• Shipping Signs

    Posted by David Hammond on July 18, 2023 at 6:22 pm

    Following the demise of Tuffnells, I’ve had issues finding carriers who’ll take the big panels we send out, so I’ve invested a fair bit of time looking into this, and it’s a sodding nightmare.

    DX have done a deal with the administrators, but unless you’re shipping regular quantities they don’t want to know. They will reportedly take oversized parcels. Oh and don’t think about being creative with your requirements as they have a minimum invoice amount.

    We found another company, named after a shape then Express, who gave favourable rates, only to decide they wanted in excess of £100 to collect! Delivery and fuel surcharge on top.

    Speaking with a customer who’s a transportation company, they suggested, UPS, who do take oversized parcels, but not on a consignment basis so works out expensive on this one job.

    Parcel farce also do, but with size limits, and the lottery as to whether it arrives or not.

    I’ve pleaded my case with another courier who are feeding it up the chain, to see if they can accommodate the needs.

    Then I had a flashback to when my bathroom furniture got delivered, and the bath panel was delivered stood up on a pallet.

    Restricted to some extent by the size restrictions on pallets, you can double space for a premium. Of course the faff of sourcing pallets, and making a support to keep things upright.

    Another alternative is using something like Shiply, not the quickest, but for larger panels may be viable.

    So anyone else any tips, or alternatives I may have overlooked?

    David Hammond replied 10 months, 1 week ago 9 Members · 20 Replies
  • 20 Replies
  • Peter Cassidy

    July 19, 2023 at 8:30 pm

    Have you tried Interparcel, David?

  • RobertLambie

    July 20, 2023 at 1:44 am

    I appreciate this isn’t going to be a solution for everything, but when we haven’t been able to get realistic carrier prices for large or odd-sized signs. Or maybe lots of varied size signs and weights.
    We also have some customers in locations around Scotland in pretty remote areas or simply off the beaten track. So deliveries can take around a week and/or we pay a fortune to get them there.

    We find it cost-effective, reliable and quicker, to hire a “Man and his Van” to do a dedicated run for us.
    You know the type, every town and city has loads of them! Just get the names of a couple and keep them handy to price uplift and delivery for you.
    Google will tell you the round-trip details to know exactly how long the journey should be. So the guys charge you by the hour, half-day or full-day rate for fuel etc.

    They turn up, we give them a Job sheet to get signed on arrival.
    Give them a High-Viz vest with our company name on it and fire a couple of magnetic panels on the doors of their van, with our logo on them. Keeps them looking the part when representing your company.

    When we are billing our customer or quoting for the job, we list this service as…
    “A Dedicated Shuttle Delivery” or “A Dedicated Express Delivery”
    We are a small company, but being able to offer this type of service just looks better and keeps the customer happy.

    Also, when you are helping the guy load his van with your signs. you get to see first hand it is stored safely and securely, on its own and not getting kicked about the back of a van amongst other parcels and deliveries. The driver is only a mobile call away to get updates which can be a godsend. you know what it is like when a delivery hasn’t arrived, your customers screaming down the phone and your online trying to find the parcels talking to one of those bloody website “chat-bot” automated helpers! 😣 😂

    Anyway, as I said, it doesn’t work for everything but has pulled us out of a holes numerous times. so it’s worth keeping it in mind.

  • David Hammond

    July 20, 2023 at 7:34 am

    I used to book Tuffnells through interparcel. Had one issue with Tuffnells but found their prices to be fair.

    Man with van is OK for local jobs at the moment I’ve 11 sites, scattered around the UK which makes logistics a bit more tricky. I had a look at Shiply, and could send them for around £100, but the sites close early afternoon, and the delivery times were 5-10 days.

    The pallet option seems to be working well, cost wise it’s viable, AM delivery isn’t an issue, next day delivery or economy although there’s very little difference between the two.

    I’ve successfully sent one, and have 3 more packed (2 using a slightly different method) ready for collection today, maybe more if my supply of wood arrives in time.

  • RobertLambie

    July 20, 2023 at 8:56 pm

    It is actually multi-drop deliveries at a distance that we use them for David.

    Use Google and input each location which will work out the quickest route, with time to each location etc.
    Treat each customer location as an individual job delivery at a premium rate. (you know how expensive that can be)
    Then hire your guy at a full day’s rate.
    He heads off first thing, following your route, dropping at each customer and leading back to your premises.

    So you could have 5 drops, all customers charged separately at a premium for your shuttle service, but the one driver doing the full circuit in one day.

  • Jeff

    July 20, 2023 at 11:24 pm

    I use Interparcel as well mate.

    How does that work and become cheaper David?
    Surely that has got to be more difficult for the driver to handle, unload and deliver than a flat panel sign! 🤔

  • David Hammond

    July 21, 2023 at 5:17 am

    @RobertLambie It might work out cheaper, but these sites are scattered everywhere, most I’ve looked at are charging mileage, and the sites very rarely work out conveniently, I’m addition at the moment each site is ordering/paying individually, adding to the logistics.

    Another perk, give me a postcode and I can get a price instantly, next day, economy, pre-noon. It’s much quicker and convenient and I can give a customer an all in price for the job.

    @Jeff-Rea1 you’d think so wouldn’t you?

