As Royal Mail begin to prepare for their price increases at the end of the month. Rival courier company myHermes have just announced that they will be slashing prices on lighter parcels, no doubt in an attempt to claw back some custom from the big RM.
I have been a regular myHermes user since Royal Mail annoyed a lot of people when they moved the goalposts on small packages in 2012. After this it was often more than £2 cheaper to send an item with myHermes, that’s when I jumped on the bandwagon and I’ve been riding it on and off ever since. Royal Mail saw the error of their ways and changed their dimensions for small parcels again in 2013 this saw a lot of my smaller, under 1 kg items go back to the Post Office.
This announcement today however may see me running right back to the parcel shop for the extreme majority of my items here’s why.
cheap, good value, they have extremely competitive prices for sending anything up to 15kg at parcel shops and they can generally blow out of the water anything other than the letter service that Royal Mail offers.
The following table is a comparison of current vs the new prices for dropping off parcels at parcel shops. For courier (pick up) prices add 20p to the price including VAT.
As you can see the prices for 0-1kg and 1-2kg are extremely good in going up against Royal Mail in the price stakes, but as we all know price isn’t everything and sometimes it is worth paying more to get more. So what else do myHermes offer?
Size of parcels
The myHermes network can carry boxes which are up to 120cm long, as long as the following formula is adhered to:
So that is a pretty generous dimension allowance, a parcel which measures 120 cm x 25 cm x 25 cm and weighs less than one kilo will cost only £2.78 to send! Something that size would cost nearly £12 via Parcelforce!
Size guidelines for Royal Mail services are as follows:
- Small Parcel dimensions not to exceed 45cm x 35cm x 8cm OR 35cm x 25cm x 16cm
- Medium Parcel dimensions not to exceed 61cm x 46cm x 46cm
- Large Parcel dimensions not to exceed 150 cm length and 300cm length and girth combined and are only available via Parcelforce rather than Royal Mail.
Tracking and signatures
With myHermes tracking is included with every item sent automatically and it doesn’t cost a penny! If however you want to provide tracking on a Royal Mail item you will have to pay an extra £1.10 for “Signed for” delivery. This option is available to ensure that the item is signed for and not left on a doorstep or in a porch etc.
If you want an item signed for with myHermes it costs an extra £1, so for a fully signed for tracked service myHermes is 10p cheaper.
Insurance up to £50
Every item sent with myHermes gets up to £50 free insurance for loss, damage etc, you can pay for extra depending on the value of the item you are sending but for me £50 is generally enough. In order to get £50 compensation with Royal Mail you need to get signed for delivery which again is £1.10 extra on top of the cost to send the item.
For a long time now eBay have offered Royal Mail and Collect + directly from within eBay meaning you can pay for and print labels without leaving your account.
myHermes have very good eBay integration once you have linked your accounts together, simply log in and go to send an item and all sold and paid for items appear ready for you to buy labels.
A new feature that they are offering is direct integration with the tracking system whereby if you do buy the tracking information is uploaded directly to eBay. They also send your buyer an email to their registered email address telling them that the item has been booked in and a tracking link is there so they can keep tabs on their order.
How useful automatically updating tracking information will be remains to be seen as I have never ever been able to see the tracking option work, neither on the website or from within the app on my phone. Ebay’s tracking system is an absolute joke. I add the tracking details anyway because if a case is ever opened where the buyer claims the item never arrived having tracking details already assigned to the transaction makes things a lot easier.
Speed of delivery
Here is where Royal Mail take the edge as with First Class delivery mail usually gets there the day after it is posted. This is really useful and for some items where a buyer is counting on the speed of delivery I will still use Royal Mail, but for larger items which are more expensive to send at the Post Office I will use myHermes which takes between 3 and 4 days on average depending when I drop my items off.
At my local parcel shop the courier usually comes to collect parcels left in store around 10am, so if I’m any later than that they will be stuck in the store until the next day. As I am lead to believe the parcels then go to a local depot where they may stay until the next day before going on to be sorted and sent to the recipients local depots and distributed from there.
I have been using myHermes for around 2 years now and have a separate account for each of my 3 eBay usernames, I have sent over 250 parcels using their service and I don’t want to tempt fate but have yet to have a problem with either non delivery, late delivery or broken items. I am amazed at this because there are a lot of negative reviews for the service online, but I have had nothing but good experience.
Royal Mail on the other hand have been more unreliable. This may simply be because I have sent over three times as many parcels with them, but I have had items broken, lost, delayed, returned and delivered to the wrong addresses. I put up with this however because they have a fairly decent customer services team who can generally sort things out when things do go wrong. Unlike some other courier services I have used in the past!
Given some of the items I have sold recently I will do a comparison on what it would cost to send each item with both Royal Mail and myHermes to see how much I could have saved by going with one over the other. Assuming time is not of the essence and no added extras such as signed for delivery are needed.
Item: Small Purple Jumper
Size: A4 Cardboard Envelope
Weight: Less than 500g
Royal Mail Second Class: £1.48
Weight: Less than 700g
Royal Mail Second Class: £2.80
Item: Sewing Machines
Size: 70 cm x 50 cm x 40 cm
Weight: 12 kg
Royal Mail Second Class: NA
(I actually used Yodel for this as next day delivery was required)
Item: Gamecube and game
Size: 50 x 30 x 30 ish
Royal Mail Second Class: £13.75
Taking everything mentioned above into account I think that using one service exclusively over the other is a mistake, you need to shop around to find the best deals and know which companies can save you the most money whilst still providing a great service for your buyers. With that in mind I will continue to use Royal Mail when it makes sense to do so but now myHermes are a very compelling option indeed!
And then of course there are the oversize parcels which are too big for either of these networks. Currently Parcel 2 Go gets the nod for this, they also offer myHermes as a delivery option and it is the same price so it can be worth running all of your parcel quotes through them just in case.