Most business owners are great at finding ways to reduce expenses. One area that people commonly struggle with, however, is the cost of postage and shipping. Because shipping rates are set by outside providers, it may seem as if these costs are relatively fixed. As it turns out, however, there are some steps that you can take to help reduce these expenses.
If your company regularly sends out mail through the US Post Office, you may be able to significantly reduce your expenses by making a few simple changes. There is no way to eliminate shipping costs altogether. However, by using the following tips, there are ways that you can save.
1. Save Time with a Postage Meter
If your business sends a significant amount of mail on a monthly basis, you may be able to save money by using a postage meter. These meters make it fast and easy to apply postage to everything from letters and postcards to bulk mail or packages. Not only does printed postage look more professional than using stamps but it also can save you a lot of time. Using a postage meter can eliminate the need to go to the post office, freeing up your time to do other things. Additional postage can be purchased over the phone or through the Internet, making it fast and easy to refill your meter. Due to government regulations, you can’t purchase a postage meter outright. Instead, you will need to lease it. However, it can be an effective way to save.
2. Use Postcards Instead of Letters
If you don’t have a lot of information to convey, consider sending postcards rather than letters. Postcards are far less expensive to mail than first-class letters. They also are more likely to get read since people don’t have to open them to see your message. Although they may not be appropriate for every situation, they can be a good way to save when you are sending out short messages such as sales announcements or appointment reminders.
3. Get Approved to Send Bulk Mail
If your company sends out a high volume of mail on an annual basis, you may be able to apply for a bulk mailing permit. In order to qualify, you will need to meet the requirements of the USPS. For instance, bulk permits are usually granted to businesses that send out 500 or more pieces of mail. This permit allows you to get a discounted rate on postage. When sending out items in bulk, you are responsible for weighing the mail, applying the postage, and sorting it before delivering it to the post office for distribution.
4. Plan Ahead to Eliminate Expedited Shipping Charges
The cost of sending letters and packages overnight can be exorbitant. Before sending out an overnight package, be sure to ask yourself whether or not it really needs to arrive by the following day. Additionally, try to plan ahead so that you aren’t scrambling to get packages out at the last minute. Leaving a cushion of time can allow you to send them through regular mail, eliminating expedited shipping charges.
5. Always Weigh Your Letters
If you are sending out a bulky letter, you may be tempted to save time by just throwing a few stamps on it and calling it good. If you regularly apply more postage than necessary, however, you can wind up wasting a lot of money over time. Instead of trying to estimate the weight of packages or letters, invest in a postal scale. Using one of these scales is a fast and easy way to make sure that you aren’t applying too much postage.
6. Invest In Forever Stamps
Like other items, the cost of postage gradually goes up over time. You can purchase special stamps at the post office, however, that are known as Forever Stamps. You can buy these stamps at the current postage rate. If postage rates go up in the future, however, the stamps will still work without requiring you to pay any extra money. In essence, they are designed to be good forever, meaning that you can buy them in bulk and use them far into the future to avoid having to pay higher postage rates.
7. Know Where to Go
Knowing where to go to get the right stamps will help ensure you are more efficient in your posting. You can buy stamps online nowadays, however if you want to get them from close by, here is a list from http://www.usastampguide.com/ on the best local places.
8. Consider Using Email as an Alternative
One of the best ways to keep the cost of postage down is by only sending snail mail when absolutely necessary. Consider whether or not you really need to mail an item before you send it out. For example, if you regularly send out coupons to your customers, you may be able to send them by email instead. Then, people can simply print them out at home and bring them into your store. This can help you save on multiple fronts since you won’t have to pay to get the coupons printed and you won’t have to pay to mail them out.
Finding ways to cut back on the amount of postage that you purchase for your business is a great way to save money. By using the simple steps outlined above, you can reduce your company’s shipping expenses. Over the course of a year, these small amounts of savings can really add up.