This is probably the most revealing and fascinating to research blog I have wrote so far. The way the Royal Mail operates is quite unbelievable; read on to see why.
All too often we get calls where a potential new client questions if we are ‘cheaper’ than the Royal Mail, and why they should use us instead of them. I have written this so you can see the differences between the Royal Mail and Mr Flyer, and choose for yourself which is best for your business.
The information on the Royal Mail is accumulated from studying their website, reading their terms and conditions, reading all their special reports on door to door distribution and having long conversations with their door to door call centre regarding the distribution. Please note, this blog was originally written July 2015 and updated November 2017, so some prices may be different now.
Round 1: Prices
Lets start with the big one, price. Here’s the breakdown:
1. Solus distribution:
Royal Mail: Don’t offer a solus distribution service.
Mr Flyer: £85 - £109 per 1000 (+ vat).
2. Duo distribution:
Royal Mail: Don’t offer a duo distribution service.
Mr Flyer: From £49 - £75 per 1000 (+ vat).
3. Shared distribution:
Royal Mail: From £59.48 – 69.99 (+ vat)
Mr Flyer: £35 - £59 per 1000 (+ vat)
These prices are all based on standard flyers, no bigger than A4. Royal Mail has a minimum order of £500 (+ vat), and these prices exclude their handling charges. Our minimum order is £200 (+ vat). For new customers Royal Mail offer an 10% discount. These prices were updated on 11/5/19 for this blog.
Round 2: Solus distribution
This is where it is just your flyer being distributed.
Royal Mail: Do not offer the service.
Mr Flyer: This service is ideal when targeting specific areas, and helps generate a higher response rate, as no other flyers are distracting attention away from yours. It is our most popular service. This is more suited to sectors with a relatively high product/service price, such as a home improvement company; or a business that typically receives recurring revenue such as a gym. This is available in most of Yorkshire, and part of East Lancashire.
Round 3: Shared distribution
This is where your flyer will go out with other flyers to the same houses.
Royal Mail: According to the conversation I had at their call centre your flyer goes out with up to 5 other non-competing flyers and the mail. The theory is that people are likely to look at your flyer because it will be amongst mail, which they must look at. This is available nationally.
Mr Flyer: Your flyer delivered with no more than 2 other non-competing flyers. This is available in Huddersfield only. The service we offer to fit between solus and shared is duo, which is more cost effective than solus, yet often brings a higher response rate because it is only with one other flyer. Duo is available in most of Yorkshire, and part of East Lancashire.
Round 4: Flyer design
The design of your flyer is a vital component to the success of your entire campaign, if its not actionable your probably not going to see any ROI.
Royal Mail: They don’t offer it direct; they recommend a company called Romec. They gave me a number to call. When I spoke with them they couldn’t quote me over the phone, I had to send an email and wait up to 48 hours. I did receive it on the same day, but was shocked by the price – read the print part in Round 5.
Mr Flyer: If you already have a designer you use, we offer FREE consultation on all artwork to ensure it will be actionable and generate a strong return. We also offer a full design service where we create your design to meet our 3 keys, which are proven to maximise response rates. Designs are usually turned around within 3 days, and we even help with writing the copy. It is all very simple and is £89 - £119 (+ vat) depending on the size of your distribution campaign.
Round 5: Printing
Not only is the price important here, but advice on which paper to use depending on your type of business is essential.
Royal Mail: Once again, this is outsourced to Romec and the same long wait for a quote applies. I asked for a quote for design and print of 20,000 A5 double sided flyers on 130gsm gloss, it came back at an astronomical £607.06 (including design).
Mr Flyer: With our print we can help recommend the right paper based on budget and type of business. Also, we can give you a quote immediately over the phone. Based on the same 20,000 our price including design is just £369, a huge saving!
Round 6: Proof, such as GPS tracking
This is a question most new prospects ask, ‘how do I know they will actually get delivered?’
Royal Mail: Don’t offer any form of tracking, back checks or any other tangible proof. The only thing they do is ask their postmen to sign a form to say they have delivered the flyers. As you can imagine however, most flyers are delivered along with mail, and to dispose of mail is a serious criminal offence, so the likelihood of the flyers been disposed is much lower than your typical distribution company using ‘self employed’ people on illegal pay. The Royal Mail has excellent employee loyalty and pride, so generally speaking your flyers are in very safe hands.
Mr Flyer: We provide GPS tracking with every distribution campaign. It is so accurate you can literally see each individual driveway a distributor walks down! Each client will have their own account, which documents all their tracking performed by our team.
Round 7: Ease of booking/campaign consultation
You are busy building your business and simply want to hand the stress and organisation over to the experts right?
Royal Mail: Once you decipher their ‘Area Ranking Report’ you have to figure out how you want to proceed, then you fill in their arduous booking form, then eventually you have to adhere to their 11-point instructions as per section 4 of their terms, otherwise you risk your flyers not been delivered at all; this includes you getting your flyers to them. However, once you are set up, things are relatively easier. One thing, which most printers will struggle with, is the requirement to have your flyers boxed weighing no more than 10kg – which is a very small box!
Mr Flyer: With a 2-minute call, or quick email you can be booked with us. We ask a few questions so we can establish things like target audience, quantity, need of other services such as print, ideal dates, etc. From this we plan your distribution for you, hassle free.
Round 8: Areas covered
In the last week we received enquiries from Northern Ireland, Scotland and Cambridge, so lets clarify where each cover:
Royal Mail: They massively have the upper hand here in the sense that they are national, covering every postcode sector you can think of. Not only that, the Royal Mail have the logistical expertise to reach those farmhouses with a 2-mile long private driveway! They also often have special access to apartment blocks, which often elude our distributors. Logistically the Royal Mail is quite unbelievable – hats off to them!
Mr Flyer: We cover West Yorkshire, South Yorkshire, most of North Yorkshire and much of East Lancashire. To see a map and full list of areas click here. We only provide shared distribution in Huddersfield. But don’t expect our distributors to go to houses with scary Rottweiler’s or 2-mile long driveways!
Round 9: Targeting
If you are a high end bespoke tailors it would ‘be fitting’ to target affluent areas. Lets see if both companies can do this for you:
Royal Mail: The Royal Mail use the sophisticated Mosaic software to assist with targeting down to a postcode sector level (to go beyond this you need Direct Mail). This is very helpful if you’re not sure where your target audience lives, and can make a national campaign a straight forward planning process.
Mr Flyer: If you tell us what sort of demographic or target audience you have we will let you know the areas and associated numbers within just 1 day. Often, we can tell you the information immediately over the phone. Also, if you wanted only affluent areas for example, we would only target such areas. This is because we aren’t confined to postcode sectors, but can do it per village, or simply on a per 1000/per day basis. As a result, you don’t always need to print as many flyers, nor have as many distributed; yet you may receive an overall more targeted distribution. The flexibility on targeting ranges from high on a solus campaign, to quite low on a shared distribution.
Round 10: Client feedback
I know when I’m looking to use a business I look at their client feedback through testimonials and star ratings on various websites. Lets see how they compare here:
Royal Mail: 1.1* reviews on Trustpilot. (Note: this is for Royal Mail as a whole, not just door to door). Here is a snippet I found on a forum regarding Royal Mail’s door to door service:
"I've done Royal Mail door drops…They are just swines - they question everything from the size of the bundles of your flyers to what colours you use and how they are stacked on the pallets. You can never actually speak to anyone. You spend ages trying to chase people down by phone to get a definitive answer, then they insist you were given the wrong information from their own website..."
As stated above, the poor star rating is not based on door to door specifically, but the company as a whole. Most seem to be about lost parcels, or disappointing customer service by individuals.
Mr Flyer: Take a look at this link to see we always get 5* ratings on Freeindex, and this link to see video testimonials too. A recent testimonial we received was from Perrys Mazda in Huddersfield: “Mr Flyer provide an outstanding and extremely well-tailored service, giving helpful and honest advice from the offset. From a repeat distribution Mr Flyer have recently carried out for us, we have already sold 6 cars, what a fantastic result! We are extremely happy with the professional service provided by Mr Flyer and look forward to working with them in the future. “
And the winner is…
When I wrote this blog initially back in 2015 I biasedly heralded Mr Flyer as ‘winners’. However, since then I have kept the Royal Mail in the back of mind, captivated by their incredible logistical ability to deliver to every single address in the UK. There was a time when I wanted to see Mr Flyer being able to fulfil this too with flyers.
Unfortunately, with the government continually loading small businesses with more and more challenges, such as minimum wage increases, pensions, NI, legal restraints and so on, we have acknowledged this is not financially viable using our own distributors – certainly not at a good price point.
But we do still want to help our customers grow both locally and nationally, and want to utilise our flyer marketing expertise, to see our customers thrive. As such, we have decided to create a strategic alliance with the Royal Mail, so that we can provide you with our same expertise, on a national scale. We will remove all the hassle and plan your campaign for you without you paying a penny more than you would if you went to the Royal Mail direct.
Mr Flyer’s goal is simply to help build your business and build your brand. If you would like to organise a hassle free and cost effective door-to-door distribution campaign to build your business then please contact us today.