The huge rise in the cost of postage stamps, now up to 50 pence for second class letters, has left your editor wondering if there would be a business opportunity in providing a mail franking service, currently costing 31 pence to frank a second class letter, to the cash-strapped public. (See Marketing Matters, Issue 26, May/June 2012, FRANKLY THINKING)

For this our charities with high street premises are especially well placed to install a franking machine and offer the service, perhaps just on second class letters, to keep it simple. According to the manufacturers of the smallest machines the annual saving of £296 (19 pence x 1560) on five pieces of mail a day, Monday to Saturday would cover the annual cost of rental, and consumables, and that those buying at around £400 and amortising over five years could justify the cost with one to two pieces a day.

The question of what to then charge the public becomes a most interesting one, as for a tiny extra fee the franking can carry a logo and a message stating that the postal fee paid made a contribution to the charity. And even if charities charged the same as the cost of buying stamps there will be a good proportion of the public who would be happier to pay this amount to a charity shop rather than a Post Office, and have their charitable contribution acknowledged to the recipients of their letters. Charities charging less could still get a valuable contribution while providing a valuable public service, and shops could benefit from the increased footfall, and new customers.

Worth looking into?

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