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This article will explore when a company should rent a franking machine. It shall detail the costs of rental, the length of leases and will highlight the advantages of rental. It will then give a detailed review, including pricing, of some of the most popular companies to rent from, looking at their entry level franking machines, all the way up to their high volume machines.
When should a company rent a franking machine?
With the cost of stamps increasing over the years, combined with discounts the Royal Mail offer to franked mail, which have in fact doubled in recent years, franking has become a cost effective method to send your mail. Not to mention it makes your business look organised and professional. If you are sending a large number of letters franking is not only an efficient means to send your letters, it’s also the most cost effective. You can save 18p on a first class stamp and 21p for each second class letter you send. If you are sending around 50 letters a day, you could save around £2000 a year. Plus, now there are reliable and efficient providers of franking machines, an increasing number of businesses are turning to renting franking machines. Renting a franking machine is perfect for businesses who cannot afford the high purchase price of machines.
There are a number of maintenance and running costs associated with renting franking machines. There can be costs for maintaining and servicing your rental franking machine. However, you often find a lot of rental companies include maintenance and servicing in your rental contract for free. But, some will offer separate maintenance contracts, that although will push up your monthly bill could save you paying the hundreds, or thousands of pounds needed to repair or replace parts of the franking machine.
As franking machines use ink cartridges to print the stamps it is worth investigating the cost of ink cartridges at different manufactures, as it could cost up to 1p a letter in ink. It is also worth asking how many impressions a cartridge can typically do. These costs will give you a clearer picture of the regular running of the franking machine.
Length of contracts
The length you can lease franking machines varies. You can rent machines on shorter contracts, some will allow a free month trial followed by a five month lease. Some leases will last a year or two. The downside to shorter contracts is that you will likely pay a higher amount. You can save money by renting for a long period of time, such as five or six years. You will have to pay a termination fee to cancel your lease early, in both short and longer leases.
When your contract ends you can then upgrade your machine. It is common practice at the end of a five year lease to replace your machine for a newer, more suitable machine, this ensures your franking needs can continuously be met as your company grows.
Should you rent or buy? The advantages and the disadvantages
The real question is then; should you rent or should you buy a franking machine? There are a number of advantages to renting a franking machine. If you are a small business starting out and you want to keep costs down, paying around a £1000 for a new franking machine is a big expense. Whereas you could rent one for less than £15 a month and get a free trial included, allowing you to make sure it’s the right machine for your needs. But franking machines can cost you in maintenance too. All franking machines have to undergo regular checks and maintenance, regardless of whether bought or rented. But usually when you rent a machine, all your service and maintenance costs are included in the rental contract. So by renting you are saving not only on a high initial purchase price, but you’re also avoiding the high additional costs of maintaining the machine.
However, you could argue buying a machine in the long run may prove cheaper. Yes, you pay a lot initially for the machine, but then you don’t have to pay any recurring costs apart from the obligatory service and maintenance. You would also be free from contracts and you don’t have the worry of another bill to pay each month. You could even argue it’s another asset that you’re company owns. So it’s by no means a straightforward decision. But, rental prices aren’t excessive, they’re reasonable. If you don’t have a large cash fund to dip into, rental may the smart move financially.
There is another advantage to renting; the ability to upgrade in line with your needs. As with any technology today, companies are frequently bringing out new and improved models. If you rent a machine, you have the ability to upgrade your machine or if you’re old one is written off get a newer version when your contract renews. If you buy a franking machine you’re likely to hold onto that machine for a while, even if your needs change and a newer machine with a higher volume capacity would be more suitable. If you’re business is starting up a basic machine can send 20 mails a minute, which is fine when there is only a few of you in the office. But what happens when there is now 50 or 60 of you in the office? What would be most convenient is being able to upgrade your machine at a minimal cost to better cater for your growing needs. By renting you have more options and more flexibility to move with the times and change your machine when your business requires you to. Buying restricts you somewhat in that it’s inconvenient to be buying and selling franking machines whenever your company grows or your needs change.
Overall the advantages of renting outweigh the minimal positives of purchasing a franking machine. Not only do they provide an option for businesses on a budget, but they also provide flexibility and freedom to stay up to date with new, efficient machines, as well as allowing you to upgrade your machine in line with your changing business needs.
Review of rental options in todays market
Pitney Bowes – entry level option- DM60 franking machine
Pitney Bowes have been on the scene since 1920, they have a wealth of experience when it comes to franking machines, and that’s why they have some efficient machines that are reasonably priced. They have some good options when it comes to entry level machines if you don’t need a high volume of letters posted.
The DM60 is the ideal machine if you’re only looking to send around 30 letters or parcels a day. It’s compact, runs smoothly and at just 2.5kg is perfect in a small office environment. Firstly the price; at only £17.99 a month plus VAT it’s a very affordable machine. For that price you get the maintenance included, as well as a 30 day free trial, and they have even included £20 free postage credit. It uses all the usual classes and services, from 1st class to international/air mail. You get one free bespoke envelope message, such as a company logo or advertising message, which is perfect for increasing brand awareness and engaging customers. You get a secure 4 pin security code system, plus software and postage rates are automatically updated each month. It has received glowing reviews over all, particularly in the categories of customization and value. So if you’re looking for a best value, new entry level franking machine, the DM60 is a strong choice.
