Bulk mail is the term for high volumes of either first class standard business mail or advertising mail shots that benefit from commercial mailing rates through USPS.
Commercial mailing rates are significantly lower than ordinary mail prices so you can make huge savings if you regularly need to send out large mail batches.
To benefit from commercial mailing rates, you have to do some of the work yourself on sorting out the mail into zip codes and sizes. (That is why it is also referred to as presorted.)
While this extra layer of work can be a burden on your business, this can be eradicated through the rental of a postage meter designed to process bulk mail.
What are Postage Meters for Bulk Mail?
Postage meters are machines that enable you to weigh, seal and print postage labels on your business mail. Postage meters for bulk mail are high volume meters that are specially calibrated by the manufacturer to deal with your bulk mail.
You need a special permit to use any postage meter for bulk mailings and the permit application is available by filling out form 3615, from the USPS online, or from a Post Office. To get a bulk mail permit, you have to pay an annual fee of $200.
How Do I Ensure that My Mail is Sorted?
Postage meters do not presort mail automatically. They are programmed to print the correct, commercial postage prices if you have a bulk mail license, but since you must sort your mail by zip code, your machine cannot do this for you.
There are two ways you can presort your bulk mail:
Software: Many postage meter manufacturers also develop bulk mail software that you can integrate with your mailing systems. These can sort your address lists for ordered printing, calculate the cheapest way to mail your list, remove duplicates and generate all the documentation you need to quickly and accurately send your mail.
Presort Center: A presort center, such as that offered by Pitney Bowes, sorts your mail for you when you cannot do it in house (whether due to time or financial constraints). These services batch up mail from a range of sources which enables them to benefit from some of the lowest rates available.
These services collect your mail, sort and send it to the Post Office for you, although it is almost certainly cheaper to do it in house with a postage meter and license if you regularly use bulk mail.
Which Postage Meters are Suitable for Bulk Mail?
Postage meters are generally designed for business size and mail volumes so if you regularly do bulk mailings, you should consider renting a mail processing hub style meter as a low volume meter would take too long.
The following postage meters are ideal for bulk mailings:
Pitney Bowes SendPro P-Series
Pitney Bowes doesn't mess about, and neither does the SendPro P-Series of postage meters. Whether you're processing lots of letters, awkwardly-shaped parcels, or you simply want sophisticated shipping software, there's a postage meter here for everyone.
Pitney Bowes DM225
This machine is specially designed to handle bulk mail and yet it is small enough to perch on the end of a desk. At only $65 per month rental, this postage meter is extremely good value for money.
The DM225 can handle up to 40 pieces of mail per minute in a range of sizes and, thanks to the inbuilt scale, you don't have to worry about paying incorrect postage prices.
FP PostBase 85
The FP PostBase 85 is ideal for businesses that deal with regular bulk mailings. It is a substantial machine that can process up to 85 pieces of mail per minute and comes with a 15lb scale for weighing and postage accuracy.
Costs to Consider
It’s important to remember that when you acquire a postage meter, you don’t actually buy it. Stamps are considered a form of currency in the U.S., so meter suppliers lease the machines and you pay a monthly sum. The rent varies depending on desired output, with high-volume meters being the most expensive.
Of the companies listed above, Pitney Bowes has perhaps the greatest range of rental costs among its heavy-duty meters. They start as low as $125 a month, running all the way up to $500, depending on the demands of your mailing schedule.
The other companies' high-volume machines fall somewhere in that range, save for FP Mailing who offers the lowest monthly option of the bunch at $120.
Of course, rent isn't the only cost to consider when weighing your options.
All meter companies want to address your needs. For example, some of their machines come with higher rent, but offer a lower fee for ink. This may be a good option if you only occasionally run massive jobs, and maintain your ink supply for a long time.
If you find yourself having to replace ink often, then you may opt for a machine like Hasler's WJPRO. Comparatively, it offers a lower price on ink cartridges ($229.95) against a higher monthly fee ($325).
If you’re not sure how to evaluate ink, one variable that meter companies use is imprints, or ink produced in a single use. The relationship between ink and imprints varies, but a high-volume machine like Quadient’s ij-15k yields as many as 500,000 imprints.
Learn more: How To Refill a Postage Meter
Time (Letters Per Minute)
While rent and ink costs are important, perhaps the best way to determine a meter’s value is by its output. By definition, high-volume machines are based on their number of letters sent per minute.
Just compare them to low-volume meters and you immediately see why they’re critical for bulk mailings. For instance, 18 pieces of mail stamped per minute wastes too much time for a mailing of, say, 6,000 letters.
In fact, time is one of the biggest savings provided by bulk meters. Consider again that mailing of 6,000 letters.
If performed by hand, how long would it take your employees to complete the task? Sealing, weighing, and stamping each individual piece would consume far too much time and cost too much money. Similarly, running that order to the post office just isn’t an option.
For frequent, large mailings, your best option is a postage meter equipped to send hundreds of letters per minute.
Complete the form at the top of this page today to compare postage meters to suit your needs.