With so many franking machines (and suppliers) to choose from, getting the best solution for your business is far from “easy”. Low volume, high volume, Mailmark-enabled – with all the different functions and terms flying about, where do you begin?
Getting the right franking machine is crucial – and will help to drastically improve your business’ mail function and reduce your operational costs.
In this blog, we’ll explore everything you need to consider when looking for a franking machine for your business to ensure you make the right decision.
What types of mail do you send and how much?
Firstly, work out how much mail you send and what types of mail you send, i.e. letters, large letters, small parcels, medium parcels, as this will help you to ascertain whether or not you process at a high enough volume to actually benefit from a franking machine, as well as the type of franking machine you need.
In addition to assessing your current mailing volume and the types of mail you send, you should also factor in future increases or decreases in mailing volume to ensure you acquire the right franking machine for you needs both now, and in the future.
There are three franking machine types you can choose with regards to volume - low volume, medium volume or high volume.
- Low volume franking machines are suitable for small businesses that process small volumes of post on a daily basis whilst being compact and easy to use.
- Medium volume franking machines are capable of franking at slightly higher speeds and some come with automatic feeders to speed up the process. Medium volume franking machines usually process between 100 and 300 letters a day and include programmable functions to help speed up the mailing process.
- High volume franking machines are designed to manage large mail volumes and come with automatic feeding machines, dynamic scales for mixed mail processing and other advanced functions to deliver greater efficiency. High volume franking machines can process at least 1000 mail items a day and the most advanced come with programmable functions and flexible configuration options –such as DPS’ PostBase Ten
What technology/features do you need?
Once you know how much you send on a daily basis and have factored in potential growth or regression of the mail function, you then need to choose a machine that has the technology and functions you need. There are a number of technologies and features that can add more value to your franking function – but the two most crucial are Mailmark and SMART franking.
Mailmark is Royal Mail’s new, state-of-the-art barcode technology that was introduced in early 2014. It supersedes the traditional ‘crown and die’ with a machine-readable 2D barcode. Mailmark gives you more control over your mail – providing precision reporting on your mail and deliverability – and delivers the cheapest prices. Mailmark is increasingly used across the UK and has quickly become the premier format for franking. We would recommend that you start by looking at Mailmark-enabled franking machines.
In addition to being Mailmark enabled, we would advise that you choose a SMART franking machine. SMART franking machines are able to identify and calculate the VAT on some franked products. SMART franking machines will save VAT information on its system, so all you need to do is frank the item as normal with the right postage and the machine will manage the rest for you. VAT will automatically be recorded so you can claim it back.
Mailmark-enabled and SMART franking machines should be at the top priority, providing a machine has these features any supplementary features you require – such as programmable functions, print capability, high-quality graphics and others – can be addressed afterwards.
At DPS, all of our franking machines are Digital and Mailmark ready, and thanks to our partnership with Frama, we can supply the best franking machine solutions available today.
Lease, rent or purchase?
Each option has its benefits and will ultimately depend on your specific business circumstances. Leasing a franking machine will mean that you pay a fraction of the overall fee upfront and then ongoing monthly instalments. Included in the lease will be franking machine maintenance and customer support services. Lease terms are fixed for a period of time. When your lease period is up, your supplier will offer you an upgrade.
Renting a franking machine means that you pay on a month-to-month basis with no long-term requirements or arrangements. At the end of each month you can return the franking machine or change your agreement. Renting a franking machine typically comes without the maintenance and service included as part of the package – but you can rent any franking machine that meets your requirements.
Purchasing a franking machine, on the other hand, is more expensive but ultimately gives you the freedom to do as you wish and you can purchase a top-of-the-line solution. The only issue is that when you need an upgrade, it will be costly compared to leasing or renting.
Choosing the right supplier
Now that you know your mail volumes, the technology you need, and whether to lease, rent or purchase, the last thing you need to do is compare vendors to get the best price and service. A good price might not necessarily mean a good deal – and ultimately you want to work with a supplier that can not only provide you with quality franking solutions, but also great customer service should you require assistance.
At DPS, we pride ourselves not only on being able to deliver the latest franking machine technology, but also superior customer service. We work intimately with our customers to help them find the right postal solution for their business, offering flexible contracts and financing deals to help them access affordable franking solutions. We work closely with manufacturers so we can provide the best prices on the latest products for our customers.
To find out more about saving money on your postal activities, download our checklist: