For eBay sellers: a comprehensive guide to the major postage couriers available (and review) UPDATED 3/28/18

Got something to sell to us on eBay or Gumtree etc? Post about it here. :H
User avatar
spotify95
Founder and the king of TBAAJ
Posts: 5317
Joined: 22 Nov 2015, 14:24
Reputation: 167
Gender: Male

For eBay sellers: a comprehensive guide to the major postage couriers available (and review) UPDATED 3/28/18

Postby spotify95 » 14 Sep 2017, 21:12

So, I have finally managed to get around to doing this. It was a long time coming.

I have made together a guide to the major couriers that are in use in the UK, that most buyers/sellers will use when posting their goods. It is ideal for eBayers like myself, and for new/beginner sellers, who want to get the best price for posting their items.

This guide summarizes five major couriers: Royal Mail, Collect+, MyHermes, UPS and Parcelforce. Other couriers (such as DPD/Yodel etc) are not covered as they are not included in eBay's online postage printing service.

Without further ado, here is my guide to each of the couriers.

Royal Mail:
Reasonably fast for 2nd class on the vast majority of items (mostly 2 days, sometimes 3 days). Very fast for 1st Class (1 day, sometimes 2 days). Small items below 1kg in weight (1st Class - or 2kg in weight for 2nd Class items) are reasonably priced. Items with a thickness of less than 2.5mm (e.g. some small items of clothing, and some thin items such as DVDs, CDs etc) are classed as a "large letter" and they are cheaper to send. Large letters are very good value on the 2nd Class service, though I wouldn't recommend upgrading to 1st Class.
For medium sized items under 2kg (or 1kg first class - maximum dimensions 61 x 46 x 46 cm), the price is average - there are cheaper alternatives.
Above 2kg (or 1kg first class) and the price increases exponentially, to the point whereby Parcel Force is cheaper (more on that later). This makes anything over 2kg in weight incredibly poor value for money.
Signed For services cost extra; the amount is dependent on service/weight. No tracking is provided, just a reference number which shows when the item was delivered.
Special Delivery is useful for items with very high value, and is tracked, but almighty expensive, with a huge jump in price between 1-2kg and 2-10kg items. Therefore, it is only recommended on very high value items, whereby the recipient is out of the area that you can feasibly hand deliver to.
Reliability of the service is very good, from both receiving and delivering parcels. Loss or damage is rare and any damage is usually down to insufficient packaging.
Note: Will not take any items with batteries in it (or other dangerous goods) and most Post Offices will ask for contents of item. Even smaller items that contain very small batteries (such as watches) will be questioned by some Post office staff, so make sure that your items do not contain batteries of any kind.

Collect Plus (Collect+):
Comparatively expensive for small items below 2kg, given the speed of service. This is due to Collect+ not having a dedicated small parcel rate, so all parcels are classified by weight only. For medium items below 2kg, the price is competitive on the Economy service (cheaper than Royal Mail). Items above 2kg (max. 10kg) are priced reasonably well with the Economy service, but there are cheaper alternatives. The Standard service is not cost effective for most items. Item price increases linearly with regards to item weight.
Economy Service takes 3-5 working days. Standard Service takes 2 days. No express option.
Both services come with full tracking, so you can always find the whereabouts of your parcel (and when it was delivered). Signed for options are available, but costs extra. (Though I never used to bother with a signature, and all deliveries went well as expected.)
Reliability is good: all items that I have received from Collect+ have arrived in good condition, and within the timeframes specified. The deliveries that I sent have all been delivered without damage or complaint. Collect+ will accept batteries without any issues, hence they used to be my main courier for battery related items (though MyHermes are cheaper; see below).

MyHermes:
The cheapest of all couriers for items below 2kg, excluding large letters below 2.5cm thickness (small or medium sized). Price is competitive for items between 2kg-5kg. Above 5kg and there are likely better options, though the price is still reasonably good (price increases linearly with weight).
There is only one type of service offered to most customers, the Economy service, which takes 3-5 days (though is sometimes a bit quicker - especially when dropped off at a ParcelShop). So although they are not the quickest in regards to speed of delivery, they are still adequate for the cost and service provided. Comes with tracking so the whereabouts of the parcel can be checked quickly. Signed options are available, but costs extra; however MyHermes' signed options are still cheaper than the equivalent service provided by Royal Mail.
Reliability is variable and the service you will receive depends on who your local courier is. It is not recommended to send fragile items through MyHermes as they are likely to be broken. Outer packaging is often imperfect upon receipt of most items - ensure packaging materials are adequate before sending to avoid breakages.
Note(s): Lots of items are excluded from compensation so it is advisable to package the items thoroughly, to avoid any damage in transit. Ideal for cheap, economy jobs due to the price of the service. For items with high value or for fragile items, another courier may be better. Will accept batteries without a problem - now my 1st choice for sending batteries due to being substantially cheaper than Collect+.

UPS:
The fastest of all couriers listed on eBay's online printing service - all services are next day, which is very quick.
Not the cheapest for items below 2kg, but are competitively priced for 2-5kg items and are by far the cheapest for anything heavier. High initial cost but overall cost increases very slowly when item weight is increased (unlike Royal Mail!).
All items are tracked and signed for as standard - great for piece of mind. Delivery is almost always attempted next working day, due to this service being an express service.
Reliability is very good - although not in receipt of items shipped via UPS, I have posted almost all of my >2kg items via UPS and the vast majority have all been delivered on time with no damage. Very good service considering the shipping speed and price.
Note(s): Have not tested UPS when shipping batteries - not all types of batteries are likely to be accepted, though battery lots usually go via other, more cost effective couriers anyway. Delivery will only be attempted once, then the item is taken to your local Access Point, where you have to collect it from (bring some ID).

Parcel Force:
Very expensive for all items, especially items below 2kg in weight. For items above 2kg in weight, the price is still expensive, though it is cheaper than Royal Mail. When taking items above 2kg to the Post Office, Parcelforce is usually selected as default instead of Royal Mail (due to the latter having exponential price increases), though there are much cheaper options available in this guide (one of which is next day).
Compensation limit is reasonably high compared to other options, making Parcelforce OK for high value items (Parcelforce is cheaper than RM Special Delivery in most cases.)
The services offered are fast - the Standard Option, Parcelforce 48, is a 2 day service, whereas the Express Option, Parcelforce 24, is a 1 day service.
Items are tracked and signed for as standard, though this is to be expected with the high postage costs associated with Parcelforce.
Reliability is very good. I used to send my heavy items (>2kg) via Parcelforce, before I found out about Collect+/UPS. All deliveries were made on time with no damage or complaints.
Note(s): Parcelforce use the same tight rules/regulations as Royal Mail, so no batteries or dangerous goods. Expect to be asked for parcel contents.
Only recommended for high value items due to price considerations.

The compensation values for Collect+, MyHermes and UPS services can be increased (if required) through eBay's Shutl service - though this costs extra. The amount varies and is dependent on the amount of compensation required for the item.

Pricing for sending parcels through each courier (correct as of 3/28/18):

Royal Mail 2nd Class: Large Letter £0.79 - £2.22; Small Parcel £2.95 (£3.95 signed for); Medium Parcel <2kg £5.05 (£6.05 signed for); >2kg use Parcelforce
Royal Mail 1st Class: Large Letter £1.01 - £2.60; Small Parcel £3.45 - £5.50 (£4.45 - £6.50 signed for); Medium Parcel £5.75 <1kg (£6.75 signed for), £8.95 1-2kg (£9.95 signed for); >2kg use Parcelforce or another service.
Collect+ Economy: £4.70 <2kg; £5.98 2-5kg; £8.08 5-10kg. Signature additional 80p.
Collect+ Standard: £5.35 <2kg; £7.06 2-5kg; £9.10 5-10kg. Signature extra 80p.
Hermes Economy: £2.79 small, £3.99 medium <2kg; £5.59 2-5kg; £7.39 5-10kg; £9.79 10-15kg. Signature extra 80p.
UPS Express: £5.99 small, £6.19 medium (<2kg); £6.29 2-5kg; £6.49 5-10kg; £6.99 10-15kg. Signature included.
Parcelforce 48: £12.12 <2kg; £13.14 2-5kg; £16.62 5-10kg; expensive above 10kg (but will take up to 30kg; £44.22 for 25-30kg parcel).
Parcelforce 24: More expensive than Parcelforce 48; prices range from £16.68 (<2kg) to £48.78 (25-30kg). Use UPS instead unless the item is of high value.
Royal Mail Special Delivery: prices start from £10.80 (<100g) up to £52.44 (10-20kg). Includes £500 compensation (with greater compensation values available). Only use on very high value items.

Note: Prices above are taken from eBay's online postage service (Shutl) with the exception of Royal Mail and Parcelforce. Prices fro RM/PF are over the counter prices.
Printer is required to print off online postage labels.

