I 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.
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 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, 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 )