the licence package
everything you need for your first year
The licence package for the North of England includes all of the IT hardware, mail sort furniture and training necessary; plus, of course, access to ProPost and enough consumables to meet your Mail Centre's sales for the whole of year one.
( remember, you can call our development team at any time for an informal chat on 0333 789 0011 )
web & social media sites
your mail centre's permanently open shopfronts
The North of England Mail Centre will have it's own, stand alone, website portal on this domain name. The portal will include all of the features and functionality you can see in our national site at expost.uk, including account registration and customer log-in. It will be search engine optimised for placenames throughout the North West of England, manually listed with Google, Bing & Yahoo, and is published in its final form around one month ahead of launch, so sales can begin even before you officially start trading.
campaign & feeder sites
Your exclusive territory will also benefit from a number of independent websites designed and built to target specific user groups, or towns, cities and regions within the geographical footprint of the Centre.
( go to sales & support to find out more about our online marketing activity )
Networks such as Facebook and Twitter are rapidly becoming the first point of contact for both B2B and B2C services, so we create and continually update a range of cross platform social media campaigns for all Mail Centres. Our current Facebook Business Manager advertising campaigns, for example, are targeted at; expatriates, on-line traders needing to protect their home address, static caravan dwellers and canal boaters.
( visit sales & support to see how social media is used to drive customers to your website )
fixtures & fittings
mail centre hardware & equipment
computer & it systems
We supply a PC with the latest Windows operating system, and dual monitors that will allow you to display ProPost and external systems such as the Royal Mail On-line Business Account simultaneously. The IT hardware also includes a premium branded A4 laser printer & scanner, a dedicated address label printer and all of the necessary software, pre-loaded and set-up ready to switch on and go.
Our bespoke mailsort frames, used to sort and store customer's mail, are made from powder coated steel and guaranteed for ten years. Each 900mm x 400mm flat-packed frame provides 60 account slots and can be positioned against a wall, or back to back as freestanding units to make the best use of available floor space. The package includes the number of frames necessary to accommodate the first year's projected account sales for the North of England, a further 'shelf-only' frame unit for parcel storage, and a desk mounted sorting frame to be used during the despatch process.
Fabricated to our specifications from heavy gauge, weatherproof, stainless steel and powder coated in black to make it less conspicuous, this secure mailsafe is anchored to the wall or ground alongside your premises and can accept parcels as large as 410mm x 210mm x 300mm.
We also provide a wireless bell to alert you, inside the premises, when mail has been delivered.
Our licence package also includes sundry items such as; magnetic frame labels, an electric envelope opener, mail size gauge, a self-inking date stamp, digital letter scales and a paper shredder. Although these items may seem small and unimportant, they are crucial to operating a mail centre efficiently and without fuss!
for twelve months of trading
PPI ( Postage Paid Impression ) labels are what we use in place of stamps when despatching mail, as in the examples above. Each is printed with our Royal Mail business account number, which acts as an anonymous return address.
anti-tamper postal bags
All outgoing mail is consolidated into opaque, tear-proof, postal bags for despatch. As part of the licence package we supply sufficient bags, in four different sizes, to meet all of your first year's mail handling needs at the Northern Mail Centre. When you run low, just tell us and we'll top up your stock!
As with the hardware element of the package, we include enough printable address labels for the first year's despatching, A4 printer paper and ad-hoc consumable items such as; laser toner cartridges, wide packaging tape, Sharpie pens and clear sellotape. Although some of the sundry items we include in the package may seem trivial, the absence of even the meanest of them can delay, stop and frustrate what would otherwise be a stress free process.
( interested? call our development team for an informal chat on 0333 789 0011 )
training & support
in a busy, fully operational mail centre
There is no substitute for real, hands-on, experience, so you ( and your partner or employee if you wish ), will travel here to Philbeach House in Pembrokeshire and spend five days receiving practical instruction in our original, head office, Mail Centre.
Whilst you make your own arrangements for travel to Philbeach, we will accommodate you in extremely comfortable bed and breakfast for five nights, with dinner each evening at a local restaurant or gastro-pub. There'll be ample time to get to know the management socially and no shortage of 'war' stories about the things that customers have done, said, or sent, over the last 19 years!
