Please find below the most commonly asked franking questions.
What is a franking machine?
A franking machine is a piece of equipment that can weigh, calculate and print the postage required for each item you wish to send through the post. It provides a faster and more efficient way to get the correct postage for every item of mail you send.
Do I get discounted postage when using a franking machine?
Yes, you will qualify for cheaper postage costs when you use a franking machine. This will help to reduce the costs involved in sending out mail every day. You can find out more about the current pricing rates and discounts available for those customers using a franking machine by visiting the Royal Mail website. They have produced a PDF document that lists all the current prices charged.
Is using a franking machine good for business?
Yes it can be. Not only do you save money on postage as described above, you will also be able to personalise your mail more effectively. If your business has a logo, you can add this to your franking mark so customers can see it. You may also add your return address in case any mail cannot be delivered. Thus it helps you to promote your business in a more professional manner.
Do I have to buy a franking machine or can I rent one?
You can do either, depending on your situation. Many business people choose to rent one instead of buying one however. This is because franking machines do tend to be quite expensive. If you buy you have the large initial cost of buying the machine and all the accessories that go with it, including inks and envelopes. However if you rent one, you can do so for a small weekly fee, usually for a leased term.
Does a franking machine need to be serviced?
Yes. According to the terms of the agreement you will have with Royal Mail, you must ensure your franking machine is serviced on an annual basis. This must be done by a company Royal Mail has approved to provide such a service. This will ensure your franking machine works properly and is able to charge the correct amount for each item of mail sent.
How many different types of franking machines are there, and which one should I choose?
Some franking machines are more basic than others, so it is important to consider your needs when looking at the wide range of franking machines that are available. Generally speaking the machines are grouped according to how many letters you would send each day. For instance the most basic ones are ideal for people who send fewer than twenty letters each day. This is ideal for a small home business, but if you have a much larger business and more mail to send out, you will need to look at a more advanced machine. These will be capable of weighing, calculating and printing more mail in a shorter period of time.
I’ve heard you need a licence to be able to use a franking machine. Is this true?
Yes it is. However you won’t have to apply to Royal Mail for the licence. When you go to an approved supplier of franking machines to choose the machine that will be right for you, the licence will be applied for then. Make sure this will happen when you are discussing the lease or purchase of a machine. Once the application has been made, you will receive your licence in due course from Royal Mail.
Can I use my franking machine as soon as I receive it?
No – you must make sure you do not use your machine until you have the licence. Once your licence arrives it will have a die number printed on it. This should match the die number on your machine. When you receive your licence you need to check they are the same. If not, you must contact Royal Mail immediately to inform them of the mistake. It is rare that this could happen, but if it does you should not use the machine until it is corrected.
Where can I get replacement inks for my machine?
A number of suppliers have been selected by Royal Mail to sell the correct red ink cartridges for franking machines. There are other suppliers who sell compatible cartridges too, but it is wise to ensure Royal Mail have approved the supplier you choose. This will provide you with peace of mind that the cartridges are correct for use and of the right colour and shade of red.
Where can I get other essential items and supplies for my machine?
You will usually find any supplier who is approved to sell the inks is also approved to sell other items such as mailing bags and postage envelopes. It is in your best interests to find the cheapest approved supplier who can provide you with everything you need in this respect.
What happens if my machine stops working?
Royal Mail has approved a number of companies to handle repairs for franking machines that are not working properly. It is in your best interests to seek out such a repair company as quickly as you can. This will enable you to start using your machine again as soon as possible.
My business is registered for VAT. Can I get the VAT back on the postage I pay?
Yes you can. Indeed if you are registered to pay VAT you should look into the possibility of getting a SMART franking machine. This will enable you to receive VAT invoices, normally from the company that supplies the franking machine for you. It does depend on which company you get your machine from though – in some cases Royal Mail will send you your VAT invoice, so check this with your preferred supplier prior to renting or buying your chosen machine.
What happens if I get a franking machine and then decide it is no good for me?
In this situation you would need to get in touch with the company who supplied your machine to you. They would arrange to collect the machine and in normal circumstances they would contact Royal Mail and notify them of the withdrawal.