Hopefully this guide (which took about 30 minutes to compose, and another 20-30 minutes to edit in the details) will be interesting and useful for eBay buyers and sellers alike.


User avatar
pinkteddyx64
Co-founder
Posts: 237750
Joined: 12 Feb 2014, 22:09
Reputation: 447
Location: Scunthorpe
Gender: Male

Re: For eBay sellers: a comprehensive guide to the major postage couriers available (and review)

Postby pinkteddyx64 » 14 Sep 2017, 21:19

@spotify95 You might be interested to know that Parcel Force is a subsidiary of Royal Mail.


Imageeriously, life's too short to be worried about retards on an internet forum. :eek2: :eek3:
Image
User avatar
spotify95
Founder and the king of TBAAJ
Posts: 5317
Joined: 22 Nov 2015, 14:24
Reputation: 167
Gender: Male

Re: For eBay sellers: a comprehensive guide to the major postage couriers available (and review)

Postby spotify95 » 14 Sep 2017, 21:29

pinkteddyx64 wrote: @spotify95 You might be interested to know that Parcel Force is a subsidiary of Royal Mail.


Thank you for the confirmation - that explains why the policies regarding items through Royal Mail and Parcelforce are very similar. It also explains why Parcelforce services are available at a Post Office, alongside Royal Mail services.

However, it doesn't explain Parcelforce's high charges for parcels under 2kg, nor does it explain why Royal Mail is so expensive for items above 2kg.
I'd have thought that, if they wanted Parcelforce as the premium brand, and Royal Mail as the more basic brand, they'd have priced Royal Mail more competitively?


User avatar
spotify95
Founder and the king of TBAAJ
Posts: 5317
Joined: 22 Nov 2015, 14:24
Reputation: 167
Gender: Male

Re: For eBay sellers: a comprehensive guide to the major postage couriers available (and review) UPDATED 3/14/18

Postby spotify95 » 14 Mar 2018, 16:34

Update: this guide has been updated as of 3/14/18 to reflect any changes in courier choices/recommendations.

Prices are slightly out of date for MyHermes and UPS (though changes are minor). All prices will be updated on 3/26/18 when Royal Mail and Parcelforce change their prices (and not for the better). Edit UPDATED 3/28/18

As of 3/26/18, MyHermes will be recommended for most parcels below 2kg that are not fragile in nature. Fragile parcels are better off via Royal Mail if small, or Collect+ if medium. Recommendations for parcels above 2kg remain as in the guide above (this will be fully updated on 3/26/18).

Update 3/24: If you wanted to beat the Royal Mail price hikes, you're too late... Prices go up Monday 3/26 and most Post Offices will now be closed until 3/26. Best start thinking about alternative couriers - or downgrading to 2nd class on large letters! (Prices updated are correct as of 3/28)


User avatar
spotify95
Founder and the king of TBAAJ
Posts: 5317
Joined: 22 Nov 2015, 14:24
Reputation: 167
Gender: Male

Re: For eBay sellers: a comprehensive guide to the major postage couriers available (and review) UPDATED 3/28/18

Postby spotify95 » 28 Mar 2018, 21:59

Update: The Courier Guide has been updated today, 3/28/18, to reflect the recent Royal Mail and Parcelforce price hikes, as well as prior MyHermes and UPS price increases.
The prices for each service can be find in the opening post.

Recommendations for all parcels, as of 3/28/18, are as follows:
Large Letters (<2.5cm thickness): Royal Mail 2nd Class. The upgrade to 1st Class is not worth the additional costs.
Small Parcels: MyHermes are recommended for all parcels that are not fragile in nature. Fragile parcels should be sent via Royal Mail 2nd Class (1st Class upgrade is not worth the additional costs).
Medium parcels 0-2kg: MyHermes recommended for all non-fragile parcels that are relatively low in value. Fragile items should be sent via CollectPlus (Collect+) and high value items should be sent via UPS Express.
All parcels 2-5kg: MyHermes and/or Collect+ can be used for lower value items; most items should be sent via UPS Express as the difference in cost is worth the upgrade to next day/signed delivery with a higher compensation limit.
All parcels above 5kg: UPS Express are the cheapest, and best, option for all items - use UPS Express for all items.

Parcelforce services are not cost efficient for most items and Royal Mail's "Special Delivery" service is incredibly poor value - use a different courier instead unless the item value is very high (though additional compensation can be purchased for MyHermes, Collect+ and UPS services, which may work out to be cheaper).



Return to “The Marketplace”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 1 guest

cron