Any business, large or small, relies to some extent on Royal Mail to deliver letters and packages. Mailroom expenses can escalate if you don’t have a handle on the most efficient and cost effective way of sending mail: a franking machine. But how much does a franking machine cost?
One thing that prevents many small to medium businesses from using franked mail is the perceived cost of the franking machine itself. There is also a misconception that franking machines can entail considerable ongoing expenses. In fact, a franking machine can be leased, and the leading firms all offer increasingly competitive leasing and service agreements. Even if you do decide to buy a machine outright, it is still possible to get hold of a powerful machine for considerably less than you might think.
Top UK Franking Machines
In the UK, only four franking machine manufacturers are fully licensed by Royal Mail: Frama UK, Francotyp Postalia (FP), Pitney Bowes and Neopost. All four companies produce a full range of quality franking machines, from small entry level machines that are designed to process about 50 items a day, to the much larger models used by major international firms and mail order companies, that are capable of handling as many as 180 letters per minute.
As well as these four manufacturers, there are twenty companies that are licensed by Royal Mail to lease or sell franking machines. It is worth bearing in mind that in order to retain your company’s license to use franked mail, the machine must be inspected each year, either by the manufacturer or one of these other companies, each of whom is also licensed to inspect, maintain and repair franking machines. See the Royal Mail website for more details.
Franking Machine Prices
Franking Machines to Buy
Taking an entry level machine as a guide, the prices for buying a franking machine, as opposed to leasing one, are fairly consistent from each of the four leading manufacturers. Although in some cases, you will need to contact the manufacturer direct in order to get the most up to date prices, a standard entry level machine will likely cost from £1000 to buy outright. It is important to have a service agreement however, and there is also the ongoing expense of supplies, and in these areas, as well as the various leasing agreements on offer, the prices tend to differ.
|Average Items of Mail (per day)||Type of Franking Machine||Average Purchase Price|
|Up to 30||Low volume||£995 – £3,000|
|20 – 100||Mid volume||£3,000 – £8,500|
|100-1000s||High volume||£8,500 – £21,500+|
Franking Machines to Rent
Renting or leasing a franking machine is a popular option for many businesses which do not have the capital to invest in a machine outright. These agreements enable you to spread the cost via monthly payments. A servicing and maintenance support service is also often included which means that if a fault develops you won’t be charged for the repairs. Rental agreements start at around £20 – £30 per month for the lowest volume machines.
|Average Items of Mail (per day)||Volume Level Category||Monthly Lease Cost (exclu. VAT)||Total Paid in Lease Over 3 Years|
|Up to 30||Low volume||£20 – £30||£720 – £1,080|
|20 – 100||Mid-volumes||£40 – £50||£1,440 – £1,800|
|30 – 500||Mid / High volume||£50 – £80||£1,800 – £2,880|
|500 – 1000s||High volume||£85-£400+||£3,060-£14,400+|
Cheapest Franking Machines
The cheapest franking machines will process low volumes of mail i.e. no more than around 50 items per day. The lowest volume machines on the market are:
- Neopost IS-280c
- Pitney Bowes DM60
- FP Mailing PostBase Mini
- Frama Matrix F12
To rent these machines you are likely to be looking at a cost of around £15 – £30 per month or you could purchase them outright for between £1,000 – £1,300 (on average).
Franking Machine Savings
Item for item, franking works out as considerably cheaper than buying stamps. It also has the added benefit of offering a smoother processing operation, as well as the option of featuring your company’s own branding message on each item that you send. For example, by franking a 1st class letter rather than buying a stamp you will save 10p and you can save 28p on each first class small parcel by franking it rather than using stamps.
Ongoing Supply Costs
Annual Stamp Tariff Updates
Almost every year the Royal Mail update their postage tariffs and your machine will need to be updated to keep up to date. There is usually a charge for this update.
Make sure you are taking the cost of ink into consideration as this will vary from machine to machine. It’s important to remember that cheaper ink cartridges may not produce as many impressions as the official brands so may not be cost effective in the long term.
Credit Top-up Fees
Each machine is linked to a unique credit account with Royal Mail which you’ll need to top up; there is usually a charge which can be as much as 5% of the amount you are adding.
The Royal Mail requires you to get your franking machine serviced annually. A service agreement for an entry level machine costs from £20 per month or £240 per year, and an ink cartridge that makes up to 2500 impressions costs upwards of £40 (or around 1.6 pence per item of mail) but some cartridges with a higher impressions yield will cost in excess of £130.
How to get the best deal on franking machines
By assessing your company’s specific mailing requirements and viewing the deals available, you should find a franking solution that will provide significant savings in the long term. Only by viewing multiple quotes on franking machines will you be able to find the best deals on offer.
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