Freepost Envelopes — Explained

Royal Mail LICENCE PRICE

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Custom Printed Envelopes - Freepost

What are Freepost Envelopes?

Printed Freepost Envelopes are a postal "Response Services" product in the UK by the Royal Mail Freepost Standard Pre-printed Envelopes, and are used to encourage customers to reply to you or your company without your customer having to pay the Royal Mail's postage cost at their end. You'll pay it for them.

Explain what do you mean by Freepost? Do I need to put a stamp on a Freepost envelope in the UK?

Freepost is a business postal service provided by the Royal Mail in the UK, whereby a person can send post without affixing a stamp, and the recipient pays the postage charge once your mail is delivered. Thus, NO you don't put a stamp on a Freepost envelope. So the Royal Mail will deliver your letter and invoice the company from the responses they get back.

Is Freepost actually free to me?

  • To your Customer, YES... They just drop in the postbox back to you.

  • To your Company, NO... You pay for what postage you receive back from your customers.

Freepost envelopes are the professional way for UK companies to pay for their customer's postage costs back to them and thus are less hassle for consumers. Trade Printing UK can print these professionally with your company's details and company logo (after you first apply for a Freepost Standard or Plus UK postal licence from Royal Mail) , under Royal Mail's layout guidelines. We are probably the leading envelope printing specialists (with Freepost Envelopes printed FROM £45 plus FREE DELIVERY) within the UK printing industry.

Printed Freepost Plus DL Envelopes Trade Printing Animation

What's the difference between 'Freepost Standard' envelopes and 'Freepost Plus' envelopes?

Freepost Standard Envelopes give the most scope to UK businesses for envelope sizes allowing you to use either 1st or 2nd Class services etc., plus your customers can also use their own envelopes and HAND-WRITE your Freepost address on them.

Freepost Plus envelopes though MUST be a pre-printed item such as printed envelopes, and thus the Royal Mail give you the bonus of an extra postage cost discount (currently 5.5p OFF per item) over the Freepost Standard envelopes but the maximum weight is only 100g.

We can produce your printed envelopes from either our self-seal or peel & seal product ranges for either the Freepost Standard or Plus licence formats. Peel & Seal is the most popular variant.

What do Freepost STANDARD Envelopes look like?

This new generation of Freepost envelope is printed on your envelope in a format that looks like and shows how to write a Freepost address (also called a Freepost Standard address):

Here is a Freepost address example, from the Freepost Standard variant:

Freepost RRCA-HGEL-BJRZ
Your Company Name
Your Address Line
Your Address Line
Your POSTTOWN in CAPS
Your POSTCODE in CAPS

Freepost Envelopes comparison

What do Freepost PLUS Envelopes look like in comparison to Freepost STANDARD?

This new generation of Freepost Plus envelope is printed on your envelope in a format that looks like and shows how to write a Freepost Plus address:

Here is a Freepost address example, from the Freepost Plus variant:

Freepost Plus RRCA-HGEL-BJRZ
Your Company Name
Your Address Line
Your Address Line
Your POSTTOWN in CAPS
Your POSTCODE in CAPS

HD video guide on how to order FREEPOST ENVELOPES in the UK Video guide showing how to order Freepost Envelopes

I want Freepost Envelopes now — Explain what you mean by Freepost and how would I get Freepost in the UK?

You'll need to apply to the Royal Mail to purchase either a 'Freepost Standard' or 'Freepost Plus' alpha Free post licence number (e.g. AAAA-BBBB-CCCC). You only pay for the responses (either pre-printed envelopes or hand-written by your customer within their own envelope) that are sent back to you rather than buying the postage costs up-front.

How much does a Freepost Licence cost from the Royal Mail?

There is also an annual licence fee that has to be prepaid to Royal Mail which is currently £97 + VAT per year, plus additional licences at £54 + VAT for your other branches.

How much are Freepost Envelope postage costs after that?

After you have your licence from the Royal Mail, you then pay a price per single response [i.e. you pay Royal Mail directly — on a monthly account basis — for EACH returned Freepost envelope a customer sends you back] for all items up to 100g (e.g. under the PLUS licences for DL + C5 "Letter" sizes — 1st Class: 48p; 2nd Class: 35p; under the STANDARD licences for DL + C5 "Letter" sizes — 1st Class: 54p; 2nd Class: 41p; "Large Letter"such as C4 and above are more expensive [up to 100g weight] e.g. C4 1st class - 74p; 2nd Class: 62p because they are hand sorted by humans) and of course this depends whether you use a Royal Mail 1st Class or 2nd Class Indicia mark on your custom free post envelopes.

What's the bonus cost benefit of Freepost Plus over Freepost Standard?

Freepost Plus licensed (only in DL and C5 sizes) envelopes give you the bonus of an extra postage cost discount (currently 6p OFF per item) over the Freepost Standard envelopes but the maximum weight is only 100g.

You then pay a single price per Freepost response for all items up to 100g and of course this depends whether you use a 1st Class or 2nd Class Indicia mark on your envelope.

How to contact Royal Mail Barnsley about Freepost envelopes?

To CONTACT the Royal Mail licensing team at their Barnsley office phone: 08457 950950 - then Press '2', then hold, then Press '3', then Press '2' - this will get you speaking to an actual person! (Lines are open 8am to 5pm - Monday to Friday.)

