Postage Meters vs. PC-Based Postage
As the USPS and business mailing needs have evolved, the decision on whether to use stamps, PC based Postage solutions or a postage meter has become a a challenge form many small to medium sized business.
What Are Postage Meters?
Postage meters are mechanical devices that create postage and apply them to envelopes and packages. They are regulated by the U.S. Postal Service, which means that the companies that use them are in compliance with all regulations.
Parcels are passed through the postage meter as it prints a data matrix on each (this is also referred to as indicia or a frank). In short, this data matrix provides a large sum of information about the parcel. This information may include:
- The mailing company’s zip code
- The item’s weight
- The class of mail
- How much has been paid in postage
Sometimes, the data matrix also includes information that makes it possible to track the package as it goes through the postal system. While there were once non-digital postage meters, that’s no longer the case. The U.S. Postal Service no longer allows non-digital versions for security purposes.
For businesses, the advantage of the postage meter is it seals the envelopes, tracks cost by departments and overall accounting, and provides a much more professional image than stamps on your envelopes.
How Does PC-Based Postage Work?
The main alternative to postage meters is PC-based postage. This software allows the user to print off their stamps and shipping labels, or can print right on the envelopes. It basically saves users a trip to the post office, but they still have to manually apply these to their envelopes and parcels.
Aside from the software and an Internet connection, the user also needs a digital scale they can connect to their computer. Otherwise, the user wouldn’t know how much to post for a particular item’s postage.
When are Postage Meters Are Superior to PC Based Postage Systems
Both system have their advantages and disadvantages. Advantages of a meter include:
The only companies left that can realistically get away with using PC-based postage systems are those with extremely low levels of mail, usually less than 15-20 pieces per day. Otherwise, it’s simply too time-consuming a process to manually print out each envelope, manually seal the envelope. Simply put, some employees will be able to work faster than others. Given that mail output can sometimes be difficult to predict, the unpredictability of this manual process is a major drawback.
Since the meter can also seal the envelope, it is a more convenient process overall
All that time spent utilizing a PC-based postage system adds up and becomes expensive overhead. Postage meters don’t require nearly as many employees to get your mail out, which means you can better utilize their talents elsewhere.
Furthermore, many companies who use PC based postage solutions use more expensive Self Sealing envelopes, costing $0.04-.09 more per envelope. If you doing any volumes at all, this adds up quickly as an unneeded expense
This is probably a given based on what we’ve already covered, but it’s worth bringing up just how much more convenient it is to use postage meters.
With postage meters, companies never have these kinds of problems, much less on a regular basis. The postage they need is always available from within the office and is extremely easy to apply. There’s literally never a bad time to process mailers.
When is PC Postage Superior to a Postage Meter
Advantages of a PC based postage include:
Easily accessible anywhere
Most PC based solutions are cloud based, making for ease of access anywhere in the building, even while traveling
This answer is dependent on what type of postage meter you have or are considering. With USPS rules changes for sending Priority Mail and Parcels, a PC based solutions can provide the USPS recommended Address Labels that save you from 5-55% in postage on these type of mailings.
In addition, some PC Based solutions these days not only process USPS mail, but also can process UPS and FedEx shipping and more, allowing for rate comparing to get the most efficient way
AS noted above the access from anywhere. PC based system can also do some Bulk processing of stamps and labels that provide some advantages over Meter applications
Are You Ready to Update Your Company’s Mailing Process?
If you are still using old methods of processing mail and parcels, there is some good news. There are solutions available today that offer the convenience of both the Meter and PC solutions in one, and some great enhancements in the single method solutions available that were not out there just a year ago.
We know that changing can be a big step, though, so feel free to contact Kelley Connect with any questions you have. Our company specializes in assessing the mailing needs of businesses like yours and then ensuring they have the best possible solutions to meet them.