For many small businesses, postage meters (and the associated overhead) were once a necessary evil. In the “old days,” print and mail services were something only the larger companies could afford, so there were basically two choices when it came to mailing invoices and other critical mail: purchase or lease a postage meter, or run to the post office every time the need arose. In the nineties, business owners were offered another option via the emerging world of the Internet and e-commerce: to buy stamps online. But while the Internet has continued to evolve, perceptions of these options have failed to keep pace. Because now there’s another option that enables small businesses to affordably leverage the convenience of online printing and mailing: print-to-mail services.

What are print-to-mail services?

In an earlier post, we explained the differences between “print-to-mail” and “print and mail” services, but, in short, print-to-mail services enable small- and medium-sized businesses to send digital files directly to an external company for printing, stuffing, pre-sorting, and mailing, without the high volume requirements of a more traditional mailhouse. This outsourcing can now be done for smaller volumes at a reasonable cost, resulting in efficiencies that not only save money but also allow your employees to focus on their core competencies.

But I have this meter… what I do I do with that?

Do your research. Start by evaluating what you mail today, including your current processes, frequency, and urgency. Then look at the costs associated with producing the mail. What supplies do you use and who does the mail production and metering? Make sure you don’t overlook the meter itself; there are often fees associated with special inks or annual leasing, and in most instances you must maintain a balance on your meter account which ties up your money. Finally, take a look at exactly how much you spend on postage each month, quarter, or year. Then evaluate online print-to-mail services to determine which ones meet your volume needs and budget.

Problem solved: dump the meter and reap the benefits.

Recognizing that businesses of all sizes face budget challenges, outsourcing continues to be a mainstream topic in the news, in boardrooms, and in offices around the country. For small businesses, outsourcing isn’t always a viable option at an affordable cost, but the benefits when an optimal outsourcing opportunity arises are easily measured. Eliminating the direct fees related to your postage meter is just one advantage; increased processing speed, reducing supplies expense on paper/envelopes, and freeing up your team to focus on higher-value work all make outsourcing of your business mail an easy-to-implement and low-risk way to quickly impact your bottom line.

Tim Furr, Director, Business Development

MailXStream is an online print-to-mail service that allows you to control the important parts of the print-and-mail process–your document content and format–with the rest of the nuance and tedium left to MailXStream. For more information, check out or reach out to us.

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