Selecting the right shipping service for your small business – a comparison of options

small business custom packaging

With many shipping services available for an Australian small business, it can be quite a challenge to choose between them. While they essentially all offer the same core service- getting your product from your home/office/warehouse to your customer, it’s important to consider some of the finer details in their offering to pick the right option for your small business. We thought it would be helpful to do some research and put together a comparison of some of the key players to help you decide. All prices listed below are the standard price list, you may be able to negotiate better pricing based on volume discounts.

Australia Post

Australia Post are by far the market leader for small businesses, with a network of post offices, and ‘small business hubs’. Australia Post’s prepaid satchels are the most popular method of sending parcels, options for these are:
One 500g satchel (220x355mm)= $10.85, a 10 pack (1-9 packs)= $103.10, and a 10 pack (10+ packs)= $94.95
1kg, 3kg, and 5kg satchels are also available. These cost:
1kg (265x385mm)- Single= N/A, 10 pack (1-9 packs)= $131.60, and 10 pack (10+ packs)= $121.20
3kg (310x405mm)- Single= $15.65, 10 pack (1-9 packs)= $148.70, and 10 pack (10+ packs)= $136.95
5kg (435x510mm)- Single= $24.80, 10 pack (1-9 packs)= $235.60, and 10 pack (10+ packs)= $217.00
Within these different satchel sizes, the cost of sending a package can also vary depending on where you are sending it.
For example, if you are sending a 5kg parcel from Melbourne to Sydney that is 15x20x25cm, it will cost $24.80 for next day delivery by express post and up to 4 business days by normal parcel post, which will cost $17.60.
Both delivery methods offer tracking of parcel and optional extra cover of loss/damage and signature on delivery for $2.95* (*signature on delivery only).

Sendle

New kid on the block Sendle have various packages (excuse the pun!) with prices depending on the size of your parcel and where you are sending it to and from, with the day of delivery also varying.
For example, if you send a parcel from Melbourne to anywhere in Australia, excluding Bendigo, Geelong, and Melbourne, it will take between 1-10 business days to be delivered and same or next day delivery if sent to Bendigo, Geelong, or Melbourne.
Sendle packaging prices (“easy” delivery option):
Same city delivery- Satchel (A4/500g)- $7.95, Briefcase (5kg/20L) or Carry-on (10kg/40L)- $9.75
National delivery- Satchel $7.95, Shoebox (2kg/8L) $10.75, Briefcase $14.75, Carry-on $18.75, or Check-in (25kg/100L) $24.75
Remote delivery- Satchel $13.95, Shoebox $20.95, Briefcase $24.95, Carry-on $29.95, or Check-in $39.95
Premium prices are also available. They are $1 less than the above prices, but costs $10 more per month. “No minimum order quantities” apply to both options.

FedEx

FedEx provides no easily accessible list of prices, however detailed quotes are available through the FedEx Rates & Transit Times link on their website.
Various packaging sizes are available, such as an: Envelope (23.5×33.5cm), Pak (30.5×39.5cm), Extra Large Pack (44.5×52.7cm), Box (small 27.5×31.1cm, medium 29.2×33.7cm, or large 31.4×45.4cm), Tube (15.2×15.2×96.5cm) and 10kg and 25kg Box.
FedEx offers: parcel tracking via desktop, mobile, phone, fedex.com and FedEx Ship Manger, online or phone scheduled pickup of your parcel once packing and documentation has been completed, and you can manage billing online through your FedEx account.

DHL

Similar to FedEx, DHL does not have a set list of prices for sending packages, but you can get a quote based on the size of your parcel and where you are sending it.
For example, if you send a 5kg parcel that is 38x48x1cm (or a ‘DHL Flyer’), it will cost $28.49 to be delivered by the end of the next business day, via their Drop Off delivery option.
They also have a Shipping Online option which, if sending the same size parcel as above, will cost $103.06 to be delivered by the end of the next business day, $109.18 before 12pm and $115.30 before 9am, each by the end of the next business day.
The benefits of both options respectively are: no account or registration required, ideal for single parcels, convenient opening hours, pickup from home or office, schedule a pickup up to 7 days ahead, pickups during business hours Monday to Friday only, ideal for single or multiple parcels, competitive rates and major credit cards accepted (American Express, MasterCard, and Visa).
For express post, you can track your shipment and book the pickup of your parcel online.

