Last Friday, Canada Post proposed an increase to its domestic and international postage rates to be implemented next year in an effort to offset a continuing drop in mail volume. If approved, the cost of Canadian and U.S. stamps would increase by five cents each to 90¢ and $1.25 respectively, starting January 11, 2016.
The hike only applies to stamps sold in booklets, coils or sheets for letter mail weighing 30 grams or less. Stamps purchased individually will continue to cost $1. Rates for international destinations other than the U.S. are set to rise 10¢, to $2.60, while a domestic rate increase for mail weighing more than 30 grams is also in the works. The decision follows a much larger rate increase last year, when Canada Post raised the cost of standard stamps 35% from 63¢ to 85¢.
According to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business (CFIB), 98% of small and mid-sized businesses in Canada send correspondence by post each month. If approved, the hike would cause significant extra costs to these regular users of Canada Post—some 40% of SMEs send at least 50 pieces per month, and 46% of SMEs depend on postal service to receive payment from customers.
Want to avoid paying more for your postage? Here are some alternatives for companies to consider in three key mail categories.
FreshBooks has over five million users and provides business owners with the ability to invoice their clients quickly and easily. It creates your invoice, schedules recurring invoices, and performs data entry and tracking for you. All you have to do is provide your logo, payment terms and client information, and the software will calculate the taxes and convert the currencies to give you your sum total. You can try it free for 30 days, after which it costs $19.95 a month to manage 25 clients and send unlimited invoices.
Intuit QuickBooks is a cheaper and simpler version of FreshBooks, charging $9.00 a month for its EasyStart plan. The plan covers invoices and receipts, downloading of bank transactions and works on PC, Mac and mobile.
Once you’ve invoiced a client, you still need to get paid. Paper cheques are being replaced by electronic payments in most European countries. In Canada, TD’s Bill Payment Creditor Service, RBC’s Corporate Creditor Bill Payment Service andCIBC’s Merchant Electronic Bill Payments Service all allow your customers to make their payments to you electronically using their online banking service.
E-commerce businesses delivering large parcels can create an account on either eShipper or Flagship to mail their package at a lower cost than Canada Post. EShipper is a Canadian discounter for express delivery services like UPS and Purolator, and has been around for many years with a sound billing system.
Flagship compares courier rates from Purolator, UPS and FedEx, and gives you the cheapest option available. It also offers exclusive, special shipping rates for its customers and provides one consolidated invoice for all your shipping activities.
MORE LOGISTICS AND POSTAGE:
- What Small Businesses Gain From Canada Post’s Loss »
- Will Canada Post’s New Delivery Change Hurt Small Business? »
- How to Ship on the Right Terms »
- The Cost-Cutting Opportunity Many SMEs Ignore »
- When to Jump the Supply Chain »
Will Canada Post’s latest rate hike hurt your bottom line? Do your still rely on the Crown corporation to deliver invoices and parcels? Let us know using the comments section below.