How to Prepare Your Parcel for Shipping
Circumstances surrounding the current COVID-19 pandemic has led to many small businesses and independent traders turning to delivery options for their customers – with questions surrounding preparing parcels taking the forefront.
Following a recent survey conducted by insurance comparison website QuoteZone, it is believed that roughly a quarter of businesses (24%) in the UK have launched a delivery service in order to continue fulfilling customer orders during the UK lockdowns.
And with more than half (56%) of the 600 UK businesses featured in the survey stating that they plan to continue a delivery service after restrictions have been lifted, it’s never been more important to understand the answers to some of the commonly asked questions when preparing parcels.
If you are preparing parcels to send via a courier instead, then the following courier company websites contain more information on size and weight restrictions:
TNT (soon to become FedEx Express)
How Much Does It Cost to Send Parcels?
When preparing parcels to send via regular post, it’s important to know the costings involved.
You will need to consider sundry costs associated with postage and packaging such as parcel tape, packing materials and the cost of the box or envelope your item will be contained in.
If you are sending items via the Royal Mail, then it may be useful to use their onsite Price Finder tool in order to calculate an approximate cost for your letter, large letter or parcels.
Alternatively, it’s worth looking at their most recent Pricing Guide, which contains the most up-to date costs associated with both parcels sent via Royal Mail and Parcelforce Worldwide.
Once again, if you are preparing parcels to be sent via a courier service, then the cost associated with this will also differ depending on which company you use.
Parcel price comparison sites like Parcel Monkey can help you understand the overall cost of sending parcels based on their weight and intended location.
What Items Are Banned from Being Sent via Post or Courier?
As can be expected, you will be unable to send certain items that could be considered dangerous or illegal via the postal system and by courier services.
When sending parcels via Royal Mail or Parcelforce Worldwide, the following items are strictly prohibited:
• Balance Boards
• Balloons filled with non-flammable gases
• Biological substances (Category B)
• Bowel Cancer Screening
• Christmas Crackers
• Clinical and medical Waste
• Controlled drugs and narcotics
• Corrosives (dyes, acids, corrosive paints, rust removers)
• Counterfeit currency, bank notes and postage stamps
• DNA samples (limited to saliva swaps and samples)
• Dry ice and Liquid Nitrogen
• Electronic cigarettes
• Environmental waste
• Explosives (fireworks, flares, blasting caps, party poppers)
• Flammable liquids
• Flammable solids
• Frozen water (including packs of ice)
• Gases (including flammable, non-flammable, toxic and compressed)
• Goods made in foreign prisons
• Guns for sporting use
• Human or animal ashes
• Infectious substances and pathogens
• Lighters or refills containing flammable liquid or gas
• Liquids not classified as dangerous goods
• Live animals and reptiles
• Live creatures, insects, and invertebrates
• Lottery tickets
• Magnetised material
• Matches (including safety matches and windproof matches)
• Nail varnish, polish, or gel
• Obscene publications and unlawful indecent images
• Oxidising materials or organic peroxides
• Paints, wood varnishes and enamels
• Patient Specimens
• Perfumes and aftershaves
• Perishable items
• Poisons, toxic liquids, solids, and gases
• Prescription medicines and drugs sent for scientific or medical purposes
• Radioactive materials and samples
• Sharp objects (including scissors and kitchen knives or utensils and gardening tools)
• Tickets and related advertisements for illegal lotteries
• Waste, dirt, filth, or refuse (including household waste)
These restrictions apply to most postal and courier services, but for specific additions and in some cases, exclusions, it’s worth looking at each companies’ respective websites linked earlier in this article.
How Can I Package Items for Shipment?
Depending on the size, shape and weight of the items you are preparing to have delivered to your recipient, the most appropriate form of packaging for large items for both courier and mail services is a cardboard box or a postal box.
An important point to note when opting to use a cardboard box for preparing parcels is the difference between single wall boxes and double wall boxes.
Single Wall Boxes are often used in order to transport smaller, lighter and less bulkier items.
Due to this, they can usual only hold a limited amount of items.
Double Wall Boxes offer a stronger packaging structure, and as a result, can support the weight of heavier items compared to Single Wall Boxes.
You will need to carefully consider which type of cardboard box or postal box best suits the type of item you are preparing for delivery.
Guidelines on the types of items most appropriate for each type of mailing box are included below.
Small Cardboard Boxes
Small Cardboard Boxes are best used when sending items such as:
• Office Supplies
Medium or Large Cardboard Boxes
If your item is larger than any of the examples provided above, then Medium Cardboard Boxes or Large Cardboard Boxes are your best option.
These usually are most suitable when sending:
• Office Equipment
• Electrical Supplies
• Kitchen Appliances
• Large Folders and Filing Accessories
However, when preparing parcels for delivery to a recipient via post, the best form of packaging for your item (still taking into account size, weight and shape) is a Postal Box.
Postal Boxes are best to accommodate the inclusion of items such as:
• And other similar items.
You can find a variety of mailing boxes online, making the process of preparing parcels for shipping simple and efficient should you begin delivering goods to customers as a result of COVID-19.
By following the information and advice provided, it’s never been easier to prepare a parcel for shipping as a small business, independent trader or for personal gift giving over the Christmas period and beyond.
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