Couriers are responsible for transporting packages on behalf of customers that require urgent delivery. A courier transports items such as packages, documents and messages which need urgent delivery. For couriers these may include valuable items or confidential documents.  Couriers will usually work within larger towns and cities although some work may involve cross-country deliveries.  They will mainly use vans or motorcycles but in the larger urban areas, some will employ bicycle couriers.

Couriers will be responsible for general care and cleaning of their vans/motorcycles and ensuring their vehicles are roadworthy.

The working hours may vary and may include evenings, weekends, shift and part-time work. The average working week is around 40-48 hours. A van courier may be required to spend short periods away from home, as some companies are involved in delivering goods throughout the country or abroad. A motorcycle/cycle courier will work mainly in city centres and as a result may have to wear protective masks to minimise risks from vehicle exhaust fumes.

What does a Courier need?

To be a courier you should enjoy driving/motorcycling, hold the appropriate licence and be a skilled driver/rider.  They will have good communication skills, able to work to tight schedules, able to work alone, able to read maps and plan routes and be completely reliable.  Foreign language skills are useful if dealing with overseas deliveries.

There are no formal academic qualifications for a courier, but literacy skills are needed to deal with relevant paperwork and follow directions. They must be over 17, if they are over 21 and a van driver is over 25 this may be preferred by courier employers because of insurance premiums.  They must have a current driving licence appropriate to the type of vehicle they will be using and have a good driving record. A motorcycle courier usually needs their own motorcycle (200cc or over) with road tax and MOT.

Salaries can range from around £18,000 to £25,000 a year.

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