Mail Call

Know Your Options

Mailing equipment can either be rented, leased or purchased outright. You may prefer to lease to con-
serve working capital, then upgrade equipment as your business grows. Renting is the easiest method because if you need to cut costs at any time, you simply hand the equipment back and walk away. If you are leasing, you are obligated to make all the payments specified in the lease. However, leasing offers advantages including lower rates than renting and the ability to roll the lease over for upgraded equipment.

If a mailing equipment salesperson sells you on leased equipment that ends up being too sophisticated for your needs, some suppliers will purchase the competitor's lease and put in their own equipment. When shopping around for equipment, ask if there are any special promotions available before you sign.

Basic machines lease from about $25 to $35 per month; more sophisticated machines for $60 and up. Anything more expensive than that is usually best suited to large corporations. The average lease is for five years and can include maintenance and free postage refills; the average rental agreement is for one year.

Carefully read the contracts you are offered, and, if renting, make sure there is no mention of the word "lease." Also, always ask what options you have if you need to get out of a lease.

Make sure the company is postal-certified with the USPS. Salespeople should be knowledgeable about their industry, the laBODY USPS regulations and rates, and ask you questions about your mailing process--how many boxes, how frequently you ship--so the equipment they recommend fits both your business and your budget.

When shopping for mailing equipment, allow the salespeople enough time to make their pitch. The right mailing equipment can save you money, but only if you give the salesperson enough time to analyze your needs.

Jill Amadio is a writer in Newport Beach, California.

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This article was originally published in the February 1997 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Mail Call.

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