How Much Do USPS Postage Meters Cost?
USPS postage meters are not available for purchase, but they can be rented for around $19 – $150 per month, depending on your company’s mailroom volume.
When factoring postage costs you’ll need to know the current cost of USPS postage meters.
Today, online advertising is overused and oversaturated. As consumers begin to feel overwhelmed in the face of this digital marketing avalanche, businesses large and small are returning to direct mail to grab customer attention.
Introduced to “encourage the use of metered mail by small businesses,” the USPS Metered Mail service offers a cost-effective current USPS metered postage rate of $0.50 for 1 oz letters (usually $0.55). And choosing to use USPS postage meters will save you on handling time, too.
Planning a catalog mailout? Sending discount cards to valued clients? Lease a postage meter for your office! With monthly costs ranging from $20 for a basic model to over $1,000 for a mailing system, there’s something for freelancers to enterprises.
What Are USPS Postage Meters?
In the most basic terms, a postage meter is a printer and mail sorter. These rented machines are designed to print postal information directly onto envelopes, packages, or stick-on meter tape.
You can use your postage meter with almost all UPSP mail services, from First-Class Mail® to Presorted USPS Marketing Mail® (including Nonprofit). You can even pay extra to access more services, but you may need to head into your nearest post office and complete some forms.
To legally use a postage meter, you must get a permit in the city you plan to mail in. This is because the machines print indicia–information-based indicia (IBI) or intelligent mail indicia–instead of using traditional stamps. And because you’re mailing within a restricted area, the postmark is already included.
Outside of cheaper postage costs, postage meters also provide other benefits:
- Send single envelopes or small packages (dependent on the meter model)
- Each piece of mail looks uniform and professional
- Postage calculations are up-to-the-minute accurate
- Mailing costs are easy to keep track of (they are deducted from a pre-funded account)
- Meter maintenance is covered by the leasing agent
USPS-Approved Postage Meter Models
Currently, only four providers lease USPS-approved postage meters to companies in the USA.
The providers are:
- Data-Pac Mailing Systems Corp
- Quadient (still listed as Neopost on the USPS website)
- Pitney Bowes
- FP Mailing Solutions
Leasing a machine is the only option available to both small and large businesses. It is impossible to buy a machine. These authorized suppliers offer a monthly fixed-fee payment plan or a per-volume-sent option. Providers will usually provide custom quotes for companies that send out very large amounts of mail.
Let’s dissect some of the most popular meter options offered by these suppliers.
The PostBase™ mini by FP Mailing Solutions is an entry-level machine designed for use in small businesses with low mail volume requirements. Simply seal the envelope and let the mini take care of the rest. Arguably one of the more attractively designed meters, the touch screen operates like a smartphone. Rental on this compact machine starts at $18.95/mo. Ideal for freelancers and startups that send less than 100 pieces of mail a month.
The Quadient IS-280 is often praised online as an easy-to-use machine. Integrated with iMeter™ Apps, it provides handy data like USPS rate downloads and low ink notifications. This machine can handle up to 18 letters per minute, as well as postcards and small packages. Leases start at $19.75/mo and you also need to pay a fee to license the software.
Pitney Bowes DM100
If you’re a mid-sized business owner looking for a low volume, higher-speed machine, the Pitney Bowes DM100 might be the right fit. It handles 30 letters per minute and fits neatly on a desktop. Well suited to companies that spend around $150/mo on postage.
EZ-Mailer by Data-Pac is a mid-range, mid-volume meter best suited to mid-sized companies. It has useful built-in features like an envelope sealer and a scale. Time-saving features include accounting software that allows you to calculate clients’ shipping costs. This machine processes 140 letters per minute. Best of all, Data-Pac claims that “ink costs are up to 75% less than the competitor’s solutions.”
Sending a lot of letters and packages every month? Consider the Quadient IS-6000 High Volume Mailing System. This award-winning machine processes a whopping 300 letters per minute. Housed in a heavy-duty frame, the IS-6000 features a color touch screen and integrated keyboard for user comfort. Contact Quadient for leasing fees.
