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Decoding Courier Costs: How Much Should You Pay for a Courier Service?

By Darragh Timlin on November 24th, 2023

For goods in transit business owners shipping products domestically or internationally, choosing the right courier service is crucial. But determining fair courier pricing can be confusing when every provider offers different rates, not to mention ensuring your goods are protected with the right goods in transit insurance.

Factors like shipment weight, delivery speed, destination distance, additional services, and more all impact your courier charges. Understanding these key variables, along with securing comprehensive goods in transit insurance, will help you accurately evaluate courier cost estimates and negotiate the best value.

Key Factors That Determine Courier Pricing

Courier service rates are influenced by several core factors:


Heavier parcels or freight incur higher delivery costs. Couriers charge based on weight bands – for example, 0-1 kg, 1-5 kg, 5-10 kg, with international shipments also considering volumetric weight calculated by dimensions. Make sure to weigh shipments accurately to avoid unexpected fees.


Faster service equals higher fees. Same day deliveries are most expensive, followed by next day/overnight, 2-3 days, and economy shipping which can take 4-8 days. Consider how quickly you really need parcels delivered when selecting speed.


Local deliveries within the same city or region are cheapest, while national delivery costs increase with distance, especially for remote destinations. International shipping has the highest rates due to customs, duties, and air/ocean freight expenses.

Fuel Surcharges

Rising fuel costs mean some couriers add surcharges to bills. These change periodically based on oil prices and can range from 1-5% of fees.

Residential vs Commercial

Delivery to a home costs more than business addresses due to extra time needed to locate specific houses or apartment units.

Additional Services

Options like insurance, signature confirmation, or special handling (e.g. refrigeration) add costs, but they also reduce risks like damages.


Senders who ship high volumes may get discounted pricing. Comparison shopping for couriers that offer deals can yield savings.

By understanding how these variables affect parcel delivery fees, you can more accurately estimate and compare courier rates when selecting a service. Tracking shifts in your shipping variables also helps forecast future courier expenses.

Average Courier Costs in the UK

To give you a general idea of standard courier pricing in the UK, here are typical costs for a 5 kg domestic parcel sent via next day delivery:

For international shipping of a 2 kg package from the UK to Europe, fees generally range from £25-60 depending on the destination. Outside of Europe, expect to pay £50-100. Heavy freight shipments have higher variable rates.

However, the full rate analysis depends on the specifics of your parcel. Working with an experienced courier can help provide an accurate bespoke courier cost estimate.

Tips for Negotiating the Best Courier Rates

As a business owner, you can take steps to secure favourable courier pricing:

  • Compare rates across multiple providers using online rate calculators or requesting quotes.
  • Highlight your estimated annual shipping volume and long-term business potential to gain leverage in rate negotiations.
  • Ask about discounts for off-peak delivery times, prescheduled pickups, or utilising your own packaging materials.
  • See if couriers offer rewards programs where you can earn discounts as a regular customer.
  • Consider using a courier broker who can source you wholesale shipping rates by consolidating packages across clients.
  • Adjust your delivery needs and variables like speed, distance, weight to find more economical options that still meet requirements.
  • Review pricing annually and renegotiate if needed, especially if your shipment volumes have increased.

The courier market is competitive, so doing research and negotiating from a position of leverage can yield savings on parcel shipping fees.

Protecting Goods in Transit with Insurance

No matter which courier you select, accidents and losses can happen during transport. Goods in transit insurance provides valuable protection, with policies to cover damages, theft, or cargo lost in shipment for the full wholesale value of your products. This protects against having to deal with expensive inventory losses.

Goods in transit insurance also gives recourse to file claims if a courier’s own limited liability coverage falls short, providing peace of mind that your products are protected during vital transport.

Get Comprehensive Goods in Transit Insurance from Brisco

Here at Brisco Business, we offer tailored goods in transit policies to keep your deliveries covered. Our experienced team will help you accurately value your shipments to gain the right level of protection.

Compare quotes with Brisco today for a quick quote on comprehensive goods in transit insurance tailored to your unique needs. With the right coverage, you can ship products with confidence no matter which courier you use.

Darragh Timlin

With over 25 years’ experience, Darragh is an expert in all things insurance. Starting his career in commercial property underwriting, Darragh has worked for a number of global insurers and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Darragh Timlin

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