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What’s the best UK courier for your small business?

4-minute read

Catriona Smith

25 May 2022

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Finding a company to deliver your products that’s reliable, cost-effective, and fast is essential for any online business.

But there’s a lot of competition out there, so if you’re wondering what’s the best delivery courier in the UK, read our round-up to help you find what’s right for your small business.

How to choose a courier

Some delivery services have a better reputation, while others encourage you to sign up to an account to access cheaper rates. Many of these companies also offer delivery to parcel lockers in retail shops, making the process super simple for your customers.

To help you decide what’s best for your online shop, first think about these questions:

  • how many parcels are you sending a day or a week?
  • how quickly do you need parcels delivered?
  • do you want a seven-day delivery service?
  • which is more important: cost or reputation?
  • what’s the company’s customer service like? Will you be able to get hold of them easily if something goes wrong?
  • how do different companies compare on Google reviews or Trustpilot?

What’s the best courier service in the UK?

Compare pros, cons, pricing, and features to find the best courier for small business owners below.

Royal Mail

If you’re sending parcels regularly within the UK, chances are that Royal Mail shipping services are one of the most affordable and reliable options. Although prices for parcels and stamps are likely to rise, according to BBC News.

What's more, if you have an online marketplace like Etsy then you can buy and print postage labels straight from the platform, so all you need to do is drop your parcel off at the post office to get proof of postage.

Key features:

  • delivery in 24 or 48 hours with online tracking (excluding Sundays and bank holidays)
  • standard parcel delivery prices from £4.35
  • competitive pricing if you’re sending 20 parcels a week (parcel delivery account holders)
  • integrate your online shop with a Click and Drop account
  • parcel collection service

Amazon Logistics

Selling your products on Amazon? Amazon Logistics is frequently rated one of the best courier companies thanks to their reliable and fast delivery service. Earlier this year it was voted the best courier by MoneySavingExpert.com users.

Key features:

  • 7-day delivery service (including Sundays and evenings)
  • fast one-day delivery with Amazon Prime if you use their fulfilment services
  • delivery across Europe

DPD

DPD offers a next-day delivery service across the UK, Europe, and the rest of the world.

While not the cheapest service out there, it was voted second for in a MoneySavingExpert.com user poll in 2021 – and actually held the top spot for seven years before that.

DPD also advertises ‘clean, green delivery’ across the UK with an expanding fleet of electric vehicles, and a drive to do more for the environment.

Key features:

  • 7-day delivery service with online tracking
  • parcel delivery prices from £3.59 (two-day delivery)
  • business account if you ship 15 or more parcels a week
  • parcel collection service
  • delivery to shop available for customers
  • bulk parcel delivery tools integrate with online marketplaces like Etsy and Amazon
Alena/stock.adobe.com

DHL Parcel UK

DHL delivers in the UK and internationally. They offer multi-parcel discounts and there’s no minimum order requirement, so you don’t have to worry about meeting certain order quantities to have an account with them.

Key features:

  • drop-off and collection services
  • parcel delivery prices from £2.79
  • multi-parcel discounts
  • integrated with a range of ecommerce platforms
  • online tracking
  • free contents insurance up to £25 as standard
  • delivery to 160 countries
  • customer service available Monday to Friday, 7am until 10pm

Parcelforce

Parcelforce delivers across the UK and to more than 240 countries worldwide. They recommend you open a business account if you’re posting parcels more than once a week, which gives you 45 per cent off standard prices.

Key features:

  • next day or two-day service
  • parcel delivery prices start from £4.80 (two-day delivery)
  • compensation cover of at least £100
  • guaranteed delivery speeds included in quote

UPS

When it comes to shipping with UPS, you can choose a service based on how often you send parcels. If you need to post several items a week, UPS recommends you open a payment account. This way you’ll be billed weekly, have access to tracking information, and simplify any returns for your customers.

Key features:

  • connect your eBay or Amazon account
  • shipping in the UK from £4.79
  • online tracking
  • automatic tracking notifications and simple return shipments (payment account holders)

Evri (Hermes)

Hermes rebranded to Evri in March 2022, although the timing of this has been questioned as it followed negative press about poor customer service and mishandling parcels.

But with prices starting at £2.69, it’s also one of the cheapest couriers so it’s a popular option with online sellers. If you send parcels a few times a week you can unlock tailored pricing and signed-for delivery by opening an Evri business account.

Key features:

  • next day delivery across the UK, including Sundays
  • shipping to 190 countries internationally
  • integrate with other marketplaces like Etsy
  • easily manage sending parcels in bulk

Yodel

With Yodel Direct you can send parcels to customers at home, or at a nominated store. However, a Which? survey of shoppers last year found Yodel to have the lowest customer satisfaction score. Prices start at £2.32 though, so it could be a question of balancing price with quality of service here.

Key features:

  • delivery to store or straight to your customer
  • online tracking for Yodel account holders
  • free label printing in selected stores
  • manage bulk orders with an online account

You may have also heard of CollectPlus, but they’re no longer making their own deliveries. They still offer collection and drop-off services for other delivery companies though.

Other smaller couriers do exist too. But whichever service you choose, it’s always worth getting feedback from your customers on their delivery experience so you can keep them happy every step of the way.

Who do you think’s the best courier for a small business? Let us know your experience in the comments section below.

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Photograph: insta_photos/stock.adobe.com

We create this content for general information purposes and it should not be taken as advice. Always take professional advice. Read our full disclaimer

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