With Christmas now less than a month away, it's crucial that you're aware of the delivery and collection schedules for your courier(s), as this not only enables you to appropriately inform your customers of the cut-off dates for pre-Christmas delivery, but more importantly it allows you to dispatch their orders on time.
To help with this, we have put together a handy guide featuring the last posting dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery, along with other relevant information for the peak festive period.
While the information below focuses predominantly on UK courier services, we have also included appropriate links for international services, for those of you shipping overseas.
Royal Mail users should be aware that no collections or deliveries will be made on Sunday 24th December (Christmas Eve), Monday 25th December (Christmas Day), Tuesday 26th December (Boxing Day), Sunday 31st December (New Year’s Eve), Monday 1st December (New Year’s Day) and Tuesday 2nd January (Scotland Only).
If you’re using Royal Mail to deliver your parcels in the lead up to Christmas, keep in mind that the last recommended posting date for UK business contract services is Friday 22nd December, which will only be applicable when using the Royal Mail Special Delivery Saturday Guaranteed option.
If you wish to use an alternative Royal Mail delivery option, you will need to despatch your orders by the recommended dates below.
If you’re shipping overseas, you can view the last posting dates for international destinations here.
It’s also important to remember that all collections must be booked in advance for dates between Monday 18th and Friday 29th December.
Now while the above dates are for UK business contract services, the information below is specific to UK inland services for Royal Mail personal customers. You can take a look at the recommended dates for guaranteed Christmas delivery, using their international services here.
For those of you using Parcelforce, it is recommended that you dispatch your parcels by Thursday 21st December for next-day delivery services, and by Wednesday 20th December for two-day services.
With regards to their depot’s opening hours over the festive period, Parcelforce will be closed from Christmas Eve to Boxing Day, and again on New Year’s Eve, New Year’s Day and then also on Tuesday 2nd January 2018 in Scotland.
Do also keep in mind that extended delivery times will apply to certain areas, more information of which can be found here.
Further information about their delivery schedules for both domestic and international services can be viewed on their website.
For the fifth year running, Hermes will be providing retailers with peace of mind over the Christmas period, with The Hermes Guaranteed Christmas Delivery Promise. Specifically, the courier guarantees that all parcels entering the Hermes network by 11.59pm on Thursday 21st December will have at least one delivery attempt, otherwise the delivery charge will be refunded. You should be aware that this is only applicable to parcels with a UK mainland address.
With the above in mind, if you’re using the MyHermes ParcelShop service, you should drop off your packages by no later than Monday 18th December. The same date is also recommended for Hermes UK Economy service.
For domestic deliveries with DHL, you will be required to dispatch your products by no later than Thursday 21st December.
For more information on DHL’s last posting dates for Christmas 2017, including international deliveries, make sure you take a look at their Christmas guide.
When using DPD UK services, the last posting date for pre-Christmas delivery will be Tuesday 19th December 2017. Full information can be found here.
You should also note that DPD will be closed on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, New Year’s Day and Tuesday 2nd January 2018 (in Scotland).
To ensure you deliver in time for Christmas, you will need to dispatch your parcels by Friday 22nd December, when using Yodel’s 24HR delivery service.
Alternatively, you will need to send your parcels by Thursday 21st December when using Yodel 48HR and Wednesday 20th when using Yodel 72HR.
More information about these Christmas delivery dates, as well as returns information and trailer collections can be viewed here.
While Yodel will not be doing deliveries or returns collections on Christmas Day, Boxing Day, Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day, deliveries may take place on both Sunday 17th December and Sunday 24th December (Christmas Eve), to support high volumes. You should, however, keep in mind that this is not guaranteed.
Yodel’s full Christmas and New Year delivery schedule can be found below.
Below, you will find the Christmas 2017 delivery and collection schedule for UKMail. When using this service, the latest possible date for despatch for Christmas delivery will be Thursday 21st December, using their Next Day service.
You should note that the customer service team will be operating different opening hours over the Christmas and New Year period, which you can see below.
If you're using CollectPlus to send your parcels for Christmas delivery, you will need to be dispatching them no later than Tuesday 19th December with their Standard Service, and as early as Friday 15th December with their Economy Service.
Any parcels that are dropped off after these dates will not be collected and moved onwards until after Christmas. It is also recommended that you check the opening hours of your local store, as these may be subject to change over the festive period.
If you're not sure whether to use CollectPlus' Economy or Standard Delivery Service, take a look at their website to find out more.
Securing the best delivery rates, not only at Christmas but all year round, should be a key consideration for your business. After all, the cost of delivery can impact customer satisfaction and even your bottom line.
With this in mind, it's important that you are using the best and most cost-effective courier service(s) for your business, based on your requirements. Take a look at this courier comparison to find out the cheapest rates for your business.