The prices for leasing a postage meter vary considerably and do not include actual postage costs. The rental prices are for the machine only, as well as some aspects of service that the leasing company may wish to add to their packages.
Machines come in all shapes and sizes, from a small micro-meter that can perch on the end of a desk to mail hubs that require a dedicated space of their own. They are rented from authorized dealers on a contractual basis; users usually pay monthly for the machine and related services.
For businesses that send out medium to large volumes of mail, renting a postage meter could offer a large number of benefits over traditional mail processing practices.
Can I Buy a Postage Meter?
If renting a postage meter sounds enticing, one might think that buying a postage meter would provide even more benefits. Unfortunately, the manufacture and selling of postage meters is tightly regulated by the USPS and the selling of meters to unauthorized persons is against federal law.
Postage meters can only be leased to businesses and individuals through authorized dealers, so if you want to take advantage of the benefits for your business, you must lease through one of those dealers.
You can, however, buy accessories and add-ons to your meter, so if you wanted to own some element of the machine in order to reduce costs, you could invest in peripherals like document trays.
Where Can I Lease a Postage Meter?
Only a select few dealers are authorized by the USPS. These are: Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Data-Pac Mailing Systems, FP Mailing Solutions and Hasler Inc.
Metering solutions are ostensibly available for businesses of all types and sizes. However, a business will typically only see a significant cost savings if it routinely posts more than $50 worth of mail per week.
Postage Meters vs. Stamps
Using a postage meter to process high volumes of mail saves both time and money, since the USPS offers volume discounts to business users. Therefore, the cost per unit is cheaper. While your business will have to pay a monthly rental fee for a franking machine, the amount is usually very small when weighed against the significant time and financial savings these machines can offer.
The main benefits of renting a postage meter machine are:
- Cheaper postage costs.
- Faster and easier mail processing.
- Increased staff productivity/time savings.
- Postage cost tracking and greater visibility and control over postage costs.
- Less “guesstimating” on weights and prices. You only pay for what you actually use, preventing waste.
- Security features help to prevent fraud and abuse.
How Much Will it Cost?
Postage meter costs vary considerably, and rental fees are only one part of the equation. Rental prices typically start at around $20 per month for the most basic machine and rise to over $1,000 per month for dedicated mail processing stations.
However, businesses that mail in bulk still need to pay several costs and fees over and above the rental price. As well as paying postage, there are fees for bulk mail permits, service fees, and ink/toner costs. Some businesses also find that a more streamlined workflow creates the time and incentive to mail more frequently, so the costs of printing, envelopes, and other incidentals should be kept in mind.
How Do I Choose Between Suppliers?
Fee structures can vary greatly from one supplier to the next, making comparison shopping a must. Some contracts are based on a fixed monthly fee, while others are based on usage. A bit of forethought can be helpful, since you’ll want the closest possible match between your business’s usage patterns and your contract terms.
Generally speaking, businesses with a high mail volume benefit most from a fixed pricing plan. However, if your mail volume is lower, or prone to fluctuation, a usage-based plan may be more cost effective.
It is worth noting that dealer incentives, such as Neopost's offer of $14.95 per month for a year on its basic machine, as well as negotiating at the beginning or end of your lease term, can help to control costs. An ill-considered pricing plan could find your business locked into an expensive and unnecessary contract. Err on the side of caution, since it can be easier – not to mention cheaper – to upgrade regularly than to rent “too much” machine at the outset.
Top Postage Meters for All Offices
Small, Medium and Large Solutions
Pitney Bowes DM100
One of the best value low volume postage meters on the market is the Pitney Bowes DM1000. It is a great option for a business that spends around $150 a month on postage.
FP Postbase 65
The FP PostBase 65 is a medium-volume postage meter capable of processing 65 pieces per minute (PPM). It's an excellent solution for businesses with a need for speed, but whose mail volume doesn't run to the tens of thousands per hour.
One of the best options at the top end of the market is the Neopost IS-6000. It is a high volume machine capable of processing as many as 18,000 envelopes an hour.