Is franking the cheapest way to mail a letter?

By Dan Barraclough | Updated: 15 November 2018

Find out how much your business could save on the postage costs with our comparison tables below…

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to send post, then you should think about using a franking machine.

A franking machine provides the cheapest method of sending bulk mail, as well as being time efficient and hassle-free.

This article contains everything you need to know about cheap postage solutions for your business. Scroll down to find out how much you could be saving, and fill in the form at the top of the page to get free franking machine quotes.

Is franking the cheapest way to send post for your business?

Right now, you might be asking yourself: “is doing my own franking really the cheapest way to send post?”

The short answer is yes — and here’s why:

Saving your business money is one of the best franking machine benefits. Franking machine prices are set between 5% and 25% lower than standard mail prices. You will save between 7p and 10p on the cost of posting a standard letter 1st Class, and up to 14p on 2nd Class postage. This may not sound like a lot, but when you’re dealing with large quantities of mail — like our friend John in the video above — then small, incremental savings can add up to a lot.

Consider this: a business sending 1,000 1st Class letters each month would spend £8,040annually using standard mail, compared to just £6,840 with a franking machine. That’s a saving of £1,200! The question you should be asking yourself is: “Why don’t I already do my own franking?”

Franking machine progressing through mail

A franking machine will save you between 10% and 25% on the cost of sending a letter standard delivery

How much does a franking machine cost?

A basic franking machine will cost around £1,000. So, taking the example above, where a company sends around 1,000 letters each month with savings of £1,200 annually, a franking machine will have paid for itself in less than a year.

For a top of the range model, built to process thousands of letters an hour, you can pay up to £20,000. And while this will be out of the price range of 99% of businesses, it’s an indication of the variety of machines on the market.

If you’d prefer to spread the cost of a franking machine rather than pay a lump sum upfront, there are plenty of suppliers who give the option to rent or lease a unit.

Rental prices start from as little as £16.99 per month — though the price will vary depending on the volume of mail-outs. Typical contract lengths are between 12 and 48 months, with longer contracts offering the most competitive rates.

▶ Find out more: Franking Machine Rental Guide

Royal Mail franking prices

If you’re looking for the cheapest way to send lots of letters, a franking machine offers unrivalled savings.

Here’s a breakdown of the latest Royal Mail standard postage pricing and how much money you could save by switching to franking:

Postal charges for letters: compare postage rates
Royal Mail UK deliveryStandard pricesStandard franking prices% saved
1st Class standard letter (up to 100g)£0.70£0.648.60%
2nd Class standard letter (up to 100g)£0.61£0.4722.95%

And if you’re looking for cheap international letter postage the savings are just as impressive:

Franking machines: the
cheapest way to mail a letter internationally
Royal Mail international standard deliveryStandard pricesStandard franking prices% saved
International small standard letter (10g)£1.35£1.257.41%
International standard letter (20g)£1.55£1.456.45%
Europe standard letter (100g)£1.60£1.506.25%

There are also fantastic savings to be had on next day delivery:

Franking machines: the
cheapest way to mail a letter overnight
Royal Mail UKStandard pricesStandard franking prices% saved
UK guaranteed next day delivery by 1pm (up to 100g, with £500 insurance)£6.60£6.353.79%
UK guaranteed next day delivery by 9am (up to 100g, with £500 insurance)£19.28£17.966.85%

And for critical deliveries, there’s a franking “signed for” service to give you that extra peace of mind:

Franking machines: the
cheapest way to mail a letter with delivery confirmation
Royal Mail UK deliveryStandard pricesStandard franking prices% saved
Royal Mail Signed for (letter up to 100g)£1.90£1.843.16%

Mailmark franking: the cheapest way to mail a letter

Want to spend even less on your post? Enter: Mailmark.

Mailmark is Royal Mail’s newest, cheapest and most efficient franking mark. Rather than the traditional “crown and die” mark used by standard franking machines, Mailmark franking uses a machine readable barcode, which enables post to be tracked an distributed more efficiently.

Because it makes their lives so much easier, Royal Mail are keen for businesses to move to Mailmark franking as soon as possible. So keen, in fact, that they’ve set Mailmark franking prices even lower than regular franking prices:

Mailmark franking vs standard franking
Royal Mail UK deliveryStandard franking pricesMailmark franking prices% saved
1st Class Standard Letter (Up to 100g)£0.64£0.614.67%
2nd Class Standard Letter (up to 100g)£0.47£0.4112.77%
Save by Comparing Franking Quotes from Leading Suppliers
Do you already have a Franking Machine? YES NO

Getting up and running with a franking machine

Step 1: Choosing a supplier

It’s essential that your franking machine is Royal Mail approved, so the first step is to choose a legitimate supplier. If you’d like some help, fill in the form at the top of the page and we’ll match you with the most suitable suppliers for your business.

Step 2: Applying for a license

Once you have your franking machine, you’ll need to apply for a license before you can start sending mail. Not to worry, though – your provider can help you do this.

Step 3: Arranging credit

If you have a good idea of the volume of mail your business sends monthly, it pays to set up a direct debit credit account. Again, your provider will be able to help you do this.

Step 4: Starting mailing — how to post a franked letter in the UK

So you’ve got everything set up. But how do you actually go about posting your franked mail? Well, it’s no different to posting regular mail; you can either take it to the Post Office or arrange for it to be collected. To avoid additional charges, though, you need to ensure your post is sorted by class, size and destination, and that parcels are presented in mail bags.

Franking machine maintenance and running costs

Just like you would to your staff, you’ll need to look after your franking machine in order to keep it working at its best.

The advantage of renting or leasing a franking machine, over buying one outright, is that maintenance is usually included in the monthly fee. So if anything goes wrong with your machine, your provider will fix or replace it free of charge.

In addition to any maintenance costs, bear in mind there will also be running costs for:

  • Ink cartridges — £40
  • Labels — £20 per 1,000
  • Packaging — varies

Next steps: Get franking machine quotes

Expert Market is one of the UK’s leading franking machine comparison companies, and we’re here to help you get the best deal for your business.

Simply fill in our form and we’ll match you up to four top suppliers, who will provide quotes tailored to your specific needs.

Our quote finder service is completely free, it only takes a minute, and there’s no obligation to go with any of the providers you talk to.

Save by Comparing Franking Quotes from Leading Suppliers
Do you already have a Franking Machine? YES NO
Dan Barraclough

Dan’s a Senior Writer at Expert Market, specialising in digital marketing, web design, and photocopiers, amongst other topics.

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