    It seems a lot of effort for 2x signs that weigh less than 20kg.

    The delivery company we’re using, only take pallets, the truck turns up, I drag them up to the tail lift and the driver moves them on a pallet truck into place on the truck. I only drag them for speed there’s no weight in them.

    The usual carriers don’t like taking these sizes of items as they need to be manually handled, not handled on their conveyor system like boxes.

    This is how this works out cheaper, it goes through a pallet network, and once it’s loaded on the truck it’s shifted around by forklift, and everything they carry is on pallets. I’m paying for 1 full pallet space, regardless of what’s on it.

    I could lie down the panels over two pallets, and pay for two pallet spaces, at the risk of having other pallets stacked on top. To date, I’ve had no damage reported shipping on pallets, compared to sending flat panels where I had a few bent on transit.

    Ultimately the customer is paying the delivery cost, the stumbling block was finding a suitable way to ship them.

    • Jamie Wood

      July 21, 2023 at 9:18 am

      It looks like a good solution to the problem.

      We’re currently experimenting with Royal Mail for smaller parcels, due to APC messing up / losing a few deliveries, with no compensation. RMSD is cheaper, and offers compensation. So far, all have arrived on time, and the post lady picks up from us for no extra charge.

      • David Hammond

        July 21, 2023 at 11:25 am

        I must be very easily pleased, but I’ve got to say I’m quite impressed.

        The 3 pallets collected yesterday AM, were all 3 delivered this morning to Warwickshire, Devon & Worcestershire. Devon (the furthest from us) was signed for at 9:18, I’ve had no reports of any damage from any sites that have received them so far, none have gone astray in transit.

  • Jeff

    July 21, 2023 at 11:00 pm

    what height is that pallet, David?
    I am thinking the max sign panel size is 10ft.

    do they have a max standing height?

    • David Hammond

      July 22, 2023 at 3:21 am

      Ah yes, there is that obstacle to overcome.

      Price varies depending on the size of the pallet.
      These are classed as full pallets because of the height, despite the panels only weighing 12kg.

      There is a maximum height of 220cm including the pallet, and the width is 120cm. So an 8’x4′ would overhang.
      The long thin panel I’m sending is 2050, I’d imagine a 2440 panel wouldn’t work this way.

      You could use two pallets and pay for double the space, I’ve been advised against sending panels out flat to prevent pallets been stacked on top of them.
      So an upright could be used. Same with a 10’x5′, using 3 pallets.

      All that said, once you get into double ‘full’ pallets it then starts to become more financially viable to use something like Shiply, but it won’t be a next-day service.

      I’ve sent out 7 so far, 1 more on Monday, and another 3, possibly 4th due, so far zero issues.

      • Hugh Potter

        July 24, 2023 at 11:08 am

        I think you’d get a 1220 across diagonally though!

        • David Hammond

          July 24, 2023 at 11:10 am

          Potentially yes, but then it’s getting the height down to under 2.2m incl the pallet. I need to do some experimenting but rarely have full 8×4 sheets in stock.

          Luckily for this customer I could tweak the sizes so that it makes shipping easier like these.

  • Mark Johnston

    July 23, 2023 at 3:22 pm


    Sorry if I have missed this, but who do you use to send these pallets?

    I could lie down the panels over two pallets, and pay for two pallet spaces, at the risk of having other pallets stacked on top.

    How does this work David? do you load the signs on top of the pallets once in the truck or do you have to join the pallets with the signs on it? I can’t see how a forklift would lift that though. Sorry if I am being dim. 🤔

    • David Hammond

      July 24, 2023 at 4:51 am

      I’ve yet to try it but am told by the company I use it’s possible. Similar to when the sheets come from my supplier on larger pallets.

      Here’s an image the sales rep sent me of a pallet he’d seen in transit by another customer.

  • Leslie Anderson

    July 23, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    this is a very interesting post, i may be able to use both the pallet idea but also the man and van idea.

    thank you so much for starting this topic david.

    Lx ❤

  • Mark Johnston

    July 24, 2023 at 11:05 am

    Thanks for the picture david, that makes sense now mate. 😎
    Who is it that offers this?

    • David Hammond

      July 24, 2023 at 11:08 am

      I use a local company, who are part of the pallet force network.

      Had another 3 delivered today, Granted it’s ~£60 delivery, but it’s almost on par with what tuffnells were quoting, and I’ve had zero issues with damages or missing items.


  • Mark Johnston

    July 24, 2023 at 2:24 pm

    Perfect David, that’s very helpful mate. 😎

  • Karen White

    August 7, 2023 at 11:15 am

    I think obtaining pallets and constructing the signs for transporting using this method would be a big ask of me. joinery was never my strong point! 😳🤣 but it is a clever way to get around shipping costs and is worth noting. 😎

    thanks david.

    • David Hammond

      August 7, 2023 at 11:18 am

      Obtaining the pallets isn’t the issue, it was getting hold of suitable timber to make the supports. The supports don’t need to be anything extravagant either.

      Of all the panels we shipped, one arrived late, but it got there the following day, no damage reported to any of them, so the extra ‘faff’ seems worth while.

      I’ve an order for another panel that I’ll be shipping using the same method this week.

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