In the past, sending a parcel meant going to your local Post Office but with the number of branches almost halving since the 1980s, driving to the nearest one isn’t always a practical option. Here, we take a look at how to send a parcel by courier which could mean you don’t even have to leave home.
How to pick a courier company
According to data from Statista, DPD is the UK’s preferred parcel delivery service, with 61% of those asked saying they were ‘great’. They were closely followed by sister company DPD Local (60%) with third favourite, Royal Mail scoring 55%.
Needless to say, one of the most important factors that will influence your decision is whether or not the courier is reliable. So, while surveys give valuable insight, it’s also worth taking a look at reviews sites including Trustpilot, which can give you a good all-round picture of level of service. For example, while DPD has a Trustpilot rating of 4.5/5 stars with 83% of customers happy, DPD Local (who scored well in the Statista survey) score just 1.2/5 stars.
Look at the number of reviews, the more there are, the greater the likelihood of them being an accurate reflection of what you can expect. At Trustpilot for example, if you search for a courier company, you can then filter their reviews by keywords which can really help you get to the core of quality of service.
What courier delivery companies are there in the UK?
There are dozens of courier companies in the UK, from big-name corporations including UPS, FedEx, and DHL. Well-known firms like Evri (formally Hermes) use networks of local couriers with each one having their own area or postcodes to deliver to.
How do I find a courier company?
If you know of a local delivery firm you can contact them directly. Similarly, national networks like DPD, Evri, and Yodel, have their own websites where you can check prices and arrange the service online.
If you’ve got a large parcel or simply want to make sure you’re getting the best deal, you can also search for courier services on a comparison site. Bear in mind that some of these sites simply enable you to compare services while others are selling on delivery slots at a discount:
|Comparison site||Examples of couriers listed|
|My Parcel Delivery||UPS, Pallex, DPD|
|Parcel 2Go||Evri, DPD, UPS, Parcelforce, TNT|
|Parcel Hero||Evri, UPS, DPD, Parcelforce|
|Parcel Monkey||UPS, Parcelforce, DPD, DX, DHL|
|Worldwide parcel services||Interlink Express, DHL, UPS, APC|
Which is the cheapest courier in the UK?
The cost to send your parcel will depend on its size and weight. When you compare or search for courier services, you’ll usually be able to check the price by entering its weight and dimensions into an online tool which will then calculate the cost.
Generally, if you’re sending something small and relatively lightweight, then Royal Mail’s parcel service offers some of the most competitive prices available. For example, a small parcel measuring 45cm x 35cm x16cm and weighing up to 1kg, costs just £2.85 to send second class if you arrange the service online. To send the same parcel first class which aims to deliver it within a day, costs £3.95 when bought online.
How does the courier get your package?
When you’ve found a courier company you want to use, you’ll be able to choose how they get your package. Typical options include:
- Taking it to your nearest Post Office (for Royal Mail).
- Dropping it off at a local drop-off point (often a petrol station or supermarket).
- Having it collected from your home.
If you choose the convenience of home collection, there will usually be a fee. This is often included in the overall price, or it could be a one-off charge.
How do you pay the courier for services?
Whether you’ve selected your courier from a comparison site or gone directly to the courier’s own website, you’ll be able to pay online, similar to any other online transaction.
How to get tracking information
If you’re sending your parcel by Royal Mail or Parcelforce and have taken it into a Post Office, you can ask for proof of postage which will give you a tracking number. You can also opt for ‘Signed-For’ services so the recipient will need to be there to receive the package.
Courier companies will also have their own tracking systems. As the sender, you’ll be given a unique tracking number so that you and your recipient can check the parcel’s progress.
What other ways can I send a present through the post?
If you’re shopping for a gift online, it’s much more cost-effective to have it sent directly to the recipient. The one downside is that it won’t be wrapped, although if you buy from some large online retailers (such as Amazon) a gift-wrapping service is available.
Are parcels insured against loss or damage?
Some courier services include insurance, for instance, Royal Mail automatically insures parcels against loss or damage. The amount covered will depend on the service selected, for example, a small parcel is insured for £20 if untracked, £50 if you’ve paid for proof of delivery.
However, whichever courier you choose, it’s a good idea to check what level of insurance is included. If you’re sending something particularly valuable, you can also opt for extra insurance.
Do I need a printer to send my parcel via a courier?
Again, this depends on the service you choose and the courier. If you’re taking your parcel to a drop-off centre, you might not need to print the details. Some couriers will also print their own labels even if they’re collecting it from your home. Otherwise, it’s more usual for you to print off the addressee’s details yourself.
Can I become a self-employed courier?
Several nationwide courier companies employ drivers on self-employment terms which can give you the freedom to set your own hours. One example of firms that do this is Evri, where couriers are typically given their own area covering several postcodes.
Couriers are usually paid either per parcel or per drop so double check the terms of employment as this can make a big difference to what you earn.
If you do decide to become a self-employed courier, you’ll need to make sure you have appropriate courier insurance for your car or van. If you don’t, you can be fined up to £300 and end up with six penalty points on your licence. If you’re taken to court, you could be given an unlimited fine and even be disqualified from driving. To ensure you stay on the right side of the law and get the best value cover for your needs, compare courier insurance quotes from UK providers right here.