Thursday, 26 April 2012

New Postal Charges

Last month the big news was the increase in Royal Mail prices, which are effective from Monday next week.  Conscious that in these straitened times people want to keep as much money in their pockets as possible, I have tried to push my prices down.  I don't use ready-made envelopes but wrap most of my parcels by hand in brown packing paper, which is not only cheap - savings which are passed on to my customers - but also very protective of the contents.

For a year now I have offered free second class delivery on the website for everything, with a premium of £1.30 for first class.  While I know my customers really appreciate it, the new charges from Royal Mail are making a completely free delivery option unviable.  I can't stay in business if the postage cost is more than the profit I make on the product!

So I have undertaken a detailed cost analysis and come up with a new pricing structure.  Second class delivery will continue to be free for orders with a value of £7.00 or more.  Orders under that value will incur a charge of £0.40 for delivery.  I should point out that this is way less than the actual charge to me!

As a result of the economies I have made in my packing costs, I have managed to keep the increase in first class postage to just £0.10, rising from £1.30 to £1.40.  Again, this is less than the actual increase in the charge to me.  These small changes should allow me to continue to offer free delivery to most of my customers.

The biggest problem in the new Royal Mail structure is the abolition of gradated prices for small packets.  This means, for example, that a clarinet ligature which used to cost £1.33 to post second class will now cost £2.20. I have no choice but to build that massive increase into the price of products which fall into this category. Prices for ligatures, mouthpiece caps, rosins and other small but bulky items will rise, unfortunately.  Other items such as practice mutes (except double bass), reeds and valve oil can, with care, be packaged into large letter size so these will avoid the price rise.

I have been very loyal to Royal Mail, and particularly to my local post office but some of the eye-watering increases means that sheet music orders over 1 kilo will now most likely be despatched by courier, as instruments are currently.  I'm not in business to give all my profits to Royal Mail!

The changes will be implemented on the website at midday tomorrow, Friday 27 April, as orders placed after this time will be despatched on Monday.

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