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

7-minute read

Small business owner with parcels to deliver
Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish

18 March 2024

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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.

Courier service

Starting price

Royal Mail


Amazon Logistics

Check fees



DHL Parcel UK






Evri (Hermes)




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 the Guardian.

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 £3.19
  • 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 users.

Key features:

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

Read more: A quick guide to selling on Amazon in the UK


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 first place in a user poll of parcel firms in 2024.

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:

  • seven-day delivery service with online tracking
  • parcel delivery prices from £3.99 (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

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 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 £8.70 (two-day delivery)
  • compensation cover of at least £100
  • guaranteed delivery speeds included in quote


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 £5.99
  • 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 £2.99, 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


With Yodel Direct you can send parcels to customers at home, or at a nominated store. However, a 2002 Which? survey of shoppers last year found Yodel to have the lowest customer satisfaction score. Prices start at £2.42 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.

Missing parcel – what to do as a small business owner

Sometimes parcels go missing – in fact, the UK saw the number of claims for missing parcels rise by 59 per cent in the year to June 2023 compared with the previous 12 months. As a small business owner, lost or missing parcels can have a major effect on your business.

While there’s no sure way to avoid your parcels going missing, here are a couple of ways you and your customers can try to avoid missing parcels:

  • get proof of postage – this is often provided for free by your courier – you can get online proof or ask for it when you drop your parcel off
  • offer tracked shipping – this can give both you and your customers peace of mind
  • use a signed for service – this way your customers will have to physically sign for their item to receive it – this is always recommended for expensive parcels
  • encourage your customers to nominate a safe space – selecting a safe space for deliveries means orders won’t be left outside on your customers’ doorsteps

Customer still not received their parcel? Here’s what to do…

If your customer says they haven’t received their order, don’t panic and follow these simple steps:

1. Check their order details are correct

The first thing to do is double check with the customer if their order details are correct. Maybe there was a typo in the address line, or the order was sent to the billing address rather than the delivery address. Confirming with your customer that the correct delivery address was entered will help troubleshoot the problem.

2. Check for information on strikes

Double check there are no strikes going on that could have caused a delay in posting, or see if your chosen courier has announced any known delays. Even if there haven’t been any announcements, sometimes delays do happen. Tell your customer to wait a few days – after all, the parcel may still turn up.

3. Contact your courier

If you’ve worked out that the problem isn’t on your customer’s end, the next step is to contact your courier. They may be able to locate your parcel in the system or, at the very least, confirm that the order has been lost.

4. Offer a refund or replacement

Customer service is key, so once you know the order has gone missing, it’s best to get in touch with your customer straight away to let them know. You can offer a refund or replacement – and perhaps offer to send the next order with a tracked service if this wasn’t used before. This can offer peace of mind to your customer, as well as build a reputation as a considerate brand.

Creating a returns policy for a small business

Even if your parcel does arrive, sometimes your customer may need to submit a return, which is included as part of the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

And if you’re selling online, you’ll also need to be aware of distance selling regulations, which gives consumers a 14-day ‘cooling off period’ as part of most distance and off-premises contracts. During the cooling off period, a customer can cancel for any reason and get their money back.

Outside of these regulations, you have no legal obligation to offer returns. Business Companion states that, when it comes to returns policies, ‘the best notice is no notice’ – meaning you don’t need to list a returns policy unless you’re offering more than the minimum entitlement. And that if you are offering more than those requirements, it’s always a good idea to say something like ‘this policy is offered in addition to your legal rights'.

If you do decide to build on the standard minimum returns policy, some things you can consider including in your policy are:

  • a hard deadline for receiving returns
  • the original invoice or receipt
  • making sure the products are unused or in unopened packaging

You don’t need to offer a return when the customer:

  • knew an item was faulty when they bought it (such as if you’re selling second-hand or vintage items)
  • damaged the item when trying to repair it themselves

How to package a parcel

No matter which courier you choose, one way you can make sure your package stays safe in transit is to properly package any orders you send out. Some ways you can help keep your items safe include:

  • using high quality boxes
  • wrapping items individually, when shipping multiple items
  • use materials such as bubble wrap, paper, or foam peanuts to protect your items
  • don’t overfill boxes
  • leave enough space for the label

But remember that this is also the perfect opportunity to embrace your branding. Whether it’s branded boxes or you include logo stickers and business cards, you can use your packaging as another marketing tool.

There are also sustainable packaging options to use if this is important to you as a small business owner (or your customers).

More small business guides and resources

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/
Rosanna Parrish

Written by

Rosanna Parrish

Rosanna Parrish is a Copywriter at Simply Business specialising in side hustles – as well as all things freelance, social media, and ecommerce. She’s been writing professionally for nine years. Starting her career in health insurance, she also worked in education marketing before returning to the insurance world.

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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