Hello and welcome to my first guide.
This guide is for ebayers who are thinking of buying or have recently bought furniture through ebay and are curious about how they are going to get their item from A to B, how costly it is and like many, know very little about couriers.
Firstly, couriers mainly come in a few sizes, the smallest is 'man and van' the second is a small business and the third is a nation wide company. Most couriers from my experience fall into the 'man and van' and small business categories.
So, how is this going to affect your item? In a number of ways which include cost, convenience of delivery and the amount of time it takes for you to get your item and to an extent, how your item is going to be protected.
Starting with the most important, this is the one we are all interested in: the cost. The cost you as a buyer are willing to pay is the single most important factor in the delivery of your item. It determines which courier you will use, the time between collection and delivery, the convenience at which you will recieve your item, etc.
The more you pay, the more 'service' you can expect on a personal level. However, this is very, very difficult to quantify unless you specifically ask your seller or courier about how the delivery is going to be carried out. This is simply because of the specific size and weight of your item, and the distance it has to travel from the seller to get to you.
For example, a small item travelling 30 miles may cost £30 for delivery. The same item travelling 400 miles will cost much much more (say £200) and you may have to wait longer for it.
If you wanted the item on a specific day and maybe within a specific time, this will massivly affect the price. To give you a real life example, a customer of ours wanted an item delivered about 50 miles away. £30 to £40 would have been the cost normally, but because the customer could only recieve the item on one day, the couriers quoted him £165!
The reason this was so much? The courier company would have to hire out one of their employees and a van for that delivery for the day! Suffice it to say the customer managed to arrange himself around the delivery and thankfully got it cheaper.
"But £40 for a delivery is still really expensive!" I hear you cry. Unfortunately for buyers, this price is mostly standard across all courier companies. Remember you are not buying from Argos or Ikea who are massive companies who deliver hundreds of items from one truck every day, having come from a local distribution centre. Couriers have to collect the item first and then deliver it door to door and that takes time, man-power and fuel and sometimes that can mean getting your item from devon to glasgow.
Now I shall move on to how I believe, from what I have come to know, how your item gets from the seller to you the buyer. Even as a seller who had many items delivered by courier, until a few months ago I had no idea the problems couriers had getting my items to buyers. So, this is how those marvelous men and women of the road get the item to you:
1. The buyer pays for the item and the delivery.
2. The courier arranges to collect the item from the seller and on the collection day travels from their base of operations sometimes many miles away to pick up the item and to complete other collections/ deliveries arranged locally on the day.
3. The courier completes any further collections and deliveries before transporting the item back to their depot.
4.The item is stored at the depot while the courier carries out other deliveries in other regions of the country.
5.The courier then accumulates enough jobs in the region of the item to make it worthwile fuel and time wise to go there. The more remote the area, the longer this will take.
6. The most difficult part of the delivery: the courier has to ring each customer who is recieving a delivery in that area. The courier has to assess which day is the best to make the trip based on which customers are available to recieve their items on the same day. Often many deliveries are put off until later as obviously many people can be unavailable. If not enough customers are available, the courier has to put off all the other deliveries because he simply cannot make a living that way delivering one or two items a day.
7. Having finally achieving a good delivery day the courier loads the items and sets off. Deliveries are planned logically according to distance between them and the time the customers are available.
8. Delivery is sucessfully completed, further business is completed and the courier travels back to home.
So, what delivery should you choose? My advice would be to ask your seller, who should know a courier local to them. Alternatively investigate a courier local to you. Most importantly your seller should get a delivery recipt as there have been incidents of missing deliveries by people pretending to be couriers. However these are isolated cases. Choose a reputable company, many of whom are man and van anyway. Most couriers also include insurance on your item as standard not extra up to amounts usually above the value of your item.
A good place to start.
A website I find very useful and still surprisingly somewhat of a secret still, try Shiply an ebay affiliate site. The site allows you to list your item in an ebay style to recive bids from couriers. You then accept a price for your delivery and can pay by paypal. The best element of this site for me as a seller is that it shows buyers the real cost of courier delivery from couriers themselves. It also saved CO2 so is environmentally friendly at the same time. Please be aware however, courier quotes on shiply contain comission. Nevertheless the chance of a cheap quote is good as you never know who is already making a delivery your way! Couriers on shiply also have feedback so you can see previous jobs them have been rated for as well as other infor like insurance etc.
I hope you have found this guide useful, I know it is long but hopefully extensive. I shall add to it if i think of any more.