What is a franking machine?
Franking machines feed and stamp mail with the appropriate postal mark, representing the correct mail charges based on the package’s weight and destination. Instead of leaving you to stick stamps on by hand, a franking machine marks many different items very quickly. The according postage fee is then deducted from the business holder’s account.
Franking prices are set by Royal Mail, with modern franking machines keeping their price tariffs up to date via local area network connections.
What is a franking machine used for?
A franking machine is used to send a large amount of post with minimal effort, marking lots of post very quickly. What’s more, franking postage is much cheaper than regular stamps, which is a big advantage for business owners.
Every kind of postage can be applied with a franking machine, from regular second class postage to Special Delivery™ 9 am. In addition, you can print company logos, or any personalisation, to give your mail a fresh look. You can also apply a return postage address to your post to engage with your recipients.
▶ Find out more: Benefits of renting a franking machines
Saving by switching
By using a Royal Mail-approved franking machine, you could save between 21% and 34% on first and second class mail compared to regular stamps.
But there’s more. Franking machines report on your postage costs, making it easy to claim full expenses on your tax return. They’re dynamic too, with many different models, brands and sizes to suit different businesses.
Franking Machine Benefits
There are many benefits that come with investing in a franking machine, including:
- Royal Mail postage discounts
- Allows for professional branding and corporate identity
- Avoid over and under paying postage
- Save time and effort on stamping
- Keep records to help with tax returns
Franking machine prices
Prices can vary widely. For example, you can purchase a low-volume machine from around £995, or rent one for from around £14 per month.
Mid-volume models are designed to work at speeds of up to 40 letters per minute, and will often boast additional features. These include accounting records, automatic rate updates and weighing scales.
These particular franking machines also come with 10 programmable slogans that you can choose to print alongside postage stamps, which is an excellent advertising tool. Such machines can cost somewhere in the region of £3,000 to purchase or £60 a month to rent from most reputable dealers.
High-volume machines can feed up to 300 mail items per minute, and come with a whole host of other advanced features. These models cost anything from a few thousand pounds to over £20,000 to buy, or £100 to £400 per month to rent.
Renting vs buying
Many businesses prefer renting to buying because the cost of renting a franking machine can be spread over a number of months, with rental prices starting from as low as around £14 a month.
With renting, the machine will never be yours, but it will remain installed and working for as long as your rental contract lasts. Many top dealers will offer a 30-day free trial period, so you can try the machine before committing to a rental price.
Finding the cheapest machine
Your franking machine should perform all the tasks that your business requires to succeed, so there are some things to consider when picking one.
As your business grows, so will the volume of mail you need to post. Buying the wrong machine and then having to upgrade shortly after will cost you more money, so always be realistic with your needs, even if it means paying a little more at first.
If you buy a lower volume machine and over use it, you’ll run the risk of mechanical issues, which may not be resolvable under a maintenance contract. The repairs could be quite expensive, and only offer a temporary solution because you’ll encounter the same problems over and over again.
Franking machine manufacturers
There are only a handful of UK franking machine companies that are authorised by Royal Mail to manufacture machines and supply them to the public. Check out our snippets on each manufacturer below…
Quadient (formerly Neopost)
Rated number one for customer satisfaction on Trustpilot, Quadient is an industry leader, offering a wide range of franking machines to suit any business size.
Work from home? The IS-280c can sit nicely on your desk, and the IN-360 is a powerful, compact option for any small business. If you’re handling up to 100 mail items per day, these models should do the trick.
Next on the list is the IN-600. This one is more suited to large volumes of mail, handling up to 350 items per day. At the end of the Quadient scale, there are two high-performing machines – the IN-700 and IS-6000c, which can handle around 5,000 items per day.
To learn more, read our guide to Quadient franking machines.
Inventor of the first commercial postage meter, Pitney Bowes is currently the second largest franking machine company in the UK.
The smallest of its top quality machines is the DM60, suitable for up to 30 items per day, while the DM110i, DM160i and DM220i digital machines are quieter and more efficient, making them ideal for any small office.
For larger businesses, the DM300M and DM400M automatically frank, seal and stack your post, maximising office productivity. These two larger machines are lightning quick, processing up to 95 letters a minute.
To learn more, read our guide to Pitney Bowes franking machines.
Started in Germany in 1923, Francotyp Postalia is now one of the leading franking machine companies in the UK, supplying businesses with small, medium and high volume machines.
Starting with the smaller options, the PostBase Mini can be used at home, while the PostBase Econ will suit any small business.
The newly upgraded PostBase Office, PostBase Enterprise, and PostBase Enterprise +Pro machines are quick and easy to set up, ideal for any medium-sized business.
Still not big enough? No problem – the PostBase Ten can sort up to 110 letters per minute, while the PostBase One uses a dynamic feeding design for sorting your mail quickly.
To learn more, read our guide to FP Mailing franking machines.
With almost 50 years of experience in the postage metre field, Frama’s franking machines could be what your business needs to improve its mailing output.
Unlike Neopost, Frama UK uses the latest generation Matrix F series. Swiss made, these machines have OneTouch technology, which removes the risk of surcharges or underpayments with Royal Mail items.
The Matrix F12 and F22 are compact, easy to use, and tailor-made for small businesses. But things get a little larger with the F32, F42, F62 and F82, which are all high-performance machines, ideal for busy mailrooms.
To learn more, visit the website: Frama UK franking machines.
Need help finding the right franking machine for you? Tell us about your business using the form at the top of this page, and you’ll receive customised quotes from leading franking machine suppliers that can meet your needs. This enables you to compare quotes, and ensures you get a great deal.