As an office manager working for a small business, I like to find ways to make my job easier, faster, and more economical. When I first started my job almost ten years ago, the Internet was still a fledgling and awkward proposition. Packages and letters were sent out of my office using a postal meter in the back room – a clunky device that usually worked. My only other option was to buy stamps at the post office (USPS), run labels on my computer, and mail them out.
Fast forward a few years. The Internet is blossoming into a work-friendly institution with programs that actually make people’s jobs easier. In 2000, I researched a little program called Stamps.com, and became a loyal customer.
Stamps.com is a program you can easily download from their website to your PC. For a small fee ($15.99/month), you receive use of the program, free updates, and address correction. I use fluorescent labels for my letters and packages, so I buy special labels from a local office supply store for about $8 for a package of 150.
After you enter a delivery address into the Stamps.com program, it stores your address in a main address book so you don’t have to enter it again. You can create mailing groups so that you can print more than one label at a time.
Stamps.com offers a free digital scale and $25 in free postage to new customers. You’ll need the scale since you don’t have to make all those trips to the post office.
Stamps.com also offers address verification. When you enter in a new contact and address, the program will compare it to the post office’s listings. It will then suggest any address changes to make it compliant with USPS standards. This is a great way to make sure your package is headed in the right direction.
The Stamps.com program also provides lists for all your postage printed, and a history of purchases. This feature is a great accounting tool when you reconcile your credit card statements, or if you’re billing clients for postage fees. You also have a record of everything you’ve sent so you can tell a client or customer exactly when a piece of mail was sent out.
I prefer using labels to print my postage, but you also have the ability to print onto “stamps” or directly onto an envelope. You can also add special services such as delivery confirmation or return receipt.
One of the few draw backs to the Stamps.com program is its finality. If your labels or envelope misprints, you’re out the postage – there are no “do-over’s”. Occasionally the labels will jam in the printer, and I’ll be out a few dollars.
Working with Stamps.com for seven years has increased my productivity. The program is user friendly, and the long term savings are significant.