Do you regularly post letters or parcels through your business? Well, you could actually be spending more time and money than you need to be. This is where a franking machine can help. Whether you’re sending 5 or 500 letters, franking machines are designed to handle it all and make your life easier.
While it may look complicated initially, operating a franking machine is a simple process that will take mere minutes. Our guide will teach you how to use a franking machine in 5 quick and easy steps.
What is a Franking Machine?
A franking machine is designed to pay for postage in advance. Meaning you and your employees will never have to endure long waits at the post office again! The machine weighs the letters, provides an accurate postage and stamps them for proof. No matter the size of your company, this is an extremely convenient machine to have in your office – especially if you take trips to the post office often.
How to use a franking machine in 5 easy steps
1. Organise Your Letters and Parcels
If you’re posting a lot of letters it’s strongly advised you organise them before franking so the process can run smoothly and efficiently. Start by organising your items according to format – letter, large letter, small parcel and medium parcel. Each of these formats has specific size and weight restrictions so it’s important you categorise them correctly.
You may also find it useful to organise your post by their destination, whether they’ll be sent within the UK or internationally. And, sort the 1st or 2nd class, Royal Mail Signed For or Special Delivery Guaranteed too. Organising your post thoroughly before franking lessens the risk of any errors later on and ensures a streamlined service.
2. Select the Product Type
Using either the touch screen or the keys on the franking machine choose the type of product you need from the available options. Most machines will keep the postage rate updated, but, we recommend always checking beforehand. You can add a return address or even a marketing message or slogan to make your letters stand out to whoever you’re sending them to.
3. Weigh Your Post
Most modern franking machines have integrated scales, so, once everything is organised, weigh each item to determine their correct postage. All you need to do is place the item on the scale, confirm the weight on the screen and the postage will be automatically calculated for you.
Of course, it’s important to remember that every machine is different and some may even offer a stack weighing mode. This allows you to place all letters on the scale for the total weight, then removing the letters one-by-one to find out the postage. Make sure you read the instruction manual to discover the best way to weigh your post on the franking machine.
4. Insert Letters into the Machine
Feed your letters into the machine with the selected postage rate, making sure they’re facing upwards and a franking mark will be stamped onto the envelope. Some machines also allow you to stamp your company logo too for a more professional finish. If you choose a high-capacity machine, it’s likely you’ll be able to feed the letters in bundles to help speed up the process.
5. Prepare Mail for Post
When it comes to taking your franked mail to the post office, there are a few things you need to remember and prepare. Firstly, make sure the franking marks are clear, legible and in the right place (the top right-hand corner) to avoid any surcharges. Then, organise your franked mail into class type, size and destination and put them in separate franking postage bags. You can pick up extra postage bags from Royal Mail.
How to do recorded/signed for delivery on franking machine
It couldn’t be more seamless. As you’re popping your mail through the franking machine, just select either ‘special delivery’ or ‘recorded’ in the displayed options you’re given. The entire process is practically the same as 1st or 2nd class, except that this selected option will add the correct surcharge to ensure your parcel is prioritised for recorded or signed delivery.
If your franking machine doesn’t have these options set automatically, you’ll need to adjust the surcharge yourself by cross-checking the prices online and taking your parcel to the post office.
We’d recommend inquiring whether these features come with the franking machine you’re thinking of buying.
Using a franking machine FAQs:
Do you still need Royal Mail sticker rolls?
Unless you’re sending international mail (more on that below), no, you don’t! The process has now been made simpler.- yes you do if you are doing international mail.
As of 2022, the use of orange (P2223) and silver (P4723) adhesive labels has been discontinued. Now you must print an S10 1D barcode from your franking machine. This is Royal Mail’s new way to track your items, totally replacing any need for a label.
How to update a franking machine with new prices
Updating your franking machines’ mail prices is simple. You just need a WiFi or LAN internet connection.
Check your franking machine’s options for a software update. If you struggle to locate this section of your franking machine, look in its manual. The entire process is made simple, so you can stay up-to-date and not pay any unnecessary differences.
Can you use franking machines for parcels?
Yes! You have multiple options to send parcels of all sizes within the UK, or small parcels to other international destinations via Royal Mail. If you have Royal Mail collection, there’s no need to head to the post office at all.
See below for further details.
What are the weight, size and thickness limits for franked post?
Letter: Max weight – 100g. Max length – 240mm. Max width – 165mm. Max thickness – 5mm.
Larger letter: Max weight – 750g. Max length – 353mm. Max width – 250mm. Max thickness – 25mm.
Small parcel (wide): Max weight – 2kg. Max length – 45cm. Max width – 35cm. Max thickness – 8cm
Small parcel (deep): Max weight – 2kg. Max length – 35cm. Max width – 25cm. Max thickness – 16cm
Medium parcel: Max weight – 20kg. Max length – 61cm. Max width – 46cm. Max thickness – 46cm
How to send international post on a franking machine?
Sending outside of the UK is simple. The service areas are split into three categories, with different pricing for each. The categories are Europe, World Zone 1, or World Zone 2. Check online for further details on the destination you’re posting to.
You have the choice of standard, tracked, signed, or tracked and signed international shipping. Just ensure to use Airmail stickers or write ‘BY AIR MAIL’ on the top left corner of your franked mail.
IMPORTANT: For tracked, signed, or tracked and signed international mail, you must affix the below relevant label to suit your shipping choice, including the barcode, and add an entry in the Special Delivery (silver) book.
Tracked: P6522 | Signed: P4723 | Tracked and Signed: P6696
How to change ink cartridge on a franking machine
Don’t feel intimidated. This step is actually quick and easy.
Across the board, the franking ink replacement processes are quite the same. However, we’d recommend checking out your franking machine’s manual for the specific steps for your model.
For a general rule of thumb, we’d suggest the following:
1: Press the menu button
2: Select ‘ink functions,’ then select ‘replace ink cartridge.’
3: Open the top of the franking machine and find the ink head.
4: Press down on the top of the ink cartridge latch.
5: Tilt the empty cartridge back towards you and remove it.
6: Take out the new cartridge from the packaging and ensure to remove the protective tape.
7: Tilt the cartridge towards you and install it into the print head. Ensure the cartridge is straightened and upright.
8: Press on the cartridge firmly until it’s in place.
9: Close the cover and select Enter.
10. Test by printing something.
Want more information and advice on franking machines? Our team can help get your office set up in no time with the most reliable and cost-effective equipment – just get in touch to learn more.