Mid volume option – DM220i franking machine
The DM220i has a range of impressive features making it ideal for businesses that send a substantial amount of post each month. The price; at £89 a month it will cost you more than the DM60 but that’s because if you’re sending a lot of mail it will save you a lot. Plus, when the purchase price is £2,915 renting may be the smart option. With a processing speed that can deal with 45 bits of a mail a minute and the capacity to have 100 accounts using the machine, it’s a very capable piece of equipment to have in a busy office. Other features include differential weighing due to the integrated 5kg scale, this ensures all post is sent at precisely the right rate. The software allows users to analyze their postal costs by class, format or department. It will automatically update the software and postal rates each month. Customer reviews rate it extremely high in features, whilst it also received very positive feedback in regards to ease of use, making it a brilliant, user friendly, all in one machine. If you are a business looking for a robust machine, that allows a large number of different users and has the capacity to send a substantial volume of mail each month, then this is the franking machine for you.
High volume option – Connect+ 3000
If you are looking for a seriously powerful and efficient franking machine, the Connect+ 3000 is where you want to be looking. The standard option sees it process between 105-165 letters per minute. It is home to a sophisticated scaling system that can deal with up to 35kg parcels. It also features an on board stacking system that ensures all mail is collected and organised neatly. It has received near perfect scores across the board, from features, to ease of use, to customization. You would expect such high quality though at prices starting from £439 a month. But if you have a large business, that deals with very high volumes of post, then this is a dependable machine, that can not only meet your needs, but save you substantial sums of money on the thousands of postal items you are sending out.
Frama- entry level option
The Frama matrix F22 franking machine
This machine is seriously worth considering if you have a relatively small volume of mail to process. Prices vary so it’s always worth getting 3 or so quotes, but this machine could be picked up for less than £20 a month, an attractive price if you’re on a budget. It has a number of useful features. From a built in 5kg weighing scale, to the ability to track up to 10 departmental accounts. It is very secure with a security code system in place and it also automatically records VAT via VAT applicable services. Another neat feature is the ability to add up to 6 customizable advertising stamps, perfect for increasing commercial awareness. If you’re franking up to a 100 letters a day this is a highly recommended machine. In reviews, it scored highest in customization and value for money which is exactly what you want to hear if you’re starting a business on a low budget.
Mid volume option- Frama Matrix F32
The F32 is suited for businesses that are looking to send up to 200 items a day, or up to 50 a minute. The machine uses a semi-automatic feeding system to swiftly frank your mail. All you have to do is hand feed the letters into the machine and the F32 will take care of the rest. It includes a smart meter system so you stay in the loop with your costs. The stand out feature of this machine though, is how user friendly it is. It has 30 one touch functions for your most used mailing products. This makes the machine quick and easy to use, giving you more time to spend on other jobs in the office. The standard option has the capabilities to have 25 accounts registered, this is less than others in the mid range, but it does have the option to increase the number of accounts to up to a 100. It has scored very highly amongst customers across the board with no red flags to warn of. The lease price of this machine will set you back the best part of a £100. It isn’t the cheapest option in mid volume market, but it is extremely easy to use and has the capacity to handle 200 items a day with no problem.
High volume option- Frama Matrix F62
If you need speed and volume then this machine is worth looking into. Its extremely fast and has a top franking speed of 95 items a minute. It also comes with a fully automatic feeding system so it’s as hands free as you can get. It has a 600 dpi printing technology which ensures your company’s adverts come out in fantastically high quality. It has a ‘ComTouch’ interface which keeps use extremely straightforward. You can also add weighing scales to the machine to ensure accurate postage costs. Price is open to negotiation with contractors dependant on factors such as length of contract. But Frama’s high volume machines start from around £200 a month. This potentially makes the machine an affordable option when you compare it to the £439 a month Pitney Bowes Connect+3000 machine. So it’s efficient and can handle a high volume, but most attractively its relatively affordable.
FP- entry level options
It’s light, it’s compact and it’s perfect for small offices. It comes with a built in Royal Mail rate table, it has an easy to use touch display, and on to the important aspects: It can produce 15 letters per minute and should be fine to handle 30 letters a day. It also allows you to bolster your letters with 10 different advertising images. This is a franking machine that does what it says on the tin. In reviews it falls slightly short on the features front, but it’s a simple machine that does the basics and it doesn’t pretend to be anything more than that. If you have a small office and don’t need a whole range of features then this machine will be perfectly adequate. Plus, when you consider you can lease one for £20 a month + VAT it’s an affordable option. It is slightly more expensive than the Pitney Bowes DM60 franking machine, which is just as good and if you can get it marginally cheaper, then that may well be the sensible decision. But this is by no means a bad machine and will suit your entry level needs with no problems.
