Franking mail 101 & can you put franked mail in a post box?

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Franking mail 101 & can you put franked mail in a post box? ...

If you want to put franked mail in a post box, you have to use Royal Mail-approved metered posting envelopes (also known as low-volume posting envelopes).

Metered posting envelopes are special, low-volume envelopes that can be acquired from the supplier of your franking machine. You can place up to 30 franked mail items into a metered posting envelope.

For other items of franked mail – i.e. everything that can’t go in a low-volume posting envelope – you will have to use a business mail post box, a mail centre or visit a Post Office.

There are some parcel post boxes dotted around the UK (since Royal Mail launched its first ever parcel post boxes in 2018) so if there’s one nearby and you have franked your parcels, you can use them.

Check out our franking machine mistakes blog if you’re worried about how you should frank and post your mail.

Also, you can’t frank large letters as letters – or frank mail going to international locations as if they were being sent in the UK.

Learn more about the different types of franking machines available in our  ultimate franking machine guide.


How to prepare franked items for post

If you’re preparing franked items for post – letters, parcels and international mail – follow the points below.

1. Letters

If you are sending letters, sort them into class, size and destination. Ensure the addresses face upwards and the franking mark is in the top right corner. Bundle your letters together using an elastic band. Once done, put them into the correct pouch (red pouches for 1st Class, Green pouches for 2nd Class and white pouches for international mail.

2. Parcels

Parcels should be prepared using mail bags. Separate items by class and put them into their respective bag (the bags will be marked either 1st or 2nd Class). There’s a maximum of 11kg per bag – so make sure not to go over!

3. Special Delivery Guaranteed and International tracking and signature services

If you have franked Special Delivery Guaranteed and International tracking and signature services mail, keep it separate from other mail. Make sure to label the bag or pouch you are using for this mail and seal it.

You can order trays and bags free of charge from Royal Mail.

Mistakes can lead to your mail being delayed or lost and Royal Mail will charge you the admin fees or, if your mail was franked or packaged incorrectly (i.e. a 2nd Class mail item in a 1st Class postage bag), you will be charged the difference.

Check out our franking surcharges blog for more information on charges. 


Where can you post franked mail?

You can post your franked mail at Post Office branches, Royal Mail Delivery offices and Mail Centres, and Business Post Boxes. If you are posting 30 letters or less, you can post your franked mail in normal post boxes if you are using metered posting envelopes/low-volume posting envelopes.

Alternatively, you can set up a business collection arrangement with Royal Mail – which is particularly good if you send large volumes of mail regularly and can’t take it to a Post Office branch.

With the business collection service, Royal Mail comes to you. You just select a time that suits you (or Royal Mail can assign one for you) and that’s it. You can have one-off collections or regularly weekday collections.

And if you spend more than £16,500 over a year with Royal Mail, you’ll qualify for free collection. Check out the price table below for more information.

  Price per annum (exc. VAT) Time of collection 
Annual spend with Royal Mail less than £16,500    
Weekday collection £787 Allocated by Royal Mail
 Timed weekday collection £1,792 Chosen by you
 Saturday collection £246 Allocated by Royal Mail
 Timed Saturday collection £479 Chosen by you
 Annual spend with Royal Mail more than £16,500    
 Weekday collection FREE Mutually agreed by Royal Mail and you
 Single collection £14.58 (one-off fee, exc. VAT) Allocated by Royal Mail


That should cover everything you need to know about whether or not you can put franked mail in a post box – as well as how you should go about presenting and posting your mail.

If you are in the market for a franking machine or just need help with your current solution(s), check out our services and see if they are of interest! 

Do you know which key factors to consider when purchasing a franking machine? Download our free guide to postal solutions to discover the functionalities available and which features your business needs.

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