Franking machines are very useful tools to have in any office. They make processing mails easy and quick. But, there’s a lot of talk over the Internet that franking machines are expensive. The high volume ones are really expensive but of course, if you don’t need that model, why would you buy it? Franking machines are grouped according to the volume they can handle – small, mid and large volumes. If you have a small amount of letters to process daily, say, 5 you definitely belong to the small-volume franking machine group and that means you get the most affordable models in the bunch.
The franking machines in this group are built and priced for the home or small business. Aside from purchasing a brand new unit, you also have the option of renting, leasing or purchasing a second hand unit. In this article, let’s discuss what you need to know if you are interested in getting a second hand franking system.
Is buying a second hand franking machine a good idea?
First of all, a franking machine is a good investment whether you are renting, buying or leasing it. It is a great solution to the ever-increasing postal rates. You can reduce your overall postal expenses by the use of this device.
To answer the question above, it may not be a good idea to buy a second hand unit. The franking machine is a different kind of tool. It’s not like your other office equipment that you can sell once you need to upgrade it or simply just to get rid of it. You need to have a franking licence from Royal Mail in order to use one. The second hand device must also be inspected by an approved inspector or engineer and must be licensed by Royal Mail.
Problems with a second hand model
A second hand model has probably been registered and configured for use in another postal area, different from yours. You may need to have it reconfigured by an authorized engineer so that you can use it to frank your mails.
The average life span of this device is about 10 years with regular usage. The unit that you purchase may need to have some parts replaced such as the print head.
You may also find some parts of it to be damaged such as the weighing scale. This is the most important part of a franking machine. The wrong weight reading will result to a wrong postal rate. Mistakes like these can cost you a lot of money.
Furthermore, the cost of repairs and replacements might easily be more expensive than buying a new model.
Another danger is the possibility of having your second hand franking machine to be a machine that was not returned to its manufacturer or supplier once the lease agreement expired. This is a very common practice in auction websites and advertisements that are targeted to small businesses that don’t have much knowledge about franking machines. These machines are blacklisted by Royal Mail. They are already classified as lost or stolen.
Another point to consider is that the second hand machine might already be considered obsolete by the manufacturer. This means that you might have difficulty obtaining parts, supplies and even support for it. For some models, it may already be impossible.
How do I get a franking machine at the best price?
The safest way to get a franking machine with the best price is to go through the different approved Royal Mail suppliers. They have a complete list in the website.
There are different prices from different distributors. You can purchase a brand new model for around £500 to £1,000. These are great for small businesses.
If you are still unsure about buying, you can opt to rent. Renting will give you a good idea if a franking system is fit for your business or not. You can rent one for as little as £20 per month. If you only need a machine for a project, renting is the best way to go. You can also inquire about free trials. Manufacturers such as Neopost offer their award-winning equipment for a 30-day free trial. After that, you can choose to continue to rent or lease the equipment. If you need a higher model, inform your supplier immediately so that your agreement can start with the new model. Also, if you don’t want to continue your contract, inform them before the free trial ends so that you won’t be charged extra.
Another way to get the best price for the franking model of your choice is to use a comparison website. You will just enter your requirements into a simple form and then they will do the rest of the hard work for you. They will give you the top suppliers in your area that are best suited to meet your requirements. You can then compare their offerings and services.
You can reduce your postage expenses by as much as 22%. If you were using stamps for your letters and parcels before, you can easily see the difference when you frank. First and second class letters and parcels are given huge discounts by Royal Mail. You can compare the new prices in their website. You will also have discounts to special services from the post office. These services include Special and Recorded Delivery. You can also get discounts on some international services.
You will also improve your efficiency. You will no longer make postage mistakes. You also don’t need to go to the post office to process your mails. You can process your mails in your office and then have the post office pick them up. They will deliver supplies such as trays and mail bags free of charge.
The upfront costs of a franking machine should not deter any business, big or small, from investing. It is a very sensible investment for any company that sends out at least 5 or 10 letters daily. If you compute the long-term benefits of owning one, you will definitely see a difference in your cash flow and ultimately your bottom line.
It might seem a good idea to buy a second hand unit at first but the truth is that it is more expensive and it will give you a lot of headaches what with the repairs and parts replacements and the re-configuring. There are very few legitimate suppliers in the market and if you are not careful, instead of getting a bargain, you might get into trouble.
Opt to rent or lease instead. If in the middle of your contract you find how important this device is to your operations, you should set aside the money you save from sending post so that you can own a brand new machine to be used by your office for many years to come.