Please note that an important change regarding Business Mail with the Advanced option took effect on 4th November 2013. This change requires you to add a Licence barcode to mail pieces when purchased on account (nb this change does not affect Business Mail Advanced purchased through a franking meter).
Business Mail is the perfect solution for your general business correspondence and transactional mail, such as bills, statements or invoices. You can:
- customise your mailing options to meet your business needs
- get discounts on quantity, address accuracy and sorting
- pay through your Online Business Account (OBA).
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An important change took effect on 4th November 2013 for Business Mail with the machine-readable Advanced option.
We updated the licence design for mail pieces using Business Mail with the machine-readable Advanced option (Business Mail Advanced) to make use of barcode technology. We changed the specification to include a Licence barcode as part of the licence plate in addition to the existing licence text. This will allow us to process your items more efficiently.
The Licence barcode contains information including your licence number and nature of the service being used.
As a result of this change we have updated 3 chapters of the User Guide.
How this change will affect you if you have existing Licences
Please note that you do not need to apply for a new licence. The licence number you have now is compatible with the new Licence barcodes.
To make this change as simple as possible for you we have provided you with an Artwork Generator design tool so you can design the artwork for the top of your mail pieces. This artwork includes the Printed Postage Impression (PPI), the licence text and the new Licence barcode, for BMA posted on Account.
The Artwork generator design tool guides you through a few steps. You will be asked to enter your licence number, choose your service speed, PPI design and choose a file format for the artwork to be downloaded.
How this will affect you if you are taking out a new Licence
If you take out a new Business Mail with Advanced option licence (and pay for this service using a credit account, i.e. post on Account), you will need to apply a Licence barcode to all mail pieces posted with that licence. If you pay for this service using a franking meter you are unaffected by this change.
Please note: We are aware that franking meter machines are rarely but sometimes used to print Printed Postage Impressions (PPI) and Licence text onto mail pieces that are subsequently sent and paid for through a credit account. We’re sorry but you will not be able to use your franking meter to produce Licence barcodes on mail pieces. You will need to design your mail pieces in the standard manner and have them pre-printed.
To make this as simple as possible for you we have provided you with and Artwork Generator design tool so you can design the artwork for the top of your mail pieces. This artwork includes the Printed Postage Impression (PPI), the licence text and the new Licence barcode.
The Artwork Generator design tool guides you through a few steps. You will be asked to enter your licence number, choose your service speed, PPI design and choose a file format for the artwork to be downloaded.
Licence Barcode Encoder – an alternative to the Artwork Generator design tool
We do strongly recommend that you use the Artwork Generator design tool as this will ensure your mail pieces meet the design specification and it is very easy to use. But we recognise that you may wish to produce multiple Licence barcodes and then design your own mail pieces according to the design specifications for Business Mail Advanced.
If you fall into this category you can download and use our Licence Barcode Encoder. This does require a level of IT understanding. The Licence Barcode Encoder is contained in a zip file (see Product Documentation section below) that can be downloaded. Please note that the zip file contains a user guide to explain how to use the Licence Barcode Encoder and also a set of terms and conditions that you will be bound by should you use it. Please do read these as soon as you have downloaded the zip file.
Please note that the Licence Barcode Encoder can also be used to create Licence barcodes for Business Reply and Freepost Response Services. Please ensure you select Business Mail Advanced when creating your barcodes for BMA.
If you do use the Licence Barcode Encoder to generate a Licence barcode please ensure you follow the design guidelines set out in the Machine-Readable mail chapter of the User Guide for Marketing, Publishing & General Correspondence. A link to this can be found in the Product Documentation section below.
We have produced two step-by-step guides to help guide you through the changes; one for customers with existing licences and one for customers taking out new licences.
1. A step-by-step guide for new licences
- Apply for your licence number in the normal manner.
- When you receive your licence number, pass this on to your printer so they can produce your envelopes for you or use the Artwork Generator design tool to create the artwork for the top of your mail pieces.
- Create your letter mail piece design according to the Machine-Readable mail chapter of the User Guide for Marketing, Publishing & General Correspondence.
2. A step-by-step guide for existing licences
- Review your existing Licences to gain an understanding of what needs to be changed.
- Review your envelope stock levels and develop plans to run them down.
- Determine when you will need to print mail pieces that abide by the new specification in order to have sufficient stocks at all times.
- Prior to printing any new stocks with the existing design, speak to your print supplier who may be able to create your Licence barcode and design your new artworkm complete with Licence barcode, for you.
- Alternatively use the Artwork Generator design tool to create the artwork for the top of your mail pieces and create your letter mail piece design according to the Machine-Readable mail chapter of the User Guide for Marketing, Publishing & General Correspondence.
You can tailor Business Mail to meet your needs by choosing from the following options:
- Letter or large letter format
- 2nd Class or Economy delivery speeds*
- Range of volumes
- Range of options to prepare and present your mail.
* 1st Class is available through 1st Class Business Mail.
Business Mail can be used with the following formats:
Format Dimensions Weight limit Letter Up to 240mm x 165mm x 5mm Up to 100g Large letter Up to 353mm x 250mm x 25mm Up to 750g Large letter if machine-readable Up to 345mm x 245mm x 10mm Up to 750g
- 2nd Class and Economy delivery options
- Next day delivery is available through 1st Class Business Mail.
