What is my preferred method of applying postage to letters? E-mail. But, when that is not an option and I am forced to send snail mail through the United States Postal Service, I settled on printing postage on a Dymo labelwriter through Endicia.
This program subsidizes the monthly fee ($9.99 and up) if you purchase your printer from Dymo (they also have a laser/inkjet option.) The labels can be purchased from Dymo, or there are a number of less expensive options on Amazon.com.
Downsides: (1) upfront cost of printer is about $100, and (2) you cannot print the right amount of postage for certified mail. The software is limited to printing pre-set amounts of postage for first class and package rates at specified weights, so printing the correct amount of postage for certified mail is impossible. You can slightly over-pay or you can buy certified mail stamps at the post office.
Why not just buy stamps at the post office? Lots of reasons:
- A single printed stamp looks very professional;
- I only have about $10 in stamp inventory at any one time, instead of pre-paying for $100 or more in stamps at the post office, or making frequent trips;
- The label printer is great for printing other labels too;
- The software keeps track of new postage rates for me.
- UPDATE: Office sharing attorneys can have their own accounts.
There are other ways to buy postage over the internet and print the postage directly onto the envelope, but these call require a monthly fee of $10 to $20 or more. Postage meters can run as much as $250/mo. for a small office.
UPDATE: #5 above is for multiple attorneys in one office. They can share a single printer and a supply of blank stamps, but each can pay for their own postage with a separate account setup on their computer. This is a huge advantage over trying to figure out who mailed more pieces each month and divide up the bill.
I also bought this postage scale for about $20 and it works great!