How do I get new customers?
Your Mail Centre's website is designed to attract potential customers using Google, Yahoo, Bing or Facebook to find a mailbox service within your territory. Whilst some will sign up on-line without further reference, many will call your unique support number for reassurance before making a buying decision. . . and that is where our telephone sales expertise pays dividends!
In addition, your site will receive customers who visit our sister site expatpost and select your mail centre location as their preferred address.
Will customers be phoning me all the time?
Your Centre's published telephone number directs all calls to our support team at Philbeach, who handle the calls for you so that you won't ever have to answer the telephone to a customer. We may need to contact you directly from time to time for information but will always do so during reasonable business hours, not at 6:30 in the morning or 11 o'clock at night. . . and never on a Sunday!
How do I deal with customer enquiries and complaints?
Our support team at Philbeach handle all your customer enquiries, complaints and contacts so that you are free to concentrate on providing the best possible mail handling service.
But am I able to contact my customers directly?
You can, of course, email or call your customers for instruction. . . as if you were the mailroom ( which will invariably result in a Surcharge payment to you! ), but you must always do so from a telephone with the caller ID disabled, or dial 141 before dialing, and any email communication must be made using your 'Do not reply' mailroom address.
If customers find out your direct number or email, you'll never have a minute's peace! :o)
What time do I need to work
Mail is processed the day after it is received, so you can log-in and despatch the mail at a time to suit you, so long as it is before the time of the last Royal Mail collection at your local Post Office, usually around 5pm. Our support team will, as always, deal with your customers for you from 8am until 4pm.
I work part time. Can I still run an expost mail centre?
That very much depends on how much your job affects your availability during the day. . . see the next answer, for example.
Does it matter what time I process the post?
Your daily handling schedule will be determined by the latest collection time from your nearest Post Office. . . or the time arranged with the Royal Mail for collection from your mail centre.
Do I need to work at weekends?
Not at all! We don't despatch at the weekend, so any items arriving on Saturday can be processed and forwarded on Monday. As the volume of your mail builds up, however, you may wish to log-in Saturday's deliveries at some point over the weekend to save time on Monday :o)
Does this mean I can't have a holiday?
We can provide free training for someone of your choice to cover you while you are on holiday, we can place a temporary manager at your premises, or arrangements can be made to redirect the mail to another centre for processing whilst you're away.
If you need to go into hospital, or are taken ill, we can cover that too. Just let us know!
Can I train a friend or partner to help me?
Yes. . . it's a very good idea. We will even include your partner in the initial training course you attend at Philbeach, at no extra charge.
Can you train more staff for me?
Of course! Whilst we will train additional people for you here at Philbeach at any time, a fee of £220 will be payable (for up to 2 persons) but the cost of travel and accommodation is not included.
Do I have to wait in for the post to be delivered?
You must be available to sign for items that are part of your regular Royal Mail delivery and there should be someone at the mail centre premises to receive courier deliveries during normal business hours.
Courier deliveries, however, can arrive at any time, often as late as 7pm. Whilst most will leave items in your parcel safe without a signature, you will occasionally need to arrange a re-delivery, or collect from a local post office or depot.
There's always someone here, why do I need a parcel safe?
It's important to 'train' couriers to use the parcel safe for those odd occasions when you may not be available.
Will I have to sign for the post?
The Royal Mail will always require a physical signature for signed-for items, but many couriers are more flexible, foregoing the signature if no-one is available and, instead, relying upon GPS delivery confirmation.
Can anyone sign for the post?
Yes, anyone over the age of 18 at your premises can sign.
Can I process mail the same day it arrives?
Mail is processed the day after it is received so that it gives us, and you, a little breathing space to resolve any issues that might arise. We ask you to operate your mail centre according to the online operating manual so that we can deliver a consistent service to all of our customers.
What kind of computer do I need?
We provide a dedicated computer system, pre-loaded with all of the software you will need and set up to access ProPost.
Can lose my single occupant Council tax rebate?
Customers are expressly forbidden from claiming residence at their mailbox address, so it will not affect your single person discount. If, however, a customer fraudulently attempts to include themselves on your local Electoral Register ( Electoral Roll ), our legal department will advise or deal with the issue on your behalf.
Must I register my address as a business?
You are permitted to run a business from home without any official notification. If, however, you claim part of your household cost such as heating, lighting etc. against your tax, you may need to declare the property as a business premises and incur a similar proportion of business rates.
Do I need planning permission to operate as a mail centre?
No. Because no structural alterations are necessary, you don't need planning permission to set up your mail centre, even from within a listed building!
Do I need planning permission for the parcel safe?
The secure parcel safe, whilst bolted securely to the ground, is not classified as a permanent fixture and therefore requires no planning permission.
I've only got a small letterbox, will I need to change my front door?
Not at all. All mail, including letters, delivered to your premises is posted into the secure parcel safe or mail chute, not through your letterbox!
My post often arrives after 2pm. Is that OK?
Of course. This is one of the reasons why we always process mail the day after it arrives.
I am disabled and can't take sacks of mail to the post office, can I still run a franchise?
Yes you can. The Royal Mail operate a 'collections' service and will pick up outgoing mail directly from your mail centre address at a scheduled time each afternoon! Whilst this is chargeable, at around £850 per annum, if it is required we will pay the fee for the first year of operation.
I am very rural and there is no local Post Office!
If you are more than five miles from the nearest Post Office we will extend the Royal Mail collections offer above!
Can I take the mail to the local sub-Post Office, or do I have to drive to the main Post Office in town?
Your outgoing mail is already processed and bagged up when you take it to the Post Office, so a sub-office is fine. . . they have no work to do other than provide a collection point for the Royal Mail.
Can I post mail in the pillarbox at the end of my street?
Your customers' mail is sent through our commercial account and is handled independently by the Royal Mail, so it can only be submitted via a Post Office or Collections service.
I'm thinking of moving house, can I still run an expost Mail Centre?
The most important qualification for a franchise is a fixed, stable, address. If you are contemplating a move, you may want to consider the franchise opportunity after you are settled in your new property.
Can I run a mail centre from the kitchen table using my Ipad?
Whilst you don't have to dedicate an entire room, running a mail centre will require a certain amount of space. Our mail management software requires a desktop computer with dual screens, so you will need a desk for these, the printers and other sundries, labels and so on.
Your mailsort frames require the most floor space and housing these in a different room would significantly slow the sorting process.
I'm not very good with admin. . . will I have to do my own accounts?
Don't worry, there is very little paperwork produced by running an expost Mail Centre. All of your revenue is calculated by ProPost and included, with postage charges, in your monthly reconciliation report!
You may have some sundry expenses to keep a note of, but it can all be thrown at your local accountant who will prepare your year end accounts for a small fee (typically £200 to £300).
What happens if I run out of postal bags or labels?
ProPost knows exactly how many items you have despatched and, therefore, how many bags and labels you have used and will alert you when you reach a 20% stock level.
Will I have to order lots of supplies?
As part of your franchise package, we supply more than enough consumables to service all of your projected business needs for the first year of operation.
Do I have to buy my supplies from expost?
No. But you must source consumables from an authorised supplier in order to ensure our required level of quality.
What do I do if bailiffs or debt collectors call?
Don't worry! :o) Court appointed collection agents are professional and friendly. . . you simply explain that you run a mail forwarding business, or hand them the Bailiff Information sheet you will find in 'Resources' and they will leave.
Am I liable for any debts owed by my customers?
No, absolutely not! Your mail centre is a correspondence address only... customers cannot legally claim to live there, nor pledge the credit of your business in any way.