When choosing to distribute your goods by post, there are several important points you need to consider: how quickly you need the goods to be delivered; and how much you want to spend on the delivery. Before you start searching for the right system for you, you will need to consider the following factors:
- What is the size and value of the delivery?
- How rapidly do the goods need to be distributed?
- Do the goods need to be delivered to a particular person or just an address?
- Do the goods need to be carried in a special way? (for example fragile products)
- Will you be distributing the same sorts of goods regularly?
- Does the item need to be distributed internationally or locally?
Once you have assessed these points you are ready to choose a delivery service. The two main ways of distributing goods in the UK are via the Post Office or courier.
The Post Office offers two methods of distribution, one via Royal Mail and one via ParcelForce. The former has a business website at www.royalmail.com and offers services of recorded delivery and special delivery, which ensure goods are signed for and delivered by the next day. If an item is not delivered next day the postage you paid will be refunded.
ParcelForce will deliver parcels anywhere to order, with next day delivery being the earliest possible. You can visit their website at www.parcelforce.com.
Couriers are specialist companies, which will deliver items quickly, on demand. Most courier companies offer a 24-hour service. To ensure your goods are received, the company will require the signature of the person who has received the goods. Although the courier option is sometimes expensive, it is a guaranteed way of delivering goods quickly.
Locating these services is relatively easy:
- Look in the Yellow Pages under 'Couriers' and 'Delivery and Collection Services' and ring some of the companies you find for a quotation. Be sure to state your delivery requirements and check out the cost. This is dependent on the weight of the goods and the speed of delivery you require
- Use an internet search engine to find delivery companies and their prices
- Ask fellow business associates for recommendations – their experiences are a good indicator of how efficient and reliable a company is
It is useful to remember that if you are planning to use postal distribution regularly then you may be eligible for discounts.