RogerBW's Blog

On-line postage with Royal Mail and MyHermes 25 January 2017

With 3D printing sales and occasional bulk imports of board games I send 4-5 packages a month, and sometimes larger batches. There seem to be two main ways of achieving this easily.

Royal Mail

"Click and Drop" lives at (IPv4 only, SSL Labs rating A - no HSTS, limited forward secrecy, otherwise pretty good.)

There are three ways to use it: anonymously, with a "PayPal" account, and with an OBA (Online Business Account). The PayPal account has no ongoing costs or minimum activity requirement, and that's what I use. (You can pay by credit card through this interface without a PayPal account, though it's obviously a bit clunkier.)

The system encourages you to "connect your eBay account", and implies that the only way to use the thing is via eBay; but I know this isn't true, since I don't have one. So once logged in, Orders → Manage Orders → Create New Order and enter the destination address. Then you can create the shipment to that address based on the actual package size and weight (options are presented based on the address and weight), and either pay for it immediately or (if sending multiple items) enter more orders and shipments and pay for them all at once. You don't get to re-use an address for a later order, but for the UK there's a pretty decent post-code lookup (even if it does put Bristol in Somerset). On the other hand there's nothing like the CSV import that MyHermes offers: you have to enter one address and item at a time.

(I use a Smart Weigh postal scale to get the package's weight, 2g increments to 50kg, and an acrylic size guide to check whether it'll fit into a Large Letter format.)

What you get at the end is a PDF with the address label, and (if you turned it on in your account settings) a proof-of-posting certificate on the same sheet. If you have a general-purpose computer, you can use my fixup code to add an order number, return address label, and/or customs form to the PDF before you print it.

Then take the package and the proof-of-posting to your local post office (about seven minutes' walk away in my case), hand them over, get a stamp on the PoP and leave.

So far every package I've sent via this method has arrived. Maximum shipping weight is 2kg.


MyHermes has a less-impressive site (IPv4 only, SSL Labs rating A- for weak intermediate certificate, no HSTS and no forward secrecy). It also does its best to hide the actual costs until you've committed yourself to sending.

This system does offer a CSV import, though the fields it uses aren't the fields it claims to use; I find I can just about get the address through reliably, but anything else usually has to be re-entered.

The printed output needs to be cut apart and one section put inside the package, so don't seal it before buying postage.

Failure rate on these packages has been about one in six, and the nearest dropoff point is slightly further away from where I live (a stiff walk up a hill, or drop in while driving to somewhere else). Maximum shipping weight is 15kg, and for substantial parcels it's much cheaper than Royal Mail; however, many of the things I ship can fit in the Large Letter format (maximum 1" thickness), for which Royal Mail is cheaper.

[Buy Smart Weigh postal scale at Amazon] [Buy Royal Mail size guide at Amazon] and help support the blog.

Tags: real life

Comments on this post are now closed. If you have particular grounds for adding a late comment, comment on a more recent post quoting the URL of this one.

Tags 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s 2000s 2010s 3d printing action advent of code aeronautics aikakirja anecdote animation anime army astronomy audio audio tech aviation base commerce battletech beer boardgaming book of the week bookmonth chain of command children chris chronicle church of no redeeming virtues cold war comedy computing contemporary cornish smuggler cosmic encounter coup covid-19 crime cthulhu eternal cycling dead of winter doctor who documentary drama driving drone ecchi economics espionage essen 2015 essen 2016 essen 2017 essen 2018 essen 2019 essen 2022 existential risk falklands war fandom fanfic fantasy feminism film firefly first world war flash point flight simulation food garmin drive gazebo genesys geocaching geodata gin gkp gurps gurps 101 gus harpoon historical history horror hugo 2014 hugo 2015 hugo 2016 hugo 2017 hugo 2018 hugo 2019 hugo 2020 hugo 2022 hugo-nebula reread in brief avoid instrumented life javascript julian simpson julie enfield kickstarter kotlin learn to play leaving earth linux liquor lovecraftiana lua mecha men with beards mpd museum music mystery naval noir non-fiction one for the brow opera parody paul temple perl perl weekly challenge photography podcast politics postscript powers prediction privacy project woolsack pyracantha python quantum rail raku ranting raspberry pi reading reading boardgames social real life restaurant reviews romance rpg a day rpgs ruby rust science fiction scythe second world war security shipwreck simutrans smartphone south atlantic war squaddies stationery steampunk stuarts suburbia superheroes suspense television the resistance the weekly challenge thirsty meeples thriller tin soldier torg toys trailers travel type 26 type 31 type 45 vietnam war war wargaming weather wives and sweethearts writing about writing x-wing young adult
Special All book reviews, All film reviews
Produced by aikakirja v0.1