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A Step by Step Guide to Using a Franking Machine

How Does a Franking Machine Work?

Find out how a franking machine works in this simple video that takes you through the steps.

Installing a Franking Machine

Once you have made the decision to reduce postage costs and increase efficiency by investing in a franking machine, there are a number of steps involved in actually using it.

As for setting it up, many franking machines are self-install models, and can be set up reasonably quickly, though some will come with the option to be installed by a trained engineer.

Franking Your Mail

To use your franking machine you will need to have a supply of envelopes available, and it is advisable to do a test run so you can be sure you are confident at using the machine.

If the items you are sending are of a particularly heavy nature, then they will need to be placed on the weighing scale prior to franking.

If the scales are digital they will automatically enter the weight and if they are manual you will have to enter this information yourself. Likewise, if the items are more bulky than usual, then the machine may have to be altered using the thickness adjustment knob.

Then select the class of postage you wish to use and any special requirements such as airmail on the control panel. The logo and message you want to use can also be chosen at this point.

Once this is done, the letter is placed face upwards on to the feed deck, and depending on the machine you have chosen, the letters will be fed in automatically, or you may have to do it manually.

The letters will then appear at the other end of the machine in the stacker until you are ready to post them. Some machines offer cost centre functions and password protection, which may require people to log in prior to franking any mail.

Find the best franking machine for your company with Expert Market.

Ongoing Use of a Franking Machine

Whether you choose to buy or rent your franking machine, you will need a licence from the Royal Mail to use your machine./

This document can often be arranged by the machine's supplier. In addition, one of the conditions of ownership of a franking machine is that it is inspected annually to ensure it is working correctly.

If you do make mistakes while operating your franking machine, the Royal Mail offer refunds for incorrect prints. The amount refunded is the value of the frank less a 15 per cent administration charge.

Any refunds claimed need to be sent to the Royal Mail within six months of the print being made, and the total claim must be more than £10.

If your machine breaks down, the Royal Mail offers a machine breakdown service where they will frank the mail for you, for a fee of the postage plus 20 per cent.

To use this service you have to contact the Royal Mail on 08457 950 950.

Posting Franked Mail

To post the items you have franked, there are a number of procedures set down by the Royal Mail that you must follow listed on the franked mail section of theRoyal Mail website.

Any mail that is franked must be posted on the same day and in the area shown on the franking mark. If you miss the last post, then the mail must be re-franked with the next day's date.

For an item to be accepted by Royal Mail, the frank must be in the top right hand corner of the letter, in red ink, and be a clear legible print. If you ship goods in coloured packaging, then it is recommended than you frank onto a label that is then stuck onto the mail.

Franked mail has to be sorted into bundles of letters in the same class with the franking mark facing upwards. These bundles are then placed into special pouches which are supplied by the Royal Mail.

First class mail goes into red pouches and second class mail into green pouches. If you produce large volumes of mail daily, then the Royal Mail will supply your business with mail sacks or trays for you to place your post.

It is important you do not place any non-franked mail in with the franked mail bundles.

Where to Post Franked Mail

Your business has a number of options for posting your franked mail. Most mail can be posted in post boxes, which have a dedicated franked mail slot, so long as a low volume envelope has been used.

Alternatively, items can be taken to any Post Office or mail sorting centre which can be found using the Royal Mail branch finder.

If you want the Royal Mail to collect the post from your business they do provide business post boxes, with fees starting from £14 for a one off collection to £1,700 plus VAT per year for a regular weekly collection.

If your business spends more than £15k annually with the Royal Mail, then they offer a free weekday collection, with the collection time mutually agreed between the two parties. There are further charges if your business is not on the ground floor or if you are sending international mail.

Next Steps

If you are interested in hearing more about prices to buy or lease a franking machine for your business, then fill out the form at the top of this page and a select group of excellent suppliers will get in touch with you.