Franking machines for small business Franking machines for small business offer a range of services and features to significantly improve Bryn Glover May 13, 2021 7 min read About us Startups was founded over 20 years ago by a multi-time entrepreneur. Today, our expert team of writers, researchers, and editors work to provide our 4 million readers with useful tips and information, as well as running award-winning campaigns. Our site is governed by the Startups editorial manifesto. This article was authored by: Bryn Glover Editor If you’ve never used a franking machine in your business before, you might be surprised by how much money you could save and how much more productive having one could make you.If you want more professional looking mail, you can stop queuing at your post office now. With franking, you will not need to check the cost of sending a parcel, and you will not need to spend time adding stamps to every package. You will not even need to worry about paying the wrong amount for letters.In short, if you want to make postage easier, you should consider franking now. In this franking machines article, we'll cover: What is a franking machine? How to use a franking machine What are the benefits of using a franking machine? Franking machine suppliers Summary Compare franking machines for small business If you're here, we're guessing you're trying to find the best franking machine for your business.Whether you post only a few pieces of mail a day, or thousands, a franking machine can help you save time and money.If you’re ready to compare franking machine quotes now, you can fill out our two-minute questionnaire to tell us what you need, and we'll send you bespoke quotes from our index of trusted UK suppliers – all for free. What is a franking machine?Franking is the practice of bypassing the use of traditional postage stamps for mailing letters and parcels. Did you know? Knowing that your business will be sending more mail than the everyday postal customer, Royal Mail offer discounted tariffs over pre-printed stamps, including their new Mailmark® service which offers the cheapest rates and allows businesses to track time of delivery and improve their pool of addresses. As you run low, you purchase additional postage through your franking machine over a telephone or local area network (LAN) connection. These are devices that share a telephone line or have a wireless connection to a server. Topping up is not entirely free in all cases, so check the company you get a machine from. You no longer need to spend time at the post office buying stamps, or remembering where you put them.Newer models, including any you would purchase, rent or lease today, have integral scales for weighing the letter, then the internal rate software calculates the correct amount of postage to use based on the class of postage selected.The software can be updated as Royal Mail make changes to the rates. No more trying to remember the rates for each size and weight of letter, adding extra stamps to be certain you’ve put enough, or worse, paying an extra £1 for adding too little.Keeping a tally of how much you are spending to mail advertisements, billings or correspondence is difficult at best using pre-printed stamps. Franking machines can allow you to separate these expenses into accounts for easy tracking.Suitable models for a low mail volume small business getting its first franking machine take up no more desk space than a large computer monitor. They will:Process 15-30 letters a minuteWeigh a letter or packet up to 2.5-5kgAllow tracking of 10-30 accountsYou will also need to apply for a franking license – this is available through whichever manufacturer you choose to supply the franking machine. How to use a franking machineEven entry level franking machines are remarkably easy to use and offer the same discounts from Royal Mail as more expensive, higher-capacity and more automated models do.Begin by preparing your letter as you normally would do before adding postage. Some machines even seal the envelope for you.Drop the letter on the scale. The machine weighs it.Select the class of postage using the keypad and screen. The machine calculates the proper postage based on the weight and current postal rates.Slip the letter into the machine, which activates the printer. When the printer finishes, remove the letter, ready to post.For an item thicker than the normal letter, simply run an approved self-sticking label through the printer instead of the envelope, then stick the label to the thick letter or parcel.When preparing more than one letter or parcel of the same size and weight, once the total postage has been calculated, insert each additional piece of mail or label into the printer as the machine finishes the last. Some machines are equipped with automatic feeders to do a stack of letters for you.Then, all that remains is to take your stack of franked mail to the post office for delivery as before with stamps.Remember to separate your mail, otherwise you may incur additional charges and miss out on discounts. Divide your mail into national and international locations. Then further categorise by postage class and type of mail. What are the benefits of using a franking machine?Meanwhile, your company has saved time by not going to the post office for postage and by automating the process. It has saved money by affixing accurate postage and getting discounts.It has been more efficient by accounting for