Royal Mail - an Ebay Sellers Guide (Part 3)

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Welcome to my 3rd Ebay sellers guide.  The 1st & 2nd guide covers the frequently used Royal Mail over the counter services.  This guide will cover some of the services that Powersellers will find useful:, focusing on reducing the reliance on using the local Post Office

  • Smart Stamp
  • Recorded Delivery Docket Book
  • Special Delivery & International Docket Book
  • Parcelforce - and how to save £1 per parcel
  • Collect from home service

 

SMART STAMP

SmartStamp is software that allows you to print postage directly from your PC onto labels or envelopes.  You never need to worry about postage again!  Advantages include:

  • time saving - no queuing at the post office waiting for stamps to be printed....holding up that queue of 20 people behind you!
  • gives your mail a professional image
  • helps keep track of postage costs
  • annual £49.99 or monthly £4.99 subscription

***JULY 06 UPDATE***:  RM have confirmed to me that version 3 of Smartstamp (due out in August) will be integrated with eBay...so basically you can import ebay completed auction names & addresses into SmartStamp.  This should speed up the posting process....a good move Royal Mail!!

Other Key points:

  • If you print a stamp by mistake, you can gain a refund by filling an online form and posting off to smartstamp...it then get refunded from your balance
  • Its secure - with a two password system
  • You can pay for stamps with a credit or debit card (the PO Counter only accepts debit cards) - here you can use a credit card with a cashback facility and get paid for buying stamps!
  • The software can be downloaded or a disk ordered. 
  • You can print trial stamps, so that you can align your labels and not print live stamps!

Important Notes:

  • If you need a stamp refund, it must arrive back to smartstamp within 7 days, otherwise it becomes ineligible for a refund
  • when you print a stamp, it must be used by the next day - do dont print a stamp on saturday and forget to post it!!!

RECORDED DELIVERY DOCKET BOOK

    

This book is obtained from Royal Mail customer services.  You will need specially made recorded delivery stickers (supplied on a roll or around 100 or so).

This can be used inconjunction with smartstamp.  The book is used to record upto 10 parcels per page.  You enter the address of the customer, and stick the barcode sticker from the roll into the barcode box.  Also stick the tracking code sticker onto the 2nd counterpart page.

Each page is a seperate days postage - dont mix them!  Once you have filled in your days postage, take the book and your parcels to your local postal depot or post office.  Simply hand the book over the counter and tell the clerk you have already paid for the postage via smartstamp.  They will check that the total number of parcels supplied equal the amount in the docket book.  They will then stamp and sign your book and remove the top page.  The bottom counterpart page will then be your lasting record, and will need to be recalled in the event of a claim.

SPECIAL DELIVERY / INTERNATIONAL DOCKET BOOK

    

This book is obtained from Royal Mail customer services.  You will need specially made "Special Delivery" and "International Signed For" and "Airsure" delivery stickers (supplied on a roll or around 100 or so).

This can be used inconjunction with smartstamp.  The book is used to record upto 10 parcels per page.  You enter the address of the customer (name, road, postcode for special delivery; full name & address for international delivery), and stick the barcode sticker from the roll into the barcode box.  Also stick the tracking code sticker onto the page too.  Fill out the compensation insurance required (note you must pay for this on your smartstamp stamp - so dont forget!).

Each page is a seperate days postage - dont mix them!  Once you have filled in your days postage, take the book and your parcels to your local postal depot or post office.  Simply hand the book over the counter and tell the clerk you have already paid for the postage via smartstamp.  They will check that the total number of parcels supplied equal the amount in the docket book.  They will then stamp and sign your book  - this will be your lasting record, and will need to be recalled in the event of a claim.

 

PARCELFORCE

Parcelforce is a division of Royal Mail, and generally used where you need to post heavier parcels.  If you use Special Delivery (see my Royal Mail Guide part 2), then you will know that any parcel over 2KG is expensive to send....They offer a 24 and 48 hour service, which are both good value for money - around £12.85 for 48 hr >2kg service.  The parcels are picked up from your house, and can be scheduled online (price here includes a £1 discount).  Your receipt can be printed from their website and includes a tracking number.

 

COLLECT FROM HOME SERVICE

Royal Mail will actually pick parcels up from your house/office for a fixed annual charge.  They generally come later afternoon, and take parcels and will stamp your docket books....this is the one way to avoid the post office queues.  Costs:

  • Spend over £15k/year = free
  • upto £15k = £260/year (71p a day)
  • Saturday only collection = £120
  • Sunday only collection = £125
  • One off collection, as and when needed £5.5

You will need to open an account with Royal Mail.

 

Thanks for reading my Royal Mail - an Ebay Sellers Guide (Part 3).  I hope you have found it useful....it is written from personal experience, by an established ebay powerseller.  Please also take a look at my other guiides:

Royal Mail - an Ebay Sellers Guide (Part 1)

Royal Mail - an Ebay Sellers Guide (Part 2)

 
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