The 3 P’s (Packing Posting Parcels)…

The scene on a Monday morning before, during and after the children have been packed off to school involves packing and posting parcels, parcels and more parcels! And I have to confess and say that this aspect is quite possibly…no definitely the least favourite part of the job. And I don’t think I would be speaking out of term when I say that Marla would probably agree! However, this is a vital part of the service that we provide and one that I appreciate is extremely attractive to our clients.

Our mantra is that if we can send something out in the post then we will. Bluntly, if you are prepared to post a parcel then you are guaranteed to get more money for it. In general we can send parcels up to around 20kg but we have sent heavier. The largest and trickiest item I had to post out was an aquarium minus the fish! And it arrived in one piece too!

Many items are really straightforward to post out but it’s all about presentation and speed. We also find that the listing may state that we are using a 3-5 day courier service and then the buyer is chasing us for their item within a couple of days. Our listings state that we dispatch items in two working days but as soon as payment has been received then we usually try to post the item out within a day. And for items that our being sent via a 3-5 day courier service we will then email the buyer to confirm that the parcel has been dispatched along with the tracking number details and the type of postal service that they have opted to pay for. As a business seller it is all about consistently achieving high levels of feedback so that we can continue to trade as a Powerseller and be a top rated eBay Seller. And, communication (usually via email) is such a vital part of this process.

We look to keep the postage costs as low as we possibly can for our buyers. But if we are shipping something delicate, it is more reassuring to know that it is going to be acknowledged when it arrives.   Take the case of china, for instance.  None of the carriers will insure parcels containing china, except at extortionate prices that the goods won’t bear.   So our policy is to package such fine products with triple wrapping and loaded in to polystyrene chipping and bubble wrapping.  However,  then we prefer to send on an 24 hours service, so that the parcels are not hanging around warehouses overnight.   For this reason, experience shows that using a really professional courier company, like UPS, pays dividends.   In these instances the cheapest provider is not always the best way to go. But if an item sells for a low value then we do try and use a 3-5 day courier as this does keep the postage cost down.

Where possible we recycle as much packaging as possible. When a parcel arrives for one of us at home we often behave like overexcited school children being more excited about the box than the actual gift!! I am often collared by mums at school who know what I do and they will often provide with me bubble wrap and jiffy envelopes that are ideal for posting out clothes in.

If I’m really organised then I will pack an item almost as soon as I a bid has been made on it. Or if I am at home with the children at the weekend they will sometimes try to assist although as lovely as they are their help can on occasion be questionable!

This topic has been at the forefront of my mind as postal prices with Royal Mail have just been increased and overhauled. The parcel category has changed so you can now choose between sending a small parcel and a medium parcel and the level of compensation that they provide has also been reduced so make sure you are aware of the revised terms. And check out the dimensions too as the last thing you want is to post a parcel to a buyer and then find that they will have to pay an excess postage charge. But also ensure that you read terms of any carrier that you may decide to use.

Please ensure that you check the length of any item that you are sending out as once an item is over a certain length the prices also increase substantially. I’ve been caught out on this one before so it’s worth taken note.

What’s frustrating is that whilst these prices have gone up, eBay have not reflected this in all the listing categories. If you need to put a postal price into your listing on eBay and the category does not allow you to put in that amount then it is best to click on the button that says you will courier the item. You can then write into the listing what you charge for posting & packing but don’t get caught out and make it clear to the buyer to see.

I feel like I’ve had a week off from packing this week as I’ve had numerous collections to arrange but this really does change week to week. Please remember that when you’re sending out parcels, make sure that you check you have all the latest postal prices to hand as this will ensure that you are not caught out.

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