Related USPS Postage Meter Costs
The cost of leasing the machines is just one part of the equation. Don’t forget to consider other associated costs like postage, pre-sorting, maintenance, and stationery when pricing out your annual mailing budget.
As mentioned earlier, by choosing to use a postage meter for your mailouts you’re already saving 5% on direct mail costs. If you go one step further and pre-sort your mail, USPS will give you what amounts to a 24% discount on first-class retail mail costs.
Yes, pre-sorting can be time-consuming. Piles need to be sorted by ZIP code and contain no more than 150 pieces. The good news? Some meters can pre-sort for you! So keep this in mind when you’re shopping around for the right lease.
The leasing agent should cover the costs of software and maintenance, so you’re off the hook there. But you will need to buy your office supplies like printing ink, labels, and envelope adhesive. Stationery will vary depending on volume, but with e-commerce booming, you’re sure to get the best deals by shopping online.
Shop Around to Find the USPS Postage Meter You Need
If mail outs are an integral part of your business marketing strategy, don’t look past leasing a USPS postage meter to cut costs and save your staff some time. Be sure to shop around to find the right product for your needs.
For more cost-saving information related to USPS postage meters and other postal costs for your company, visit Cost Cutz.
Pricing Your Postage Meter
Postage meter charges vary greatly, and most companies offer at least a standard rental fee for basic machines. Rental fees typically start at about $20 for the cheapest machines and go up to as much as $1,500 for dedicated mail processing units. However, some companies do offer discounts or free equipment to new customers. There are a number of things to keep in mind when looking for your own postage meter.
AVAILABLE FEATURES / OPTIONS
Most companies have a variety of options available when deciding on a meter. They include meters with two or more modes (paperless and digital), and more advanced features such as touch-screen technology, auto shutdown, automatic recycling, and even remote controls. Some companies also offer free delivery and installation, if you use their services, while others charge a flat fee.
If you are looking to save money on a meter, there are also meters that don’t have all of these extras built into them. Some of these machines run purely by the computer and are easier to operate and cheaper to run. These machines will cost a little more per month, but they are far less expensive than a dedicated machine, which is a lot more sophisticated.
The other thing to consider is the type of postage meter cost that will be incurred. For example, some companies will have monthly rentals. Others may have annual, semiannual, quarterly, or annual subscriptions. Some meters can also be upgraded to include additional features, which will increase the price.
There are a variety of things to take into consideration when comparing different companies. For example, it is important to look at the amount of paper that is generated from each machine and what the average usage is. It is also helpful to look at the number of days that the unit is being used.
Meters also need to be maintained and serviced periodically. The meter needs to be cleaned and serviced periodically and replaced with a new unit. There will be times when the meter will simply stop working, so it is important that maintenance and service professionals are sent out immediately to fix the problem. When the meter stops working, it is also important to check the data on the meter’s data cable to make sure that the unit is actually sending out the correct information.
Some companies provide a warranty on the meter, which means that the equipment will not break down in the first year of ownership. Others offer no warranty.
It is important to consider all of these factors before buying a meter and to research and compare the various companies that offer the meter. It is always best to try to find a company that offers a reasonable price, offers a warranty, and provides good customer service.
The company that is providing the meter should be able to give you a good idea about how long it will take to install the meter. Some companies offer installation services in an hour or less and others may need three weeks or even months to install the meter.
You should also consider how often the meter will need to be checked or serviced. Some meters only need to be serviced once every two or three months while others need to be serviced several times each month.
BACKUP POWER OPTIONS
If you are considering a meter for mailing purposes, it is important to think about whether or not the meter has a backup battery. This is important if the power goes out in your area. The meter will only send the correct amount of postage if the power has been restored by the time the meter is switched off.
While most companies charge a flat fee for the meter, it may be a good idea to ask for a reduced rate on a monthly or yearly basis to offset the cost of the meter. You may also want to consider whether or not there is a grace period after the meter is installed.