Best UK Couriers for Small Businesses


By Sam Smith

January 29th 2024

Here at Smith Packaging, we understand not all small businesses operate the same. What once was a small family business turned a rapidly-growing UK packaging supplier offering premier high-quality packaging boxes, ecommerce packaging and industrial packaging across a range of industries – we know a thing or two about the needs of small businesses.

Our highly reputable corporation now operates on a larger scale whilst still maintaining our ethos of family-lead values, so we really know what our customers value as small, independent businesses.

What matters most to you?

When it comes down to the all-important question “which courier is best for my business?” it’s best to understand what matters most you overall. There are a variety of factors to consider such as:

  • Speed
  • Coverage (UK and beyond)
  • Price
  • Tracking & Proof of Delivery
  • Reliability
  • Customer Service
  • Size and Weight Limits
  • Insurance
  • Sustainability

In this guide, we’ll take a look at some of the leading UK couriers, weighing up the pros and cons for your small business so you don’t have to.

Best For Cheap Next Day Delivery – DHL UK

Known for the level of service they offer for small businesses; DHL UK are the preferred choice for many people who own their own businesses and value service over price.

Exclusively offering next day delivery on all domestic shipping at some of the cheapest rates in the UK – DHL UK ethos is to never compromise on the level of service they offer.

DHL UK understand that running a small business comes with its challenges, especially if you do this alongside a normal 9 to 5. So, many of their customers rely on them each week to ensure the safe delivery of their parcels to their buyers.

They also offer a ‘Quick Send’ service to help lighten the load of e-commerce businesses by integrating across various marketplace platforms such as Etsy, eBay or Amazon to help speed up parcel admin and get orders out in no time.

Trustpilot Score: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆ (2.2)

Send your parcel with DHL UK if:

  • You are looking ship all across the UK and 160 countries worldwide.
  • You want to send as many or as little parcels as you like due to no minimum order quantities or contracts.
  • You require flexibility during seasonal peaks such as Christmas or Black Friday.
  • You are looking to have your parcels collected directly from your door or, prefer to drop off your parcel at any of the many service point locations or 50+ depots across the UK as a cheaper alternative.

Don’t send your parcel with DHL if:

PRO TIP: We recommend using protective packaging to help prevent any damages to beloved breakables during transit. Our bubble wrap, paper void fill and eco loose fill packaging peanuts are great sustainable option for small businesses.

Read more reviews here and find out what else DHL UK has to offer in our detailed courier guide.


Best For Sending Heavier Items – DPD

Trustpilot Score: ★ ★ ★ ★ ☆ (4.5)

As one of the largest couriers in the UK, DPD is also owned by the second largest postal group in Europe – so they know what they’re doing. As well as being highfliers in logistics, they are largely known for their commitment to sustainable delivery practices and describes themselves as being ‘at the forefront of the e-commerce revolution’.

They do this by offering an extensive range of shipping services, both domestically and internationally – helping smaller e-commerce businesses to reach every corner of the nation at an efficient and accessible rate.

They achieve this by setting their pricing based the speed of delivery, the weight or the parcel and how they’ll collect the parcel from you.

Send your parcel with DPD if:

  • You want to ship higher-value, heavier or larger orders.
  • You want more options for international delivery across 200+ countries.
  • You are conscious and committed to sustainability and want to help reduce CO2 emissions.

PRO TIP: We suggest using heavy-duty packaging when sending heavier goods to ensure safety during transit. Our double wall cardboard boxes are the perfect choice and fit within the DPD UK requirements.

Don’t send your parcel with DPD if:

  • You require reliable and accurate delivery timeslots as DPD are not known for their accurate shipping times.

Find out what else DPD has to offer in our detailed courier guide.


Best For Reliability – Royal Mail

Trustpilot Score: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆ (2.9)

Hailed as a national treasure, Royal Mail is the main mail courier in the UK and is considered one of the best couriers for small business due to its reliability.

Known for supporting small businesses, they offer a ‘small business hub’ ranging from tips, insights and advice for small business owners looking to grow their business as well as the services available to them.

Royal Mail pricing is competitive, when sending small or moderately sized packages that are not time sensitive. Whilst their international shipping coverage is limited, they still provide multiple tracking and signing options – coining the ‘reliable’ title as far as couriers go.

Though insurance isn’t the cheapest compared to other couriers, their insurance coverage policy is the most straight forward out of the pack. Making it less hassle for small business owners, particularly if you are a new business or run a small business alongside other commitments.

Send your parcel with Royal Mail if:

  • You are looking to ship smaller, lighter parcels.
  • You want more flexible delivery options with coverage nationally and internationally.
  • You want a name you can trust – Royal Mail are renowned for reliability.

PRO TIP: We recommend our mailing bags or padded envelopes for smaller items as a cost-effective packaging solution, without compromising on protection during transit.

Don’t send your parcel with Royal Mail if:

  • You experience a high volume of next day delivery orders during peak seasons such as Christmas, as Royal Mail estimated delivery dates are not always guaranteed.
  • You are looking for an affordable courier since insurance coverage, special or next day shipping, tracking and proof of delivery hike up the shipping rates as they are not included in the standard delivery services Royal Mail offer – making it less cost-effective for smaller business.

Find out what else Royal Mail has to offer in our courier guide.

Make shipping easier with SmithPackaging

Choosing the right courier for your small business is just as important as selecting the right packaging supplier. Using the correct packaging for your products and brand is vital, as it is the first thing your customers see.

SmithPackaging is all you need for packaging supplies, housing everything you require all in one location.

From durable cardboard boxes to eco-friendly fillers, we’ve got you covered. What’s more, if you place your order before 3pm – we promise same day dispatch.

Looking to learn more?