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Last updated: 3 August 2021

Find the Best Franking Machines

What Is a Franking Machine?

A franking machine, also known as a postage meter, is used to weigh and frank all outgoing mail. The franking machine stamps the outgoing mail with the appropriate postal stamp, depending on its weight and destination. Franking machines allow you to pre-pay your mail, and deduct the cost from the designated business account.

Having a franking machine allows users to quickly and easily manage their mail while saving time and money. The machine is equipped with a programme that does all the work for you. All you need to do is put in the envelopes and input the correct information into the machine and everything is taken care of.

Do you think your business could use a franking machine? Market Inspector can help by providing you with up to 4 free, no obligation quotes.

Top 5 Benefits of Franking Machines

When you buy or rent a franking machine, you receive franking privileges, allowing you to send your mail franked, rather than stamped. Because Royal Mail doesn’t pay for the stamps, you receive a discount up to 35%. With routine increases to the price of postage, you are guaranteed to save money by switches to a franking machine.

Franking machines can be used for all your business’s postage needs. This includes First Class Mail, second class mail, special delivery, recorded delivery, mailsort, cleanmail, international/airmail, and ParcelForce worldwide services. Whether you want to send a simple letter or a large package or parcel, your franking machine can be used.

Franking Mail

Discount:

Of course, for most people the most important reason to get a franking machine is to cut down on your postage cost. Every year the Royal Mail sets the prices and corresponding discounts. Depending on the amount of mail you send, having a franking machine could help save hundreds of pounds per day. This graph shows the current franked mail prices (2017), so you can compare postage rates.

Mail Type and WeightStandart PriceFranked PriceSavings (£)Savings (%)
1st Class Standard Letter (Up to 100g)£0.65 £0.55 £0.1015%
1st Class Royal Mail Signed For® Letter (Up to 100g)£1.75£1.65£0.106%
2nd Class Standard Letter (up to 100g)£0.56£0.38£0.1832%
2nd Class Royal Mail Signed For® Letter (Up to 100g)£1.66£1.48£0.1811%
1st Class Small Parcel (Up to 1kg)£3.40£3.12£0.288%
1st Class Small Signed For® Parcel (Up to 1kg)£4.40£4.12£0.28 6%
2nd Class Small Parcel (Up to 1kg)£2.90£2.62£0.2810%
2nd Class Small Signed For® Parcel (Up to 1kg)£3.90£3.62 £0.287%
Special Delivery UK Letter - Guaranteed Next Day By 1pm (Up to 100g, with £500 insurance)£10.74£6.20£4.5442%
Special Delivery UK Letter - Guaranteed Next Day By 9am (Up to 100g, with £50 insurance)£18.36£17.10£1.26 7%
International Small Standard Letter (Up to 10g, any destination)£1.17£1.07£0.109%
International Standard Letter within Europe (Up to 100g) £1.57£1.47£0.106%
International Standard Letter outside Europe (Up to 100g) £2.27£2.17£0.104%

Professional look:

Whether posting to you customers or business affiliates, sending franked mail gives your packages and letters a professional look. With the postage meter, you can customise the franking mark to include either a logo or even promotion, giving the post a legitimate and professional image.

No over- or under-stamping:

Thanks to the franking machine you can easily avoid under-stamping, which can be quite embarrassing seeing as the recipient has to pay for the difference. Avoiding over-stamping can also save a lot of money in the long run.

Convenient:

With a franking machine you have all your supplies right there, and there is no need for trips to the post office, saving you time from the get-go. With the franking machine you also keep track of mail expenditures without fault, seeing as the machine will record all your transactions for you.

Faster delivery:

Franked mail receives special treatment, and is the first to be sorted by Royal Mail. Most post offices even have dedicated post boxes for franked mail. You will also be provided with special franking bags by Royal Mail, allowing for faster and easier organisation.

Postage Meter Mail

The Latest Franking Technology: Mailmark Franking Machines

The newest innovation when it comes to franking is called Mailmark. This is a new method of franking more efficient and even less expensive than traditional franking. Using something called “enterprise intelligent barcode” or IED for short, this lasted technology improves all aspects of franking.

Thanks to this improved franking method the cost are even lower, and you can save even more with a mailmark franking than normal franking machine. If you are looking to buy a new franking machine it may be worth it to invest in a mailmark franking machine, to save even more.

On top of that, mailmark also allows you to keep real time track of anything you send, thanks to the specific barcodes corresponding to the send mail. And of course, you still have all the traditional benefits that come with having a franking machine.

Buying or Leasing a Franking Machine

There are many different types of franking machines, suitable for all sorts of situations. Of course, the prices reflect this, and costs can vary immensely depending on the franking machine you choose. If you are in need of a franking machine there are a few different options for acquiring one that are worth considering. One of the decisions that needs to be made early on is whether you want to buy or rent a franking machine. Of course, there are pros and cons to both options, which we describe below.

Buying a Franking Machine

The main advantage of buying a franking machine is that you can count it among your assets, and have lower postage costs throughout its entire lifetime. You do have to pay the upfront cost, which can either be a positive or negative, depending or your business. The fact that you own the machine also means you are free to choose where to buy supplies from, rather than being tied to a specific supplier.

