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Know your courier: A guide to the different services they offer

Updated: Nov 23, 2023

Nobody knows your business better than you, right? But what about those people that don’t necessarily know your business? What do they think? Does it matter? Should you even care?

Well, evidently, you really should take note, because as I found out, the feedback was incredible at a recent networking event where the courier industry was being critiqued. What I learned was invaluable.

Firstly, never take for granted that people, businesses and potential customers automatically know exactly what your business does. Parcel Pal Ltd is a same day courier company. We are a specialist service in our field.

Moreover, what we do is niche – and actually only a small percentage of courier companies in the logistics marketplace do what we do. Yet, the vast majority of feedback being offered, was largely unrelated to what our business does.

And therein, a two part blog post was born.

In this first part, it would make sense to clarify, how the courier sector is made up, the specific roles each sector plays and who the main players are – and ultimately, where Parcel Pal Ltd fits into this marketplace.

Essentially, the courier industry broadly divides into three main sectors:

· Multi – Drop (Business to Business)

· Multi – Drop (Business to Consumer)

· Same Day – (Business to Business)

If we look at Multi – Drop Business to Business firstly, these are usually large scale national operations working with blue chip companies, big brands and high street names. Some examples in this field would include businesses like Fedex, UPS, DHL, DPD and DX.

Although some consumer deliveries are undertaken, traditionally this is not their core business. Instead, these companies are likely to employ couriers to deliver to businesses during the day, collect later on that day – and then take back collections to the local depot on an evening to be distributed to a national hub.

Secondly, Multi – Drop Business to Customer couriers are largely a one way courier operation. Again, these are large national companies distributing from strategically placed warehouses across the country and delivering into smaller satellite depots for ‘final mile’ deliveries.

Goods being delivered by this type of courier are largely made up of online purchases that will usually go to a residential address. Examples of big businesses operating in this sector would be Amazon, Yodel and Evri (formerly Hermes). These courier companies usually offer drop boxes, or work in partnership with local shops for any items that need returning.

Finally, Same Day couriers complete this sector of the industry. These couriers are rapid response, urgent and/or time critical deliveries that need to be made expressly. Companies of this nature will aim to complete the work with the most cost effective and appropriate vehicle that typically includes anything from a car to a Luton-sized van.

Widely, these couriers operate from city to city across the nation, although some local work is not uncommon. Same day couriers are often seen as the trouble-shooters of the industry, usually if something goes wrong, something is missing or something has broken. Many of which, operate 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

However, there are other reasons why businesses would turn to a same day courier company including out-of-hours deliveries, goods of an abnormal size, weight or shape - and fragile items that are susceptible to damage while in transit, or being continually handled between different vehicles and depots. Also the value of the goods plays a key part in the decision making.

Primarily, a same day courier service is private, bespoke and dedicated. These deliveries are real time and direct from collection point to the delivery site. Anything from paperwork to pallets may be couriered on any given job and may include, or have built in, multiple collection and delivery points along the way. This is not something Multi-Drop courier services offer.

In summary, whatever you need to send, wherever it needs to go, whenever it has to be there, choosing the right type of courier and the service most appropriate to your needs and budget is absolutely essential.

Consumer clarity for the courier industry helps people, businesses and customers make better informed choices. For our part, the opportunity to express what we actually do, opposed to what we don’t do, has been a really valuable learning exercise.

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