Choosing the right postal solutions for your business is dependent on a number of factors, from the location you post to and the frequency of postage, to the size and weight of items you post. You also need to think about your customers; are you willing to pay a premium price for a faster and more comprehensive delivery service? Do you have a reputation to maintain? How long are your customers willing to wait to receive goods? In order to get the right solution for your business, all these variables must be taken into account. A postal solution that is above or below requirements will lead your business to paying more than it should; you want a solution that is just right.
You might think that getting your parcels out of the door is the only concern when it comes to a postage solution – but that is not the case. There’s also packaging and applying the right postage to each item. If you process a small number of parcels, doing this manually is not a problem – but for businesses that routinely send parcels, a franking and courier solution is required.
In this blog, we’ll take a look at the different postal solutions and options available to your business.
Purchase or lease franking machines?
Using a franking machine will not only save you a considerable amount of time and money, but will also give you accurate postage (as most franking machines have a scale built in so that the measured weight is always accurate) and help you to keep track of your postage costs, making it easier to claim them as expenses on your tax return.
The question isn’t whether or not to get a franking machine, however, but whether or not you should purchase or lease one. Purchasing a franking machine can be costly up front, but comes without the ties of a contract and you have complete control over your franking machine. For businesses that post a lot of mail and parcels, purchasing a franking machine outright might be the best solution.
Leasing/renting, on the other hand, is cheaper and the supplier typically offers other benefits such as maintenance, support and upgrade options once your contract has expired. Leasing a franking machine also allows you to upgrade your franking machine in line with your business’ requirements, so if your business needs more franking capacity, this can be easily achieved.
When it comes to choosing between buying or renting a franking machine, both options offer benefits, but it is down to what your business needs and the level of activity it manages.
Getting a courier or Royal Mail account
If you ship frequently, a courier account can help you to save both time and money on shipping. Most courier accounts can be tailored to your business’ needs – and therefore provide you with the best possible solution for your postage.
For example, Business Mail Advanced (BMA) – a mail service via Royal Mail available for franking machine users – offers greater postal discounts in return for preparing your bulk mail according to certain criteria. In order to benefit from BMA discounts, you must fulfil the following criteria:
- Post a minimum of 500 letters, with the minimum dimensions of 145mm x 110mm, a maximum size of 240mm x 165mm, a minimum thickness of 0.25mm or a maximum thickness of 5mm.
- Machine print addresses on a defined area of the letter
- Certain areas of the mail piece must have no markings
- Letters must be separated into 1st and 2nd class
- Letters must be presented upside down and facing the front of the provided trays - Trays must be placed in the provided wheeled containers
- Letters must bear a license number (applied by your franking machine)
- Customer collection receipt must accompany mail
Business Mail Advanced is a more flexible and cost-effective solution for your business’ urgent and non-urgent business mail, correspondence, transaction mail, bills, contracts, statements and invoices. It also includes a range of options for preparing and presenting your mail – some of which offer price discounts.
Should you just do it yourself? When is this feasible?
If you only post a small number of parcels a week or month, stamping and posting your business mail is certainly one way to go. Enlisting the services of a courier and buying or renting a franking machine might not deliver the same cost savings as if you processed hundreds of letters or parcels a day – or week. Acquiring franking solutions, printers and the services of a courier is only cost-effective when you have time constraints and large volumes of letters to deliver. These solutions will save you a significant amount of time and money and deliver more value to your customers as you benefit from improved delivery speed and flexibility.
What combination of postage solutions are best for your business?
When it comes to choosing a postage solution for your business, it’s important to take into account how much you post, the size of the items you post, and where you are posting to.
With this considered, a combination of postage solutions will enable your business to improve productivity whilst keeping costs low. For example, if you post a lot of mail and parcels, high-spec franking machines, along with a business mail courier account will ensure that 1) you can frank your mail quickly and efficiently, 2) have mail sorted and prepared in a fraction of the time and, 3) distribute your mail both locally and internationally in a cost-effective manner.
On the other hand, if your business is growing but only posts a small number of parcels and letters a week, a leased franking machine solution and hand post process would be more effective. Your business benefits from accurate postage costs due to your franking machine, you do not needlessly pay for a postage solution and finally, your leased franking machine can be upgraded (as per your contract) when your business requires.
It is really important to take the time to consider your business’ current needs and potential requirements in the future if you are to choose the right postal solution. The points raised in this blog should provide you with the information and insight you need to make an informed choice. If you are looking for comprehensive postal solutions that can be tailored to your business’ requirements, please have a look at our services.
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