How to Use a Franking Machine

21 July 2020

How to use your franking machine – a quick guide:

Not only do franking machines provide a substantial discount on postage compared to traditional stamps, they also help to streamline your business’s mail posting process.

Operating a modern franking machine is simple when you know what to expect, whilst the precise procedure may be slightly different depending on which franking machine you’re using, the general principles remain the same:

Start by sorting your letters

If you post a lot of letters, start by sorting your items according to format. There are four formats: letter, large letter, small parcel and medium parcel. Each format has a specified size and weight restriction, so make sure to check you 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 (we recommend always using 2nd class as you’ll save more and franked mail traditionally arrives quicker than standard as it speeds through sorting). There are also 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.

Assign a cost centre/account 

To better manage and track expenditure, you should establish a cost centre, or account, on your franking machine. They’re easy to set up from the home screen prompts (or you can always ask us for help), though you may need to enter a pin to password protect it and then confirm your selection.

Please note, not all older franking machines will offer this functionality, so if you’re upgrading make sure to specify the number you need when selecting a new machine.

Weigh your post 

Most franking machines will have either linked or integrated scales to enable them to determine the 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’ or differential weighing mode which avoids having to weigh each letter individually on the scale. Place all the letters on the scale and the weight will be calculated, then remove the first letter from the stack and the frank value for the removed letter weight will be calculated.

Select the product

Using the short-cut keys, or touch screen options, simply select the mail product you require from the presets available, possibly adding a return address or marketing message if required.

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.

Insert and frank the letters 

You can now frank your mail with the selected postage rate, simply feed the letter, facing upwards, into the machine (or let an auto-feeder do the work) and a franking mark will be stamped onto the envelope.

Prepare franked mail for post 

The first step is to make sure your franking marks are clear to avoid Royal Mail surcharges, which it should be with approved inks, then sort your franked mail into class type, size and destination and pop into your franking postage bags. Extra postage bags can be acquired from Royal Mail and make sure first-class mail goes in the red postage bag, second-class in the green, with any international or special deliveries kept separately.



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