What is a franking machine?
The franking machine dates back to 1884 when it was first called a "postage stamp affixing machine." Now known as a franking machine or postage meter it's widely used throughout many businesses.
Much as its former name suggests, franking machines print postage directly onto letters and parcels in place of a stamp. Cutting out the need to visit the post office. Instead, you can drop your franked mail off at your closest post box or arrange a collection.
What does a franking machine do?
Franking machines calculate the correct postage price based on the weight of each item and then print the postage directly onto envelopes, labels or postcards.
The cost of each item is deducted from your pre-paid credit, which can be topped up via an online portal.
What is the advantage of using a franking machine?
Time-efficient; no more queuing at the post office
Postal discounts through Mailmark tariff
Manage your spend
Limitless, can mail as much as you like
Can add branding and Logo
Franking machines give you access to postal discounts as they print a 2D Mailmark Indicia, offering the lowest tariff for franked mail.
Royal Mail franking prices have a standard 1st class letter costing 78p whereas at the post office this would cost 95p, a 21.8% saving per letter.
Royal Mail franking costs can be here as well as Royal Mails authorised manufacturers of franking machines. Here you can drill down into the exact costs of the most suitable franking machine and supplier.
How much is a franking machine?
The price of a franking machine ranges enormously depending on what features you are looking for and the volume of your mail. It also depends on if you are looking to buy or rent.
There are three main types of franking machines; low, medium & high volume. Low volume is generally between 0-50 pieces of mail per day, Medium volume is up to 100, and high volume is over 100.
According to Franked Mail, these are the estimated prices you could expect as a guide to how much franking machines are in 2022.
£20+ rent per month
£1000+ new to buy, or £496+ used
Mail 112 2nd class letters per month minimum to break even
£50+ rent per month
£2500+ new to buy, or £995+ used
Mail 278 2nd class letters per month minimum to break even
£100+ rent per month
£5000+ new to buy, or £1495+ used
Mail 556 2nd class letters per month minimum to break even
How much does a franking machine cost?
It's not just the cost of your chosen franking machine. It's also the additional cost of materials, ink, labels, servicing/maintenance, license and labour cost of your employee.
Ink costs according to Expert Market for Franking Machines
Low volume - £80-£150
Medium volume - £200
High volume - £400
How often you need to replace your ink cartridge will depend on your usage but typically every couple of months or so.
There are many different size labels for both automatic and manual feeders. A necessary additional spend for those looking to adhere postage to parcels.
But there are also hidden costs to be aware of:
Meter reset fee
Dormant fee for dormant accounts
The NSF fee - non-sufficient funds
The service contract fee for those who opt to rent
Is a franking machine cheaper than stamps?
From the outlook, yes the postage is cheaper when using a franking machine over a stamp.
However, it does depend on what you are mailing and your monthly volume. If you mail less than recommended letters per month then the costs involved for franking mail will make stamps the cheaper option.
Mailcoms Franking savings calculator is a great tool that calculates the expected savings and costs for letters, large letters, small parcels and medium parcels. Showing both savings per day, week, month and year. What the same would cost in stamps and average ink and label cost too.
Are franking machines cost-effective?
Franking machines can be cost-effective as long as your volumes are there. They are an investment where you can make postal savings over time. It's not an instant reward or saving, there are setup costs and additional costs to weigh out.
Is it worth getting a franking machine?
For those mailing consistent volumes monthly, it is worth considering a franking machine. Use the franking saving calculator is ensure your savings outweigh the costs to make it financially beneficial.
A franking machine will keep everything in house from printing the items to mailing them. There is a strong chance that printing and fulfilling this will become time-consuming. We recommend factoring this into your consideration to decide if it is worth getting a franking machine for your business.
Can you buy your own franking machine?
Yes, you can buy your own franking machine brand new or second hand.
The advantages of buying your own franking machine:
No restrictions on materials voiding your warranty
No additional costs such as maintenance, delivery or installation
New franking Machines have a warranty
What if my volumes are smaller than low volume franking?
Franking mail isn't your only option. We have covered 5 viable alternatives to a franking machine in detail which cover:
Each has its own merits and drawbacks depending on your mailing and business needs. If you are looking to free up resources internally Hybrid mail or a 3rd party option would be the most suited. Or if you don't want to be tied into a contract, Hybrid Mail, Email, Stamps, 3rd Party or Prepaid envelopes are non contracted options.
If you would like to learn more about hybrid mail, an online print and mail service for letters our solution is PostboxNow. It's free to sign up, with no contract or minimum quality. Simply upload your PDFs and we will professionally print and mail your letters on your behalf.
As you can tell there are multiple factors to consider to work out the cost of a franking machine and if it will be cost effective for your business. If you would like to discuss alternatives to franking machines with us please call 0115 939 9797 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.