Parcel delivery best practice: Everything you need to know

parcel delivery best practice
Sending a parcel might seem like a pretty simple thing to do, but things do inevitably go wrong every now and then.
Parcels can be confiscated, damaged or even lost in transit - all to the frustration of you and the intended recipient. Fortunately, there are a few things you can do to make sure your package is delivered as expected: to the right person, in a safe and timely manner.

Check for item restrictions

People send all sorts in the post - it's not just greetings cards with pound coins taped to the inside. In the interests of safety and law abidance, however, there are a few things you're not allowed to put in the mail. We have our own lists for domestic and international senders, but you shouldn't stop there - especially if your recipient lives outside of the UK.
As you'll see in our handy 'Lowdown' guides, different governments have different prohibited items. The majority cover obvious no-go items like guns, drugs and radioactive waste, but most also have a few unexpected inclusions you might not have thought about. Thinking of sending a wheelbarrow full of plastic flowers to Nigeria? Forget about it, as both are banned. You can't send Kinder Eggs to the US either, or a pair of matching shoes to Mexico, India or South Africa.
Best to check the rules before you go ahead, then.

Package carefully

This one should go without saying really, but the importance of protecting your items really can't be overstated. The team at ipostparcels will take every care in keeping the contents of your parcel safe, but it is well worth doing your bit too - especially if it's going a long way.
Begin with a sturdy box that is slightly bigger than the item you want to send. This will allow you to put some cushioning material on the inside, to soften any impact and minimise the risk of damage; bubble wrap and tissue paper are both ideal for this.
Then make sure you seal it all with some strong parcel tape - the brown stuff, while thin, is usually pretty robust if you use enough. You may even want to reinforce the edges with it if you're reusing an older box.
Last but not least, make use of 'fragile' stickers if your package's contents are particularly delicate - it'll act as a simple reminder to anyone carrying it.

Address it properly

If you're counting on your package arriving at the right destination - and we assume you are - you'll need to get the address bit right. Before anything, it must be clear enough to read, not just for you, but for everyone who'll likely encounter it in the process. If you don't have access to a label printer, black marker will do.
It also means having it in the right format for the country you're sending to, as not every postal system uses the same. More information on this can be found in a series of documents published by the Universal Postal Union (UPU).

Plan ahead

Seeing as we offer next day parcel delivery across the UK, it's no big deal if your dad's birthday has slipped your mind, or if you've made big promises to a valued customer - you have a little wiggle room. That said, it's still worth planning ahead, as it'll help you save a bit of money.
Forward thinking is particularly important if you're sending abroad; as you probably realised, it takes a little longer to deliver a parcel to New York City than it does to get it to the city of York. For even more peace of mind, you can use our tracking service.

Making the right courier choice

We've all seen the horror stories about courier companies throwing people's parcels across warehouses and (believe it or not) onto recipients' roofs - they don't fill you with confidence. This is why it's so important to pick your delivery firm carefully.
First and foremost, look for one with experience and a decent reputation; you need to be able to trust that your parcel will be carried with the utmost care. Combine these things with great value and you're onto a winner. Independent review sites will be a big help on your search.
Once all of the above has been taken into consideration, you should be ready to send your parcel, safe in the knowledge it'll get where it needs to go without any hassle!

Also see related content...

A guide to postage and packaging for craftware

How to calculate the weight of your parcel without scales or a ruler

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ipostparcels have the cheapest next day delivery prices in the UK from 2 - 25kg. See price comparison prices here. * £1.99 (ex VAT) from price based on a next day XS parcel size with a UK depot drop off and UK depot collection service. Delivery to Northern Ireland, Ireland, The British Isles, The Highlands, Islands and parts of Scotland operate on a 1-3 day delivery service and incur additional costs. £7.74 (ex VAT) price based on a parcel weight of up to 25kg (50cm x 50cm x 50cm) on a UK depot drop off and economy delivery service to Germany, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg or Austria. All prices quoted on content pages (outside of the quick quote and booking form) will be based on the depot drop off discounted price for UK deliveries and on a 0.5kg parcel with dimensions of 10cm x 10cm x 10cm for all international air countries. The size and weight of your parcel affects the price you will pay so it’s important to weigh and measure your parcel correctly to ensure your parcel arrives on time without any delays. Use our quick quote for all pricing options. If you do not select the "signature required" delivery option, UKMail will not be liable should your items be subsequently lost or damaged after the delivery (see clause 5.2.2 of the Terms & Conditions). We define a "Parcel" as a package with dimensions up to 80cm x 80cm x 80cm or up to 120cm x 50cm x 50cm or up to 140cm x 35cm x 35cm.

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