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Print Postage Online

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Post Office in Mooresville, ALI hate going to the post office. It doesn’t matter what day I go or what time of day I go, there is always a line and there’s always only one or two tellers working. I’ve gone to post offices that serve a large residential zip code and post offices that serve a smaller residential zip code, there is always a line and never enough tellers. If we’re near a holiday, forget it, I’ll be waiting in line for at least half an hour. If you visit the PO with any regularity, I bet you understand my pain.

The worst part is watching people struggle through a process that is otherwise fairly straightforward. People show up with packages they haven’t even finished packing! I understand not knowing how much postage is needed but to not have your package taped up and ready to go is inexcusable.

So, that’s why I try to do as much as I can at home so I can shorten the time I’m stuck in the post office. Recently, with all the shipping I’ve been doing related to contests and auction winners in the Bargaineering Bucks store, I’ve been considering printing my postage online. Here’s what I’ve found.

USPS

You can print postage from the United States Postal Service website. It’s absolutely free with no surcharges but you’re limited to the higher classes of mail (Priority, Express and International Mail). One added bonus of printing postage online, and this applies to any electronic postage service, is that you get delivery confirmation free. When you print postage, it comes with a tracking number absolutely free, so you automatically save yourself 65 cents.

Most of my mail is sent media mail (books people win from the Bargaineering Store) and you can’t print stamps from USPS.com. So while USPS gets my seal of approval, it’s not the best option for me and my mailing needs.

Stamps.com

Stamps.com is one of a few approved licensed vendors for PC postage for the USPS. I’ve used Stamps.com in the past and really liked their service, but canceled because I didn’t mail enough for it to be worth it. For me, the biggest draw now is in the time savings. With services like Stamps.com, you can print postage and addresses directly onto letters and labels. You can also print regular postage, so I can print my media mail postage at home and just drop it off at the post office.

Much like with printing postage at USPS, you get free delivery confirmation on packages on Priority Mail, and it’s in savings like that where you start saving money. Here are a few other areas you save:

  • 5% discount on Express Mail shipments
  • Up to 11% discount on Priority Mail shipments
  • 5% discount on Priority Mail International, 8% discount on Express Mail International
  • 10% discount on insurance (with no forms or Post Office drop off required)
  • If you use Fedex, you can get up to 21% off those services too. (Premier customers)

They offer a free four-week trial in which you get $25 of postage, a $50 5-lb. digital scale (I still use mine from years ago), and $5 of “supplies” (which are self-adhesive labels you can print the stamps onto). The service costs $19.99 a month.

Endicia

Endicia, owned by Newell Rubbermaid, is another online print postage service that has several service plans, including a free service. The cheapest pay service costs $9.99 a month and can get up as high as $99.95 a month. There are some nice features included in the higher packages (such as stealth postage, which hides the value of the postage). It’s unclear what you get with the free package but it doesn’t seem like you get too much, but with most of their plans costing less than Stamps.com, they’re certainly worth a look.

Are there any other online services that let you print your postage?

(Photo: houseofsims )

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24 Responses to “Print Postage Online”

  1. CuriousAG says:

    Great post Jim!

    I don’t mail that frequently but have seen times when I had to mail something but found it very difficult because of my job schedule. Next time I am definitely going to try stamps.com. Thanks :)

  2. Robert says:

    Jim ~

    Another advantage of using USPS.com ~ you receive a small discount by purchasing your postage online. For instances, a small Priority Mail flat rate box or flat rate envelope, costs $4.80, normally $4.95.

    Not a huge savings, but these days, every little bit helps!

  3. Fairy Dust says:

    I would vote for endicia hands down … if I still had the volume of mailing to do that I used to with my former home-based business. I loved the stealth postage feature and also how much cheaper their insurance was (and easy to make claims on) than the postal service’s.

    Now, though, that I’m only an occasional mailer, I’m usually using USPS via paypal for anything I sell on ebay. And when I have something to send media mail, like a book via paperbackswap.com, I’m almost forced to use *gasp* stamps :) But as long as the book is under a lb, I can still put those little packages with stamps out in my mailbox. I am always trying to avoid waiting in the postal line!

  4. Andrew says:

    I use DymoStamps from Endicia. There are no fees, but you have to buy their blank stamps, and you have to have a Dymo TurboWriter label printer (which I have anyway). Despite all the warnings, I have found that third-party blank stamps, which are much cheaper, work fine. However, there are no refunds whatsoever, so make sure you’ve got the stamps loaded in the machine and that you’re putting on the proper amount. Also, you can’t print a custom amount, so you might have to round up by a few cents or add some low-value stamps to get the exact postage. I’ve never had a package kicked back to me for weighing over 13 ounces using this method, so either it’s OK or the postal service in my area is particularly lax with the rules.

  5. eric says:

    Oh god…you don’t know how many people I’ve seen in line waiting to get up to the counter to start wrapping their stuff. It’s like they have to do it in front of the clerk to be sure or something. Drives me crazy.

