A lot of small start up Ebay Sellers and start up Ecommerce businesses can find the daily trip to the Post Office to despatch the packages sold is a tedious and unrewarding event. Not only do you get charged full retail prices at the counter but there is the long wait as normally queues are involved. This gives many eBay sellers the overall feeling of being a hindrance rather than valued customer. You can pre-pay with the Pay Pal account; but again you are paying top whack for you parcel to be dispatched and in a cut throat EBay world where delivery is given free, this can be a crucial part of your margin. What I recommend is the following:
Contact Royal Mail directly and ask to set up an Online Business Account. They will explain that there is a £5,000 per year minimum spend on an Online Account. This will level out at around £20 a day. Do not worry if you are not sending out these quantities. Many small businesses I’ve spoken to have told me due to the sheer size of Royal Mail they rarely chase up customers not reaching this criterion. It’s a service they provide so there is no fine or ‘Top Up’ fee involved if you fall short. Just tell them on the phone that the £5,000 minimum is certainly something you can see yourself heading toward this financial year and they’ll have no problem setting you up. The Online Business Account (OBA) will give the smaller Ebay seller access to business rates for the parcel traffic with no fees. These rates are what you would normally only get from a franking machine (an online account is also a good alternative to a Franking Machine as there are no fees involved). For example it’s over 50p cheaper for items between 700grammes and 1 kilo.
How the Online Business Account works: They give you a Pre Payment Indicia number which you can print as a jpeg onto mailing labels. Weigh your parcels and label them up at your place of work. Log all the information onto your Online Billing Account and drop it off your local post office.
What are the main advantages of this? This method not only gets you away from the queues but it gives you business rates. These rates are not shown on the parcel as it’s stored online. Your customers will never know how much it cost to despatch the item to them (crucial for those whiners who complain as you charged them £5 for delivery but the printed label showed £1.40). All this on 30 days credit! Their online account is constantly being improved with monthly summaries to provide good visibility on your ongoing costs.
The only downside is you’re taking valuable revenue from the local Post Office, which is probably why it is not readily advertised. Still, if your conscience can handle that, then go for it.
I needed position control of a servo motor capable of generating at least 120kg-cm of torque. A commercial servo motor would have probably cost me hundreds of dollars, so I decided to make one out of a geared DC motor and a potentiometer feedback system.
Full description and source code available on my blog: