The cost of sending mail through the USPS continues to increase year after year. With the causes – inflation and increased operating expenses – showing no signs of slowing anytime soon, it is to businesses’ advantage to get started on reducing their overall expenses where they can.

One effective way to decrease expenses is to switch your mail processing method to a metering service. When mail is ‘metered’ it means that a postage stamp has been applied to the letter or a package via a postage meter machine. Compared to the traditional method of processing mail at the post office, the metering method contributes significant savings on money and time.

*For more information on what a postage meter machine is, visit: Postage Meter Machines: Benefits, Fees, and How They Work

Why can’t I buy a postage meter?

In case you don’t know this already, you cannot purchase a postage meter. To start using a metering service, you have to lease one. You cannot become an owner, but you can become a renter.

The reason you cannot purchase a postage meter is that postage is a form of currency and is therefore liable to fraud. As it is a currency, it is also subject to regular change. To prevent misuse, and for the cost of postage to be accurate in real-time, postage meter activity must be tracked.

The benefit of this is that you will never overpay on postage – something that businesses who send mail in bulk accidentally tend to do. With a metering service, the amount that is charged (from your preloaded balance) will be exact – every time.

Main costs to use a postage meter

The main costs of using a postage meter include:

  1. Lease Fees
  2. Postage Fees
  3. Mailing Stationary

And possibly:

  1. Maintenance and Repair Fees

Lease Fees (month lease/monthly payments)

Fixed-fee payment vs. Usage-based payment

The authorized supplier that you lease your postage meter from will either bill you a fixed amount (unchanging) or on a usage basis (more use = larger charge; like a hydro bill). The factor that typically decides this is the type of postage meter that’s being rented.

Low-volume devices typically go on a fixed-fee payment. High-volume devices tend to go on usage-based payment or are arranged with a customized free price quote by a representative.

The fixed-fee payment method is ideal for establishing a cap on monthly spending. The usage-based payment method is better suited for businesses that send varying quantities of mail each month.

Average lease fees range from $20 to $50 per month. Depending on the volume, size, and class of mail that a business plans to send, lease fees can rise to over $1000 per month.

Postage Fees (USPS Business Fees)

Once you’ve acquired a permit to use a postage meter, you will then choose one post office to send your bulk mail through. To be covered for one year, you will be required to pay a fee of $265. This is the yearly fee that a business pays to be able to send mail in bulk.

[For more information on how to acquire a permit, visit Leasing a Postage Meter

What this yearly fee offers is access to Commercial Shipping Rates (CSR).

To put USPS CSR into perspective, the normal price to ship an envelope is $0.60 per envelope. With the Commercial Rate, you’ll pay $0.57. If you sent 500 pieces of mail – with the normal shipping price of $0.60 – you would pay $300 dollars. With the Commercial Rate, for 500 pieces of mail, you would pay $285. Over time, these savings add up.

Note: the figures above are for First-Class Mail.

The other major benefit that the yearly fee offers is the privilege to completely bypass having to go to the post office. USPS can collect your outgoing bulk mail from your home or office and handle it from there.

Another long-term benefit to consider: some postage meter suppliers have been known to provide rate protection guarantees. This means that the Commercial Rate for metered mail that you pay when you begin your lease will be frozen. You would be immune to industry rate increases.

Mailing Stationary

  • Black ink cartridge (x1): $65 and up
  • Red ink cartridge (x1): $40 and up
  • Self-adhesive labels (x150): $28
  • Envelope sealing solution (1 gallon): $30

Note: the above cost amounts are approximate. Some office supply stores (as well as postage meter suppliers) offer discounts on the these products. Another cluster of supplies to consider are machine cleaning supplies.

If you decide to purchase Quadient ink products, we strongly suggest that you order them through Quadient Ink Cartridges & Mailing Supplies.

If you order Quadient ink products through a third-party company, chances are high that you will accidentally purchase counterfeit ink cartridges. These are old ink cartridges that have already been used. They are typically refilled with low-quality ink, and are liable to leak into your machine, and cause damage.

Maintenance and Repair Fees

These may never arise for you. Postage meters are subject to maintenance and may require repairing, but after all, they are technically the property of the supplier. Much like a landlord handling broken appliances in a rental unit, repair and replacement of postage meter units are generally covered by the supplier.

We suggest that you address this subject with a representative from the postage meter authorized supplier over the phone. You may also consider inquiring about mailing automation software, which is typically responsible for updates and bug fixes.


Leasing a postage meter may seem complicated. It is true that there are several bridges you need to cross before you’re ready to start metering mail in your home or office.

However, once you do have everything in order, you are free of a variety of other variables. You can now process mail on your own time – you won’t have to lug mail to the post office or wait in line. You will never overpay on postage again or have to worry about fraud.

You save money. You save time. You subtract obstacles and reduce risks

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