Ordinarily there is no special financial skill required in order to handle the process of liquidation, which consists simply of gradually closing down the business, disposing of the assets, and distributing the proceeds to creditors and shareholders. Yet even this comparatively simple procedure involves a vast amount of detail work.

In the spring of 1914 the management of the United States Express Company decided that in the face of the competition for express business, and particularly on account of the competition of the newly established parcel post, it would be best for the company to liquidate its assets and withdraw from the field. After the decision was announced the first step was to arrange for the transfer to other express companies of its valuable contracts and of many of its physical assets. Fortunately, there was little duplication of contracts or facilities among the express companies and most of this property could be disposed of to the remaining express companies at reasonable appraised valuations.

It was necessary to make complete inventories and this proved to be so long a task that in many cases wagons, horses, office furniture, leases, etc., were transferred first and valued afterwards. The equipment used by the United States Express Company in New York City represented an investment of between $350,000 and $400,000. Over 90% of the employees of the United States Express Company were taken over by the other large express companies. The remaining 10% were made up largely of employees who were retained in the service of the United States Express Company during the process of liquidation.