Since the Royal Mail’s monopoly on parcel delivery ended, the market has been flooded with new delivery brokers and courier companies.
The growth of the sector and its importance have also been affected by the change in the nation’s shopping habits, with online purchasing representing a huge part of the market, including for small and medium-sized businesses.
Under the Sale of Goods Act it is the vendor’s responsibility to ensure that items reach the purchaser in good time and in a satisfactory condition. This means that small retailers must look at several issues before hiring their courier service.
1. Do you need to outsource a parcel distribution provider or contract a single carrier directly? If you are only sending out a few parcels each week, say 20, you should enter into an agreement directly. If you are sending significantly more locally, nationally and possibly internationally, an agent may be a better option as they will be able to reduce your costs significantly as they will negotiate group rates. Always ensure they are passing these savings on to you.
2. If you have specialised goods, such as medical or frozen items, you will need to ensure that your chosen courier has experience in carrying these goods safely. Delicate goods such as glassware or toiletries will also need to be carried carefully. If you are selling clothes, you will need to cope with returns, and it is vital that you are dealing with a company that is used to this kind of activity and understands returns are likely across the period of the contract.
3. You may want to ensure quick delivery and so may be looking for same day couriers. Information about such firms is widely available online, including at sites such as http://allaboutfreight.co.uk/same-day-courier-service.
4. You may have clients overseas, and so you will need to ensure your courier also has facilities in the markets you are hoping to exploit. This can help to reduce shipping and customs fees. Your courier should also understand the potential impact of the UK leaving the EU.
5. Finally, your delivery provider’s service should integrate with your own website and platform. This will ensure both parties get automatic notification of new orders and the execution of deliveries.
Once you have the answers, you are ready to hire.