decide which employees use the machine.
The machine also comes with a scale that tells you how much postage you need.
Most meters have a display screen with a menu to help you use the machine. It lets you pick what type of mail it is, like the class or media mail if you sell CDs or educational material, for example. It also lets you set the date. Some models have touch screens. And most let you program short-cut and memory keys so you don’t have to put in the same information over and over.
The USPS only allows five companies to make, lease, and rent postage meters. These companies are Pitney Bowes, Data Pac, Hasler, FP USA, and Neopost. This lets the USPS regulate the machines and the postage on them so they are uniform and up to par for you.
These authorized suppliers, however, have different rental terms and can change rates as they please. It would be great if you could just buy your own postage meter machine, but you can’t.
What you can do though is use a postage meter consultant service like ours to help you pick the right supplier and machine for you and your business. Be sure to ask about postal meter insurance against rate changes.
Putting Postage on Your Meter
You can pre-fill your postage meter with funds that you buy from the USPS. Once you use up all the postage you have, you can refill the meter. It’s easy to do so online at USPS. Just open an account and pay through direct debit, credit card, or ACH. It uploads the funds to the meter.
Benefits of a Postage Meter
The main benefit of a postage meter is efficiency. No one has to go down to the post office. You can get the mail out on time, which is great if you offer same-day shipping.
Plus, you can save money with the USPS instead of using shipping services. And once you get the system down, you can ensure that you always put the right postage on. After a while, a few cents or dollars too much here and there on a lot of mailings can add up. So the machine offers savings there too.
And one of our favorite benefits is that the USPS gives you a volume discount. If you send a lot of mail, you only spend 47 cents instead of 50. It adds up!
Another benefit is branding and customer service. Again, you can ship right away if a customer calls. You have the shipping information handy on your machine if needed for returns. Also, the printed postage looks more professional than stamps.
What Is a Postage Meter and Does It Walk Like a Duck?
Now, when you get your postage meter to make your life easy and your booming business more efficient, you’ll know exactly what to say to employees or friends that walk in and ask, “What is a postage meter?”
You won’t use the adage, “If it walks like a duck, it’s a duck.” It looks like a printer and a scanner and a fax machine. But you’ll have the skinny.
Ready to give a postage meter a whirl? Get a quote with us today to help you find the ideal machine and rental deal for your business.