- From one letter to an unlimited number
- To meet our machine-readable requirements for unsorted mail and gain a discount, a minimum of 500 letters or 250 large letters is required.
- For sorted mail, whether machine-readable or not, a minimum of 4,000 letters or 1,000 large letters is required.
Preparing and presenting your mail
Making your mail machine-readable: Save money by preparing your mail so that addresses can be read by Royal Mail’s machines, you have the option not to sort your mail or to use our Low Sort product. You can either use an approved OCR font or barcodes.
There are three levels of address accuracy for unsorted mail:
If you want to be accredited and be assured a set price:
- Machine readable Unsorted option – if you can ensure that 90% of your addresses and postcodes are accurate.
- Machine readable Plus option – if you can ensure 95% accuracy.
If you don’t want to be accredited, you can make savings based on the number of accurate addresses read per mailing:
- Machine readable Advanced option – Addresses and full postcodes should be printed in an OCR-readable font and must be PAF-compatible.
Want to find out more about these options?
Sorting your mail:
Earn savings by sorting your mail and ensuring your addresses are accurate you can have a barcode on your letters, for Low Sort you do require accreditation. There are two levels of sortation:
- Low Sort (up to 88 ways) if your mail is machine-readable with either OCR or Barcode.
- High Sort (up to 1,525 ways), which doesn’t require you to make your mail machine-readable.
Or, you can choose not to sort or make your mail machine-readable. Just give it to us and we’ll do the rest.
Type of mail containers to use
Depending on the type of mail you send you could use one of the following containers:
- ALPS (auto-levelling parcel sleeved York)
- Unbagged (shrink wrapped)
Find out more about which container you should use from your User Guide
To use Business Mail you'll need to have an account with Royal Mail.
We'll make getting started easy. With machine-readable discounts available on mailings from 500+ letters or 250 large letters or, alternatively, no sorting or address preparation necessary, you can be set up in no time. However, if you can sort your mail, you'll be able to choose from highly competitive discounted options for this, too.
Need to set up an account?
If you don’t already have one, you can contact our Business Centre on 08457 950 950*.
Already have an account?
If you already have an account, contact a member of our business team on 08457 950 950*. They will tell you how to add the Business Mail options you want. It will speed things up if you can have your Royal Mail account number to hand when you ring us.
Once you have decided which Business Mail options meet your requirements and you've read and agreed the terms and conditions, our sales team will then set you up with a unique reference. You can then log in to your Online Business Account (OBA), locate your reference number and get started on your mailing.
*Lines are open 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday.
Search help for more answers...
How do I get accredited for ensuring my mail is machine-readable?
You need to go through one or more elements of a quality assurance process. One stage requires you to show your address data meets the required standards for the product option you have chosen, the other stage requires you to prepare sample items which meet our design, address and (where relevant) barcode specifications. The forms are available from your account manager or royalmailtechnical.com under Quality Assurance.Back to top
What type of container should I use?
- Trays, bags or unbagged for letters
- Trays, bags or unbagged for large letters up to 10mm in thickness
- Bags, unbagged or ALPs for large letters greater than 10mm in thickness.
When using trays you must also have an average of at least 100 letters or 25 large letters per selection across the mailing.Back to top
What are Low Sort and High Sort?
You can earn savings by sorting your mail and ensuring your addresses are accurate. If you you’re your mail, you must provide a minimum of 4,000 letters or 1,000 large letters in a single mailing.
Low Sort option
For mail that meets our machine-readable specification, sort your mail to a maximum of 88 ways and ensure your items can be read by our sorting machines to achieve maximum savings.
- Sort up to 88 selections as detailed in the Royal Mail Selection Files (the new name for the Mailsort Database)
- Ensure that 90% of your mail has postcode and address accuracy using either OCR font or barcode (for letters only).
High Sort option
- Sort up to 1,525 Direct Selections or 88 Residue Selections as detailed in the Royal Mail Selection Files
- Ensure that 90% of your mail has postcode and address accuracy
- You must have a minimum of 50 letters or 10 large letters for a Direct Selection.
What are the requirements for making my mail machine-readable?
Machine-readable Unsorted Standard option
- Addresses printed with an OCR font (90% postcode and address accuracy). Available for letters and large letters
- Barcode (90% accuracy). Available for letters only.
Machine-readable Unsorted Plus option
- Addresses printed with an OCR font (95% postcode and address accuracy). Available for letters and large letters
- Barcode (95% accuracy). Available for letters only.
Machine-readable Unsorted Advanced option
- Available for letters only
- Recommended use of postcode and address accuracy and addresses printed with OCR font, but this is not required.
What are the Royal Mail Selection Files?
This is the new name for the Mailsort Database. The Royal Mail Selection Files detail the Selection Codes (SC) that you must sort to when posting Business Mail Sorted options.Back to top
Could your business save money by posting in trays?
From 31st March 2014, we will price sorted mailings according to container type. Mail posted in trays will have a lower price than mail posted in bags or bundles.
Monday to Friday 8am-6pm