How to ship big stuff around the UK
One of my uncles took a job with United Parcel Service in the late 1970s. It was at exactly the wrong moment in time. Why? In his case, it was because 1) new hires spend their days loading trucks and 2) the IBM Correcting Selectric typewriter was wildly popular. To give you a better picture, these IBM behemoths were about 50 cm wide by 30 cm deep and 20 cm tall. They also weigh about as much as a dozen anvils made of plutonium.
He didn't stay on for very long, and the IBM Selectric has long since gone to that great typing pool in hell. But with bigger and bigger HDTVs and large strange random objects, people still need to send heavy and/or bulky stuff. And if you want to do so at the best price possible, Royal Mail and Parcelforce aren't always the best choices.
So how do you make sure you’re getting the best deal for what is, after all, a somewhat expensive proposition? Over at HotUKDeals, folks have been on this case for a while, thanks to a super bulky package needing to be shipped by user charlenexxx. That generated some pretty good ideas:
1. Reader mumzyleah suggests using www.p4d.co.uk . This isn’t a courier, but an aggregate site that allows users to browse various services to determine who has the best rates. Everything is done online: booking, confirmation, complaints. You’re even asked to submit the item to be shipped via your 3D scanner to the website. Just kidding. Everything else really is done online, however.
2. The P4D booking service allows you to browse couriers and prices through their custom software that is responsible for sending 100,000 parcels on their way each month. Their claim is that they ship so much stuff, they can negotiate the best shipping rates and pass the savings on to you.
3. Unfortunately, charlenexxx's parcel was too big for P4D to accept (It was an enormous large screen television), so bear in mind that not all parcel sizes would fit the service.
4. User dancrawley suggested Interparcel, which also has major accounts with numerous courier companies. You book a courier through Interparcel, and arrange pick-up directly with the courier you choose. Alas, charlenexxx’s parcel was again too large. It would appear that the heaviness of an object is not a dealbreaker: it’s the dimensions. When you have something as big as a 50” television to ship, then freight hauling may be your only option.
5. Fortunately, much of that legwork can be done online, too. Shiply (suggested by user termite) specializes in items too bulky for regular couriers. You list your freight for free on Shiply.com and receive bids from freight transporters. It’s up to you to make sure the transporters have adequate insurance and enough experience not to leave the cargo doors open and watch your giant telly fly out of the back of the lorry as they accelerate.
There’s no word so far as to whether charlenexxx used shiply.com (if you're reading this, please let us know!) Some suggested that it would be least expensive to simply rent a vehicle and drive the jumbo telly to its destination. If you have experience with any courier services including the ones mentioned above in the UK, please share them also in the comments below.