IT Solutions Firm Lowers Costs, Becomes More Efficient with Online Postage

August 20th, 2010 Comments off
Stephen Yoss, President of mantisPRO

Stephen Yoss, President of mantisPRO

Recently, we had the opportunity to sit down with Stephen Yoss, President of mantisPRO, to see how his company became more efficient by moving from a postage meter to Stamps.com online postage.   mantisPro is an IT solutions firm specializing in communication (VoIP) and document management solutions for businesses.  Stephen Yoss started using Stamps.com over 10 years ago at his family’s CPA firm.  His goal was to save time and money on his USPS mailings.

Stamps.com: How did you find out about Stamps.com and online postage?

mantisPRO: We’ve been with Stamps.com probably since the beginning.  We originally heard about the service from a colleague in the accounting profession so we gave it a shot.  We’ve always been the kind of firm that invested in technology, training, and support.  It was a natural move for us.  So we downloaded the software and instantly saw the value in it.  We’ve been with Stamps.com ever since.

We probably sent back our Pitney Bowes machines with Stamps.com postage!

Stamps.com:  What type of mailing program did you use prior to online postage?

mantisPRO: We used a variety of technologies.  From something as simple to just putting a stamp on a letter to having an expensive postage meter.  Our business gets very busy once a year during tax season.  And during that time of the year, it’s great having a meter, but the rest of the year it didn’t really make sense to us because we weren’t really using it all that much.

We moved away from that postage meter because of the cost of leasing the equipment.  There were maintenance fees and other costs that we didn’t really understand.  With the Stamps.com subscription  model, it was much more cost efficient and you just use print postage when you need it, right from your desktop.

Stamps.com: What type of features were you looking for with online postage that you were not finding with a Postage Meter?

mantisPRO: In our industry, we bill by the minute and if you’re not billing, you’re not making money.  From a cost standpoint, we had to pay for the postage meter equipment, the account fees, and the fee to add more postage to the meter.  All these fees really added up quickly.  Over the lifespan of our postage machine lease, something that should have cost very little ended up costing a lot.

By moving to Stamps.com, we not only saved money but we also saved time, which is very important to us.

Our product is our knowledge and our ability to produce for our clients.  With Stamps.com, we were able to free up the time of our associates.  Instead of having to either call a company in order to buy postage for the meter or go to the Post Office for stamps, they can just print the postage that they need and move on to the next project.  At the end of the day, our time is the most important thing to our business.

Stamps.com: Was it hard to get started?   Did you find the software easy to use?

mantisPRO: Yes, absolutely easy to use.  When you log in to the software, you select exactly what mail piece you are trying to send, whether it be a package, a postcard or a letter.  Then you select how much it weighs.  If it’s a flat rate mail piece, Stamps.com will tell you don’t even bother weighing this, just print the postage.

If you need additional services such as return receipt, certified mail, or insured mail, the software will print that particular piece and deduct the amount accordingly off your account balance.

Getting started was easy to do.  Just download the software and you’re done, for the most part.  Input your credit card information, buy the NetStamps, and you’re ready to go.

Stamps.com: What type of mail pieces do you commonly mail out?

mantisPRO: We send a variety of packages out —  everything from basic letters to large envelopes with tax-returns, to packages, to whatever.  We use the scale and either print the label or we’ll print a sheet of NetStamps.

We usually have a couple of different folders for our clients that we’re tracking costs for and we’ll keep postage in a folder for each of them.  We’ll print out a sheet of labels and use them as need be.

We always have one sheet of labels with like 10 stamps or so missing because that’s when we need to print a stamp with $1.50 or a $2.51 denomination.  Stamps.com gives us that flexibility.  The cool thing is, Stamps.com tracks what stamps are gone from each label, so you’re never printing the wrong one to an empty space.

Sometimes we’re sending something as simple as a bill, or a letter, then we’ll just print First Class postage.  If we’re sending a postcard, we have the flexibility to print $0.28 postage stamp.  There are so many different things you can do within Stamps.com that really makes it effective for us.

