Posted by Howard Trott on Tuesday, February 12, 2019 Under: Guest Motorcycle Articles
There are many reasons people choose a career in courier work. Some enjoy being on the move rather than working in a fixed location, while others may enjoy the potential of self-employment or the possibility of working towards being an owner driver. Plenty of couriers are simply people who are in possession of an appropriate vehicle and a few extra hours in which to supplement their income.
Whatever your reason for wanting to pick up some courier work, here are a few tips on how to get started.
What You'll Need
Before you even start to look for courier work, you'll need to make sure you have an appropriate vehicle and the right certification. Any vehicle with room to carry goods is suitable, but most couriers use small vans or motorcycles. This is because a van is large enough to carry a decent sized load while being small enough to navigate residential roads, while a motorcycle is ideal for urgent deliveries due to its ability to navigate traffic and narrow roads at speed.
You'll need to be licensed and insured to drive the vehicle, of course, and having extensive experience operating a vehicle is a big plus. Being a highly experienced rider is especially valuable if you intend to use a motorcycle, as courier work, especially in cities with lots of traffic, can be dangerous to a novice rider.
In addition to this, you'll need a copy of your 'Goods in Transit' insurance certificate, which you'll need to be able to produce to establish a working relationship with a courier company.
Of course, as with any job, relevant experience is one of the single most important things you'll need to get the work rolling in. Getting your foot in the door can be challenging, but with perseverance and the right attitude it can be done. Start by phoning around courier companies, and don't be afraid of dropping by in person, especially on a Friday morning (when they often experience a spike in demand). Offer your services for both regular work and casual work at peak times: while casual work alone may not pay the bills, at an early stage it's important to build a rapport with a company as well as build on your experience to enhance your portfolio.
If someone is interested but non-committal over the phone, call them again in a few days. It's not rare at all to have to call five or six times in total before getting a favourable response, so be persistent - but always polite. Your aim should be to get yourself onto the books of several companies in order to ensure a steady supply of work - although be careful not to overextend yourself and accept jobs you don't have time for.
Notes on Appearance
When you're a courier working in the public eye, maintaining a professional appearance is essential. Clean, smart clothes (perhaps dark trousers and a white shirt or polo) and a well-maintained van go a long way to making a good, lasting impression. Keeping a van clean and in good shape can be costly, so many new drivers hire a vehicle rather than buying their own; be sure to explore this option in terms of financial viability. Keep any company specific identification to hand, and consider wearing a name badge.
When you're starting out, courier work may be slow at first, but perseverance and a professional attitude will always get you to where you want to go in your career.
Norman Dulwich is a correspondent for Courier Exchange, the world's largest neutral trading hub for same day courier work in the express freight exchange industry. Over 4,000 transport exchange businesses are networked together through their website, trading jobs and capacity in a safe 'wholesale' environment.