A friend of mine runs a store and had a postage machine for a few years, he recently got rid of it, he said it cost to much what with buying postage, ink refills about once a month and the monthly fee to have the machine, it all added up so he decided to go back to using stamps
You have to look at the amount of time you will save. My mother who is an accountant has one. She uses it all the time and the time savings are beneficial. She can buy the postage online and writes off the costs as a business expense. I "borrow" it when I have a lot of invoices to go out. It is definately a time saver.
I may be wrong on this too... but your mail when time stamped with a meter will arrive at its destination faster than with stick on postage. Also it's nice to have when you send out different size packages/envelopes and you can give exact postage. Lastly, I think it offers a element of professionalism, for whatever it's worth. The bottom line though is that you have to justify the cost to make it worth while. Otherwise stick to stamps! I used to hate having to get the penny stamps when the Postal Service would raise the rates just so I could use my few remaining stamps at the old rate.
We tried one out they are nice but,
1. you need to be sending at least 200-300 mail a month.
2. Odd size or weight.
3. you have to pay to get it refiled.
on the other hand to can send messegess with your mail adjust the rate if it goes up but you can't do that with the scale,you can't buy the machine.
I have not noticed any difference in delivery speed. Much of my day to day mail is still stamped. Just when I have large amounts going out does it go to my mother's office. Of course she has a machine that will fold the paper and one that will seal envelopes as well. So there is real speed savings there.
My wife had gotten one from pitney Bowes.....used it for about a year before she was ready to shove it up Pitney Bowes #@!#@!@ She said they quoted one price on the monthly contract then charged another and everytime she would call in they would fix it then charge a different (higher)amount the very next month......Then You have to buy ink refills (only from them) that only lasted half the amount of letters they were suppose to print. So she would not have another if ya gave it to her......
The trade group I am treasurer of (Connecticut Grounds Keepers Association) has a small Pitney Bowes meter. It is handy because we have a lot of mailings each month - minimum of 300, sometimes 2000-3000. You pre-pay the postage, and for odd sizes, don't need special stamps. It costs about $1700/year billed quarterly and including local property taxes. That works out to about $140.00/month for the equipment.
Personally, $140.00 month doesn't make sense for my companies - 300-400 items per month average - sometimes more. We mostly mail standard first class with limited need for odd postage amounts, so the $140.00 would be an addition to the overhead cost of office staff already in the mix. Furthermore it would add more money to the cost of mailing then the postage. At $140.00/month - say 500 pieces of first class mail - would cost $ .28 each in addition to the $ .34 postage, plus the time necessary to operate the machine. That is a pretty heavy addition to overhead for no difference in results (the mail gets delivered the same way).
What is the value in savings to have such a machine - no matter how you slice it, it adds cost to the postage. If you can save on the labor, that should be the key to your decision making. Like John said - you will need to cost justify it. Don't get it just to make it seem like you are saving some time. Figure out the value of that time.
You said it right. It is all a labor savings. Part of that labor includes having to go and stand inline to buy stamps. That takes time as well. I think if there is enough mailings and you look at it that way then it is a time saver.
The good machines that are not meant for the homeowners but for professionals last much longer without problems. HMMM. Seems that we say the same thing about snowplow equipment. Always amazes me how someone will buy a expensive plow and a cheap computer. If you use a computer for billing then it is just a valuable for you business. Buy quality and you will not have breakdowns as often.