Choosing the franking machine most suited to the needs of your business doesn’t have to be difficult or time consuming. Any franking machine purchased or leased for use in the UK must have been produced by one of the four Royal Mail approved franking machine manufacturers: Pitney Bowes, Neopost, Frama or Francotyp Postalia (FP) and supplied by a Royal Mail approved reseller or maintainer.
When it comes to requesting an online quote for a franking machine it’s important you know your facts and specs because franking machines are serious pieces of kit and you need to have some prior knowledge before requesting your quote.
After all it’s no use requesting 4 quotes for a franking machine that handles 10,000 letters an hour when you are only sending one a day!
Hopefully by the time you have accessed some of the (we like to think) excellent information on our site you’ll be a lot more comfortable with the subject of frankers and be in a better position to make an informed request for a quote—which you can also do with us by using our quote comparison tool at the top of the page.
Things to Consider Before Making Your Quote Request
As you enter your details for a franking machine quote you can expect to be asked some very basic questions such as “How much mail do you produce each day?”
A simple question to answer on the face of it, but it is actually a very serious question to consider as your answer will go a long way in determining what sort of machine you end up receiving a quote for.
So as a first step you really do need to work out how much mail you send out per week, then daily, and be as accurate as possible.
Then you will be able to decide what capacity of franking machine would suit you:
- Low Volume (up to 100 mailings per day)
- Medium Volume (100-1000 mailings per day)
- High Volume (100-10,000 mailings per hour)
You will also want to give a thought to some basic components of a franking machine that you may wish to utilise. For instance would you need?
- Postal scales
- Company logo printing
- PIN protection
- Internet reporting
- Label printing
These may seem simple questions, and they are, but they do need careful consideration because once you make the initial enquiry you will be asked for contact details which will prompt further analysis of your business needs.
General Points To Remember When Requesting A Franking Machine Quote
It’s important to remember that there are only 4 officially-endorsed Royal Mail-approved manufacturers of franking machines:
- Pitney Bowes
- Francotyp Postalia Ltd (FP Mailing)
Each franking machine manufacturer tends to group its models in accordance with the volume of mail and size of business they are suited to, therefore you are likely to find common franking machine descriptions such as ‘entry-level/low volume’, ‘mid-volume’ and ‘high volume’. Knowing which category of outgoing mail volume your business falls into will further simplify the task of franking machine comparison.
Once you have ascertained the business criteria that your prospective franking machine needs to meet you will find that common comparators apply to every manufacturer and model of franking machine. The following comparison guide to the common features of franking machines will help you to make an informed choice of the most suitable franking machine.
A franking machine’s speed may often be referred to in terms of ‘cycles’ or ‘LPS’ (letters per second)’. Effectively this figure refers to the number of postal items that a franking machine can process (frank) per minute. Low volume franking machines can generally process between 10 and 20 items per minute, mid-volume franking machines around 100 per minute and high volume franking machines can process as many mail items as 200 per minute.
For larger organisations with significant daily volumes of outbound mail, the faster a franking machine’s speed the more efficient post operations will be.
The cost of replacement ink cartridges varies significantly between models and manufacturers, but may be a crucial factor in your franking machine comparison. Most manufacturers will provide an indication of the expected number of imprints from a single ink cartridge and by comparing different in cartridge costs with their expected imprints you will be able to identify the most economical franking machine dependent upon your needs. As an example, an ink cartridge for a mid-volume franking machine should produce 10 – 11,000 imprints before needing replacement, but the costs of a Mailcoms ink cartridge is around £80, whilst the cost of a comparable Pitney Bowes ink cartridge is around £130.
Most franking machines are provided either with an inbuilt weighing platform or the facility to attach an external electronic scale. Differential weighing allows a franking machine with an inbuilt scale to automatically apply the correct postage to post items of different weights without the need to batch them separately. This means that batches of mixed post can be processed and correctly franked without the need for manual intervention, thus improving post-room efficiency significantly.
When postage credit is running low, franking machines can be re-credited automatically via a phone-line connection. The cost for topping up franking machine credit varies from manufacturer to manufacturer. For example, Neopost applies a sliding scale of re-crediting charges depending upon how many times a franking machine is re-credited during a year, whereas Frama charges a flat rate every six months for re-crediting its franking machines.
When making a UK franking machine comparison there may be other features that are of particular importance to your business which will be offered on some franking machines but not on others. These may include:
- Multiple user accounts
- Multicolour printing
- Automatic envelope sealing
- Automatic post stacking
- Barcode scanning
- Touchscreen displays
Again, the combination of additional features provided by a franking machine will depend upon your personal preferences and the needs of your business, but once you have determined the most suitable manufacturer and franking machine based upon the main franking machine comparison criteria listed above you should be well on the way to make a sound investment that will not only save your company time and money but will also present a more professional image to your customers and clients.
So when you make your request for a quote make sure your potential supplier knows you are aware of these four companies. You don’t want to be fobbed off with some replica or dummy machine because if it doesn’t come with Royal Mail’s seal of approval you won’t be allowed to enjoy the benefits of franking. Mention that too.
The More You Know, the Better the Quote
Definitely words of wisdom those. If you know what you are talking about and what kind of franking machine you want a quote for volume-wise, the more in control you will be during the quoting process and the more likely it is you will buy or lease the machine that best suits your business needs.