You can also E-mail the Royal Mail Freepost licensing team in Barnsley with this E-mail address: HERE

Once you have that licence number, you can place your order with Trade Printing UK to actually print the envelopes professionally for you. We would then create your professional artwork with our own professional envelope templates, designed specifically for Royal Mail's Freepost products. Once created, we would E-mail you back a high-resolution PDF which you subsequently send on to the Royal Mail's Response Services' account team in Barnsley to approve. There's always a bit of hassle with that bit, but we can guide you through this.


Do Freepost Envelopes need a stamp?

Not in the traditional sense, but they can use the Business Reply Envelopes' 1st Class or 2nd Class Indicia in the top right of the artwork. See picture above.


Royal Mail's own on-line Artwork Generator is massively flawed

When you apply for your Freepost licence you will see that the Royal Mail have their own Artwork Generator on their website, however this has contained a few very serious programming flaws for a long time (which we've pointed out to them on numerous occasions to no avail and to date their web developers have NOT fixed yet) in that the artwork produced is low-resolution (plus a colour problem) and NOT suitable for commercial printing. This is why we've developed our own professional artwork Envelope templates to give perfect control of your Freepost envelope's artwork to the Royal Mail's stringent guidelines and standards.

We've produced thousands of these successfully for clients and never encountered a problem. We stand over everything we do.

The Royal Mail's Artwork Generator gives you the option to add your company logo to the prepaid envelope but the problem there is that also doesn't handle any other graphic formats but GIF (which is ridiculous as that's only intended for website use), Jpeg, or Tiff (in a very limited way). Files have to be limited to 500k as well.

The Royal Mail Artwork Generator takes no account whatsoever for high-end professional formats such as vector EPS files, nor does it understand the difference between Grayscale, RGB, CMYK, Pantone, spot colour inks or any other important printing industry colour gamuts; a massive fundamental flaw that Royal Mail has made no attempt to fix, nor understand the needs of commercial printing companies. It has frustrated us and others in the industry for a long time and basically, it's a complete mess and we're not backward about saying it!

Thus, Trade Printing UK prefer to create professional envelope artwork for Freepost and Business Reply products for you, to keep ultimate creative control. Just supply your 12-digit licence number and Address block and we can do the rest.


How quickly are printed Freepost envelopes delivered within the UK? How quickly do you print them?

Royal Mail aim to deliver all 1st Class freepost envelopes within ONE working day including Saturdays; and all 2nd Class free post envelopes within THREE working days including Saturdays within the UK, after your customers post them back to you. They are delivered via your normal postman from Monday to Saturday.

Once your professional artwork has been signed off by Royal Mail's Account team in Barnsley, Trade Printing UK aim to physically print and despatch them within 3-4 working days via Parcelforce, so you should receive them from us, printed and in your hand, by the 6th working day — at the latest — after you pay for your printed envelopes.


How to CONTACT the Royal Mail Freepost licensing team in their Barnsley office via TELEPHONE or E-MAIL

To CONTACT the Royal Mail licensing team in their Barnsley office telephone: 08457 950950 — then Press '2', then hold, then Press '3', then Press '2' - this will get you speaking to an actual person! (Lines are open 8.00am to 6.00pm Monday to Friday.) Otherwise E-MAIL the Royal Mail response services licensing team in Barnsley: HERE


What type of flap can I use? 90gsm Self-Seal or 120gsm Peel & Seal?

From an over-printing perspective, we normally produce your printed Freepost envelopes via our now standard, premium 120gsm peel & seal product ranges (the highest quality in the UK print industry for this sector!) for quantities ranging from 250 - 5000; over 5000 quantity and you have the option to use our 90gsm self-seal envelope product on either the 'Business Reply Standard' or 'Business Reply Plus' licence formats.


FREE Delivery, artwork, PDF proof

SUMMARY CHECKLIST to buy printed Freepost Envelopes:

Firstly, Apply to Royal Mail for either a Freepost Standard or Free post Plus Licence Number (can take a week or more sometimes!). Once Royal Mail have sent the new alpha Freepost Licence Number and your Address Block back to you, then come back to us and choose...

  • Which Size of Printed Envelope do you require?
    DL, C5 or C4?
  • Is it their 'Free post Standard' or 'Free post Plus' service you have the licence for?
  • "Plus" can only be used up to 100g weight.
  • Do you want 1st Class or 2nd Class indicia printed on the printed Envelopes?
  • We will then create your professional artwork, and E-mail you a PDF proof that you send back to their Account team in Barnsley
  • Once the envelope design is approved by them (we'll talk you through that nightmare via E-mail), you E-mail us back to sign-off
  • Then phone us on 028 9084 1234 with your payment details (we accept Credit Cards / BACS)
  • We can then proceed to production. Turnaround is normally 6-8 working days after that. We ship FREE via Parcelforce

To CONTACT the Royal Mail Freepost team in their Barnsley office on Telephone or E-mail

To summarise again, you can CONTACT the Royal Mail Freepost Licensing team in their Barnsley office Phone: 08457 950950 — then Press '2', then hold, then Press '3', then Press '2' — this will get you speaking to an actual person! (Lines are open 8am to 5pm - Monday to Friday.), or E-mail the Royal Mail Freepost licensing team in Barnsley with this E-mail address: HERE

What does it cost to print Freepost Envelopes?

DL — Freepost PLUS

C5 — Freepost PLUS


DL — Freepost STANDARD

C5 — Freepost STANDARD

C4 — Freepost STANDARD