departmental postage expense and by using the tracking power of Mailmark®.Your first machine should fit on a desk and not require an entire mail room. There are options for every budget and cash flow requirement. Franking machine suppliersThere are several sources for your first machine. You will pay more for getting increases, as well as some added abilities like auto-feeders, auto-sealers and even the ability to design a changeable message to be printed on each letter. Here are some of the more high-profile starter franking machines.Pitney Bowes model DM60Supplier: Pitney BowesModel: DM60Key features£17.99 plus VAT a monthFull maintenance cover included30-day free trial available£20 free postage and starter kitCalculates UK and international ratePitney Bowes has been providing franking machines to businesses around the world for nearly a century. This model is designed, packaged and priced to serve the small business taking its first steps in the market.Listing at just £17.99 plus VAT a month, the price includes full maintenance cover, which is important should anything go amiss with the machine. The company offer a 30-day free trial to be certain the product suits you.It also allows £20 free postage and a kit of supplies to get going. It does not charge for rate updates or buying postage. The machine includes the ability to calculate international rates as well.The machine is designed for business sending up to 30 items a day but is not limited to that number. Going above that number regularly will of course increase wear and make maintenance cover more vital.Pitney Bowes suggest volumes as high as 100 items a month are best.It does not use ink cartridges which expire, which some machines do use. It can print postage on 18 envelopes per minute.Neopost IS-280cSupplier: NeopostModel: IS-280cKey featuresIntegrated weighing platform with 2kg capacity; can be upgraded to 3kgPrint on envelopes up to 8mmAvailable to hire from £16.99 per monthAccess to MyNeopost online portalUK-based call centre that answers 85% of queries on initial callNeopost offer the IS-280c as one of its entry-level machines.Neopost claim that service and support are key factors to their success. Its call centre is UK based with a record of answering customers’ queries on the initial call 85% of the time, with a 97% resolution rate. Neopost also have a 94% on-time response rate by its nationwide team of service engineers and offer next day replacement service.Research indicates substantially higher customer satisfaction than their nearest rival. It advertises MyNeopost as a leading online portal for updates, purchases of postage or supplies, and support.The IS-280c offers up to 9 job imprint memories and up to 10 custom slogans. The thickest envelope it can print is 8mm. Its integrated weighing platform has a 2kg capacity but may be upgraded to 3kg. It can be hired from £16.99 per month.Mailstart+ from MailcomsSupplier: MailcomsModel: Mailstart+Key featuresProcess 20 pieces of mail per minuteMaximum envelope thickness of 9.5mmUK and international postal tariffsWi-Fi connectivity availableStarter pack with ink, labels and Royal Mail size guideMailcoms’ models are fairly recent to the market. Mailcoms got their start in a converted garage in 2005 and are quite proud of the positive reviews earned by this machine and by the company being named UK’s “Most Loved” franking machine supplier for three years straight.It should be proud because to be one of 28 companies authorised by Royal Mail to inspect, maintain or repair franking machines after existing for such a short time is no small feat.The Mailstart Plus boasts a speed of 20 pieces of mail per minute. It can also handle an envelope 9.5mm thick, making it the champion of that measure among these three machines. It’s available to purchase or lease.This model can handle both UK and international postal tariffs, as does Pitney Bowes. This one offers an option of Wi-Fi connectivity which the other two do not do. Included is a starter pack of ink and labels with a free Royal Mail size guide to help decide whether your item is a “Letter,” “Large Letter” or a “Small Parcel”. SummaryAll bespoke machines offer the same tariff savings from Royal Mail, boast similar performance and offer similar prices on the useable items like inks and labels. Get a good company who offer the right plan for your small business, whether after-sale support, purchase/lease/rental price or postage topping up fees. Compare franking machines for small businessThe information on this page should help you to understand what your small business should be looking for in terms of franking equipment. For more details though, it is important to speak to experts today. Startups can help with this.To get information and compare quotes from up to four top UK franking machine suppliers, you simply need to use our franking machines comparison tool to tell us exactly what you need. This process is free, quick and easy, and can save your business both time and money. Share this post facebook twitter linkedin Bryn Glover Editor Bryn Glover has been Editor of Startups.co.uk since 2017. Running the site's content strategy, Bryn spends a lot of time speaking to entrepreneurs and preparing for Startups' annual editorial campaigns.Having worked in journalism for just under a decade, Bryn wrote for sites like The Times, Reader's Digest, Independent and Times Higher Education before moving into the small business world.