Stamps.com: What type of cost tracking and reports have you used with Stamps.com?

mantisPRO: We have a lot of clients that we handle all of their back office support for.  And for these clients, it’s very easy to track what you’re spending your money on with Stamps.com.

With Pitney Bowes, or a traditional machine, we would just meter the envelope and it would be done; we didn’t really track the costs to that level. But now, we have an account for each client that allows us to pass the cost of the postage on to them and track those costs more effectively.  So instead of our company just eating the entire cost, we’re able to make sure we’re being reimbursed for the postage we use for each client.

Also, the only real expense is the labels, which is completely reasonable.  There’s no equipment leasing fee or other hidden fees, and at the end of the day, a stamp costs the same no matter where you buy it.

Stamps.com: Does mantisPro ever send Certified Mail?

mantisPRO: When you’re an accountant, you’re dealing a lot with sensitive information, and for some things we need to know  the tax return got there on time.  We often encounter stragglers who come in on April 14th.  We really don’t have time to complete their taxes, or we can’t e-file a return, but we need to make sure an extension gets to the IRS on time — you know, due to professional liability.  So yeah, we’ll select Return Receipt and Certified Mail to make sure that that item is taken care of.  We’ll do that on a case by case basis.

To learn more about mantisPRO, visit their site at www.mantispro.com

Categories: Customer Profiles, Postage Meters Tags:

The Hidden Costs of Postage Meters

October 5th, 2009 1 comment

Postage meters may sound like a great way to save time and money, but the added operating costs associated with a postage machine can increase dramatically.  You might think that you’ve covered all necessary fees just by buying a postage meter and paying $25 to over $50 a month to rent/lease it, but hidden fees often lurk beneath the fine print in your contract. Your business could spend $90 or more each month before you print any postage.Postage-Meter

So what type of hidden postage meter fees should you watch out for?

Proprietary Ink Cartridges:
Postage meters only work with proprietary ink cartridges that are specifically made for the meters, The ink itself can cost up to $0.10 per print. As an alternative, online postage software like Stamps.com uses your own printer and costs about 1/100th of a penny to print postage.

Postage Reset Costs:
Recharging your meter with funds to buy more postage isn’t always free. Whether you’re buying a refill online or over the phone, you will need to pay a reset fee. It can add up – costs could get as high as $10 per recharge.

Equipment Insurance/Maintenance Agreement:
Postage meter contracts want you to purchase equipment insurance, often referred to as a maintenance agreement for additional monthly costs (usually around $12 per month).   If your meter breaks and you don’t have the maintenance agreement, you’ll be stuck paying for costly repairs to get it fixed.

Early Termination Fee:
Postage meter contracts are complex documents and usually last several years. Ending your contract early can trigger an “early termination fee” costing your business hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Equipment Return Fee:
Once your meter contract is over, the customer often is responsible for mailing back the large and cumbersome meter at your cost, no matter if you ended your contract early or if you fulfilled your long-term lease.

Additional Equipment Costs:
The postage meter isn’t the only thing you’ll need to print postage. While most people assume the scale is part of the meter, some meters require a separate rental fee for the integrated scale.  And without a working scale, your meter is wont be very effective. 

Annual Postage Rate Updates:
Postage meter companies also may charge you to update the postage rates on your postage meter for annual USPS rate increases, or else your machine won’t work.

Custom Logos:
If you use a company logo or a rotating seasonal image on your postage, it will not only cost you more in ink to print but the postage meter company also will charge you up to $95 per image customization fee.

Stamps.com Online Postage Contains No Hidden Fees
Thankfully, you don’t need to sign up with a postage meter company in order to print postage. Stamps.com lets you print USPS-approved postage using your PC and printer, which translates into no additional costs for you. Starting at $15.99 a month, Stamps.com’s service costs a fraction of what postage meter companies charge. Also, there are no multi-year contracts or proprietary ink costs with Stamps.com.

Additionally, Stamps.com offers free or discounted Delivery Confirmation and a 10 percent discount on package insurance, rate discounts on Express and Priority Mail, address verification and “cost code” reports to outline how much you’ve spent on a particular customer or shipment.

Categories: Postage Meters Tags:

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