Bike mail firm set to take on more staff

Saul Ayton and Neil Swanson of Velopost. Picture: Scott Taylor
Saul Ayton and Neil Swanson of Velopost. Picture: Scott Taylor
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IT perhaps doesn’t sound like it would give the Royal Mail a run for its money.

But a year after Velopost opened in Edinburgh, the bicycle mail firm has doubled its deliveries, announcing plans to employ even more staff in the next two years.

The Easter Road depot now has seven cyclists responsible for delivering up to 12,000 items, including letters and packages, every month.

And this figure is growing at a rate of about 20 per cent a month as more businesses choose to make use of a service that is cheaper and better for the environment.

Using bikes allows Velopost to cut postage costs on local mail, compared to conventional services, by up to 33 per cent.

Chief executive Joe Broadway said: “We have more than 
doubled the collection volume we are carrying and the business has grown rapidly in the last six months.

“It’s starting to get a bit more notice.

“There has been a good uptake and we are getting a lot more interest from local businesses and health services. There’s quite a variety of people using the service, including charities and schools.

“The more letters you deliver the more people hear about you and ask about you.”

The firm started out in 2011 in Bristol – off the back of its parent printing company – as a response to poor service from the Royal Mail.

It now employs 45 people across the UK – in Bristol, Edinburgh and Bath – with plans to expand its operations into Glasgow. The parent production and print side of the business is based in Livingston.

The firm hopes to be able to take on around 30 employees in the next two years as the business continues to grow. There are also plans to 
introduce an electric car to the city at some point in this financial year to expand their operations.

But as the business gears up for more success, Joe insisted that the firm would not abandon its green credentials.

He said: “Using no fossil fuels is central to the ethos of the business and everything we do. Our aim is to keep fossil fuels out of it completely.

“In 2012, the Royal Mail recorded that they were using over 200 tonnes of diesel every year in their delivery operations.

“We are trying to prove that we can deliver mail sustainably without sacrificing our business efficiency.

“We are trying to prove it is possible to do both. People can feel good about what they are doing environmentally by using this service and they can also save money. It’s a win win.”

To celebrate its first year in Edinburgh, the company is asking Edinburgh folk to decide the figure or landmark to appear on limited stamps.

john.connell@edinburghnews.com