TNT

TNT again, has no set price list for sending parcels, the price will be calculated only when you book your shipment.
They have several domestic express services, which are:
9am*, 10am, and 12pm express- parcel delivered by 9am*, 10am, and 12pm the next business day after picking up parcel from your location.
*Only option with “3kg and 5kg prepaid and consignment notes available”
Extras include: Daily pick-up service available and delivery of parcel to and from nominated postcodes Australia-wide (10am and 12pm services only).
Other delivery services include:
Overnight express: Overnight door-to-door delivery service. Ensures your shipment arrives by 5pm the next business day.
Extras include: pick-up for delivery by 5pm to metropolitan, regional, and remote* locations Australia-wide, (*conditions apply), for non-standard deliveries, such as weekend or afterhours, Overnight Express can be upgraded to TNT’s Time Critical services.
Road Express: Cost effective door-to-door delivery option for a small business.
Extras include: Australia-wide, day-definite delivery, pick-up today for delivery on a defined day, weekend options available as an upgrade to TNT’s Time Critical service, and dangerous goods can be carried in accordance with the Australian Dangerous Goods Code* (*DG delivery may not conform to standard transit times).

Officeworks Mailman

Officeworks Mailman is an interesting option from Officeworks, with the delivery service covering metro* areas only (*selected areas of Brisbane, Melbourne, Geelong, Perth, and Sydney).
For same business day deliveries (orders made before 11:30am), Officeworks Mailman prices are: $5.95* for orders under $55 (*unavailable in non-metro areas), orders over $55 are free and large item prices are N/A.
For next business day deliveries (orders made after 11:30am), prices are: $5.95 for orders under $55, free for orders over $55, and large items cost $39.95 and will be delivered in 1-3 business days.
Finally, click and collect items (1-3 business days. Your small business will be notified when order is ready) are free for large items and orders over and under $55.

Pack and Send

In addition to offering a service to help you safely pack up fragile items, as the name would suggest Pack and Send also assist with organising shipments for your small business. They do not have a set list of prices but provide a quote for your parcel at the time of booking depending on its size and where it is going.
They have various delivery methods, which are:
Local & Point to Point- if your parcel is going across town.
Same Day- for time critical deliveries, delivered anywhere in Australia to the door.
Priority Services- for next business day deliveries.
Road Services- Cost effective and reliable parcel delivery for your small business via Australia-wide express road service.
Courier Satchels- Satchels in a range of sizes and next business day delivery to most metropolitan and regional areas in Australia.
Interstate Courier Services- Goods sent interstate via vast delivery network and no limits attitude.
International Courier Services- delivers to over 80,000 destinations worldwide, Pack & Send supports you with an extensive range of international service options.
Track and Trace of deliveries available via SMS, email, phone, or online self-service.

Shippit

Shippit is another interesting service, providing a small business with discounted shipping across a range of providers, and integrating with your ecommerce website. They have three price options for small businesses;
1. “Start- Let us help you build your empire”- offers free trial
$19/month, no booking surcharge, 12% off shipping rates, ship 20 orders per month, email support
2. “Grow- You’re growing and things are getting a little crazy”- offers free trial
$49/month, no booking surcharge, 45% off shipping rates, ship 250 orders per month, + 75cents per additional booking, email and live-chat support
3. “Unleash- Unleash the potential of your established business”- Most popular and offers free trial
$149/month, no booking surcharge, 45% off shipping rates, ship 500 orders per month, + 45cents per additional booking, connect your own carrier accounts, email, live-chat, and phone support.
A fourth plan is also available for “high volume senders”. This is their “Empower” option, which costs $249 and includes: shipping of 1,500 orders, + 20cents per BYO carrier or excess booking. Can request a demo.
Add-ons include: branded tracking and advertising (introductory offer), SMS notifications, and helpdesk integration.

Overall, there’s no silver bullet or stand out winner in comparing shipping options for a small business. You should consider factors such as your current and expected future volume, type of service (express or regular) and options for integrating with your website.


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