Three ideas: alternatives to Royal Mail
With more than five million items of mail AWOL, Smarta considers its options.
Royal Mail Special Delivery
If you're sending out letters or parcels weighing less than 350g
(0.7lb), Royal Mail's Special Delivery service might be the best
option: covering 99% of the UK, many businesses swear by it as one
of the cheapest and most reliable options, and it has the added
advantage of having so far been unaffected by strike action.
That said, Special Delivery may not always be the obvious
choice: although depending on the option you choose, the service
guarantees delivery before 9am or 1pm the next day and offers
online tracking and up to £2,500 insurance - but with prices
starting a £4.95 for an envelope, if you're looking to send out
mail in bulk, don't expect it to be cheap.
If you're worried the strikes might lead to delayed payments -
either from your customers or to suppliers - it may be time to
consider going online instead of sending cheques. One of the
quickest, easiest and most secure ways to take payments is to set
up online banking and do it through there. They will send you a
card reader and instructions on how to use it - you should be
able to set up online banking fairly quickly.
Another method is to set your business up with a merchant
account, if you haven't already, and start taking credit card
payments through your website, essentially turning it into an
online shop. To find out how to take online payments, take a look
If you can bear to encounter some delay and you're sending a
letter, you could try a service such as Viapost, which emails your
letter to a printer as near to its delivery point as possible,
prints it out, sticks it in an envelope and gives it to Royal Mail
for the last mile - drastically decreasing its carbon footprint.
And at just 35p to send a letter, it's low on cost, too.
Be aware that for smaller items, many of Royal Mail's rivals
rely on it to make the 'final mile' delivery, so companies such as
TNT or ParcelForce may also be affected by strikes. Instead, if you
have a large volume of mail to be delivered, or your packages are
larger than 350g, courier services are generally speedier - but
expect to pay for the privelege. If time isn't of the essence, try
using a service such as
http://www.shiply.com/royal-mail-alternatives.php Shiply - a sort
of reverse eBay which allows hauliers and couriers to bid against
one another for your shipment.
If you're more pressed for time, use
this directory to find a courier near you.
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