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How to become a Motorcycle Despatch Rider

motorcycle despatch rider careers

What does a Motorcycle Despatch Rider do?

Despatch riders, sometimes known as couriers, transport items quickly by motorcycle. Items can include packages, letters, legal documents or messages.

Typically, a depot controller will be in radio contact with the despatch rider/courier giving details of where and when to collect the package, and the destination address. Despatch riders sign for the package on collection, and get an appropriate person to sign for it upon delivery.

Most of the trips will be short journeys in a built-up area of a major city. Occasionally there may be longer journeys. Riders rarely return to base. They will normally be in contact with the depot controller by two-way radio, pager, mobile phone or roadside telephone.

Despatch riders/couriers are responsible for keeping their motorcycle roadworthy.

What's the working environment like working as a Motorcycle Despatch Rider?

Despatch riders normally work a 40- to 50-hour week. Hours are normally between 9am to 6pm, but early starts and late finishes may be required. Some courier firms provide a 24-hour service, which would involve working at night.

On average, a London despatch rider does 10 to 20 separate collection/delivery jobs a day, covering about 100 miles.

Despatch riders/couriers work in all weathers. They also have to cope with exhaust fumes and noise from other vehicles. Safety clothing such as a helmet, leathers, gloves and boots are always worn.

What does it take to become a Motorcycle Despatch Rider?

As a motorcycle despatch rider, you should:

  • enjoy motorcycling and be a skilled rider
  • be physically fit
  • be reliable and punctual
  • be able to work on your own
  • have good literacy and numeracy skills for delivery and expenses records
  • have the ability to follow maps and guides, plan and learn routes
  • have a mature attitude
  • be friendly and presentable.
A basic knowledge of motorcycle maintenance is useful.

Motorcycle Despatch Rider Career Opportunities

There are around 20,000 motorcycle despatch riders working throughout the UK. Most opportunities are in major cities.

Despatch riders/couriers can be employed, earning a fixed salary, or work on a self- employed basis as a freelance rider.

Some despatch riders become controllers or start their own courier firms.

Further information

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

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

Careers in Logistics

Despatch Association
Lamb’s End House
36 Church Rd
King’s Lynn
PE34 3DG
Tel: 01553 813479

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Courses to help you become a Motorcycle Despatch Rider