  6. Caitlin says:

    For those of us in Canada, I print my Canada Post postage through PayPal. The time savings alone are well worth it, though you do get a bit of a discount too. Printing out postage and just dropping off the packages is great.
    I hear you about waiting in line as the post office! I don’t know what goes through some people’s heads sometimes, starting to wrap or address packages there instead of ahead of time. It’s not like the post office needs to supervise you to make sure you write out your friend’s address properly. :p

  7. Master Allan says:

    Selling 3 or 4 items by online auction every week I visit the post office about twice weekly, often regrettably. The USPS added automated postage machines to many of their locations however those unprepared in long teller lines have just migrated over to the machine. I cannot explain why most people seem to act like it’s their 1st time at the post office.

  8. Rebecca says:

    I’d like to add another vote for Dymostamps. I purchased a label write to help organize files and such, but have gotten most of my use out of the stamp printing ability. There is no cost for the account, just buying the stamp labels and paying for my postage. Between Dymostamps for letters and USPS for packages I never have to wait in line at the post office.

  9. thomas says:

    Great review of online alternatives to shipping. I really only ship during the holidays and that ends up being shipping with the store.

    I wonder those who are super eBay sellers are using to minimize costs.

  10. jenn says:

    stamps.com is actually 15.99 a month not 19.99. I think it has stealth postage too :)

  11. chris Cruz says:

    I HATE waiting at the post office too. Especially when people dont even have their stuff boxed or packaged and expect the workers to box it for them. I use USPS.com all the time. It’s great because they also pickup for free. You just have to schedule it online. If you just hand the mailman a big box without scheduling they’ll give you attitude.

  12. Neil says:

    I use PayPal. It supports media mail (I’m mainly shipping a few books a week) and is only an $0.18 premium. With that, you get shipment tracking – a vital thing when people may question where a package went.

  13. Jim you hit a nerve with me on the inconsidates that crowd our post offices . . . ugh! After they finish at the post office, they rush over to the bank and then the supermarket!

    I am familiar with the Newell Rubbermaid product– it’s a pretty good solution.

  14. Amanda says:

    My vote is for Paypal. The delivery confirmation on everything is definitely a plus. The main problem though is that you can’t print international first class mail… to ship internationally you have to ship priority. I’m wondering why the USPS rates keep rising but their service is getting worse and worse… what exactly are we paying extra for?? Not to mention that the more it costs to mail an envelope, the less likely I am to mail one. I can pay all of my bills online, so why waste the stamp? I’ve even stopped mailing cards for the most part and I wait until I see someone to give it to them.

    • Andrew says:

      What is your evidence for your contention that postal service is “getting worse and worse”? Mine has been pretty much the same my entire life. Not fantastic, but pretty damned good considering the universal availability and low costs.

    • Andrew H says:

      You are paying for higher wages, fuel costs, paper costs (all those free boxes, etc.?), and other factors which could be described as inflation.

    • Rhoda says:

      You can’t use paypal to print postage unless the person pays you via paypal, is that correct??

  15. Gary says:

    I just put my mail in the mailbox with no stamps but with enough money to cover the postage. The mailman brings my change back the next day and leaves it in the mailbox. I don’t pay extra and I don’t have to worry about buying enough stamps to keep around for the next round of bills.

    I guess it’s neat to print the envelopes with postage but that uses ink (which is another hidden cost) and it’s just too easy to put an unstamped envelope in the mailbox with a buck.

    BTW, I can also purchase shipping supplies (and just about any USPS service) through my mailbox just by leaving a note and money in the box.

  16. JoEllen says:

    I have been using the paypal multi-order shipping tool for a couple of years. Now, when the busy selling season is on at amazon.com and half.com this service has failed me! It has been down for about 3 weeks! They tell me that it is my computer, BUT, I went next door, used my son’s fancy computer and get the same message “paypal shipping is unavailable at this time”. So, please HELP! I need to mail about 20 books, media rate per week and these trips to the post office are getting OLD!. Has anyone else had problems with paypay that you have been able to fix? Yes, I called them three times……

  17. Soccer9040 says:

    Paypal Multi-order tool has also been great for me. You get the discount of buying your postage online. Our mail man is a bit of an idiot so we can’t take advantage of the free pickup thing. I usually stop by every few days to drop off packages. I get so much satisfaction walking in with a pile of boxes and walking past everyone waiting in line to either drop them off on the counter, or deposit them in the APC.

    Multi-Order does have its fair share of downtime unfortunately.

    I am however sick of the postage increases we have been getting in the past year. Flat rate went from 7.10 to 7.70 to 8.10 to somewhere in the 9s now. I dont even keep track. I just pass that right along to my customers and tell them to complain to the post office.

  18. Alen says:

    I use Paypal to print all my labels for EBay sales. I can buy insurance, ship internationally and get Delivery Confirmation for free just like the USPS website, plus I get the discount. Paypal notifies the ordering party that their package has been shipped and provide them with tracking info as well. Absolutely the best way to do business!

  19. Myra says:

    What a great forum! Jim, Thanks for the in-depth info. I, too, dread the trips to the post office. With recently relocating, we had many USPS “headaches”! I do have to agree…the older I get, the more it irritates me. I have better things to do; however, I do meet interesting people when I have to wait in line.


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