Chapter 1

What is a Franking Machine?

Chapter 2

Franking Machine History

Chapter 3

Who champions Franking Machines?

Chapter 4

Flaws of a Franking Machine

Chapter 5

Real World Case Study

Chapter 6

Important upcoming changes for users

Chapter One

What is a Franking Machine?

A franking machine is a metering device designed to streamline the mailing process for the sender. It cuts out the need to travel to the post office, queue up, weigh your mail items and affix the correct postage. Instead, the machine enables you to affix the correct postage via the machine, so that the sender can drop off the mail to the local post box or have it collected.

Chapter Two

Franking Machine History

Franking machines have been around for over 100 years and were first used in the US during the Civil War. The first franking machines were large and complex, and cost thousands to purchase.

They are now considered the industry standard and have evolved considerably over the years, with the current models costing hundreds rather than thousands to purchase. They have been used across the world to reduce mailing costs.

However, many organisations do not truly understand the hidden costs and expenses of owning or leasing a franking machine. There are far more cost-effective ways to send mail.

Chapter Three

Who champions Franking Machines?

With franking machines being a global industry, with an income of $45 billion per annum on postage alone, it’s needless to say that Royal Mail isn’t in a hurry to move away from these top-line numbers.

Franking machine users and manufacturers are reaping $10 billion-plus a year according to statistics in 2019. So, the emphasis on sticking with your trusty franking machine will be heavily weighted in favour of your franking process. And the disadvantages are brushed under the carpet.

Let’s explore…

What are their reasons for encouraging your organisation to stick with your franking machine postal service? Let’s have a look at the main areas of interest:


You get tied into a contract with the franking machine supplier; this can range from 5 to 7 years, making a solid commitment from you, with limited get-out clauses.


You have to pay for your mail before you’ve even sent anything. Crediting your machine up-front to secure your pounds first, whether you use your allowance or not.


Franking is the second most expensive way to send your post, postage stamps being first on that list – more money for Royal Mail, more money for the franking supplier.


Franking machine ink is an astronomical cost, which literally costs more than gold gram for gram. It costs more to ink your machine than any other ink in the world. You can expect to pay 3p per item sent just to attach a postage impression.


With complex licenses and lease agreements for the privilege of running a franking machine, it makes it almost impossible to switch to a cost-efficient mailing solution.


Your machine has got a life span of 4 to 5 years, meaning you’ll always need to budget for that expense to keep your postal solution running smoothly.

Those figures are spine-tingling and the main reason you’re convinced to send your post via franking machine, rather than the solution benefiting and working for you and your organisation.

Chapter Four

Flaws of Franking Machines

Rate & Tariff Changes

You need to keep up to date with Royal Mail tariff changes. They’re not at set times of the year, fairly ad hoc and sporadic. It can happen up to 4 times a year, and if you miss these changes and thus haven’t updated your machine, your mail will not go anywhere. Plus, the machines can be turned off remotely, so only updating the price changes will enable you to mail again.

Paper Jamming

Is not only immensely inconvenient but also very costly to the franking machine user. You will have to pay twice to reprint mail that has jammed or attempt to reclaim that cost back. Good luck too, since your claim to be made is with your franking supplier who is notorious for being difficult to get hold of!

Space Invaders

Franking machines take up space. The bigger your volume, the bigger the space needed for the machine. If you have volume fluctuations, you are still committed to a large space and an expensive machine. Your ROI isn’t going to be a positive one.

Rising Costs

The cost of leasing or owning a franking machine is high and franking users are not always aware of these costs before it’s too late. Then you’ve committed to the contract and stuck in it for 5-7 years. They are expensive to run, with franking ink being the most expensive ink in the world, costing more than gold. Leasing and paying monthly is costly, as is purchasing a new model. The more you spend, the more you’ll pay, and with having to credit your account upfront, you’re paying for items you haven’t even sent yet.


Your machine is faulty, something isn’t working properly, or it isn’t working at all. What can you do? No mail can be sent until an engineer is on the scene and no mail can be sent until that time. In the worst case, a part is needed and you have to wait for that too, plus the repair work. All this until you’re up and running again. What a headache! You are guaranteed to miss that sensitive time window for your mail while waiting for any repair work.

Managing Stock

Another headache required to possess a franking machine. Someone has to be appointed to manage the stock levels of paper, envelopes and ink. There is a regular consumable cost associated with this, of course, in addition to the space required for all this stock.

Chapter Five

Case Study

In many organisations, the whole cost of purchasing or renting a franking machine could go unnoticed. We have been able to quantify what we believe to be a true reflection of what that cost is with the help of clients with whom we have an exceptional relationship.

We want to be open and sincere. After reading this, we hope to have been transparent enough for you to start thinking about your own postal practises.

Please note: The prices listed below are actual costs that were incurred by one of our clients. This breakdown is intended to help you understand what expenses you might have missed and why it will be worthwhile for you to take a comprehensive look at your spending.