“Franking machines can save you a lot of money, but it’s important to spend a fair amount of time doing your research to make sure you get the right one for your business.”
Finding the right business or industrial mailing machine to suit your particular business needs depends to a large extent on how much mail you send out on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
That may seem an obvious statement to make, but it is actually the key to making sure you choose the right machine for your business activities.
Task Checklist for Choosing a Franking Machine
- First calculate your daily, weekly and monthly business mail outgoings.
- Factor in postage-use estimates in line with anticipated business growth.
- Give due consideration to budget and financial issues.
- Consider SMART franking machines to reclaim VAT if applicable.
- Conduct thorough research into models available in your chosen category (low, medium or high volume).
- Seek further help and advice from a Royal Mail-approved distributor in your local area.
- Ideally, arrange to view a demonstration of a franking machine you like to fully assess its capability.
First Things First: Weigh Up Your Postage Use
It is easy to get swayed by the hype surrounding the huge savings you can make on postage costs when using a franking machine. However, if your business postage is irregular and very low, you may find that getting a franking machine won’t be very beneficial for your business after all. It is always best to check how much return you’ll get on your investment.
The first thing to do is check your postage volume. There are generally four categories for this:
- Low volume—up to 30 items of mail a day
- Mid-volume —20–100 items of mail a day
- Mid/High volume—30–500 items of mail a day
- High volume—500–1000s of items of mail a day (or an hour in some cases)
Low-volume machines cost from around £500 to £1,000 to buy new, whereas medium- to high-volume machines retail from £3,000 to as high as £22,000 new. However, there are many suppliers offering a wide range of franking machines on lease to help make your switch from ordinary stamps to franking a bit more affordable.
Another consideration to make when deciding which franking machine would suit your business requirements the best is whether or not you are already using VAT-able services from Royal Mail.
If you are using VAT-rated services from Royal Mail, you’ll want to make sure to have a look at the SMART range of franking machines. These are machines that use Internet and digital technology to frank mail at VAT-inclusive prices, thereby making each item of mail you send accountable for tax purposes.
More importantly, using a SMART franking machine will enable you to reclaim the VAT you have been charged on your postage.
You also need to be aware that there are associated costs with using a franking machine on top of the purchase or lease costs, such as annual servicing, ink, top-up fees and labels. You’ll need to factor these in when searching for the best franking machine for your business.
What to Do Next
Once you have decided what sort of franking machine is best for you, you can check out the various makes and models that are available to give you a better idea of their capability, features and functions.
The good thing is there aren’t that many to choose from. That’s because there are only four franking machine manufacturers that are under exclusive and official license to Royal Mail, and only 20 Royal Mail-approved distributors and servicers of these franking machines.
The four manufacturers are Pitney Bowes (Essex), Neopost (Essex), Frama (Hertfordshire), and Francotyp-Postalia (Kent). All four design low to high volume machines to a high and rigid standard that must pass Royal Mail inspection before any of them can be passed on to the UK business community.
The websites for these companies contain extensive information about each franking machine and some even contain videos of the machines in action.
Once you have completed your initial research, you can then contact one of the 20 firms on the official Royal Mail list of approved suppliers to arrange an actual demonstration or to discuss certain models in greater detail.
If your outgoing mail fits the high end of the low volume category of franking machines at the least then you stand to save a lot of money on postage costs through Royal Mail franking discounts.
We are confident that by following the steps outlined above, you will easily be able to find the right business or industrial franking machine to suit the needs of your business in a short space of time.