Franking machine prices
Franking machine prices need to be carefully considered when a business is looking to buy or rent. Find out more about the various options today
Although we live in a world that is increasingly connected electronically, your company still has need for sending items through the Royal Mail, perhaps even greater need if you are an online retailer.
Whether your company sends fewer than 1,000 letters and parcels per month, or over 1,000 pieces per day, savings can be had by taking advantage of the discounted tariffs Royal Mail gives to companies using franking machines to print postage.
Even greater savings are available to customers who utilise the new Royal Mail Mailmark® rates and accountability options. You might not have decided your company require a franking machine until now, or the machine you have now might not be compatible with the Mailmark® and you’d like one that is.
Franking machines are not one size fits all, so shopping for one is not as simple as it first appears. You’ll want to know what they can do, how fast do they do it and how long can they keep it up. After deciding what you want it to do, you’ll have a better idea of what the correct one for you will cost.
The market tends to separate models into low, mid and high volume machines, and below that is done be equating the volume to the budget.
Franking machine price factors
Purchasing a franking machine will cost somewhere between a couple hundreds of pounds and a few thousands.
How much you will need to spend depends on a variety of things:
Most newly designed models allow the use of Mailmark. Since Mailmark was only introduced in the last couple of years, if the machine you use is older than that, it will not be so equipped. If you desire the lowest postal rates with the highest tracking and accounting features, you need Mailmark compatibility.
How pieces of mail does your company send? This is the primary factor which separates machines into classes.
A machine designed for low volumes might safely frank up to 100 or 200 pieces per day, though lower volume machines are available since franking will still save costs at that pace.
Mid volume will include companies sending up to about 1,000 letters and parcels per day, whilst high volume is any number above that. The more a machine is expected to frank, the sturdier it’s built and the more it costs.
Speed and volume do not necessarily go hand in hand. Some suppliers provide machines that will tolerate higher volumes for a higher price than the last, without being any quicker at it.
The prime factor for speed at entry level is how long it takes the printer to make the impression on the envelope or tape after inserting by hand. After making the printer reach a certain speed, all that’s left is to add upgrades which are discussed further on.
All come with an integral weighing platform which allows for totalling the postage given the class of mail and the dimensions of the piece as entered by the user.
Expect scales that can weigh up to 5 kg for the cheapest machines which works well for letters and small parcels. Some machines in that class will offer connectivity to larger scales, but generally the higher volume machines include higher capacity scales.
Modern machines allow users to track mail expenses by separating into accounts at the time of franking. Low end machines will have five to 10 accounts with higher end machines including accounts in the hundreds.
Machines with automatic feed start to appear at the beginnings of mid volume range. These may not make the printer any faster, but they make it faster for the users. Sealers save time in preparation and output trays organise things at the end.
How much do franking machines cost?
Entry level franking machines with the lowest speeds and volume capacities, hand fed with dial up connections, should cost less than £1,000 to purchase. Mid-budget choices will be in the £1,500 to £3,000 range with high-budget models commonly going as high as £20,000.
The table below includes a quick comparison of the prices mentioned above.
|Entry-level franking machine||Lower speeds and capacity.||Up to £1,000|
|Mid-level franking machine||Better speeds and capacity, may offer more features.||£1,000 to £3,000||High-budget franking machine||The best possible – great speed and capacity, with settings and features included.||£5,000 to £20,000|
Doing a bit of research turns up suppliers who repeatedly claim that even volumes under 10 letters per day will be cheaper using a franking machine under Mailmark tariffs than with stamps.
A second class letter costing 56p in stamps to send takes only 41p in postage if franked, but the rate drops to 38p under Mailmark pricing: a savings of 18p or more than 32%.
Mailmark only affects letter tariffs, and franking will save postage only for letters and up to a small parcel of 2 kg or lighter. That explains why the common scales for entry level machines handle packets up to about 2.5 kg.
Another advertised benefit of Mailmark service is high level tracking of your mail. The Royal Mail gets a manifest of your mail and tracks it via the barcode printed by your franking machine.
Online reports will give you updates on where your mail is, when it should be delivered and how many pieces have invalid addresses. That helps your company plan for high traffic times in response to customers receiving mailings and save money from returned mail.
The reduced costs when sending medium parcels such as not having to queue up at the post office for stamps, not having to guess at how much postage to use or just by having the machine affix the postage instead of doing so by hand.
Using the accounts feature on a franking machine allows for more accurate tracking of expense through the company. Much simpler than taking notes by hand, categorising at the point of post gives the accountants information to help the company utilise the Royal Mail most efficiently.
The up-front cost of a franking machine is only a bit of the story. It is offset by lower cost and higher efficiencies.
Low-budget franking machines
Tailored to allow low volume senders to enjoy the reduced postal tariffs available through franking, machines in this class do not offer ways to save labour, but do allow the additional ability to end the practice of affixing to much or too little postage.
