If you’re looking to buy a franking machine for your business you should prepare yourself to be confronted with a plethora of almost indistinguishable options. Ensuring that you’re making the right decision requires a critical eye and a nose for sniffing out the hidden charge.
If you’re not sure about whether to buy or lease you should start with our other article on Franking Machine Costs. If you’ve already made the decision to purchase, read on for an overview of the main Royal Mail approved manufacturers, their machines and their service options.
The oldest and largest franking machine company in the world. Arthur Pitney and Walter Bowes in fact invented the franking machine (known then as a postal meter) in Stamford, Connecticut in the year 1920.
Pitney Bowes is a manufacturer and full service provider. They can sell you a basic machine (up to 20 letters per day) for just over £1,000 and prices go up to £25,000. They currently publish a price list on their website. Pitney Bowes machines come with a 1 year warranty as standard.
The Pitney Bowes Inclusive Service Cover is available on a yearly or 5-yearly basis. Yearly charges are typically 11% of the purchase price of the machine whereas 5-year charges are typically 50% of the purchase price of the machine (remember to account for inflation when making the comparison).
Pitney Bowes Inclusive Service Cover provides installation, preventative maintenance, telephone support, repairs with no charges for call out, parts or labour, free postal rate change updates and free postal inspections.
You can pay for postage in advance (£6 charge per refill) or in arrears (£5.50 charge for each top up of less than £100, £13 charge for top ups over £100, payable within 55 days).
Europe’s largest franking machine suppliers, headquartered in France, are also manufacturers and full service providers. Like Pitney Bowes they have prices on their website.
Basic machines cost £1,250. The most expensive are around £20k, so there is a similar span of prices to Pitney Bowes but fewer machines in total so larger price gaps between them.
Neopost offer three levels of support: the Essential Care, Total Care and Total Care+ packages. The costs of these plans vary between models but average costs are 10%, 15% and 16% of the purchase price of machine per annum.
The Essential Care package includes return to base repair, phone support, Royal Mail inspections and online postage spend tracking. You’ll still have to pay for postal rate change updates and top ups: £15 for up to 4 annual top ups, £30 for up to 10, £60 for up to 20 etc. The Total Care package adds free postal rate change updates, the ability to pay in arrears for postage (55 days) without top up charges and grants engineer call out . Total Care + adds installation and training, improved response times and a larger credit limit.
A Swiss manufacturer of franking machines. The UK division, Frama UK Ltd is a Royal Mail approved supplier and inspector.
Unfortunately, Frama do not publish a price list online. They have a selection of 9 different machines which cover the same sort of range as Pitney Bowes and Neopost.
They offer a single all inclusive service package which includes free re-crediting, two postal tariff updates per annum, telephone support, engineer call out and parts.
Or Francotyp Postalia Mailing, to give them their full name, were founded in 1983 in Germany and have been supplying postal equipment in the UK since 1923. They deal with customers through themailingroom.com.
They are also reluctant to publish prices online but they have a range of 10 franking machines which you can view on their website. Like PB they offer a year’s free maintenance on purchased franking machines and offer a service package with no charges for re-crediting, postage tariff updates, servicing and consumables.
The above listed companies are Royal Mail approved manufacturer/distributors. All independent companies will be resellers of franking machines made by these four companies. However, that doesn’t mean that they’ll necessarily be more expensive or offer the same support options as these larger companies.
In conclusion, if you’re looking to buy a franking machine it’s worth gathering as many quotes as possible for your business in order to ensure the maximum savings available.
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