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It is a fact that courier services that are offered by private companies can be more expensive than those offered by the South African Post Office or SAPO. While this is true there are still times when you may need to choose a courier service over the SAPO due to specific requirements that you may have (such as an urgent delivery or the safety of the consignment being sent.)

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There are so many courier companies in South Africa, that it can become difficult to decide on the specific company that you should choose. While cost is often the first thing that most people consider, there are various other factors that need to be taken into account when selecting a courier service.

- Reputation :: First and foremost, it is essential to assess the reputation of the courier company. Speak to your friends and colleagues and find out if any of them have used that specific courier company before. Even though your sample may be small, it is worth your while to check with some people about the experiences that they have had.

- Licensed Companies :: Make sure that the courier service company that you choose has a valid license or permit. It is pertinent that you choose an operator that is authorised to operate in the areas of your interest.

- Delivery time conformance :: There are many courier companies that commit to a delivery time and then do not live up to the promise that has been made. Make sure that you choose a courier company that has a good reputation with regards to delivery time. Alternatively, you may want to seek a guarantee for the delivery time, especially if your consignment is extremely urgent.

- Scope of operations :: If you are looking at sending a domestic courier, this aspect may not matter much because most South African courier companies have a large domestic network. On the other hand if you are looking to send a parcel out of the country, you may want to check the countries where the South African courier company has self manned offices. Some smaller courier companies have partners in other countries; something that creates hassles if you are looking at resolving issues like a missing parcel.

- Logistics :: Large courier companies now operate on a hub and spoke model to ensure smoother sorting for the deliveries. This basically means that all the collected consignments are sent to a central hub where they are then sorted into categories based on the delivery location. While the increase in scale at a single location reduces the overall cost, it tends to delay the consignments a little.

- Pick up :: This is generally an essential part of any Courier Service. If you are sending a parcel that is not easy to move around, it may be necessary to choose a courier company that allows for pick up from your office or residence.

- Tracking :: While most courier companies have the provision for you to trace the exact location of your parcel at any time, you may also want to know whether you can call the customer service operators if you need to contact someone urgently.

- Discounts and deals :: Last but not least, the bulk discounts, quote and deals that are being offered by the courier companies should also be considered before locking onto a specific courier company.

The whole thing basically boils down to the specific parcel that you are sending and your requirements. If the parcel is large, a pickup service becomes more important than anything else. If the parcel contains something that needs to be delivered immediately, the delivery time takes precedence over the other aspects. Make sure you know what you are looking for when you set out to choose a courier service.

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DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article is the opinion of the Author and should not be taken as advice.