Although business owners have found numerous other places to cut costs, postage and shipping fees are one area that business owners have little control over. Sending out mail or packages is a necessary aspect of business for a majority of companies. However, for some, the rising cost of postage has them searching for cost cutting measures.
So, if your business uses USPS on a daily basis, how can you find ways to cut back on your postage? Obviously you cannot mail correspondence such as magazines, postcards, fliers, coupons, etc. for free. However, there are several tips you can utilize to help save your business money.
1) Lease a Postage Meter
If your business spends more than $50 each month on postage, you will benefit from a postage meter. It will print exact postage for first class, priority, and express mail, as well as packages and bulk mail. The printed postage will look professional and neat. You will also avoid trips to the Post Office, saving time and money. You can simply refill your postage via a telephone line or online. Under federal regulations, meters cannot be purchased, only leased. Postage meters have varying options, and you can lease one based on your company’s specific requirements. You can then schedule mail pick-ups.
2) Send Postcards
Often times your message is short. You may be reminding a client about an appointment or simply informing customers about an upcoming sale. If your message is short, you can save money by purchasing pre-stamped post cards from the post office and either writing or printing your message on them. They will mail for 1/3 the cost of a first class mail letter.
3) Get a Bulk Mailing Permit
If your business mails out thousands of fliers or brochures each year, you may qualify for a bulk mailing permit. You simply apply for the bulk mailing permit from the USPS. For example, if you mail more than 500 pieces of first class mail, you could qualify for the bulk mailing permit. Because you weigh, postage, and sort the mail yourself, you will receive a postage discount. You then take the presorted mail to the post office with which you have a mailing permit.
4) Avoid Overnight Shipping
Overnight shipping just one letter can cost you $20 or more. Does the letter really need to arrive tomorrow? If you are under a tight deadline and the answer is yes, then by all means pay the overnight shipping costs. However, if the letter’s contents can wait a few days, mail it using a first class postage stamp for less than a dollar.
5) Weigh Each Item
Many businesses lose money because they pay too much for postage. If they have a letter that weighs a little more than acceptable, they will put three or four stamps on it and mail it. However, in reality, it may only have needed two stamps. Never try to guess the weight of your package or letter. Instead, purchase a small scale (some postage meters have them built right in) and ensure that you only attach the necessary amount of postage.
6) Purchase Forever Stamps
It seems like the cost of postage stamps rise every year or so. If you purchase the USPS Forever stamps, you will get them at the current postage rate, and, should postage see a rate increase, you will not have to pay the increase. These stamps are good forever (hence the name), so you can buy them in bulk and avoid costly increases.
7) Use E-mail When Possible
Obviously, avoid mailing as much as possible. If possible, email correspondence to clients and customers as much as possible. Is it really necessary to mail coupons to customers who use the internet for everything? Should they want to take advantage of the coupon, they can print it themselves. You will save money on the printing and paper costs, as well as postage.
Although mailing correspondence cannot be altogether avoided, there are several things that you can do to decrease the postage costs that your business pays each year. By taking advantage of one or more of these options, you could save your company hundreds or thousands of dollars each year.
Craig EPP says
Great column Andrew. As a fellow business owner I’m always looking to cut down on costs and increase my profit margins. Have you perhaps thought about online postage, it encompasses so much of what your talking about but within one easy online package.
Andrew Jensen says
Quite true, Craig. Online postage does provide significant savings and is definitely a smart route for businesses with a decent volume of USPS mail.