The most common type of subcontracted delivery service in the rattan garden furniture world is the pallet networks. A pallet network is a collection of transport companies that have joined forces to provide UK wide deliveries. In principle it is an excellent concept and one which works very well for many forms of deliveries. Goods are placed onto a wooden pallet and wrapped in pallet wrap to form a secure parcel. If you are not familiar with pallets then just think of one of the builder’s yards that have piles of bricks. These bricks are very often stored on pallets for ease of use when moving the goods from point to point. The pallet network would be ideal for transporting a pallet of bricks from A to B without any problem. These pallets will be handled by several different companies before being delivered to the end user. Firstly they will be picked up by a local transport company and returned to there base warehouse.
The pallet will then be removed from the lorry and stored in a warehouse until the overnight transport is ready. The pallet will then be loaded onto the overnight truck and transported up or down to the nearest hub to the end user. There are four or five hubs around the country and many hundreds of localized hauliers using each hub. The local hauliers will then pick the goods up from hub and take them to there own warehouse. Then finally they will be loaded onto a local van which will deliver the goods out to the end user. That means the goods are handled a minimum of 8 times. As I have said this is absolutely fine in the pallets packed with non fragile goods and there is likely to be very small damages.
The final part of the process is the delivery itself. Nine times out of ten you are not contacted on the day of the delivery and the goods just arrive on there pallet and are removed from the van. The goods are left on the pallet and will be left on a drive way or if there is no driveway they are left on the road side. This might be all well and good if the delivery is for a builder’s yard or for road works of some sort but for clients of Zebrano this is no way to receive your furniture.
The goods are left to the customer to deal with and remove packaging and take the goods to the patio themselves. This is not always suitable as many people are home alone or are not able to carry the goods through the house themselves. As an added insult to the whole thing the wooden pallet is left with the customer to dispose off themselves. There are not many customers I know that have any use for a large wooden pallet which can't go in a car to be taken to dump. Short of having a bonfire there is not much you can do with it.
The pallet network is a business to business delivery service which works really well when you are delivering to businesses that have yards and that can dispose of the left over pallet. The pallet network is not an efficient or in any way appropriate method of delivering furniture to private residences and that is the reason the Zebrano do not use pallets. If you find a company saying they can deliver the goods within 24hrs we would advice that you check the delivery method and ensure that you are happy with the process. We have numerous phone calls from people that assumed there furniture would be delivered to there back garden and have in fact received a large wooden pallet with all the furniture piled onto of each other so as to get it on the pallet. The customers have been asked to sign for the pallet and left to there own devices. You have been warned! DO NOT use pallet deliveries unless you are confident that the furniture that you have purchased firstly fits onto a 900mm x 900mm pallet and secondly that you are happy with the manor in which the goods will arrive.
We have been in the furniture business for many years and have used pallets on numerous occasions if the customer demands it. We know from experience that while the service is in principle a good one, in practice it does not work quite so well. The goods are handled by way to many people and there are too many people in the chain that do not have the end users best interests at heart. Pallets are moved around using forklift trucks and if there is anything hanging over the edge of the pallet it is likely to get damaged as the pallets are transported right next to one another. You can imagine that the overnight trucks only fit a certain number of pallets on at any one time so the goods need to be within the pallet or they will be damaged. In our experience even goods that are within the pallet can often get damaged. We have had cases of goods having forklift marks on the furniture as well as lots of dents and scrapes. Companies that offer deliveries within a 24hr - 48hr time frame use the pallet networks and they have huge problems with returns. We would strongly advise finding out what type of delivery service it is you are getting before entering into any purchase.
Here at Zebrano rattan furniture we have noticed an influx of online companies suddenly starting up in the furniture business. They are predominantly internet companies with lots of experience in online sales but very little experience in furniture sales. They have often had successful businesses using the pallet networks or parcel courier services. You can spot them a mile away as the always promise 24hr deliver of your furniture. What they neglect to tell you how your furniture will arrive. We hear about the problems with the pallet deliveries from the customers themselves as they often come to us after they have been badly treated by these internet only companies.