Guide to courier services for SMEs
Guide to courier services for SMEs
Guide to courier services for SMEs.
This article was written by P4D | Parcels for Delivery, who offer heavily discounted courier services to small and medium sized businesses. P4D partners with couriers you know and trust, like City Link, Fedex, DHL and TNT to provide an affordable parcel delivery service for those who send parcels infrequently or in smaller volumes.
If you’re sending parcels to customers, whether you’re in an office, working from home, or running an ecommerce site, you’ll already know it can be an expensive and time consuming process, but there is another way… no queue, no expense, book online 24/7 and have the parcel(s) collected from your door. Plus, someone else deals with the problem if things go wrong.
Reducing your expenses
Courier companies are designed for corporations sending thousands of parcels a week; if you don’t send that amount then you’re unlikely to get a cheap enough rate with a courier company direct. You usually have to have an account to use a B2B courier and the process can be very long-winded and complex for a smaller business with less time and a smaller budget.
To avoid all of this you can use a reseller that holds an account with these courier companies – they get great rates they then pass on to their own customers, but the collection and parcel delivery service you receive is exactly the same as if you went direct. This way, you don’t pay over the odds for a fantastic B2B service and when something goes wrong, you contact the reseller not the courier.
Top tip: Make sure you use a reseller with a customer contact number, if something goes wrong this contact will be invaluable!
Using a reseller
Resellers do not book space on a courier van – this is a common misconception. They simply hold an account with the courier company, like a broker, so as a conglomerate then ship enough volume of parcels to be given a lower rate. It’s good for the customer who pays less and it’s good for the courier company because the reseller deals with the customer support when it’s needed, which in turn results in a more personal service for customers with fewer parcels.
The reseller doesn’t collect your parcels themselves, they’re all booked with the courier company you choose to use and the good thing is, they have a number of couriers for you to choose from should you have a preference.
Top tip: Choose a reseller with a good selection of courier services, so if there’s a problem with one, they can substitute it with another service for you.
Cutting down your admin time
It’s not only money that’s important when running your business, but your precious time too. As your business grows and you start to send more and more parcels, it’s simply not convenient to spend hours of your day manually inputting delivery details… so don’t. You can integrate your online shop with your shipping account and this way all your deliveries are automated.
In simple terms, your ecommerce system talks to your reseller’s booking system, which retrieves information about your orders. Many sites like eBay and Amazon, or any online shop that is run through a database uses these methods to automate shipping and speed up the parcel delivery process.
Top tip: The technical term for this facilitator is an API and they are commonly used on ecommerce sites; find a reseller that uses them.
Protecting your parcels
All major courier services use conveyor belts when processing parcels. That means they use robots to sort parcels to send them on the right track and pile them up ready for delivery. Because of this your parcels need protection from being handled by a machine that can’t distinguish between a fragile item and any other item. Fragile items like glass should not be sent via a courier service.
Invest in some hardy packaging for your goods and this could save you from an unfortunate incident where damage occurs. Thankfully this is not common. Make sure boxes are tough and individually package contents inside them with bubble wrap. Fill the box with polystyrene balls to prevent anything inside the box from moving around. Tape it up well and make sure there is nothing hanging loose.
Top tip: Don’t tape two parcels together, either put them both in one box for delivery or send them separately. If they become detached and only one parcel arrives, the second won’t be accounted for.
Interested in starting your own courier company? Find out more about the industry, and the options available.