Running a profitable business requires keeping a careful eye on budgets and reducing unnecessary costs wherever you can. Postage costs are one area where almost every business can make impressive savings as a result of just a few simple changes. Here are 10 of the best cost-cutting tips.
1. Send more emails. Although you won’t be able to replace all of your business mail with email, consider if it is always necessary to send an item by post or whether email will work fine. Not only will sending an email save you postage fees but you’ll also have a copy of the correspondence in case you need to reference it later. In addition, replacing postal items with email will reduce office supply costs as well as paper handling.
2. Stop paying customer expenses. Sending out return envelopes to customers – and especially postage-paid ones – is costly and unnecessary. When invoicing, request that customers supply their own postage or pay electronically. You can also get customers to print their own discount coupons and vouchers by sending them as an email attachment. This will save you having to mail them out directly.
3. Replace paper invoicing with electronic billing. Invoicing electronically rather than by regular mail will take less time to prepare – and because your customer will receive it straight away, you should get paid quicker too. In addition, ‘read receipt’ settings on most email programs means you can instantly confirm that your invoice has been received and read. Every business should have a computer with internet access these days so limit paper invoices to those few individual customers who don’t use the internet.
4. Change to franking. Investing in a franking machine for your mailing room will provide substantial savings over using stamps to send post, especially if you have a regular daily supply of outgoing business mail. Franking your mail instead of using postage stamps saves money on both first and second class letters. You can make even bigger savings by arranging deliveries into collections of 500 or 1000 mail items, thanks to bulk mail discounts.
5. Use dedicated software. There are many kinds of software program that can increase mailing efficiency, speeding up preparation and sending times and reducing costs. For example, the time spent on bulk mail preparation can be greatly reduced by using automating software. Mailing and address management software will also help reduce duplicate data that can result in wasteful deliveries. In addition, sorting your bulk mail efficiently will enable your business to qualify for bigger postage discounts.
6. Reduce express deliveries. Does that letter or package really need to go out overnight or can it wait another 24 hours? Unless your mail requires urgent and immediate attention, don’t waste money on costly overnight delivery or other express services. If it’s urgent, consider whether you can email the contents instead and, if it’s not, simply allow an extra day for it to get there. Simply switching from 1st class to 2nd class postage will save you nearly a third of the stamp cost.
7. Prepare mail more efficiently. Even if you’re a small business and doing everything by hand, you can still cut costs. For example, folding A4 letters to fit them into smaller envelopes will save you money because postal charges are based on weight as well as size. Ensuring your customer addresses are up to date will also cut back on wasteful undelivered mail. If a mail item is returned to you unopened, make sure you update your database so you don’t make the same mistake twice.
8. Use postcards. Depending on the contents, there are times that you’ll need to send a more formal letter and envelope. However, if you’re simply telling customers about a special offer or promotion, using a franked or pre-stamped postcard instead of a regular mail will greatly reduce the costs involved.
9. Cut back on trips to the post office. Spending time going to and fro the post office is a waste of resources so stock up on what you need and do it all in-house. For example, buy a tape measure and a set of postal scales to calculate mailing costs beforehand. You can also print mailing labels where you work and affix them yourself. After you’ve prepared the mail, call for a pickup.
10. Ask for discounts. Overnight deliveries or oversized packages can add significantly to your postage costs so shop around for the best deal. There are lots of competing delivery companies out there and they all want your business so negotiate prices beforehand, especially if you’re able to guarantee a steady supply of such items. Sometimes a simple phone call will be enough to get you a discount.
Reducing postage costs is a good discipline for reducing unnecessary costs across your business as a whole. Start making savings on postage costs today and put that money to work in your business instead.