I buy and sell many items on Ebay, however I also used to own a courier company.
We delivered many items sold through ebay - From Rocking horses to large domestic goods, Engines to furniture and even a very heavy industrial safe.
Disclaimer (1): The Ebay Ads along the right hand side of this guide are not placed there by me, but by Ebay. And may or may not deliver the quality of service I would expect to receive. Whether you choose to use one of these couriers is entirely your decision.
Know your Courier
Delivery companies such as Parcelforce, Business Post, APC or UPS etc... are next-day couriers. They often have weight or size limits. Or they may want your goods on a pallet. (How many of you keep one of those in the shed). Also if your goods are of a fragile nature. Your parcel could cross the country on upto 5/6 different vehicles. P/O to Depot to Regional Hub - to National Hub - to Regional Hub - to Buyer. In between vehicles it has been known to be left in a pile on a concrete floor until there are enough for the next vehicle. (I'm not naming companies, but I've experienced it first hand as a sub-contractor).
These companies are suitable for small packages. I am in no way trying to put people off using them. I use them myself for the smaller items I sell on ebay.
Couriers like I was, offer a dedicated service. This can be in the form of a direct delivery (often expensive - but if you've just sold a £5000 diamond, whats £200 if it guarantees delivery) or Economy Service, where it may take upto 5 days to deliver, but at the most all it will do it is wait in a warehouse until it can be partloaded with other jobs. An economy service may also be known as Groupage. My company used to specialise in furniture groupage.
DO NOT expect a courier to be as cheap as an overnight service. They aren't and they never will be. They offer a bespoke personal service.
DO NOT be surprised when you get quoted £300 to move something large like an AGA or Wardrobe. Items like this require 2 men to collect and deliver. Items such as an AGA will need a Tail-lift vehicle due to the sheer weight.
What To Do
- If its large or fragile ASK local couriers for quotes before hand. Just to well known cities such as Manchester or Glasgow will give you a rough idea of cost.
- DO NOT state delivery costs in your auction. Have the potential buyer supply you with a Postcode before bidding, then ring your courier for an accurate price.
- Ask about insurance, all reputable companies carry Goods-In-Transit insurance. This may vary between companies; but in our case its £25000 per vehicle.
- Does the price quoted include VAT?
- DO supply the courier with a contact number of the buyer. It may be necessary to deliver to their work, have them take an hour off or be disturbed early morning or late evening. They can get a little annoyed when they get woken at 6am for delivery, if they know its coming, they sometimes offer a cup of tea!!!!
- Ask your courier how to package your goods. A heavy boxed item can sometimes be harder to carry than an exposed item with good lifting points.
Over the past couple of years, several websites have opened, allowing yourself to upload delivery information and receive quotes from courier companies all over the UK. These include Shiply.com, Anyvan.com, Stuff2send.co.uk and Uship.com.
I hope I've been of some help, I'm just trying to make it easier for both you the seller/buyer, and the couriers
Thanks for reading.
Shockwave Trading Ltd