In March 2014 the price of a 1st class stamp rose from 60p to 62p - an increase of just over 3% - and the price of a 2nd class stamp rose from 50p to 53p - an increase of nearly 6%. In 2013 price changes for parcels were introduced along with updated size and weight criteria, meaning that some prices rose by approximately 50%, and in one case, by 109%.
Many of these price rises, well above inflation, make getting a franking machine an absolute must for thousands of businesses whether small or large. This guide to franking machine prices should help you work out the option that will help your company save the most.
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Franking Machine Purchase Prices
Buying a stand-alone franking machine can cost you anything from around £1,000 up to around £22,000. Prices will vary depending on the volume of franking the machine can manage per day, and the prices will reach the higher end of the scale if you choose to purchase a heavy-duty version. Due to this, many small businesses start off by leasing their first franking machine. Many major franking machine manufacturers such as Pitney Bowes and Neopost offer leased franking machine, making them much more accessible to businesses.
Franking Machine Lease Prices
Some of the advantages in leasing your franking machine are that you can avoid having to pay out a large amount up front and any repairs out of warranty are taken care of by the company. Furthermore, you can often upgrade or downgrade your franking machine in line with the size of your business and mailing requirements. With some lease deals, the cost per month to lease will include the initial delivery and installation charges, operator training, a certain number of free re-sets per year, and a free logo. Within the lease price there may also be included a free telephone helpline and a standard 4 hour callout on machine breakdowns.
Cheap Franking Machines
You can find a low volume franking machine, such as the PersonalPost 100, for as little as £4.25 a week. However, prices can vary, and leasing a small business franking machine such as the PersonalPost can cost up to £22 a month depending on where you lease the machine from. In terms of volume, roughly speaking, a low volume machine can handle up to 30 mailing items a day.
From FP IMS leasing options include the low volume MyMail which is around £20 per month, and can frank up to 30 items per day.
From Neopost, low volume franking machines include the Autostamp Franking Machine, which includes a weighing platform. The recommended retail price for this machine £595, but a return to base (RTB) contract costs £91 per annum. There is also the IJ-25e Franking Machine, which includes a weighing platform, which would cost around £935 to buy outright. An onsite exchange contract can be found for £177 per annum and a return to base contract for £186 per annum. In this series there is the IJ-25e Franking Machine. The recommended retail price for this is £1,165, but an onsite exchange contract can be found for £177 per annum, and a RTB contract is around £186 per annum. Another low volume machine is the IS-350 Franking Machine. This can be bought outright for £2,495, or a fully comprehensive service price is £339 per annum, and a price protected contract will cost £356 per annum.
Mid-range Franking Machines
In terms of mid volume machines from Neopost, there is the IS-420 Franking System which is priced at around £3,365, a fully comprehensive service costs £333 per annum and a price protected contract is £349 per annum. You can find the IS-460 Franking System with mixed size feeder for £9,075, a fully comprehensive service plan for £780 per annum and a price protected contract for £820 per annum. The IS-430 Franking System with autofeed has a recommended retail price of £6,155 or a fully comprehensive service price of £532 per annum and a price protected contract of £559 per annum. In addition there is the IS-480 Franking System with mixed size feeder for £11,050. A fully comprehensive service plan price is £889 per annum, and a price protected contract is £934 per annum.
From FP the mid volume Optimail 25 and Optimail 35, which can both handle between 20 to 100 items per day, will cost around £29 per month, and the mid to high volume Ultimail which can do 30 to 500 items per day is £47 per month. You would expect to pay more than this for the high volume Centormail, which handles up to 7,200 items of mail an hour.
High Volume Franking Machines
Neopost high volume machines include the IJ-80e Franking Machine (50 Depts) which costs £12,860, a fully comprehensive service price for this is £739 per annum, and a price protected contract is £777 per annum. There is also the IJ-90e Franking Machine (100 Depts) with mixed mail feeder which is priced at £19,545. The service price for this is £1,222 and a price protected contract is £1,284 per annum. The IJ-110e Franking Machine (200 Depts) with mixed mail feeder is £21,485, the fully comprehensive service price is £1,260 per annum, and a price protected contract is £1,326 per annum.
Another manufacturer is CPS Franking. CPS Franking offer two franking machines, the DP 200 and the DP 400. They state that the cost per impression for their franking machine is 0.004p compared to 0.025p for the Pitney Bowes Business/Personal Post machine and 0.03 for the Neopost IJ 25 / SM22.
If you would prefer to purchase a franking machine, but do not have the budget for this, you can find second hand machines for way below the price of new machines. For example, franking machines such as the Pitney Bowes U100 / UF6B can be found for as little as £258, which is nearly half the price of the cheapest machine you could find new.
Despite the heavy initial investment, franking machine users can save up to a max of 34% off every letter posted and between 9% and 18% for parcels. For a first class letter, you can save 16p. This rises to a saving of 29p on every second class letter, and on a 1kg parcel you can save up to 85p.
See the Royal Mail's own guide for a full breakdown.