Every sector of the UK business market must use every available tool to cut their costs but maintain or even improve productivity. In an unsure economy, small businesses are usually the ones affected first. Home and small businesses need all the help they can get. Saving money must be the attitude of everyone in the company. Overhead costs must be reduced. Work efficiencies must also improve.
The Franking Solution
We have seen several postage rate increases from Royal Mail in the past few years. For a small business that sends at least 40 letters or parcels per week, the price increase is bad news. To recoup costs and save money, franking is advised.
If you compare the prices of franked first and second class letters to stamped, you will really see some savings. Starting October 28th, 2013 the price for 1st and 2nd class stamped letters are 60p and 50p respectively. For large letters, 90p and 69p. For small parcels £3 and £2.60.
Now let’s compare those prices with franking. For first and second class franked letters, you will be charged 47p and 33p respectively. For large letters, 71p and 58p. For small parcels £2.65 and £2.25.
Here’s a quick summary:
|100g letters (1st Class)||100g letters (2nd Class)||Large letters (1st Class)||Large letters (2nd Class)||Small Parcels (1st Class)||Small Parcels (2nd Class)|
As you can see, you can save at least 22% of your postage costs if you use a franking machine to process your letters.
You can also get further savings by changing the size of your envelopes. Regulations state that postal rates are calculated by size and weight. If you change your envelopes to a smaller one, it is possible to make another 40% savings on each letter.
If you process VAT services or Vatable items, it is wise to get a SMART franking machine. This allows you to reclaim your VAT.
Choosing a Reliable Supplier
There are many franking machine suppliers throughout the UK. Each offers a comprehensive selection of packages, models and even supplies. Franking systems are divided into 3 categories – low, mid and high volumes. For low volume models, expect the machine to frank 30-50 items per day. For mid volume systems, they can process 100 to 500 items per day. For high volume devices, you can expect them to process 1,000 letters per hour. Some new models can even process more.
The Top 4 Brands
You can’t go wrong if you choose a machine from any of the following manufacturers:
Pitney Bowes and Neopost are based in Essex. Frama is in Hertfordshire and FP is in Kent.
Low volume machines usually cost anywhere from £500 – £1,000. Mid volume ones cost £3,400 to £11,000. Higher end models are priced around £12,000 upwards.
Proceed with caution when looking for a supplier as not all are Royal Mail approved. You will not be able to enjoy the benefits of franking if you do not get your machine from an approved supplier. You will also not be able to get a franking licence.
Royal Mail has a complete list of their approved suppliers in the website. They can be found all over the UK. You can also get your device from any distribution center that has a Royal Mail accreditation.
To ensure peace of mind, contact any of the following:
- NCS Group
- Northern Services
- Digital Communication Systems Ltd
- Totalpost Services
- Nationwide Franking Ltd
- Franking Machine Company
South West and South East:
- Mailing Systems Ltd
- Digital Post Solutions
- NSL Mailing
- OMM Group
- Twofold Ltd
- SmarTech UK
- European Postal Services
- FPIMS Southern Ltd
- North Time and Data Ltd
- Westmore Business Systems Ltd
- Ashcroft Mailing Solutions
- Kane Mailing Systems Ltd
You can also use a comparison website to make finding the right supplier easier.
You can purchase, rent or lease a franking machine from any of these suppliers. If you purchase a brand new machine outright, you are not tied to any contracts and monthly payments but you do have to spend a huge amount of money. On the other hand, you will always have a tangible asset.
Renting allows you to pay a small sum of money monthly. This is a good option for those who only need a franking system for a short time, say, 6 months. There is no complicated paperwork involved in this option. Customers are also usually offered a free trial before committing to a contract.
Leasing is a longer term contract. You can upgrade or downgrade your system as you see fit. The supplier will usually take care of maintenance and repairs. They will give you a replacement while they fix the other machine. Leasing is also good for taxation. Ask your accountant for further information.
Is Franking Right for Me?
The best way to find out if it’s for you is to avail of the 30-day free trial from Neopost or Pitney Bowes. You can take Neopost’s award-winning machine or Pitney Bowes most popular basic models for a spin. You can try franking without any commitment or cash out. If you think that it’s not working out for you, simply inform your supplier before the free trial ends so that you wouldn’t have to sign an agreement for lease or rent.
For Pitney Bowes, you will be given the DM50 franking model. It can process up to 30 letters per day. It has an integrated 2.5 kg weighing scale. It is PIN protected. You can top up your credits by phone 6 days a week from 7 am to 8 pm. After the free trial, you have the option to rent the machine for 12 months for only £20 per month. You pay for the supplies. You can also purchase it for a little over £1,000.
From Neopost, they will offer you the Autostamp2 model, available for 30 days. It has a speed of 50 ppm. It has an integrated 2 kg weighing scale. You can also get 10 customizable logos. It comes with the Rate Wizard technology so you don’t have to worry about making calculation mistakes. You can also plug it to a LAN or analogue connection to download updates. You can also purchase this machine for around £1,000.