From the moment your next batch of parcels leave your hands to the moment they arrive at their respective destinations, there’s plenty of work involved to make sure they get there safely and on time. If you’ve ever wondered how courier companies work (and let’s be honest, who hasn’t on a Saturday night?) then here’s a quick guide.

It all begins with booking your items for collection. Couriers offer the opportunity for goods to be picked up from you directly, which is extremely convenient when you’ve made a number of sales and have a lot to send at once, but some also offer a cheaper alternative of using an approved drop-off point where they can collect multiple parcels at once.

Large, trustworthy couriers will operate with fixed fees depending on the size and weight of your parcels, but there are courier services out there for every need and if you have something urgent or an unusual item, you may be charged based on mileage. Bulk savings can sometimes be offered too. Either way you’ll label each item for tracking and either have them picked up or drop them off.

From there it’s onto a local sorting depot, where all that day’s parcels will be sorted by destination. If you only sell within the UK then your packages will head to the local depot that’s nearest their destination. If you sell to countries in the EU then an item may go to a national sorting depot in that country, or if you’re a global seller and you’ve a package travelling further afield it may head to a mainland Europe depot before being sent on its way any further.

When your items arrive at the local depot for the destination, they’ll then be picked up by a delivery driver who’ll complete the job, ensuring the packages arrive with their intended recipients and all tracking measures are observed including obtaining a signature if necessary. Unlike normal mail services, most couriers will also attempt delivery a number of times as standard, rather than instantly forcing the recipient to collect themselves.

What makes a courier service stand out against typical mail is both the convenience and the diversity of roles undertaken. Postal mail has a number of restrictions, whereas a courier will take on almost any parcel of any size or shape, including special circumstance items such as fresh meat orders, live pets and even in some cases human organs. Couriers also make more sense for online businesses as you can collate orders to be picked up together, saving time and money.

They will do all this while they meet your needs for delivery distance and time, whether you’re selling something that’s being sent across to a nearby city fast tracked, or ensuring your products make it half-way around the world. Couriers offer comprehensive and flexible delivery services.

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