Cut Postage Costs With Email: Will This Close The Post Office?

by Stacey Doyle on September 8, 2009

Another money saving idea: cut postage costs and use email more often! But what are the consequences?

The cost of doing business is increasing just like the everyday cost of living. So as a way to cut down on these costs, more and more people are using email and social networks to communicate. If you’ve decided to go paperless and to try out online bill pay — and not just for the convenience either — you’ll find that these moves provide instant gratification without the cost of stamps. So what are the consequences of these changes? Well, because of consumers’ shift to things online, the United States Post office is downsizing as a result! Linda Welch, Postal Service acting vice president of delivery and post office operations, states: “Revenues have declined, and mail volume continues to decline.”

post office, mailman

Cut Postage Costs With Email. But Could This Close Your Post Office?

Does your regular mail sit around for a couple of days while you check your email every couple of hours? From grade school students to grandparents, everyone keeps in touch through email and social networks such as Facebook and MySpace. The reality here is that email is cheaper and more convenient than buying a stamp and waiting for your correspondence to reach its destination. When it comes to frugal choices, email is often the way to go for sharing photos and info.


So the Post Office is cutting back — that said, postal employees are facing unemployment prospects (just as it is with many other industries during this recession). What more, Postmaster General John Potter has asked Congress to consider making the normal business week for mail to be five days rather than six. If this happens, you can just imagine the savings we’d incur from such a change: it would amount to $3.5 billion! As a result, in the next three months, 3,200 post offices out of 34,000 will be reviewed for possible closure or consolidation with another area.

What If You Have A Business With A P.O Box?

Many small businesses and home businesses operate out of a post office box (mine included!). I’ve been concerned about what would happen if my branch closes. I’ve found that in this case, the Postal Service sends out a survey or hosts a meeting at town hall before a post office is closed. This alerts us to the fact that we might need to shop around for another post office box. If the nearest post office is far away, then we have a right to voice our concerns to our community — and there could still be a chance for our post office to be spared. Either way, we should have plenty of time to make changes and let our clients know where and how to get in touch with us.

What About Post Office Bailouts?

Back in March, Potter told Congress that the Postal Service would go broke this year. Does this mean that the Postal Service is looking for a bailout like the banks, insurance and auto companies? On the other hand, the only constant in life is change. The bottom line is that people are using email for daily correspondence more than ever before. The consolation, of course, is that packages and bulk mail will always exist, even as the Postal Service feels the loss of everyday correspondence.

Certain correspondence needs to be sent physically while routine correspondence is handled through email. Our important documentation, greetings, invitations and brochures are typically sent by postal mail so I’d expect that mailing prices will remain stable even for those areas that end up losing their convenient local post office.

Another possibility is that we’ll be relegated to sending and receiving mail for five days out of the week rather than six. This might be an inconvenience for certain businesses that will have to prepare for these changes. But you can look at it this way — this is the tradeoff we get for enjoying the savings and convenience of sending out letters, jokes, photos and business plans via email. Don’t you think it’s a pretty fair trade?

Here’s something we can all learn from the current plight of the Post Office: even institutions are forced to adapt to the times. In order to cope with modern living and the struggling economy, we may need to make adjustments with how we do business. Is it still possible to find business success in a bad economy? Unfortunately, during times like we have today, we may have to make many sacrifices and may have to let go of profits and assets to continue our momentum in this economy.

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Len Penzo September 9, 2009 at 6:04 pm

I think cutting mail delivery to five days a week is a terrific idea and long over due. Actually, it’s a no-brainer! The competition has made 6-day per week mail service unprofitable. For the Postal Service, continuing to raise rates will only further reduce their dwindling market share.

The move will save lots of money and it is not as if there aren’t other options available to us for getting messages and parcels delivered if need be.

My $0.02 (after taxes)

Len
Len Penzo dot Com

2 Bret September 14, 2009 at 8:55 am

I also think a five-day postage schedule is a way overdue. It doesn’t make any sense to spend all of the extra money for Saturday delivery.

I suspect the only thing keeping Saturday alive is the postal employees union. They know that by getting rid of Saturdays, there will be fewer jobs available. But, it’s more important to keep the postal service solvent, then to provide jobs which aren’t necessary.

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