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How to become a Courier

courier careers

What does a Courier do?

Couriers, or despatch drivers, transport items such as packages, documents and messages which need urgent delivery. These may include valuable items or confidential documents. They usually work within larger towns and cities although some work may involve cross-country deliveries.

A depot controller will usually be in contact with the courier, giving information such as destination addresses. Couriers will often sign for the packages they collect and require the appropriate person to sign for them upon delivery.

Couriers mainly use vans or motorcycles but in the larger urban areas, some employers use bicycle couriers.

Most couriers will be responsible for general care and cleaning of their vans or for making sure their motorcycles are roadworthy.

What's the working environment like working as a Courier?

Basic hours are usually between 8am and 6pm; however, working hours vary and may include evenings, weekends, shifts and part-time work. The average working week is around 40 to 48 hours.

Van couriers may be required to spend short periods away from home, as some companies are involved in delivering goods throughout the country, or abroad.

Motorcycle/cycle couriers work mainly in city centres and as a result may have to wear protective masks to minimise risks from vehicle exhaust fumes.

What does it take to become a Courier?

To be a courier you should:

  • enjoy driving/motorcycling, hold the appropriate licence and be a skilled driver/rider
  • have good communication skills
  • have good literacy and numeracy skills for delivery and expenses records
  • be able to work to tight schedules
  • be able to work alone
  • have a mature attitude and be friendly and presentable
  • be able to read maps and plan routes
  • be physically fit
  • be completely reliable.

Courier Career Opportunities

Couriers may be employed by small local companies or by large international organisations.

Motorcycle couriers can be employed on a fixed wage, or work on a self-employed, freelance basis. Most opportunities for motorcycle couriers are in major cities, particularly in London.

Couriers can sometimes become controllers or open their own courier firm.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Courier that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Skills for Logistics
14 Warren Yard
Warren Farm Office Village
Milton Keynes
MK12 5NW
Tel: 0870 242 7314

Careers in Logistics

Courses to help you become a Courier