Mail Room: Ask Sandra

Sandra Long, vice president, Printer Market and Customer Development, Pitney Bowes, answers your questions about mailing. Send your questions to her at I typically prefer to use a permit for postage payment, but some of my customers request a stamp or a meter imprint on their mail. Why is that and are there easier ways to process these?

A: Using a permit is easy for a printer to print in one pass, but may not give your customers what they are looking for. Stamps are usually requested because they give a very personal appearance. Often, nonprofit organizations may choose to use postage stamps, such as pre-canceled stamps, for special campaigns. These can be applied automatically on many tabbing machines. The biggest downside to stamps is that they are like cash and can be easily lost or stolen.

Many corporations prefer metered mail because it provides a more business-like impression, and does not look as “mass-produced” as permit imprints may. Additionally, metered mail can be dated; many companies require this.

The good news is that there are new communications devices which can print both a meter indicia with or without a date or a permit imprint, as well as return addresses and other graphics in black-and-white or color. All this can now be accomplished in one pass while sealing the envelope. Permit mail will probably remain a popular way for printers to pay for postage, but it’s important to know the benefits of all methods so you can truly offer the most value to your customers.