UK SMEs are crying out for an alternative to the postal service as concerns mount over the increased number of local post office closures forcing firms to use expensive courier companies.
A survey by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) revealed that 82 per cent of SMEs believe the closure of their local post office would have a significant impact on their business.
Simon Briault, an FSB representative, said: “Small businesses have limited options for an alternative postal service. The private services that are available have cherry picked the government and larger businesses because they do not make enough money from SMEs.”
Lee Bevan, managing director of VAR Leapfrog Computers, felt that without a local post office many smaller resellers will be forced down the courier service route.
“Leapfrog uses its local post office, because we have had some trouble with courier services. We were getting invoices for parcels that we had not even sent. There is scope for a new service, which will provide SMEs with what they actually pay for.”
Kevin Collins, director of VAR Computer World Wales, said: “We have had some terrible experiences with couriers, mostly with losing parcels. We prefer to deliver direct through either ourselves, the manufacturers or the distributors.”
However, Roger Butterworth, managing director of online VAR EXpansys, said couriers offered a cheaper service when used in volume. “EXpansys has had good experiences with couriers and will continue to use them. All post offices should be closed because the Royal Mail is hopeless.”
The FSB recently called upon politicians to take every possible step to retain the network of post offices and launched a national campaign and petition called Keep Trade Local.
“A large number of SMEs rely on Royal Mail and their local post office, with 94 per cent of them using the service exclusively. Couriers are an alternative service and can be useful, but in rural areas businesses will really suffer,” added Briault.
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