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If your business sends mail on a daily or weekly basis, you could benefit from a franking machine. On first glance, a franking machine may appear dull and expensive but when you consider the savings that await, the improved office and mail efficiency and the more professional image of every piece of mail that leaves your office, you realise the potential of a franking machine. The best news is that franking machines ARE affordable. Sit back, scroll through and discover the potential that leasing or renting a franking machine brings.
Leasing vs Purchasing a Franking Machine?
A franking machine can be bought, rented or leased. How can we decide which is the better option for your business without knowing the differences between them? Well, a rental agreement is generally a less formal agreement between your business and the supplier, it is a great option for short term rentals as well as for new businesses or businesses with low credit scores. A lease is a more formal agreement and is entered into by the customer with a third party leasing company, it is often a good option for the use of high volume models with a high financial value. To buy a franking machine is to pay the initial cost upfront in order to own the machine, avoiding contracts and ongoing fees as well as experiencing much lower lifetime costs.
Key Differences Between Renting And Leasing:
- Rental rates are subject to change after the first year.
- Lease rates remain the same throughout the contract.
- A franking machine rental can be easily cancelled.
- A franking machine lease would need to be paid out so there is no outstanding balance.
There is not much difference in the rates for renting and leasing franking machines, it just depends what kind of contract would be better for your business. Before you decide whether buying, renting or leasing is best for your business, read on to find out expected costs depending on your needs.
Cost Comparison Table
Before deciding whether to lease or buy a franking machine, you need to know what you require from it in order to experience the most benefits. Not all franking machines are the same, they differ greatly based on the amount of mail they are capable of processing. The more mail being processed; the faster, more automated and efficient the machine needs to be and the more it is going to cost you.
To know which model is going to be best suited to you and to have a clearer idea of costs moving forward, you need to work out how much post your business sends on a daily basis. Using this figure, you can use the table below to see what kind of franking machine is going to be best suited to your needs.
|Type of machine||Number of pieces of mail sent each day||Cost of buying||Cost of leasing (per month)|
|Low Volume||Up to 100||£1,000 – £3,000||£15 – £50|
|Medium Volume||100 to 1,000||£3,000 – £8,000||£50 – £100|
|High Volume||1,000 +||£8,000 – £25,000||£100 – £500|
The cost of buying and the cost of leasing indicate the lowest and highest parameters within that type of franking machine. This is to show you that the cost can vary considerably depending on the model and features selected within that type. A £1,000 low volume franking machine would be small, quiet, compact and would be able to handle around 50 items per day and will most likely have an integrated weighing scale and the ability to personalise the franking mark. The £3,000 low volume machine should be able to handle 100 items of mail per day with ease, giving a business room for growth, and will most likely have; faster franking speeds, automated letter feeding and stacking, the ability to handle letters of different sizes as well as packages and differential weighing. Both the models are low volume but are targeted to slightly different business needs. Make sure you establish what your business needs from a franking machine to save you money in the long run.
To Lease or to Buy A Franking Machine
To help us decide which route would be best, let’s first take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of buying a franking machine.
- Considerably lower lifetime cost compared to renting.
- You are in full control over supplies, allowing you to shop around and save even more money.
- Long term investment & continuous benefits.
- No contracts.
- High initial cost.
- Annual licensing and service fees.
- Maintenance & repair costs fall to you.
- Chance of model purchased becoming outdated.
As you can see, buying a franking machine outright can be a very good investment despite the initial hole that it burns through your pocket. If anything it’s just making more room for all the savings you’re going to make, right? If you are sure that your business can handle the initial and ongoing costs and if you are positive the model you choose will not become outdated or your mail output will outgrow its abilities then we can’t think of any reason you shouldn’t buy the franking machine. However, if there’s even just an ounce of hesitation, you could save yourself a lot of stress by leasing.
Leasing a machine will cost from £20 per month for a low volume model up to £80 per month for a sophisticated high volume model. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of leasing a franking machine.
- Easily upgrade to a higher volume machine in the future if necessary.
- Maintenance is taken care of as part of the rental agreement.
- Ability to shop around the approved suppliers for the best deal.
- The supplier is in complete control of the franking machine.
- Consumable costs fall to you e.g. ink and labels.
- You are in a contract.
By leasing a franking machine, you are enjoying the cost and time saving benefits without having to pay the high initial cost of actually owning the machine. You can enjoy the very best franking machines have to offer without needing to worry about breaking the bank or dealing with tricky maintenance and licensing (as when you lease, support services help you with these) and you are able to upgrade or downgrade at any time to fit your businesses changing requirements. The downside, of course, is that you do not actually own the machine.
Before you make your decision, it is also important to take into account the costs involved with running your franking machine. It’s not just the leasing or purchasing cost that you need to budget for. When using a franking machine, you are responsible for all of the running costs. These include:
- Postal credits: You recharge your credits in order to be able to frank and send mail. Franking machines mean you can recharge at any point in time usually online or over the phone so you won’t need to visit the post office or stand in any long queues (thank goodness!)
- Replacing ink cartridges: Refilling or replacing ink cartridges as necessary, a new ink cartridge can be pricey (think around £40 depending on the manufacturer) so it is important you factor these costs into your budget.
- Labels: You will need to use labels in order to stick a franked mark onto larger parcels. Labels are often available in packs of 20, 100 or 1,000 so you can buy in bulk if necessary.
- Logo: There may be a one-time cost paid to your supplier to get your logo converted into a file readable by the franking machine.
- Royal Mail updates: These generally cost £50 per update.
- Maintenance and support: If the machine needs to be repaired: if you bought the machine you are responsible for covering these costs as well as the cost of replacing any broken parts. However, if you are renting/ leasing there is usually a maintenance agreement included within the contract which means if the machine is broken or needs to be replaced, it will be repaired or replaced at no cost to you.
You can expect most of these running costs even if you are renting the machine. There may also be an expectation that you buy specifically manufactured ink cartridges as part of your rental agreement, which could cost more than if you had the option to shop around. On the other side of the coin – if you’re a lucky shopper – the supplier you’ve chosen may have offered you special monthly deals with discounted rates that will save you money on the running costs rather than the opposite.
No matter which route you decide to take, be it buying or renting/ leasing. Your business can benefit from a franking machine and by choosing the right one you can optimize the advantages and savings. Choose a franking machine that has features you will utilise and choose the financial plan that works best for your business. The most important thing is to make sure you deal with only Royal Mail approved manufacturers and suppliers. Without Royal Mail’s seal of approval, a franking machine is useless and you’ll be left with nothing more than a hole in your pocket.