The United Kingdom currently has a network of around 18,500 local post offices, around 600 of these are run directly by the Post Office and are known as Crown offices, the remainder are run by private individuals and are known as sub post offices.

These individuals, or subpostmasters, are in business on their own account and are not employees of the Post Office; they enter into a contract with the Post Office to provide certain services to the community using their own premises or staff. In return for this they receive a fixed annual payment (often known as the Post Office Salary) as well as a variable payment based on the number of transactions that are carried out at their sub post offices.

Most sub post offices are run in conjuction with some other kind of complementary business within the same premises, often a newsagent or CTN * type business but sometimes particularly in rural areas a more general grocery business or village shop.

* CTN or Confectioner-Tobacconist-Newsagent

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