Ways to Save on Postage
Friday, October 28, 2011
Posted by: Rhette Baughman
Higher Postage Doesn't Have to Hurt Small Business
By JOYCE M. ROSENBERG, AP Business Writer
The cost of sending letters and packages through the U.S. mail will
go up in January, but small businesses can find ways to lessen the pain.
They have plenty of options not just for sending mail, but for saving
The U.S. Postal Service is raising the price of a
first-class postage stamp 1 cent to 45 cents. Prices for bulk mail and
parcels will go up 2.1 percent.
While email has replaced billions
of pieces of business mail that's sent each year, most companies still
need to physically send many things. That's especially the case at this
time of the year, when they start sending cards and packages to
customers and clients for the holidays.
The good news is that the
mailing and shipping business is very competitive. A small business
owner can take advantage of the rivalry.
FIRST, SHOULD YOU SNAIL MAIL?
you have documents to mail and they're so large they might be rejected
by email systems, you might have them delivered by other electronic
means. There are online services that allow you to share documents with
multiple users. You may have to pay for them, but depending on how many
documents you send and how much each package weighs, it might be cheaper
to subscribe to one of these services.
THE POSTAL SERVICE
you're sending hundreds or thousands of pieces of mail, you can save
money by using standard mail rates. You can save even more by relieving
the post office of the work of sorting the mail in the order that it
needs to be delivered.
The Postal Service has a section of its website devoted to helping businesses learn how to use the mail. It's at http://pe.usps.com/businessmail101
/ It has links to pages on pricing, sorting, addressing and a glossary
to help explain postal terms. It can help you figure out what's the best
way for you to do your mailing.
If you're a novice to sending
mass or bulk mailings, you might want to get some help. Mailing services
can do the work for you, but that will add to your costs. It may be
worth it if means you can spend your time on other work.
save time and money on a mailing, depending on what you're sending and
who you're mailing it to. Let's say you have a fast-food or home
cleaning franchise and you want to send coupons to residents in the
area. You can get discounts by using standard mail. And more discounts
depending on how your mail is sorted. There's also a service called
Every Door Direct Mail that will deliver your mailing to every address
in the area you want to reach. It's low-cost and the post office
addresses your mailing for you. Click on http://www.uspseverydoor.com /
course, there are some letters that you're going to have to put a
first-class stamp on because they're not part of a mass mailing. But be
sure that you're not overpaying if they weigh more than one ounce. Keep
on hand 20 cent stamps that are used for additional ounces on a letter.
Their price is staying the same when rates go up in January.
in a great position if you need to ship packages — especially if you
need to ship a lot of packages. The big shipping companies and the post
office are competing for your business.
If you go to the website
of the Postal Service or UPS, FedEx, DHL or any other shipping company,
you'll find a rate and time calculator that can help you determine which
is the best for you. But don't stop there. If your business requires
you to do a lot of shipping, call each service and see what kind of
volume discount you can get. Find out if they can pick up your packages,
or if you can drop them off without cost at a convenient location.
are Internet sites that say they'll help you compare rates. But these
are usually sites that are operated by mailing companies that will tack
their own charges on to what you need to pay a company like UPS, FedEx
or DHL. You'll probably run into similar charges at stores that
advertise themselves as shipping centers that work with the big shipping
AS ALWAYS, ASK AROUND
Other business owners who
do a lot of mailing know the shortcuts. Find someone who has the same
kind of mailing requirements that you do, and see what they suggest. If
you're new to being a business owner, try your local chamber of commerce
or a trade group. You'll get a lot of tips.
Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.