Feel like your small business’s shipping requirements are taking up too much time and effort? Ever wonder if there’s a way to reduce your shipping costs?

If you said yes to either of these questions, it’s time to investigate adding a shipping machine to your small business.

What is a shipping machine for small business?

The most common shipping machines used by small businesses are postage meters and mailing systems.

  • A postage meter is a shipping machine that is designed for small businesses that regularly send mail and shipments each month.
is-280 postage meter

Quadient IS-280 Postage Meter


Using a postage meter is easy.

You begin by placing your letter or package on the scale. The postage meter calculates the correct postage based on the size and weight. Then you insert your envelope into the feeder and the postage is stamped onto the envelope.

If the item you’re mailing is a package, the postage meter will print the postage on a piece of tape which you then stick onto the package.

An entry-level postage meter can process mail at a speed of approximately 18 letters per minute.

  • A mailing system is a shipping machine designed for small businesses that send out a high volume of mail each month.
IS-5000 postage meter

Quadient IS-5000 Postage meter Mailing System


To help streamline mail preparation and reduce the time and resources required, a mailing system automates many of the steps.

The higher the volume of mail a mailing system processes, the more automated features it offers.

For example, a mailing system that processes at a speed of up to 300 pieces per minute (PPM) can automatically seal, weigh, measure, feed, stamp and sort mail.

What are the benefits of a shipping machine for small businesses?

Save Money

No more guessing.

Postage meters and postage systems include a scale that accurately measures the weight and size of your letter or package, so you’ll never overpay for postage again.

And, because you’re using a shipping machine for your small business, the USPS will give you a discounted rate vs. what you would have paid if you bought your stamps at a post office retail location.

With a postage meter or mailing system, your small business can expect to save between 6% to 20% on the cost of stamps.

Save time

Having a postage meter or postage system means you’ll no longer have to make trips to the post office to purchase stamps, saving you valuable time that you can devote to other areas of your small business.

Track your expenses

The first step to getting a handle on how much shipping is costing your small business each month is to track your spending.

Some postage meters and mailing systems include software that automatically does this for you so you can compare your shipping costs month to month and track your spending by department.

Promote your brand

A bonus that comes with shipping machines like postage meters and mailing systems is the ability to print your company logo or marketing message along with the postage on your letters and packages.

How much does a shipping machine for small business cost?

You cannot buy a shipping machine for your small business. To help prevent postal fraud, the USPS does not allow it.

Instead, you will have to lease a postal meter or mailing system from an authorized dealer.

You will also have to get a permit or license from the USPS that gives your small business permission to use your postal machine in the city where you operate. This will cost around $200 a year.

A basic shipping machine for a small business will cost approximately $20/month to lease while a high-volume mailing system can cost as much as $1,000/month.

Generally, small businesses pay somewhere between $20 to $200 a month to have a shipping machine that meets their mailing needs.

Most lease agreements are for 1 or 2 years and include basic maintenance and repairs if required.

To pay for the postage that you use, you prepay funds onto the shipping machine via an online account. Every time you purchase postage using your shipping machine, the amount of the postage is deducted from your account.

Mailing supplies is another cost you will need to account for. This can include ink cartridges, self-adhesive labels, envelope sealing solution, and envelopes.

What are the range of shipping machines for small business?

The primary way shipping machines are differentiated from one another is by how many pieces of mail they can process in a minute (PPM).

  • 20 to 40 PPM
    • A postage meter
    • Ideal for a small business that sends out 15 to 30 pieces per day
    • Mail pieces are hand-fed into the postage meter
    • Scale can handle mail weighing up to 10 pounds
  • 100 to 200 PPM
    • A postage meter
    • Ideal for a small business that sends out 30 to 200 pieces per day
    • Automatic feeder
    • Scale can handle mail weighing up to 15 pounds or more
  • 200 to 350 PPM
    • A mailing system
    • Ideal for a small business that sends out 200 or more pieces per day
    • Automatically measures, weighs, rates, feeds, seals and stacks mail
    • Scale can handle mail weighing up to 150 pounds or more
    • Comprehensive software

How to figure out which shipping machine to buy

Before you start kicking the tires on a shipping machine, start by assessing what your small business’s needs are.

Every business is different, so to help you zero in on the postal meter or mailing system that’s right for your small business, here are some questions to consider:

  1. What is the biggest issue you are hoping to solve by getting a shipping machine?
  2. What is your current mail volume?
  3. What is your anticipated mail volume going forward?
  4. What percentage of your mail is letters and postcards?
  5. What percentage of your mail is packages?
  6. If you do mail packages, what is the range of sizes?
  7. What matters more to you…price? Or speed?
  8. How much can you afford to spend each month on a shipping machine and the necessary supplies?

A few money-saving tips when shopping for a shipping machine

Additional savings on the purchase of your postage meter or mailing system could be there for the taking, but if you don’t ask, they may not come up.

Don’t be shy. When speaking to a rep about a shipping machine for your small business ask them if they offer:

  • Incentives for new customers
  • Price matching
  • Promotional pricing on certain models
  • Deals on demo or re-conditioned models
  • Bundle packages that include the shipping machine and the supplies you will need

Save money and time with a shipping machine for your small business

If you’re looking to reduce mailing costs and save on valuable time and resources, a shipping machine for your small business could be the solution.

Take the time to do the necessary analysis of your current situation and consider what your future needs will be.

Armed with this information, you’ll be able to make an informed decision and implement a postage meter or mailing system that will streamline your mailing process and have a positive impact on your shipping budget.

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