With businesses nationwide becoming ever more concerned about their expenditures, companies in all industries are looking for ways to cut costs. But with the many hidden long term costs of layoffs, it benefits most companies to look for alternatives before resorting to cutting personnel. One such money-saving alternative is to become smarter about postage. Many companies believe that postage is a fixed expense, meaning that it’s not negotiable, but this actually isn’t the case. In fact, making minor adjustments in your shipping habits can reap significant savings. Below are some tips on how to save money on postage:
1. Keep your mailing lists up to date.
The population of the United States is mobile. Statistics indicate that 15-20% of the population moves to a new residence every year, so keeping your mailing lists up to date can keep you from spending money mailing to an address on your list with new residents who have absolutely no interest in your material. Cross check your mailing lists with the National Change of Address once each year to ensure the people you want to reach still live in the addresses indicated by your records.
2. Avoid mailing duplicates.
Sending mail to multiple names at the same address could be a waste of money for two reasons. First, you could be mailing to the same person who accidentally signed up for your list under two names (a given name and a nickname). Dick Jones and Richard Jones, for example, are probably the same person, so there’s no reason to send mail to both of them. Second, even if your mail is addressed to two names that clearly belong to two different people, there’s usually no need to send duplicates of the same mail to a single address. Mailing once to a residence often does the trick. Remember that families often go through each others’ mail, so your message will likely reach everyone at the house regardless of the name on the envelope.
3. Take advantage of your status.
If your organization qualifies as a nonprofit, remember that you can receive huge discounts on shipping. Nonprofits often receive discounts of up to 40-50% compared to their for-profit counterparts.
4. Locate dealers.
Believe it or not, stamp prices are not necessarily a fixed expense. Remember your grandfather’s stamp collection? Well, someday it could end up on the mail sent out by your company. Stamp dealers purchase stamps from vintage stamp collectors and then resell these stamps to regular customers like you. You’re able to purchase these vintage stamps at a discount of around 10% off the face value of each stamp, and, although you’ll usually have to put a few stamps on each envelope to meet today’s postage prices, these stamps are completely legal for use. Best of all, you’ll be able to buy them for less than they’re worth! A great place to start your search for cheap stamps is on Ebay.
5. Print on both sides.
Because smaller envelopes are equal to smaller postage bills, try double-sided printing: Not only will you save on paper and make your business a little more environmentally friendly, but you’ll also be able to ship more material for the same price.
6. Use what you’re given.
If other mailers provide you with reply envelopes, actually use them to send your reply. This saves you money on buying your own envelopes, and, because some of these reply envelopes have pre-paid postage, it can save you money on shipping as well.
7. Don’t forget about Media Mail.
Although you can’t send everything via Media Mail, using it to send those items that are eligible can save you big over shipping those same items via Priority Mail, so be sure to take advantage. Items eligible for Media Mail include books, sound recordings, recorded video tapes, printed music, and recorded computer media, such as CDs and DVDs.
8.Try recycling boxes.
If your business sends and receives a great deal of packages, try using the boxes you receive from other companies to mail out your own shipments. There’s usually nothing at all wrong with these reused boxes, and it can save your business money. (The exception would be if another company’s name is printed on the box, in which case you should either remove the name, cover it up, or reconsider using the box for your shipments.)
9. Pay your bills online.
This one is pretty basic. Online bill pay is easy to set up, and it saves your company big in terms of paper, ink, time, and money. What more could you ask for?
10. Think local.
If you meet with certain clients face to face on a daily or weekly basis, consider simply delivering their mail to them at the beginning or close of your meeting. Why waste paper and money on postage when you deliver it in person for free?
11. Don’t procrastinate.
This rule applies to shipping as strongly as it applies to every other area of life. If something needs to reach its destination in a week, send it out today! If you act now, your shipping rates should be pretty reasonable, but if you wait, your postage rates will increase exponentially as you’re forced to pay for 3 day, 2 day, and even (heaven forbid) overnight shipping.