The life of small business owners and office managers is a balancing act between keeping the day-to-day wheels turning and focusing on growth. Unfortunately, a significant portion of their valuable time gets eaten away by administrative tasks. According to a Zippia study, on average, employees waste more than 21 days a year doing menial or repetitive tasks at work. The same study found that U.S. companies lose an average of $1.7 million per year for every 100 employees because of wasted time. For small businesses with less than 25 employees, hundreds or thousands lost can mean even more when you consider that only a fraction of new small businesses survive their first five years.

    One particularly time-consuming task that is rarely talked about is mailing and shipping. Despite advancements that have revolutionized nearly every other facet of business operations today, mailing processes in many small businesses remain largely manual. Consider that an office assistant might make delivery runs two to three times per week, spending about one hour per trip. Annually, this could add up to over 130 hours – more than three full workweeks – wasted on mailing tasks. This translates to lost productivity, employee frustration, and ultimately, a hit to the company's bottom line.

    Consider the wasted time associated with:

    Dropping off mail & packages: This process eats away at valuable time that could be dedicated to higher-level tasks.

    Calculating exact postage: You can waste minutes and money guessing and deciding on the correct postage amount for specific envelope sizes and weights. With so many options, many will overpay and apply excess postage to ensure delivery. If sizes and weights are wrong, there’s also the potential for extra fees from carriers.

    Handwriting addresses and applying postage individually: Not only does this consume a significant amount of time, it also increases the risk of error. This can result in important mail being misdelivered or delayed.

    Scattered tracking numbers: Keeping track of numerous tracking numbers from various shipments can be a logistical nightmare.

    Uncertainty with postage costs: Not knowing how much postage you need annually prevents you from accurately forecasting expenses and making plans to grow your business.

    This is more than a minor inconvenience. For businesses like legal offices, financial institutions, and real estate firms, the inefficiencies and risks of manual mailing processes can impede growth. In an economy where small businesses – even in office settings – are already tightening their wallets, optimizing these processes can save valuable time and money.

    Embracing Technological Advancements

    By integrating online postage platforms, small businesses can overcome these inefficiencies and turn their mailing processes into a streamlined, cost-effective part of their operations.

    • Online Postage Printing: Web-based postage platforms reduce the need for physical stamps and delivery runs. These platforms allow users to input their exact specifications and print postage with just a few clicks, eliminating any guesswork.
    • Unified Shipping and Mailing: Web solutions offer a one-stop shop for all mailing and shipping needs. Users can access services from multiple carriers, create mailing lists, design and print shipping labels, schedule pickups, and track shipments – all from a single interface.
    • Discounted Postage Rates: Many online postage providers offer significant discounts on postage compared to traditional stamps. These savings can add up quickly, especially for businesses who depend on mail to issue invoices, receive checks, and send important documents and packages.
    • Easy Tracking and Management: Buying and printing postage online enables small businesses to track their spend, understand mail classes used across their business, find opportunities to reduce costs, and manage user activity in a way that makes everyone more productive.

    Additional Tips for Streamlining Mailing Processes

    Beyond embracing technology, there are other practical steps small businesses can take to streamline their mail center operations and enhance overall efficiency.

    • Consolidate Mailings: Instead of sending out multiple mailings throughout the day or week, consolidate all mailing tasks to be completed at a specific time.
    • Audit Mail Needs: Determine what percentage of business communications can be handled digitally (email, social, etc.) and what percentage will continue to require physical mailing and shipping to right size your needs.

    The Benefits of Modernizing Your Mail Center

    By streamlining mailing, small businesses can achieve:

    • Improved Planning and Forecasting: The ability to track mailing and shipping spend allows small businesses to better plan expenses and forecast growth.
    • Increased Efficiency: Streamlined mailing processes free up owners and office managers to focus on more strategic tasks. Automation and consolidation reduce repetitive tasks and optimize workflows.
    • Reduced Costs: Discounted postage rates and eliminating wasted time translate into significant cost savings - from hundreds to tens of thousands annually, depending on the size of your business.

    Streamlining mailing and shipping is the hidden key to freeing up valuable time for strategic thinking. In today's economic climate, every efficiency gained is a step towards stability and growth. Optimizing mailing processes might seem like a small step, but it can have a big impact on a business's ability to thrive.

    Hannah Robus, Head of Product at, leverages over a decade of product development expertise to drive innovation in mailing and shipping solutions. Under her leadership, continues its 25-year legacy of providing organizations with user-friendly software, exceptional customer support, and access to carrier services online at deeply discounted rates. Hannah is dedicated to simplifying mailing and shipping, helping businesses save time and money. She can be found on LinkedIn here.