But there are a some that do provide a dedicated, efficient in-house service.
Fellows, with a focus on jewellery and watches as well as other antiques, strives to “accommodate free, quick, worldwide shipping for the majority of the items we sell”.
Alexandra Whittaker, communications & PR manager at Fellows, adds: “But that isn’t always possible due to size, weight, and sometimes value. Given that we sell around 4000 items of jewellery alone each month, we manage to post out about 90% of the invoices that we process for free and within 2-3 business days of the payment being made.
“Whatever the shipping status of each lot, we make it clear with badges on the lot’s description. We believe in absolute transparency to give our bidders confidence to participate in our auctions remotely.
“We make sure that even when we can’t post an items for free, or at all in some cases, we help organise couriers and other delivery options where our own in-house service is not available.”
Fellows employs one full-time member of staff to organise all of its packaging logistics, as well as part-time workers to support during busy times.
Whittaker adds: “These costs, as well as the packaging materials and the postal fees themselves, are ultimately business expenses that we have decided to invest time and money in to. We believe that it offers our customers real value for money on our fees when you consider that our buyers’ fees are in line with the majority of our competitors.”
Harper Field in Gloucestershire hires a packing team of 4-5 staff for around a week after every auction.
The firm charges fees “to cover our costs and we don’t profit from our postage service” with “charges only covering the time spent and packaging used”.
The firm’s Lyn Bowkett adds: “Our aim is to help our buyers to bid with confidence, and to offer a service rather than generate a profit.”