When things got quiet, we decided to sell some microphones - low cost, good quality - things we'd been using ourselves and selling for typically between £16 and £200 or so, but with less than exciting profit margins - We'd sell a useful piece of kit for maybe £25 and make £7-10 as margin. Then Royal Mail put the prices up, and then just recently they did it again. Our best selling microphone sold for £40 including postage, which used to be around £3. Then it went up to over £4, and now is over £6! For us, it wasn't really absolute delivery speed that was important, it was reliability and, selling on ebay to people we don't know who pay via Paypal, security. The signature was the key feature when customers said something hadn't arrived, yet tracking revealed somebody had it. With Paypal chargebacks and Ebay disputes in mind, bad reputation and poor feedback would be killers, so making sure parcels get to the other end is really important. Larger parcel we'd send by courier, but everything else went to the local post office. After the latest changes to price and the size categories, selling certain products generated such a small margin, we seriously wondered if it was worth it. Then I was recommended Parcel2go - and wondered if I should give it a try. I looked back and spent nearly £1000 with Royal Mail last year, and this amount of post at the new prices was simply not recoverable. I started with a couple of sales. A bigger box, at over 3Kg and a small box at 300g. The Parcel2go website indicated TNT as the best service for the bigger one - and then I discovered a nice bonus - unlike Royal Mail, I can claim the VAT back too. The parcel turned out to be £3 cheaper than Royal Mail and TNT collected it. The small one I discovered was best by Hermes, and for £2.50 +VAT I could take it to the One Stop in walking distance, or for £2.75+VAT I could have it collected. I figured I'd try the drop off, and the shop pulled out a scanner, bleeped it - asked my name and got me to sign the pad. That was that! The Royal Mail are over £4 for the same thing - which is crazy. The Hermes system prompts you for value, and warns you if you need to increase the cover. The printing process was simple - the different types of document for TNT and Hermes popped out the printer - no trouble at all. I'd been reluctant to change, but I'm glad I did. I even got a nice email from Peter Chandler at Parcel2go asking if I'd been happy with the service - that's quite nice, so I thought I'd share the information here. If you've been to the Post Office since the last increases, you know how cross many ebay private sellers are, and the ladies in my local Post Office, who I have got to know well over the past five years tell me their customers are deserting them in droves - very sad in a way, but I'm happy with my change of sides! Paul Johnson
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