How to Become a Courier
For those interested in a driving career, the option to become a courier may be something of appeal to you. At first glance, it seems like one of the simpler ways to get started driving for a living, but scratch the surface a bit and you’ll begin to see there’s a lot more to it than delivering parcels securely.
It’s also something that you can use to get work experience in the driving sector, and continue your driving lessons to add more categories to your licence; increasing the types of vehicles you can drive.
That’s one of the benefits you can enjoy with a career in courier services: the ability to expand your working experience on the roads throughout the UK, delivering parcels in a timely manner, securely, and dealing with customers in a friendly manner.
As a courier, you will be required to obtain and log accurate delivery records, as there is sure to be some items you’ll carry at some point in your career that will be of significant value. When you do have expensive parcels in your possession, it’ not always the case you will know about it.
There is an element of discretion involved and securely delivering the packages are what you must do on every drop. With some employers, you may be required to use electronic devices to log delivery details in real-time with the dispatch co-ordinators.
Those will usually be with larger courier firms providing customers with up to the minute tracking of their parcels. For some jobs, a category B licence (Cat B) may be all that’s required, however for larger firms, using vans to courier parcels from distribution centres to customer homes, you may be required to hold a Category C1 licence to drive vans up to 3.5 tonnes.
There’s also the option of using your own motorcycle and become an independent courier, although those positions will usually be within larger cities.
To get started as a courier, there’s no working experience required. On the job training will be provided but that will only be related to the duties you’ll be doing other than driving.
The relevant driving licence required for the job you’ll be doing, will have to taken care of by yourself. If you only hold a category B licence, you will be limited to the work you can do as it will only entitle you drive a car to make deliveries.
In terms of courier jobs, those are usually limited to independent couriers, so you’d probably be best to go self-employed working locally, securing freelance work with mail order catalogues, or online retailers. That could be an avenue to explore even if only temporarily to cover the cost of upgrading your licence.
A category C1 licence will qualify you to drive a van up to 3.5 tonnes. That’s what most courier services will use in order to carry more packages on each delivery route, enabling for faster courier service.
In terms of speed, within larger cities, there’s also demand for motorbike courier services.
If you plan to get started using a motorcycle, you’ll more than likely find that you’ll need to have your own bike to get started.
The training you get on the job will mostly be focusing on the internal delivery logs and reports you will need, and about the geographical regions you’ll be covering, alongside any devices you’ll be using to record and update delivery records with dispatch control centres.
Some employers may also provide additional training on safe handling and lifting techniques, as well as health and safety.
Driving is the service you bring to the courier company and they train you on how to do the job in the most efficient manner. You can also train towards an industry recognised Level 3 Diploma in Driver Goods Vehicles, which will teach about safety, security, customer service, safe loading and unloading, as well as planning your delivery routes in order meet expected delivery times.
Most employers will be influenced by the high insurance costs of drivers, and therefore show preference, and often advertise in the job specs, that they’re actively seeking drivers over the age of 25 years old.
You will need a clean driving record (no speeding tickets, DR offences or the likes) and to have held your full licence for at least two years.
An increasing number of courier jobs are popping up all over the country due to the increasing retail boom from e-commerce websites. In particular, Amazon and eBay trading when customers can easily order pretty much anything they want, or need at the click of a button. That includes grocery shopping too. You may even use the services yourself, and if so, then you’ll know that there are courier jobs to be found with supermarkets too.
Those will be advertised as delivery drivers.
Delivery drivers tend to lean more towards the business to business side though, with courier services being business to consumer.
Although that isn’t always the case. When you’re applying for jobs, you should research the firm you’re applying with to establish what their customers or clients are likely to be and the parcels you’ll be carrying.
There is also the opportunity to start up your own courier service, and if that’s something that appeals to you, then it’d be wise to get some business education, and marketing training under your belt, before you start approaching clients, as it is a competitive field. You’ll need to know about the insurances you’ll need, and managing your own delivery logs, as without those you could find it challenging for clients to settle your invoices.
Proof of all deliveries will be required whether you work for yourself, or with a courier service. Without it, payment may be withheld. Local charity shops are constantly in need for volunteer delivery drivers, and can provide a stepping-stone to get experience in order to support your job applications.