Most businesses know the importance of letting current and potential customers know about their products. When companies first start out, they normally send out all their mail using the traditional postage stamp, and will most likely buy books of stamps in advance. However, there are a few problems with this approach; firstly, the set values of stamps mean that you could find yourself overpaying for postage. You'll also have to weigh each letter or package separately and then look up the corresponding postal fee. On top of this, it will be necessary to manually keep track of how much you're spending and how many postage per ounce you've used. Whilst this is quite manageable if you're only sending out a few letters a week, it quickly becomes more time consuming and expensive as the volume of post increases. Enter the franking machine: this little piece of kit can eliminate trips to the post office, offers real-time account keeping and has the added benefit of providing brand awareness - as your company name and logo can be printed alongside the postage frank on each letter or parcel. At first, it may seem as though franking machines are the realm of big corporate companies, but these days franking machines are economical for companies with just a handful of employees, and even sole traders can make savings on postage by franking instead of buying reams of stamps. Franking machines work by accurately weighing the letter or parcel and then calculating the cost depending on the destination. It is cheaper to send mail by paying for postage with a franking machine, because as of August 2006, Royal Mail introduced discounts on franked postage fees meaning a minimum saving of two pence on every item.Some even have a sealing-and-stacking function; but while it's possible to buy a machine, it seems a more popular option is to rent one and pay a monthly fee. This will normally include some sort of maintenance and service agreement and it also means that it's easier to upgrade should you need to alter your franking requirements. Businesses that want a franking machine must first obtain a licence from Royal Mail; this is usually obtained on behalf of the client by the supplier of the franking machine, and once obtained other rules do exist. For example, the machine must only use red ink; it must be kept in good working order; it must create a legible impression that includes the date of posting, and the correct postage amount. So, if you're a business looking for a more cost effective way of managing your postage, a more professional image, and an easy to use system, a mail franking machine could be a good move.