Many people choose courier delivery because of its perceived safety and security. Rather than trusting precious items to the postal system, calling on the services of a reputable courier is the most efficient way of ensuring your goods arrive in one piece and in as quickly as possible. |
While courier companies or drivers who take on self employed courier jobs need to commit to handling every parcel with the utmost care, in fact, much of the onus is on you as the sender to make sure the goods are properly packaged for transit.
Here are some expert tips from the delivery professionals to prepare fragile items for transportation.
The Right Tools for the Job
If you're paying for an expert to transport your fragile item, it makes sense to use professional materials to package it. Things like bubble wrap, polystyrene chips, and specialised plastic air cushions make life so much easier than simply hoping for the best using crumpled up newspaper. You should also use industrial strength packing tape, or even better, professional strapping.
Strong and Solid External Protection
Don't use flimsy cardboard boxes that are falling apart even before you put anything into them. It doesn't matter how much padding you use around an item, if the box breaks in transit the news is never going to be good. Make sure the box is strong enough to retain its shape when packed amongst other items in the back of a truck or van. Not every parcel is square, so you need to be sure yours has some solid protection against knocks, bumps, or any potential damage.
Less is More
It's very important not to over pack a box that contains fragile items. Trying to stuff too much in can cause a box to split in transit, even if it all fits in when you're packing it! Too much weight can also lead to breakages, as the heavier the package, the more likely it is to be mishandled or dropped. This also applies to the dimensions of the box – the more unwieldy it is, the more likely a mishap will occur. Smaller is usually better, even if you have to spread your items over a couple of boxes. Conversely, having too little in the box can also be an issue if the box is not properly padded.
Spell it Out
Advising a driver verbally that a parcel or package is fragile is not enough. Your parcel may pass through several hands before it reaches its destination. Even if you're using someone that regularly does self employed courier jobs, it's vital that you mark the box 'fragile' to ensure you have some recourse if the goods are damaged and the driver is culpable. However, don't assume fragile markings mean your package is safe – all the above advice for safe packaging applies for transit delivery.
Know Who You're Using
Before you choose a company or driver, make sure you've researched their credentials or found them via a personal recommendation. It's imperative that they're adequately covered by insurance, whether it's a large branded transport company or someone self employed. Courier jobs require specialised insurance cover in order to protect customers' goods, and this is a question that needs to be asked up front - not just assumed.
Using a professional delivery service to transport fragile goods is definitely the best way of ensuring the safe and time-efficient passage to their destination, however, unless expressly agreed (some specialist companies will package goods for a fee) the responsibility is ultimately the sender’s to package them correctly for transit.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day self employed courier jobs in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.
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