4 Ways to Spend Less on Postage
Tue, 06/03/2014 - 1:30pm | by Jeska
Most businesses know it’s convenient to buy stamps online, but they don’t really think about how much they’re spending on postage.Shipping products, shipping contracts and shipping correspondence is part of most any business.Shipping costs are fixed, you might think, so you’ll have to make room in your budget. However, since there are ways for you to spend less on postage, you won’t have to dig as deep into your pockets as you think.
Buy in Bulk
The price of postage rises almost like clockwork every year. It may only be a few cents, but when you take into account the number of letters and postcards the average business sends out, those few cents translate into dozens or even hundreds of dollars. In 2006, the USPS started releasing the answer to this problem: forever stamps. Now all USPS stamps are forever stamps. In other words, pay for them at full face value now and no matter how many times the price increases, you won’t have to add any additional postage.
Buy forever stamps in bulk so you have a stash on hand. This is an especially smart idea when you hear a price increase is looming, but it’s a good idea anytime, since stamp price increases aren’t always advertised in advance.
Pre-Sort Your Mail
If you have someone on staff who can presort your mail, send mass mailings for a fraction of the cost. As the USPS explains, you’re saving the Postal Service some time by sorting the mail yourself, so they charge you a discounted commercial price. To presort, group your mailings according to ZIP code and present the bundles or trays to your mail carrier or local post office.
The USPS also recommends that you hire a letter shop or a presort bureau to do the sorting for you if you have no one on your staff who has the time to sort the mail. You do pay these services a fee, but overall, you’re spending less than you would if you paid first-class postage for your mail.
Use Flat-Rate Boxes
If you send packages at any time — even if they’re just packages of stacks of paper — you need to pay attention to USPS flat-rate shipping. Flat-rates boxes and envelopes allow you to pack as much as you can fit up to 70 pounds and send them anywhere in the U.S. for a flat fee. The boxes also allow flat rates for some international shipping, although it’s a higher fee and a lower weight limit (between four and 20 pounds, depending on the package).
The flat-rate boxes and envelopes are available for free through the USPS, so long as you actually use them for their intended purpose. Either send someone to the nearest post office for pickup or order them directly from your mail carrier.
Pack More Effectively
If you consider that you might have otherwise had to pay for two or more separate mailings, the more you can fit into a flat-rate box — in weight and size limits — the less you’ll spend on shipping. This applies to non-flat rate boxes, too. If you’re shipping something small and you can manage to send it priority for less than you would spend on a small flat-rate box, focus on packaging it with the least amount of weight possible. Here are some tips on packaging safely and compactly:
· Wrap breakables in a sheet of bubble wrap and tape it in place
· Fill empty corners of packages with lightweight cushioning fillers such as foam peanuts and sealed air
· Pick the smallest box possible that is still large enough to accommodate your contents and provide a small amount of room for cushioning
It’s worth investing extra time to save money on postage, especially when you consider how quickly your postage costs add up. A business that cuts costs where it can has more capital to invest back into the business. Rethink how you ship, and you’ll find the “non-negotiable” cost of shipping is more negotiable than you might think.