Whilst franking machines have existed for decades, modern ones are computerised and take the guessing out of how much postage a piece should require. That’s why all will have integral weighing platforms and store an updatable copy of the Royal Mail tariffs. The printer and meter are the final bits that make any franking machine.
The two machines below should be suitable for lower-end franking requirements.
One such machine is the Neopost IS-280c. With its integrated scale it will weigh up to 2kg in 1g increments, getting a fairly accurate measure. An upgrade to a 3kg weighing platform is available.
Their MyNeopost portal allows ordering replacement supplies directly from the machine, as well as re-crediting the postage meter through a LAN connection. The company also allow for postage payment in arrears as another benefit to your cash flow.
This model is designed to frank up to 100 pieces per day and make your mail look more professional with current slogans and postage printed neatly on the envelopes.
Frama Matrix F22
A second option in this class is the Frama Matrix F22. Frama are based in Switzerland and one of a handful of manufacture companies authorised by the Royal Mail to supply franking machines in the UK.
This model does add a labour saving pass through feeding system allowing users easily to frank up to 25 pieces per minute, a quite decent speed in this category. Weighing platforms in 2, 5 or 30 kg capacities are available. Packets as thick as 10mm can be franked without using a separate tape or label.
It also connects through a LAN, saving phone charges.
Mid-budget franking machines
In this range you can expect more automatic operation in feeding, franking and output. Whether semi or fully automatic, these machines will no longer make operators push the letter into the printer, wait and then remove the piece to whatever sorting/storage container they are using.
With automation comes speed, up from 15 to 30 pieces per minute in the low-budget category to 40 to 65 pieces per minute here. Fully automatic feeding allows users to fill the feeder with a stack of mail and let the franking machine do the rest.
The two machines below should be suitable for mid-budget franking requirements.
Pitney Bowes DM300M
Suitable for busier senders, most machines will offer at least 25 accounts and many can get up to 100.
Start off with an offering from Pitney Bowes, a company in existence for nearly a century, supplying franking machines to markets around the world.
Their model DM300M franking machine feeds mail semi automatically through a 9.5 mm clearance at a rate of 65 pieces per minute, sealing and stacking by the end. The integrated scale weighs to 5 kg and the machine offers interface options with 7, 12 and 35 kg platforms.
It also is capable of differential weighing. This franking machine comes ready with 25 accounts to let you track your postal expenses and is upgradable to 100 accounts.
Neopost make the IN-600 franking machine for mid-budget users. Slightly higher in the range, this model will start with 35 accounts and can expand to accommodate 300.
The machine franks at a speed of 75 pieces per minute, but attach the automatic feeder and that rate jumps to 110. The maximum printable thickness grows here to 12 mm and the feeder can start with envelopes in a portrait or landscape orientation.
It also allows connection to several weighing platforms up to 30 kg. To keep the machine operating at peak efficiency, remote diagnostics and automatic rate downloads through a LAN connection are possible.
High-budget franking machines
These machines are for extremely high-volume users of the Royal Mail. Machines will have large computer-like displays, very high speeds and likely modular design to allow for any variety of options to fit a large sender’s needs.
Whilst models in the low-budget category could easily fit on a normal desk taking up about the same area as a computer monitor and mid-budget machines up to twice that size, these frankers begin to command a room of their own. You’ll start to see more options for printing more unique messages and logos directly on envelopes, including in colour.
The two machines below should be suitable for the highest-budget franking requirements.
Pitney Bowes Connect+ 3000
Pitney Bowes offers as their supreme configuration the Connect+ 3000. This franking machine is as much a list of options as it is an out of the box model. Offered are two colour touch screen interfaces at either 10.2 inches or 15 inches with access to the full QWERTY on-screen keyboard.
Processing speeds are 105-165 letters per minute as standard with options to increase to 135-220, 170-270 and 205-310 LPM.
At those speeds and with a maximum letter thickness of 19mm rates must be measured in ranges. The standard number of accounts is 100, but is also expandable to 500. In standard configuration, this model starts with a purchase price of £15,000, but that can grow substantially with the bespoke upgrades.
The Neopost IS-6000c easily competes in this category. They put the emphasis on durability and productivity. They claim field testing to 30 million print cycles from companies who go through a few high-activity sessions per month to others who keep the machine running at top output continuously.
Printing speeds hit 260 LPM in batch processing mode through a high capacity feeder with reload on the fly ability make this model a top producer.
Mixed Mail Feeding allows for different sized envelopes to coexist without causing problems as they travel through the 20mm of clearance. A dynamic scale is able to weigh each piece in-process.
Compare franking machine prices today
The information on this page should help you to understand what kind of thing you should look out for when comparing and considering franking machine prices.
For more information though, you should get information specific to your company – Startups can help here. For tailored quotes based on your requirements you simply need to complete the form at the top of this page.
Comparing quotes in this way is free, quick and easy, and it could save your small business both time and money.