Preparing Franked Mail

When using your franking machine for the first time you may not know how to prepare your franked mail items. However it is very important to understand what you must do with your franked mail. Read our guide below on how best to prepare your franked mail items.

The perfect guide to preparing franked mail

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

Envelope Information

You can frank onto almost any envelope no matter the size or colour. But you must 100% ensure a clear, legible franked impression is visible. For this reason we recommend using franking labels on coloured or printed envelopes/packets. You can get franking labels from:

Setting Your Franking Machine

When possible please ensure that your franking machine is set to zero. We also advise that you produce a test print before franking as this will show you whether you have set the correct date and whether you have enough ink left in the cartridge / print head. All franked impressions must be clear, complete for reading and they must be printed in the top right hand corner of your franked items.

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 possible day of delivery. It’s not possible to use a franked impression to prepay return items to your company. 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 older franking machines and smart blue ink for Smart Meter & Mailmark compliant franking machines, unless specified otherwise. Franking impressions must be clear, complete for reading and they must be printed in the top right hand corner of your 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 these envelopes from many websites, but we recommend that you visit

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, it is very important that you make sure that you are using the correct coloured pouch for the service that you require. Try to use a separate pouch for each envelope size.

Standard pouches are designed to hold letter and large letter items, and they can hold as many as 200 letters or 45 large letters if packed to a good and appropriate 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 every day then you can present your mail items in mail bags, provided by Royal Mail. If you are doing this you must sort your mail by class and service, with a secure First Class or Second Class neck tied to the back to identify the content. Once the mail bags are packed and ready, you must ensure they are easily move able and weigh less than 11 Kg.

Trays & Containers

If you send very large volumes of letters or large letters every day and you have access to suitable vehicle access, you can present your mail in trays or containers. If using this method, then there is no need to secure your mail in bundles. However it must still be segregated by class and service.

Please ensure that any large letters are lying flat in the container. Ensure 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 any 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 states on the franking impression. You can post your franked mail in various ways 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.

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Here at Franking Machine Guide we can offer you a quick and easy Mailmark franking machine quote!

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