Around a year ago, I was required to arrange a collection and delivery of a large, expensive Server, on behalf of work.
Our usual Courier Company, Interlink Express, advised that due to the weight, price and delivery destination of the item they couldn't do the job. Far from this being unhelpful, they asked me to contact a Company that they refer such deliveries to, Panic Couriers. I was a little alarmed at the name (no pun intended!) - I don't know why, but the name immediately put me off using them. My contact at Interlink assured me that they were an extremely reliable company who offer a more personal service so I decided to give them a go.
I rang them on the number provided by Interlink and they were extremely eager to provide a quote. They referred me to their website to obtain more information on their company and download their Account Application form. This meant that Panic could invoice us for bookings made, rather than having to pay for the booking immediately.
When the collection was made, the driver also dropped off a Welcome Pack with their contact details, a copy of their official Fax Booking form and a couple of goodies - mouse mat, pen and drinks mat.
**WHO ARE PANIC COURIERS?**
Far from my original impression of one man and his van, Manchester based Panic are actually a well respected Courier company who have wide customer base from small companies, such as ours, to large Blue Chip companies.
For each job that is accepted by them (and we've never had one refused yet, no matter how 'odd' the delivery details!), you are allocated one man and one van - this man sees the delivery through from beginning to end. This was quite reassuring for us, as we knew that just one person would be handling the item - it didn't have to go via numerous depots at the risk of being badly handled.
Panic Couriers (formerly known as Panic Trucks) were actually the first courier company in Manchester to achieve the ISO 9002 accreditation - this means that they follow a strict Quality System and their employees follow strict procedures, to the benefit of their Customers.
Panics motto is 'Anything, Anywhere, Anytime'. They therefore don't have a list of 'services' as such. I usually like to know where I stand, and have price lists available but the communication from Panic is excellent - as soon as I send my booking request over to them, they reply immediately.
We have used them to deliver servers to Bournemouth, CD's to Grimsby and even a rug to Spain, so they services cover every eventuality. As we only use Panic for either large, expensive items or items that need picking up immediately and delivering the same day, we do seem to be paying quite a bit more compared to normal run of the mill couriers. Below are examples of what service we requested and what we paid:
Item: Server worth £46,000
Delivery: Manchester to Middlesbrough - same day
Cost: £207.95 (ex. VAT) + £71.10 Insurance
Item: Server worth £20,000
Delivery: Manchester to Scunthorpe - same day
Cost: 115.00 + 50.00 Insurance
Item: Server worth £3,000
Delivery: Manchester to Grimsby - same day
As you can see, most of the collections we book with Panic are for high value, heavy items. Panic have no hesitation in collecting these items and handle them with care and ease.
Panic do ask they you contact them for prices - this also gives you the opportunity to negotiate the price, which I have done on many an occasion! I find the best way to obtain a quote from them is to fax over the complete details of the collection and delivery, including details ranging from delivery address to the dimensions of the item, if you have them, in order to obtain a precise quote. Panic reply to their faxes immediately, informing you of the price and time of collection. Many a time we have requested a collection for ASAP and they have arrived 5 minutes later.
Additional Insurance is required for items worth over £5,000. Again, they ask that you contact them for Insurance costs.
**THE BOOKING PROCESS**
As previously mentioned, the best way to contact Panic to obtain a quote is to phone or fax them. I sent them an email on 11th November 2004, and am still waiting for a reply! However, they do say that 'Our preferred method of contact is to telephone us, to ensure all necessary arrangements are speedily implemented'. Sounds logical to me!
When I have obtained the necessary details of the delivery, I fax them advising them of the necessary details, such as collection/delivery address, date/time of collection, total weight, dimensions and price. I ask that they either ring me or fax a quote back with the cost. A reply is always received within a few minutes.
Once the booking has been agreed, I then fax back Panics official Fax Booking form to confirm the collection. This basically reiterates the collection/delivery information previously provided to them but it is now confirmed with a Company order number.
**COLLECTION & DELIVERY**
Collections are made promptly and on time. The driver is always courteous and helpful and dressed in a Panic uniform. Although many of the items they collect are large and usually on a Pallet, the driver loads the item on his van without fuss and ensures that it is loaded on carefully.
One drawback is that they don't have collection tickets so you don't sign to say that they have collected the item. This was quite important to us due to the value of the items were send, so I made my own for the driver to sign and he seemed quite happy with this.
Panic have a number of different vehicles, depending on what they are collecting. These range from motorbikes to 7.5 tonnes vans.
The item was delivered to the appropriate person later that day. Panic rang me when the drive had returned to confirm all went ok and that that item had been delivered.
Although Panic drivers are identifiable by their uniforms, they also carry Department of Transport approved identity cards and have no hesitation in providing them when asked.
To improve their already efficient service, Panic keep in touch with their drivers via mobile phones and two way radio links, so they are always contactable for those last minute amendments!
Panic also provide a lower priority service, and will collect and deliver anything with the same level of care and attention - although they do not advertise it anywhere on their website, I did speak to Panic and they advised that they would consider personal, rather than business collections, so it is always worth giving them a call.
The only payment options available is by either cheque or BACS, due to the fact that their services are directly aimed at businesses.
As they are based off the M60 in Manchester, Panic are in an ideal location for my Company. They have never refused a job and are always accommodating. Their staff - ranging from Customer Services to their Drivers are always extremely helpful and courteous - something lacking in many companies nowadays!
Panic are extremely popular and if the last few years have had to move premises twice due to expansion. However, despite obtaining more business, they remain customer focused.
I cannot recommend them enough!