Mid volume option- PostBase Qi6
If you’re looking for a franking machine that can pack a bit more of a punch then the FP machine worth considering, is the the PostBase Qi6. It is fast and can regularly handle up to 300 items a day, it can process 65 letters a minute, all making it ideal for medium sized businesses. It’s home to a user friendly 4.7inch screen. It allows you to see the cost accounting of 50 departments, it’s been designed specifically for mid volume use. It also comes with glowing customer reviews. It was rated extremely highly in every category, from features, customization, to value and ease of use. This all makes this machine an extremely strong contender in the mid range market. Because FP don’t make their rental price available for this product publicly it is on a case by case basis. However you are probably looking at between £80-£100 a month. It’s not the cheapest mid volume option, but it is certainly one of the best. It’s powerful, it’s reliable and it’s had excellent customer feedback. If you lease this for your office, it will not disappoint, it’s sleek, modern and quiet, and will make a worthwhile addition to your office.
High volume option- PostBase one
If your needs are many the PostBase one can handle a large number of corporate franking tasks. It has the ability to weigh the letters as they enter the machine and it will automatically seal the envelopes for you. It is lightning quick, being able to handle up to a 150 letters per minute. The impressions it can leave on the envelopes are of the clearest quality, ensuring your business looks as professional as possible. Naturally it comes with an automatic feeder, can house 200 accounts and is protected with a security code. There really is no task the PostBase one cannot handle. Customers rate it highly in every category, making it one of the most popular high volume franking machines around today. The price of the FP PostBase one is not publicly available, however expect to pay upwards of £400 a month. It will be a similar price to the Pitney Bowes Connect+ 3000 machine, but it can do everything the Connect+ 3000 machine can do. It is arguably one of the strongest candidates in the high volume range, mostly down to the sheer power and speed it can operate at, making it well worth your consideration.
Additional costs of renting franking machines
There are a number of additional costs associated with leasing franking machines that are not always clear when doing initial research. You can often be required to pay a one off documentation fee along with your first month’s bill, this can be as high as £150. Franking machines also need credit adding to them. Whilst some companies offer a certain number of free re-credits, some will cost you, so it is worth finding out what the cost will be once you have used up all your free re-credits. The last additional cost to watch out for is when tariff charges are updated. These are normally done at specific times to keep postal charges up to date, but you do have to pay for the connection and some providers could charge up to £1.50 a minute. So there are a number of additional costs incurred when leasing franking machines, but now you know what information to ask for and what to expect.
Now you’re armed with the knowledge
If you are sending a large amount of post, franking machines will save you a considerable sum. We have established the advantages and disadvantages to leasing a franking machine over purchasing one. If you have a low budget or are growing quickly, leasing a machine will allow you to pay what you can afford whilst being able to upgrade as your company grows. We have reviewed the market leading devices from the most reputable companies from their entry level machines, their mid volume machines, to their high volume, high spec options. We have also highlighted the additional costs to be weary of and how to mitigate those costs by querying points like; ink cartridge costs and documentation fees with the leasing company.
A franking machine can be purchased or rented. Just be sure that you rent from a reputable supplier that is approved by your post office otherwise you won’t be able to enjoy the benefits that a franking machine brings.
Companies that rent a franking machine
A lot of small, up and coming businesses choose to avail of the 30-day free trial that most suppliers offer. This allows them to gauge the value of a franking machine in their company. They then sign a contract to rent the machine. Depending on your supplier, the contract can last for 6 months up to 2 years. These contracts are renewable and you can also terminate them. Some suppliers charge a termination fee so be careful with that, always check if there are any hidden prices.
If you suddenly find yourself overwhelmed with mails and packages for a certain project, you should absolutely rent a franking machine. Inquire about short-term leases with your supplier. You can also inquire about upgrading or downgrading in the duration of your contract. For example, you underestimated the number of mails you need to send per day or your client just increased the number to a few hundreds or thousands, then you really need to upgrade your franking machine model.
Companies that send less than 20 letters per day also opt to rent a franking machine rather than invest in one. This makes sense as renting can cost only £15 per month. Instead of investing a huge sum of money in one go, they can distribute their expenses over the entire length of their contract and at the same time ensuring that you can save costs by using a franking machine.
Saving for the future
Some companies that need a high-volume franking machine in the long run opt to rent a lower version first. This is so they can save up for the higher model while still maintaining the productivity of their mailrooms. They can also save faster because they get discounts for every properly franked mail that they send.
Companies that need to downsize their mailroom workforce also choose to rent a franking machine. This is because a high-level franking machine can process thousands of mail per day. A good franking machine can process 300 letters per minute. Just imagine how many hands one machine can replace. A company can certainly improve its cash flow by renting a franking machine.
If your company is one of the above, you too can enjoy the benefits of renting a franking machine.
Companies that hire a franking machine
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