Choosing the right postal service

Royal Mail is required to provide First and Second Class services for every residence in the UK (in some rare cases, exceptions apply).

Many businesses use the same Royal Mail services as residential consumers

However, if you send lots of letters and parcels, check other options. There are a range of different tariffs and parcel services (such as tracking and collection from your premises) available to business customers.

In some areas of the UK, alternative operators to Royal Mail collect and deliver standard mail directly to your customers. These services do not always need a volume or spend discount.

Franking is a way of printing pre-paid postage onto letters or labels using a franking machine with a credit account. Businesses pay lower postage prices compared to stamps, but need to buy or rent a franking machine. There are annual maintenance and inspection costs. Many services which can be bought with a franking machine are regulated universal services. Only Royal Mail services can be bought using franking machines.

Businesses can also access discounts to the stamp price if they have an account with Royal Mail. This is subject to a minimum spend per year.

Business mail or 'bulk' services: Many postal give discounts on stamps to businesses which post lots of mail, or who sort their own mail in-house. The minimum volume (or spend) varies and depends on the services you choose.

Packet and parcel services: Different parcel companies operate through high street stores, or can collect parcels directly from your premises before sorting and delivering them to your customers. Options are more likely to be available for businesses that send high volumes of goods, but a range of services for smaller businesses (and residential consumers) exist.

Look at providers’ websites for more details or to compare prices.

Your rights and how to complain are different if you don't use a Royal Mail service. Find out more in our Postal services: knowing your rights section.