Because of the early start time, training will usually be concluded between 12 noon and 1pm each day.
Starting at 8am, ( having arrived the previous day ) you will be taken step by step through the processes of logging mail in, and despatching customer's post by Royal Mail and private couriers. Even though we handle hundreds of active accounts, and will do everything a little slower than usual, this is unlikely to take more than three hours, so you will also spend some time at our ID and Compliance desk playing detective!
Discover how ProPost highlights suspicious activity on an account and learn how to monitor mail passing through your Centre, spot the signs of possible fraud or smuggling and report your suspicions. To hammer this message home we create and insert 'suspect' items into each of the following days' mail ;o)
Today you will process the day's mail yourself, including scans, but under supervision of course! You will log mail into ProPost, print off the daily despatch list and use this to prepare all customer mail to be forwarded ( including postal charge optimisation ), entering each into the Royal Mail's Online Business Account and book whatever courier collections are necessary.
We will set aside some time for you to see how we manage sales enquires and customer support by telephone, text messaging and email, finishing up with an informal Q & A on the day's activity.
Our mailroom manager will retire to the support office whilst you get on with processing our mail, then review the prepared despatches and scanned letters with you before committing to send.
After despatching on Day 3 we'll take you through ordering mail supplies from Royal Mail and review our 'disaster recovery' procedures.
Today, you will process our Centre's mail and scans unaided. Should you need help, we will provide it by telephone, exactly as we would 'in the real world' after you start trading!
To conclude day four you'll carry out a full 'Friday Housekeeping' sweep to identify and correct any frame errors, and then provide feedback at a final assessment meeting.
The morning represents one further opportunity to process our mail and cement your familiarity with the system, before travelling back to Manchester around noon, ready to start trading the next morning.
Your PC is pre-loaded with a remote desktop programme which means that, should you be unsure about any aspect of log-in, despatch or external facility use, we can assert control of your screen and take you through the process again, as if we were sitting alongside you in Manchester!
( remember, we are always here on 0333 789 0011 or firstname.lastname@example.org to offer guidance and advice )
the operating manual
for instant information, help & downloads
The training manual is your guide and reference, helping us to ensure that your Centre delivers consistent, quality service to its customers, and is updated constantly to reflect improvements in the system, protocols or software.
For your convenience, every function in ProPost is linked to the relevant section of the manual, just in case you need a gentle reminder!
access to ProPost
proprietary mail management system
managing the mail
You use ProPost to log in, despatch and scan mail. It produces a daily despatch list with posting instructions, and even prints the postage labels. It also manages regular housekeeping tasks such as opening and closing accounts, calculates the number of letters and parcels in the frame and generates both financial and management reports in real time.
...and your customers' accounts
ProPost automatically debits the fees and charges from your customers' postage funds, sends them reminder emails, receipts and SMS alerts when mail is received or despatched, and lets them know when their account needs renewing or topping up.
ProPost displays each customer's account status, postage fund balance, handling preferences, mailbox contents and a 90 day transaction history, so that you can always stay in touch with the conduct of their accounts. Our dedicated support team will inform you immediately of any special requests received from your customers, and our recommendations.
on-line account access
you use our credit, not your own cashflow!
Most mail is sent out by first class post, via our Royal Mail On-line Business Account ( OBA ), which allows you to use the Postage Paid labels we supply when despatching letters and parcels. The OBA calculates the postage for any weight or size of item, destination and service, you simply print the summary sheet and place it in a mail sack with the outgoing mail.
Our account with the shipping brokers My Parcel Delivery gives you direct access to 14 top name couriers so that you can provide customers with the best price and service, whether it's an urgent letter to Swindon or a large parcel to Singapore.
we carry the cashflow
Because all carriers, including the Royal Mail, take their postage and carriage fees directly from our expost credit accounts, there is no cashflow cost for you to cover. At the end of each month, your bank account is also credited with the revenue generated by our commercial rebates, ( applied as a mark-up of 30% on all postage and shipping charges ).
The revenue arising from this mark-up is exempt from Royalties, and is paid to you without deductions!