Frequently Asked Questions
A courier is the name given to a person who delivers parcels, documents and items for businesses or private individuals. Typically using their own van although a they may use a bicycle, motorbike, cargo bike, automobile or transport provided by the company they are working for.
Couriers work or provide services for delivery or logistics firms which offer same day, next day or international delivery services for local, national and international markets.
Travelling by bicycle, motorbike, automobile, van or on foot to complete deliveries, a courier transports packages, documents and items for businesses in the public and private sector as well as individuals. This could range from urgent blood deliveries for life saving operations for hospitals to important legal documents to dropping a present for a loved ones birthday.
A specialist courier service can handle a range of sensitive goods. This may include fragile items or medical items like medicines, blood and organs for hospitals. Couriers delivering these items may have special training and certification or special vehicles or adaptions to transport the specialist items.
A freelance or private courier uses their own car, van, bicycle or motorbike to carry out delivery work for a business. Working freelance, self employed or subcontracted means you are not directly employed by the company you deliver for. Many logistic firms use freelance or private couriers to do deliveries on their behalf.
To become a self employed courier you will need a suitable vehicle for the type of work you want to do. If it’s a motor vehicle and not pushbike then you will need a full, clean driving licence. An up to date MOT will also be required as well as the correct type of insurance.
5 Steps to become a courier:
- Get a vehicle – having the right vehicle whether it's a bike or large van is your first step.
- Calculate your expenses - From the correct insurance for your vehicle to fuel, servicing and mobile phone costs it's important to be prepared.
- Check potential income – Decide whether you want to be self employed or employed and check job boards for potential earnings and speak to a courier.
- If you decide to be a self employed courier you will need to to set up and register your business with HMRC.
- Keep on top of your accounts – being self employed ensure your paperwork is kept up to date as this will help when you need to submit tax returns.
Delivery drivers are usually employed directly by a company. They can perform a wide range of work from collecting and dropping off fast food to dry cleaning to groceries, working set days and hours. Couriers are usually self employed or independent contractors who generally deliver parcels, packages and documents.