Buying postage for your business has never been easier. Home, office or remote location, wherever you do business you can print stamps, weigh packages and purchase the exact postage you need right from your desktop or mobile device.
There are a lot of reasons to forego standing in line at your local Post Office or a carrier’s store to buy postage. You might be seeking a contactless experience or looking for ways to streamline order fulfillments. But the biggest enticement for most small businesses are the deep discounts available when you buy shipping labels and other postage online.
So, skip the lines and prepare to save some serious money with these answers to your online postage buying questions.
How do I buy shipping labels online?
You can buy the exact amount of postage you need online for each piece of mail you send – from First-Class letters to large Priority Mail packages. We focus on buying shipping labels here because it’s the most involved process and generates the most questions.
Where can I buy a shipping label online?
You can buy shipping labels and other postage online through any of the major carriers’ websites or through a carrier-approved online shipping service. Whichever way you go, you’ll be required to create an account before you get started.
The major carriers let you create an account and use their online service free of charge. A free account with your favorite carrier can seem like the most obvious choice, but if you ship at least one package a week on average you’re better off going with a shipping service.
There are serious advantages to subscribing to a fee-based online shipping service. For one, you can compare prices and services from all the major carriers and choose the best one for each shipment. PitneyShip subscriptions start as low as $4.99 month – money you can easily recoup if, for example, you ship four or five packages a month through USPS. PitneyShip has a handy online calculator that can provide an estimate of the savings you can realize based on how much you send.
Is it cheaper to buy and print shipping labels?
Yes, it is. Many of the major carrier’s offer discounted postage rates when you buy shipping labels online through their websites. Even better, online shipping services can provide negotiated rates that are better than what the major carriers themselves offer (subscriber pools = bulk discounts).
For example, PitneyShip offers discounts on First Class® letters, Priority Mail®packages and UPS® daily rates.
Your investment in supplies is minimal, too. If you have access to a printer and some paper, you can buy and print a shipping label right now.
How do I pay for shipping labels online?
Small businesses need options. And when it comes to paying for your shipping labels online, you have them:
- Credit card: All the major carriers and online shipping services accept credit cards when you buy shipping labels online. You might be charged a minimal service fee for the transaction, but this pay-as-you-go option is used by many home business startups.
- Prepaid deposit account: Another pay-as-you-go option, a prepaid deposit account lets you deposit money in advance and draw on funds as needed for postage. With a PitneyShip/Pitney Bowes account you can earn interest in the form of postage credits based on your average daily balance.
- Line of credit: This send now, pay later option lets you consolidate sending expenses into one monthly bill. PitneyShip subscribers can apply for a line of credit through the Pitney Bowes Bank and use it to pay for postage, meter rentals, shipping and supplies. Plus, you can earn Loyalty Rewards that can go toward free postage and supplies.
How do I know how much postage is required?
You can buy the exact amount of postage required for your shipping label by specifying the size, weight, destination and required delivery time.
A scale can really help you take control of your mailing expenses by helping ensure you never overpay for postage due to overestimating the weight of your packages. (PitneyShip subscriptions include a free 10-lb scale).
Another foolproof alternative is to buy shipping labels via Priority Mail Flat Rate. You can order free Flat Rate boxes and padded envelopes through USPS and ship anything that fits inside for one flat fee. Take note: it’s against the law to use these boxes and envelopes for non-Priority Mail shipments.
What happens if I pay too much or too little for a shipping label?
If you’re buying shipping labels through PitneyShip, USPS automatically verifies if accurate postage has been applied to your package. If your calculated postage differs from the postage you paid, USPS notifies your service and your service will make the needed adjustment to your postage account.
If you’re shipping a package independently of a service and you underestimate the postage your package might be returned to you or it might arrive at your customer’s door with postage due. If you overpay, you overpay.
How do I create a shipping label?
The steps for printing a shipping label differ by carrier and online shipping service, but these are the basic steps you’ll follow:
- Enter your customer’s address or select one from your address book.
- Select the type of package and enter the package information (weight and dimensions). If you have an attached USB scale, place your package on the scale.
- Select the shipping date, then compare and select the carrier and service you want to use.
- When you’re ready to buy and print your shipping label, hit Print.