There are typically two ways to send letters with the United States Postal Service: stamped mail, or metered mail. If you’ve ever seen one of the blue USPS collection boxes around town, you’ve probably seen slots for both! While many beginning mailers and shippers tend to mix up the two, they’re quite different from each other, and Shipping School is here to set the record straight.
Metered Mail vs. Stamped Mail: What’s the Difference?
Different from relying on traditional stamped mail, many businesses use metered mail to process and purchase postage for bulk letters.
Metered mail runs through a postage meter, which comes with a weighing scale, and effectively “prints” the sufficient amount of postage onto envelopes. Metered mail tends to be more reliable than using regular postage stamps, since meters calculate the exact amount of postage needed based on your envelope’s exact weight. This removes the risk of paying incorrect amounts for postage (for instance, underpaying or overpaying).
Metered mail also features reduced rates, so that the postage paid on each piece of mail works out slightly cheaper than it would be if you use a regular First-Class Mail Stamp. This difference in price allows many businesses to capture significant savings—but the exact value of how much a business saves all depends on how much mail they’re sending out in the first place.
How Can My Business Get a Postage Meter?
When you want to secure a postage meter for your business, the most common way is to rent one for a monthly fee. By far, Pitney Bowes is the market leader in this space, and the company you should go through to get a postage meter. In fact, they’ve been in the postage meter business for over one hundred years! Just look on any metered letter you receive in the mail; chances are, you’ll see their name marked on the stamp printed on the envelope.
If you’re on the hunt for a particular model, we recommend that you check out Pitney Bowes’ SendPro+ Postage Meter. It’s a fairly affordable option for sending out both packages and regular mail, and it lets you process up to 65 pieces of mail per minute!