When used correctly, franking machines provide a substantial discount on postage compared to traditional stamps and help to streamline your business’s mail posting process.
Operating a modern franking machine is simple when you know what to expect. While the precise procedure may be slightly different depending on which franking machine you’re using, the general principles remain the same.
Our six-step guide teaches you how to use a franking machine, outlining the key steps you should follow to frank your mail correctly.
1. Start by sorting your letters
If you post a lot of letters, start by sorting your items according to format. There are three formats: letter, large letter and parcel. Each format has a specified size and weight restriction, so make sure to check this table here to correctly categorise your post.
Your post should also be organised by destination (whether UK or international) and by service level, i.e. 1st or 2nd class. There are other service level options, such as Royal Mail Signed For and Special Delivery Guaranteed, that provide greater security and visibility of mail.
By sorting letters at this stage, you minimise the risk of human error later on in the franking process, resulting in a more efficient and streamlined service.
2. Assign a cost centre
To better manage and track expenditure, you should set up a cost centre on your franking machine. The instruction manual that comes with your franking machine should instruct you on how to set up a cost centre – you may need to enter a pin to password protect it and then confirm your selection.
Please note, not all franking machines will offer this functionality. If you are upgrading or purchasing a new franking machine, make sure to look at the feature list to see if cost centres are supported.
3. Select the product
On your machine, select the mail product you require. Modern franking systems, such as Frama range, have OneTouch technology, pre-programmed with the most important/common mail products. You will see OneTouch keys which display postal products, type of mailing, format, destination, and weight. If you want to add a logo or message to your mail, you can do this as well.
If you are using a franking machine without OneTouch or similar touchscreen functionality, input the type of mail, destination and tariff.
Make sure your postage rates are up to date before starting. Most machines will update the postage rates automatically – either by a rate chip that’s dispatched to you or via an online download.
4. Weigh your post
Most franking machines will have either linked or integrated scales and will be able to determine the weight and correct postage based on weight. Just put the letter on the scale, confirm the weight on screen and the postage value will be calculated.
Some franking machines offer a ‘stack weighing mode’ which avoids having to weigh each letter individually on the scale. Place the letters on the scale and the weight will be calculated. Remove the first letter from the stack, frank it and repeat for the remaining letters.
For example, the DPS PostBase Ten offers a dynamic weighing option, weighing every letter as it is franked through the system.
5. Insert and frank the letters
You can now frank your mail item with the selected postage rate. Feed the letter, facing upwards, into the machine and a franking mark will be stamped onto the envelope.
Make sure you insert the mail correctly. For example: if you using a Frama Matrix F12, the mail item must be placed so that the right-hand edge is flush against the housing and pushed back to the stop.
High-volume franking machines can frank mail items in bulk by using an automatic feeder.
6. Prepare franked mail for post
The first step is to make sure your franking marks are clear to avoid Royal Mail surcharges. From there, sort your franked mail into class type, size and destination. Postage bags can be acquired from Royal Mail. Make sure first-class mail goes in the red postage bag and second-class in the green postage bag.
And that’s everything you need to know about how to use a franking machine. If you want to avoid making any mistakes during this process, why not check out our common franking mistakes and how to correct them?