How Much Do Postage Meters Cost Monthly? Rates and Associated Fees
The United States only allows companies to rent or lease postage meters, because the U.S. government classifies postage as a type of currency. In fact, postage is regulated by the United States Treasury. Even the vendor leasing the machine does not own it outright, as the United States Post Office (USPS) owns the actual meter that contains the postage. The vendor does, however, own the rest of the machine, as well as any special features or add-ons the customer chooses as part of the lease or rental contract.
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Although there aren't many companies leasing postage meters, anytime there's more than one, it's a good idea to compare prices. There are also major differences between the units themselves, ranging from basic machines that do little more than apply postage (the basic function) to a few letters per day, to behemoths capable of processing tens of thousands of letters and packages of every day.
The average business pays between $20 and $50 per month to rent one of these machines, depending on size, features, and the length of the rental contract. As you add features, the price goes up. Also, don't forget to include the cost of the postage and other mailing supplies in your budget.
Comparing Postage Meter Rental Costs
As stated, not many vendors rent postage machines. Across the United States, you find four main companies: Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Data-Pac, and Hasler.
One of the world's largest office suppliers, Pitney Bowes offers a full suite of postage meter solutions for organizations of any size. The company also offers free trial periods for many of their units (these change according to promotions). Trial periods are for new customers only and typically include a starter kit containing one ink cartridge, labels, and $100 in free postage coupons. Failure to cancel within the 60-day trial period results in charges for the full standard monthly rate.
Sample pricing includes:
- Mailstation2: This is a manual feed unit that takes items up to 1/4" thick. The built-in scale weighs items up to 2 pounds or 5 pounds. It prints most classes of mail. The monthly rate is $19.99 for a 12-month period.
- DM125: This desktop unit's semi-automatic feed handles up to 35 pieces per minute with a maximum thickness of 3/8". It includes a two- or five-pound built-in scale and free envelope messaging. Rental fees are $34.99 per month.
- DM225: This unit has a max handling speed of 45 pieces per minute, with a high-speed printer and integrated weighing capacity of up to 10 pounds. Monthly rental costs $65.00.
This France-based company is the world's second largest postage supplier. Neopost offers a wide range of special features and shipping solutions, including address printers, sorters, and inserters.
Neopost separates its models into three categories: low volume, mid volume, and high volume. It also offers used equipment. Pricing varies widely, even within these general categories, depending on special features and add-ons chosen.
- Low volume: Yearly rental rates average between $150 and $500. Models include monitoring and tracking capabilities, with a maximum speed of 40 letters per minute.
- Mid volume: Yearly rental rates average between $500 and $1,500. Models include automatic feeders, the ability to print slogans, and a maximum speed of 75 letters per minute.
- High volume: Yearly rental rates average between $1,500 and $11,000. The top models include an ergonomic design for maximum operator comfort and efficiency, with a touch screen display, easy navigation, full keyboard, and a built-in area to sort and prep mail. Units feature an external scale for oversized pieces. Maximum speed is 300 letters per minute.
One of the newer postage meter companies, Data-Pac offers renters the latest technologies from prices as low as $20 per month, and over $1,000 per month for the advanced, high volume solutions. The DP Line 10 works with your PC to create a mail center for even the smallest office, with prices starting at only $15 per month.
Data-Pac postage meters also allow a wide variety of reporting – including accounting, operator, and presort – as well as an array of special features. These include:
- Feed deck
- Return address printing
- Power stacker
- Multi-level accounting
- 25- or 75-pound scale with built-in, non-dedicated computer for use in other mail center applications
Though Hasler is now owned by Neopost, the companies still have two separate sales divisions, and you may still manage your account through the Hasler website. Like Neopost, Hasler classifies (and prices) its machines by volume categories: low, medium, and high.
- Low volume: Lease rates average between $15 and $25 per month. Models include basic features, such as a scale that allows you to rate, post, and track items.
- Medium volume: Lease rates range widely, between $35 and $250 per month, as this is where features and capacity begin changing dramatically. These units have faster processing speeds and come with advanced features, such as folder, inserters, and labelers.
- High volume: Lease rates range between $200 and $550 per month, with these machines designed to handle organizations with advanced shipping needs, processing thousands of items each day.
Postage Meter Additional Costs
As with nearly every other business expense, postage meters have a variety fees and costs beyond the monthly lease payment and postage used. When looking at quotes, consider the following costs:
- Fees to refill the postage
- Fees to reset postal rates
- Insuring the unit
- Lease termination fees
- Property taxes
- Scale rental or purchase price
You can lower costs somewhat by looking for units that allow you to order supplies, such as labels and ink, through an office supply store rather than the company supplying the postage meter. It's nearly always cheaper to go through an office supply store.
Don't forget to ask the vendor how service and repairs are handled, since the manufacturer actually owns the machine. The main thing you want to know is, does the repair tech come to you, or do you have to send the unit back to the manufacturer for repair?
Free trial periods for new clients are fairly common and typically last between 30 and 90 days. In addition, many dealers offer a variety of freebies. Enjoy these, but don't forget that, if you want to cancel, you must do it within the trial period to avoid paying the dealer's fees.