Using a Courier to Handle/Deliver Collection Only Items

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This guide is designed to give some advice to eBay buyers and sellers about handling 3rd party courier help when dealing with collection only items.

We are eBay delivery specialists and comment on where to find help, what to look out for when hiring an operator and why sellers should consider recommending an operator.

Collection Only Items
A seller will determine an item is for collection only for any one or a combination of reasons. Such items include antiques, furniture and high value or complex items.
  • Size
  • Weight
  • Fragility
  • Value
  • Packing complications
  • Location within premises
  • Unpredictable delivery prices
Conventional couriers could not contemplate dealing with most of the collection only items offered on eBay. Their services are defined by strict constraints such as dimensions and weight. The most typical items we are asked to collect are sofas, chests of drawers, wardrobes and tables and of course these come in all shapes, sizes and weights.

Who can help with the collection/delivery of Collection Only items?
There are a number of operators offering the delivery of collection only items. These range from the lone ‘Man with a van’ to national haulers.

Depending on your requirements, some operators will collect and deliver your item on a date and time of your choice. Others will add your item to an existing load to reduce the cost but this may require more flexibility on the delivery specifics. We would say that depending on your requirements there is an operator out there to fulfill your requirements and probably your wallet but we would recommend shopping around.

Where can the details of such operators be found?
eBay is a good place to start. Most advertise under eBay’s local service listings. eBay normally list such operators according to their distance from your location but be aware that this does not necessarily mean they will offer the best value quote. The location of the seller may also affect the delivery quote.

Which operator should I approach for a quote?
As with hiring any help of this nature it is best to do some homework first and at least get quotes from 3 or more operators. As with anything the cheapest quote might not be the best and it is best to compare (and if not provided ask for) the following:

  • Collection lead time (how long before they can collect?)
  • Delivery lead time (if not same day, how long from collection?)
  • Is the quote all inclusive? (Any hidden extras?)
  • Does it include insurance and what does the insurance policy cover?
  • Inclusive of VAT?
  • Does it include a 1 or 2 man service (if required)
  • Will the operator collect/deliver from other than the kerbside?

We always advise liaising with the seller, preferably before the auction ends, to discuss collection availability and if they are willing to help with removal if required.

We have heard various stories from clients who have tried other operators and who have been let down. These range from a van not arriving and the excuse “the van broke down” through to items arriving severely damaged and the operator being unable to be contacted to arrange an insurance claim.

Don’t be put off but do be cautious – there are bona fide and honest providers out there but there are also a number of operators looking to make a quick buck. Remember also that your feedback could suffer if your seller is disappointed by the service of the courier you hire. We, for example, give a 2 hour collection and delivery window so clients do not have to wait in all day.

Why should sellers recommend a courier of Collection Only items?
Collection only items are generally items that were relatively expensive purchases and they can’t simply be popped in the post box. Because of their nature they are potentially highly desirable items for buyers but buyers might be stuck when comes to finding someone to collect and deliver.

Because potential buyers might not have a collection solution then they might abandon bidding on an item altogether. So rather than lose a potential bidder it might pay to do a little research and find a reputable courier who could handle delivery of your item. Include their details and mention how best a potential buyer can get a quote. A competitive quote might mean there is an extra bidder to bid up an item meaning the item sells for a fairer price.

Why not ask the operator for a discount for including their details? We offer all buyers a 5% discount where a seller includes our details in the eBay listing.

How much might delivery cost?
Be realistic! Moving a sofa or a wardrobe, for example, is different to moving a small square box. A parcel courier can make 30 drops per day but delivering 30 wardrobes is far less practical. Remember that collection only items are in relation higher value items to those carried by everyday couriers.

We specialise in keeping the costs low through volume but collection only items are naturally more expensive to move.

We hope this helps when it comes to the buying and selling of collection only items but remember that help is out there and reputable operators will be happy to answer your queries.
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