• Preparing Franked Mail

    Do you know how to prepare franked mail items? If not or if you are unsure use our guide.


Before you begin, make sure your franking machine price and date is set correctly and you’ve got all you need to carry out your mailing.

Envelope Information

You can frank onto envelopes of almost any size or colour. However you must ensure a clear, legible franked impression occurs. For this reason we recommend using franking labels on coloured or printed envelopes or packets. Appropriate franking labels are available from www.franking-labels.co.uk.

Setting Your Machine

You must always ensure that your franking machine is set to zero when possible. Also a test print is also advised as this will show you whether you have set the correct date and whether you have enough ink left in the cartridge / print head. The franked impression should be clear and complete and positioned in the top right hand corner of the envelope. If you use any franking labels, then they must be complete and display a complete and legible print on them.

If you want to frank mail in advance, or after the last acceptance or collection time of the day, forward the date on your franking machine to the next day. It’s not possible to use a franked impression to prepay return items to your company, because of the time sensitive nature of franking. However, it’s always sensible to include a return address on your envelopes in case items are undelivered.

Printing Specifications

All franking impressions must be printed in red ink for normal franking machines and smart blue ink for Smart Meter Franking machines, unless otherwise specified. Franking impressions must also be clear and complete for reading, and the print must be in the top right hand corner of your envelopes or any other franked items. Your franking machine manufacturer / supplier can discuss your company logo and return address with your company.

Presenting Franked Mail

When using Low Franked Mail Envelopes or Late Meter Posting Envelopes to send mail, you can post your mail in a normal pillar box or a Royal Mail Post Box. You can buy Late Meter envelopes and Low Volume envelopes from many websites, but we recommend that you visit www.meter-envelopes.co.uk for the cheapest and low cost envelopes.

We also advise you to sort your mail into bundles of First Class and Second Class Letters, Large Letters and Packets. You must ensure that each piece of mail has the address facing upwards, and that each franking impression made is in the top right hand corner of the item. Secure each bundle with an elastic band when you can.

Red & Green Pouches

The Royal Mail will supply your business with pouches to present your bundled mail. Red pouches must be used for First Class and small amounts of airmail, whereas Green pouches must be used for Second Class Mail. When using these pouches, you must make sure that you are using the correct coloured pouch for the service that you require and also try to use a separate pouch for each envelope size.

Standard pouches are designed to hold Letter and Large Letter envelopes, and they can hold as many as 200 Letters or 45 Large Letters if packed to a good standard. Other pouches are also available for specific envelope sizes and services, including white pouches for larger volumes of international items (Airmail).


If you send large amounts of mail a day, then you can present it to us in mail bags. You must sort out your mail by class and service, and it must be secured with First Class or Second Class neck ties to identify the content of the bag. Once your mail bag is packed, they must be easily move able and weigh no more than 11 Kg.

Trays & Containers

If you send very large volumes of Letters or Large Letters and you have access to suitable vehicle access, you can present your mail in trays or containers. Of this method is used by your company, then there is no need to secure your mail in bundles, but it must still be segregated by class and service.

Please Ensure that any Large Letters are lying flat in the container, and that standard Letters are stacked with the frank in the top right corner and that the address is facing upwards. Trays can hold up to 340 Letters or 80 Large Letters at one time. Trays must not be used if sending packets in the mail. Once packed trays or containers must be easily move able and weigh no more than 10KG.

Pouches, trays and containers are provided to your business free of charge. If you wish to use them, please contact the Royal Mail Customer Service on: 08457 950950.

Posting Franked Mail

Franked mail must be posted in the area shown on the franking impression, and on the exact date it is on the frank. You can choose from a range of different posting methods including the use of Business Post Boxes®, the Post Office™, the Royal Mail Enquiry Offices, The Royal Mail Mil Centres and the Royal Mail’s Customer Collection Services.