The Franking Machine World Explained..

When posting your mail you have a wide range of options you can send it with the Royal Mail. If your mail is only a few a day then stamps would be a good option. If you send plenty of mail out or have monthly or weekly bulk amounts then a franking machine would be a good idea.

UK Franking Machine mail prices are up to 40% less than stamped mail in addition to many other benefits such as better accounting, ease of use, no more queues at the post office and a more Professional look.

For an up to date price comparison on stamp and franking prices CLICK HERE

Your franking machine can be bought outright or leased from Royal Mail approved suppliers, inspectors and Maintainers. Money for postage is added to the machine via ether an analogue phone line, a pc connection or a lan connection. This is then usually paid for by direct debit, bacs or cheque. Most franking Machines can print a personalised slogan and some can even now give the option of full colour logo printed that you design yourself and upload to the machine within minutes.

Some Key Points when choosing your franking machine to always ask are:

  • Ink cartridge Pricing & how long they last. (Always check what you are told by the sales person and often the information can differ from the manufacturers published official numbers)
  • Royal Postage price rate updates (always needed as most have built in scales)
  • 'Top Up' Fees.
  • Maintenance and service charges, onsite or return to base.
  • Logo / Slogan costs.
  • Delivered or installed.
  • Label Costs.
  • Are the suppliers Royal Mail approved suppliers and maintainers.

Now you have chosen your franking machine remember the following:

How to get your franked mail ready for the Royal Mail.

Before you begin, make sure your franking machine price and date is set correctly and you’ve got all you need to carry out your mailing.

The envelope types and sizes

You can frank onto envelopes of almost any size or colour, but to make sure a clear, legible franked print we recommend using labels on coloured or printed envelopes or packets. Appropriate labels are available from www.franking-labels.co.uk.

Getting your mail to the Royal Mail

There's a number of ways to post your franked mail:

  • Get it Collected: You can simply arrange for the Royal Mail to collect your mail permanently or as a one off single collection for a fee. Its always worth checking with the Royal Mail on 08457 950 950 the price to have your post collected.
  • Special Franked Mail Post Boxes: If you are near an industrial estate or an area with many local business's operating there's a high chance they'll be a 'Franked Mail' box. If you're lucky enough to have one of these nearby then these are always a good cost effective option.

    Franked Mail Box
  • The Local Post Office: Most franking machine users tend to take their mail the local post office.
  • The Local Sorting Office: You can also take your mail direct to the sorting office

Green and Red Bags

Once you become a licensed franking machine user the Royal Mail will issue you with red and green bags for 1st and 2nd class mail supply you with pouches to present your bundled mail in. Red Bags are for First Class and Green pouches are for Second Class mail.

Red & Green Bags

Standard Pillar Boxes

If you have a low amount of post you can use 'Late Meter Posting Envelopes'. These are simply oversize You can place your low volume franked mail or late franked mail into 'Meter posting Envelopes' and post them in a normal 'pillar' or Royal Mail Post Box. Late posting envelopes and low volume. Your franking machine supplier can offer these or you can get them easily online from sites such as www.meter-envelopes.co.uk.

Late Meter Posting Envelopes

Royal Mail Trays and Containers

If you’re mailing large amounts of Letters or Large Letters you can present your mail in trays or containers which are available from the Royal Mail.

Posting Franked Mail

Franking Machine Mail mail should be presented to the Royal Mail in the post area printed in the 'Town Circle shown on the franking impression. It should also be presented the same day it was franked.

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Five Popular Franking Machine Suppliers are Neopost, Pitney Bowes, Mailcoms, FP Mailing (Francotyp Postalia) and Frama. All offer Royal Mail approved digital franking machines. Scroll below for important information on each supplier:

  • Neopost: 01708 746000
    Neopost are the largest European Manufacturer and operate with target driven commission paid sales people. Their 'IS' Range of franking machines all use exactly the same high quality ink cartridge but the franking machines are programmed to give different amounts of impressions dependent on the size of the machine. Postage 'Top Ups' are charged for by how many times you add money to your machine in a 12 month period; 1 to 4 = £15.00, 5 to 10 = £30.00, 11 to 20 = £60.00 in addition to dialling a premium rate (090) number at £1.50 per minute if not using the LAN connection. Watch out for their 3 different levels of service agreements which if you are not careful you may not get what you expect such as onsite callouts and the Royal Mail Postage Rate updates. Customers who do not have them included can pay anything between £70 and £120 per rate update.
  • Pitney Bowes:
    08444 992 992
    A good choice of modern franking machines starting with the DM50. Pitney Bowes were way ahead of all other manufacturers with the latest VAT 'Smart Meter' technology. On the downside many online reviews have commented that Pitney Bowes customer service can be difficult even more so as much of their calls are now dealt with overseas. Pitney Bowes charge for all recrediting/postage top ups from £6.00 up to £13.00 each and even as a percentage of the amount uploaded. Watch out for their 'Value Max' insurance cover when leasing a franking machine, your general office equipment insurance should cover the cost of the franking machine without paying extra.
  • Mailcoms Ltd:
    01543 572776
    Mailcoms Ltd are a small family business operating throughout the UK. They are a Royal Mail approved Independent franking machine supplier, Inspector and Maintainer. They operate without using Sales People by emailing quotations and documentation to purchase. This helps their overall pricing and as such can be far cheaper than some of the larger manufacturers as they do not pay commission. This can also help with more accurate information given to their prospective customers. They try to be more transparent offering postage top ups with no add on charges and all Royal Mail postage price change updates are included free of charge with their support/service agreements. Unlike some of the other companies they also offer free installation and training on all its range of franking machines even the entry level systems that are usually 'Self Install' with the larger companies.
  • FP Mailing
    0500 223 563
    FP Mailing (Francotyp Postalia) are a large German manufacturer and use Franchises and resellers to sell their products in the UK via commission paid sales executives. Their current optimail series still uses thermal ribbons to print. This type of printing is not as good quality when compared to more modern inkjet systems. The basic little Mymail machine is a nice system for small users but the small scale platform isn.t removable and a large package or envelope can make viewing the screen on the machine a challenge. On a plus side is they offer one free recredit per month or 12 per annum included in their maintenance contract.
  • Frama (UK) Ltd:
    0800 085 1862
    Frama are the smallest of the manufacturers and also operate with a small number of commission paid sales people and 'one man band' sales agents/resellers. The Matrix F2, F4 and F6 continue to operate with the Frama 'Comtouch' screen system which some people like and others dislike (try before you buy). The Matrix ink cartridges use an HP inkjet cartridge that are have wireless eprom chips to tell the machine to stop working after a certain amount of impressions (even if there's ink left!). Top Ups are charged at £30 per 6 months and Royal Mail postage rate updates are charged at around £70. Frama offers to include these extras in some of their higher cost maintenance contracts so it may be worth checking to see what is included in your agreement.