The downside is that you may have to put in extra work. The maintenance needs to be arranged and supplies are not automatically delivered. Though of course, it is possible to get some form of service contract. There is also the risk of the model becoming outdated or obsolete, in which case, the supplies can be difficult to find, and a replacement can up the costs.

Franking Machines

Renting a Franking Machine

The alternative to buying a franking machine is renting one, which comes with a number of its own unique advantages. For one, there are no big upfront costs, and you pay a monthly fee, which depends on the machine you choose. Renting the machine also includes service and maintenance, meaning that you don’t have to worry about the upkeep of the machine. On top of that, it is much easier to replace the machine in case of a problem, or exchange it if the machine no longer meets your needs.

The downside to renting a franking machine is that the total lifetime costs are higher than purchasing a franking machine. And, of course, the fact that you do not own the machine can be a downside for some. Renting a franking machine can also mean you are tied to a specific supplier, dissolving the liberty to choose your own.

How to Decide Whether to Buy or Rent

Whether you should buy or rent a franking machine really depends on your wants and needs. Both are viable options, with each their own advantages and disadvantages. You should carefully consider both before making a decision.

But, no matter whether you want to purchase or lease the franking machine, it is essential you obtain it through a manufacturer or supplier with a seal of approval from Royal Mail. If not you run the risk of obtaining an unlicensed machine that won’t work.

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UK Franking Machine Suppliers

In the UK there are four main manufacturers of franking machines, all of which have been approved and accredited by Royal Mail. Besides these manufacturers, there are also a number of licenced independent suppliers.

Neopost: Reportedly the number one European supplier of franking machines, this company was founded in the UK in 1924. They provide franking machines to all sorts of businesses, from home offices to large corporate-sized operations. They have the largest range of products in the UK for purchase or rent.

FP Mailing: Francotyp-Postalia Mailing is one of the larger worldwide franking machine manufactures, supplying more than a quarter of a million customers in 84 countries. They manufacture a number of different models, including SMART and Mailmark franking machines. They are known for their integration of cutting edge technologies and user-friendly interface. The mostly work with businesses that operate with very high volumes of mail.

Pitney Bowes: Second only to Neopost when it comes to their range of franking machines, this company has products suitable for all kinds of businesses. Pitney Bowes also provides their own unique Intellilink service. This gives machine owners access to a number of additional online services that enhance their franking machine’s capabilities.

Frama: Heralded the “Best Franking Machine Manufacturer in the UK” by Wealth and Finance international, this Swiss company offers an impressive array of products. They are known for their skills in handling sensitive, financial information. Their machines also include a “OneTouch Key” feature, allowing you to save a lot of time by selecting the correct tariff and mail time with a single button.

UK Franked Mail

How to Use a Franking Machine

Franking machines come in many different models and sizes, but they all perform the same basic functions. They mark the envelopes and packages with a franking mark, in the required red ink. This takes the place of the traditional stamp, and replaces it with the required franking information: the price, and identifier number, date and usually the place of posting. There is also the possibility of adding other features, such as a greeting, logo, message or sent and return address.

Machines can either be pre-loaded with the postage, or you can pay via invoice. In both cases the postage is not limitless, but it can easily be topped-up whenever needed. It is also extremely important to keep the Royal Mail tariffs up-to-date, in order to get the franking discount. The machine must also be licensed in order to keep up-to-date on the regulations, this is done on a yearly basis.

Once the machine is ready for use, all that needs to be done is to get the post ready to be sent out. Most franking machines either include, or can be connected to a scale in order to weigh the mail. If not, this can be done manually. Based on the weight and type of the mail, the machine will determine the franked rate.

Depending on the machine, you can either feed in a number of envelopes and it will automatically print the proper label onto it, or otherwise, it will simply print a sticker label which can be stuck onto the envelope. The same goes for larger packages which cannot be fed into the machine. More expensive models can also include a number of additional features, such as stacking and sealing.

Royal Mail provides businesses that use franking machines with the necessary equipment to send the franked mail. This includes a number of bags, trays, and pouches which will show the post office they are dealing with franked mail. There is also the possibility of having the Royal Mail come and collect the franked mail, which can be a convenient option for businesses with high mail volumes.

Franked Envelope

Franking Machines for Small Businesses

Even for small business, having a franking machines can be a very worthwhile investment. Even if you send only a few letters per day, a franking machine can make a big difference. Depending on how much post you send out on a daily, weekly or monthly basis, there are plenty of franking machine models to choose from.

Most manufactures propose different models, each of which is suitable for different businesses. Franking machines are usually categorised by the volume of mail they can handle on a daily basis, from low volume to high volume models. The volume can range from 20 to 30 letters per day, to an upwards of thousands.

In case you are unsure of the type and volume of mail that is handled on a regular basis, it is recommended to lease a franking machine before purchasing one. This is especially the case for growing businesses, seeing as the volume of mail can change over time. In this case, a rental contract could avoid the risk of being stuck with a machine that cannot handle the required volume of mail.

If you are interested in buying or renting a franking machine for your business, you can fill in the form at the top of the page. We will provide you with up to 4 free quotes, with no further obligation.

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