How to Buy Postage Online

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When it comes to buying postage online, the benefits are pretty straightforward: you save time, and you save money. This article is all about how to buy postage online, and how you can save the most money doing it. Wake up, E-commerce business owners—that last part is for YOU!

How Can I Get Started?

Let’s build this house from the ground up. You’ll need a few key elements to start, which we’ve listed below:

  • A computer
  • Internet connection
  • A printer
  • A way to weigh your package*
    • You can make like MacGyver and use a bathroom scale, but if you want to ship like a true pro, we suggest that you use a postage scale.
  • A way to measure your package*
    • You’ll need to measure the height, length, and width of your package. A ruler or tape measurer should do the trick.

*It’s crucial to accurately measure your package dimensions and determine how much it weighs. You’ll always be prompted to fill out that information, as it determines the price of your postage.

Once you’ve rounded up everything we listed, you’re good to go!

Where Can I Buy Postage Online?

There are two primary options for how to buy postage online: going through the United States Postal Service (USPS), or going through third-party postage providers. Let’s talk a little bit about both.

Going Through USPS

We’ve all been to the friendly neighborhood Post Office—and waited in line for what feels like longer than a rerun of Titanic. The average everyday customer will typically visit the Post Office and buy postage for their package in person. However, buying postage online at USPS.com is a great way to save yourself the trip. It’s super convenient to be able to skip those notorious lines and drop your package off at the counter (or schedule a free USPS pickup). Snagging postage on the USPS website is a nice way to do just that. Trust us: nobody wants to wait in that line. We get the willies just thinking about it!

All that being said, the retail postage rate is EXACTLY THE SAME on USPS.com as it is at the Post Office. Therefore, while buying postage off the USPS website might save you time, it won’t save you any money.

Going Through Third-Party Postage Providers

If you want to save money on buying postage online, your best bet is to go through a third-party postage provider. One of the reasons postage is cheaper on these websites is because retail location overhead doesn’t factor into the price (like it does with the Post Office). Another reason is that these shipping software platforms were designed to cater to the unique needs of various types of E-commerce businesses that USPS as an organization just can’t handle on their own. These small businesses need access to rates that allow them to compete with the big guys!

Here’s the bottom line: buying postage through a third-party provider will ALWAYS be one of the cheapest ways to ship with USPS. We’ve laid out a list of several third-party postage providers below, just in case you’d like to browse.

Why Should I Use a Third-Party Postage Provider to Buy Postage Online?

The real question here is: why shouldn’t you? By going through a third-party postage provider you save yourself time and money. Most importantly, you can even access special USPS discounts like Commercial Pricing. If you’re running an E-commerce business, taking advantage of those discounts can be the difference between succeeding or failing! Postage tends to be one of the biggest expenses E-commerce businesses incur other than cost of goods sold, so it’s crucial to keep those costs as low as possible.

What’s Commercial Pricing?

In case you didn’t know, Commercial Pricing is the most deeply-discounted pricing tier USPS offers. Typically, this level of USPS discounts is only reserved for shippers that send out over 50,000 packages a year. However, going through a third-party postage provider can often help you access postage at Commercial Pricing rates! Needless to say, getting access to those discounts can end up saving you a TON of money.


Looking for the right shipping software for you?

To get the deepest discounts on all USPS shipping labels, check out our guide:

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4 Comments

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  1. Tom

    For how long is a stamp and/or shipping label printed at home valid?

    There was a discussion in our neighborhood about printing “forever stamps” at home before their prices go up.

    I thought there is a time limit of just a few days during which postage printed at home can be used.

    Reply  
    • Rockwell Sands

      Hi Tom – “forever” First-Class Mail stamps are valid for just that amount of time…forever! You can use these to send a 1oz letter any time after you purchase those stamps. As far as actual shipping labels go, they don’t technically “expire,” but USPS wants you to use them as close to the ship date as possible. In my experience, you can usually get about a 5-7 day leeway on these once you print them out, depending on your local Post Office.

      Reply  
      • Tom

        Can you actually print your own “forever stamps”?
        A real forever stamp doesn’t have a face value on it.
        I think you can only purchase a stamp and print it with the value it hold at the time of purchase on it.
        So my initial question is not related to the official forever stamp bought at the post office but printing something like that at home.

        Reply  
  2. Deb

    I ship “box n a bag” all the time. I use a Gray Glad 13 gallon (kitchen can size) and I always get the Febreze smelly kind. Lol it has so far worked for me. And I ship a ton. I am a seller on Amazon. I sometimes have to use the big black trash bags if the box is to big for the smaller bag. I also utilize the Priority Mail Cubic tier often.. I typically am about a tier 3-4. I have saved so much on shipping the past few months. And I always always always go third party and ONLY ONLY ONLY use Pirate Ship. They are so knowledgeable and so helpful. Anything you need those a pirates are one click away from helping out! I love my pirate friends!
    Give it a try! I highly recommend using them!
    Merry Christmas! Be safe!

    Reply  

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