Introducing a franking machine into your business will both reduce your postage costs and transform the efficiency of your outgoing mail system.
When you’ve made the decision that either leasing or buying a franking machine is the right choice for you, the next step is to get the machine installed correctly. Most machines are relatively simple to self-install but some will need to be installed by a trained technician. If your machine is leased the installation may well be included as part of the service. Then you can start using the machine and start saving money…but how do you use a franking machine?
Using a Franking Machine: The Basics
When presented with any new technology or machinery it’s natural to feel a little apprehensive. While each make and model of franking machine will vary in the way it operates and special features, the general process of franking mail is very simple.
Here’s a step-by-step to guide you through the basics of using a franking machine to post your mail:
- Weigh the item. Many machines will have a built-in scale. You need to place the mail item on the scale so the machine can automatically calculate the exact weight; this means you won’t over or under pay on postage.
- Use the buttons or touchscreen to enter the size of the letter or parcel and select which Royal Mail service you would like it sent by e.g. First or Second Class.
- If the machine enables you to add a marketing or general business message to your envelope you can do so now using the buttons or touchscreen.
- The franking machine will now automatically calculate the postage you need to pay including the discounts applied by the Royal Mail for franking your post.
- Now you need to print the franking mark (displaying the postage paid, date and any company information) onto the envelope. You will need to either feed the envelope through the machine to be stamped or, if it is too large to feed through, you can print the franking mark onto a label.
- Post the item(s) at your local post office or Business Posting Box (see the rules on sending franked mail below).
The machine is linked to your account with the Royal Mail and will automatically deduct postage costs as you go, displaying your level of credit so you can monitor your expenditure and top us as needed. It needs to be inspected and approved by the Royal Mail each year and updated regularly to ensure you’re working with up to date postage costs.
Optional Features to Consider
- Some franking machines have an automatic envelope feeder so you don’t need to manually feed every item through which is particularly handy when sending out large quantities of mail at once.
- Not all machines have scales built-in so you may need to provide your own. In this case you would weigh the item and manually enter the weight into the machine.
- The envelope size you can feed through the machine will vary from model to model so be sure you’ve selected a franking machine which suits your business’ needs. Sticky labels are best for packages that won’t pass through the machine.
- Franking machines will display the amount of credit left in your Royal Mail account but some will also print detailed breakdowns and statements for your records.
- If your franking machine has the functionality to support multiple accounts then each user will need to log-in before starting the process and log-out at the end. This enables you to monitor postage costs by department or user.
Posting Franked Mail – The Rules!
The Royal Mail has strict rules and requirements around franked mail which you need to follow to ensure your business gets the full benefit of your machine.
- Any mail that is franked will be stamped with a date and a postage area; each mail item has to be sent on the day it was franked. If for some reason you are unable to do this you’ll need to re-frank it the next day with a new date.
- The franking stamp (or label) has to be positioned in the top right hand corner of the item, in red ink and clearly legible.
- When posting multiple items you need to sort them into letters of the same class and bundle them together with the franking mark facing upwards. You can then place the bundle in a special Royal Mail franking pouch which will be either red for First Class or green for Second. These pouches are supplied free of charge by the Royal Mail.
- For businesses which produce large quantities of mail the Royal Mail have sacks or trays/containers. These will need to be taken to a Mail centre or collected by the Royal Mail. These collections can be on a regular and even daily basis.
- Do not place any non-franked mail in with franked items.
- Your franked mail can then be posted via the following places:
- Post Office
- Public post box – in a franking outer envelope (supplied by your machine provider)
- Business mail post box
- Mail centre
- Your local Enquiry Office or Customer Service Point.
We strongly recommend comparing multiple quotes to make sure you’re getting the best deal. We can arrange for up to 3 no obligation quotes from the UK’s most trusted franking machine providers. Complete the form below and get free quotes within 1 hour!