Postage Meter Buying
Although this article is entitled "Postage Meter Buying," this is actually a misnomer. In the United States, you can not purchase a postage meter. The only way that you can use a postage meter is to rent one from an organization that is certified by the USPS. The USPS sets the prices and the makers of postage meters can not mark up the prices. They do this for security, to prevent fraud, and to control the automated dispensing of postage.
The first step when considering whether your organization needs a postage meter is to think about your needs and the possible benefits from using a postage meter. Typically, postage meter machines are sold at a monthly lease rate and the prices vary based on the capacity of the unit. You should try to estimate you annual volume of mail to determine which mahcine is right for you.
If you are attempting to quantify the benefits of using a postage meter for your organization. There are several places where you can start. First, postage meters often provide a slight discount over standard stamp rates since many people who use them do bulk mailings. Second, the meter provides accuracy and prevents people from placing too much postage on an evelope or package. Third, the postage meter is convenient - a user does not need to go to the post office or purchase some goofy stamps. The user can print postage right there accurately and efficently.
Once you have forecasted your volume of mail and quantified the benefits to your organization, you should next determine what type of features you will need. This will depend on the type of mail that you would be sending out. If you have highly personalized mailings, you might want your postage system (yes it would include more than a meter) to have feeders or sorters. There are several other options that you can purchase with meters. Some of these may be right for your company or organization.
Next, when you contact the postage meter vendor (the largest one is Pitney Bowes) you should also have an idea of your mailing volume a couple of years down the road. The vendor will want you to sign up for a longer term in order to get a lower monthly rate. Whether you want to do this will depend on your projected growth. If you are testing a new marketing program, you probably would want to be locked into a multiyear agreement. If you are growing very rapidly, you might not want to do this either since you would likely want to upgrade your postage system next year.
You can get a very small postage meter for like $30 per month. Larger postage systems, may cost several thousand dollars per year and up. Before you jump into the postage meter system, make sure your volume of mail can produce savings that outweight these costs.