Depending on the size, shape, weight and value of the items you sell online there are a lot of things to consider when you want to ship your products. It may even be worthwhile using more than one couriers for your range of products. We’ve reviewed several UK couriers and put together a summary of the best shipping service for the different types of products you might need to send.
Small and light: Royal Mail 2nd Class, approx. 0.55p
For small products that don’t weigh much and have a low value then shipping with Royal Mail is the cheapest option. Prices start as low as 55p for a 2nd class letter, for anything weighing less than 100g and under 24cm x 16.5cm x 5mm. Items up to 750g (35.3cm x 25cm x 2.5cm) can be sent by Royal Mail for less than any other shipping service.
Small, light, valuable: Royal Mail Special Delivery 1pm, approx £6.45
If you sell small items that have a high value, then Royal Mail Special Delivery by 1pm is usually the cheapest shipping option. This tracked service offers up to £500 cover and you can pay more for up to £2500 compensation. For items under 100g it costs £6.45, and up to 500g will cost £7.25.
Medium: MyHermes drop off, approx £2.70
The cheapest shipping option for anything you sell online that weighs over 750g and under 15kg is usually MyHermes drop off (or for a small charge more MyHermes collection service). MyHermes take parcels that weigh up to 15kg, and are 120cm in length or have a maximum volume of 225 cm (add the two shortest dimensions, multiply by two, and add the length). Drop off prices start at £2.70 for under 1kg, and go up to £9.78 for 10-15kg, you can also pay an extra £1 for the parcel to be signed for.
Large, light: MyHermes drop off, approx £2.70
MyHermes prices are based on weight not size, so they are also the best option for big items, like a roll of bubblewrap, that don’t actually weigh that much. Prices range from £2.70 to £9.78, and if the item is too large to drop off at a Parcel Shop, then you can have it collected from £3.13 for under 100kg.
Large, heavy/valuable: Yodel XpressPack 48, approx £7.19
For bigger items (especially those too large for MyHermes), Yodel XpressPack is the cheapest shipping option. Yodel offer a standard service which takes up to 25kg, and costs £9.59 for one day delivery or £10.79 for two day delivery. Their XpressPack services take up to 12kg and cost £7.19 for two day, or £7.49 for one day delivery. For items over 5kg, Yodel XpressPack is usually the cheapest shipping option, even when you pay more for higher compensation.
Extra large: Parcelforce Express48 Large, £29.99
For very large and heavy items, Parcelforce offers its Express48 Large service. You can send items up to 2.5m long, and 5m combined length and girth, weighing up to 30kg. This service starts from £29.99 for 2kg, and goes up to £61.78 for up to 30kg.
Alternatively eBay has a service called Shiply where you can get reduced rates from couriers who have space in a lorry that’s already doing a similar journey. If both of these options are too expensive to make it worthwhile, then you can always sell large items as collection only, or within a certain area so you can use a local delivery service.
All prices calculated in March 2016 from the following links:
Compensation policies and size restrictions for each courier.
- DHL compensation - Section 6, DHL's Liability
- DHL size restrictions for DHL Service Point
- DHL size restrictions for booking collection online or over the phone
- TNT compensation - The Limitation of the Amount of our Liability, Section 6.7
- TNT size and weight restrictions