Couriers collect items such as letters, packages and parcels for a customer and deliver them to their destination. They may deal with items that are urgent or confidential or deliver items from online shopping companies or, more increasingly, food delivery services.
You could be:
- getting instructions by radio or mobile phone from your employer’s office or depot
- collecting items and getting details of the delivery arrangements
- storing items carefully in the delivery vehicle
- planning in advance the delivery routes by using satellite navigation (sat nav) equipment, reading maps or using local knowledge
- travelling by motorcycle, van, bicycle or on foot, in cities, towns and more rural areas
- using a hand held scanner to get a signature of receipt when you deliver the item
- taking payment if required
- contacting your depot to confirm that the delivery has been made, and getting instructions for your next job.
The figures below are only a guide. Actual pay rates may vary, depending on:
- where you work
- the size of the company or organisation you work for
- the demand for the job.
Many couriers are self-employed and are paid for each item they deliver, so wages can vary. Starting pay for employed couriers is around £13,500 a year upwards, and with experience and commission, some can earn up to £22,000. There is often a petrol allowance in addition.
- Bike or motorcycle riders have to be prepared to work outdoors in all weathers.
- You might work in heavy traffic and there could be a risk of accidents.
- You might work evenings and weekends.
- In other cases, you might be on call for companies operating 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
- In some jobs there might be heavy lifting.
- You may have to meet targets, such as making a set number of deliveries per day.
- For some companies you would wear a uniform.
- If riding a bicycle or motorcycle, you would wear a protective helmet and possibly high visibility clothing.
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- A good general education is useful. Some employers may prefer you to have some subjects at National 4 or 5, including English and maths.
- You must be at least 17 years of age to get a car licence (which also covers vans up to a certain size) or motorcycle licence. Depending on the size and power of the motorcycle you may need to be older.
- For some jobs, you may need to have your own vehicle.
- You should be physically fit.
- You may need a PVG Scheme record from Disclosure Scotland to show that you are suitable for this type of work.
Predicted Employment in Scotland
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What Does it Take?
You need to be:
- reliable and responsible
- a good driver or cyclist, aware of road rules and safety
You need to be able to:
- work to tight schedules
- follow instructions
- work alone
- read street and road maps or use a satellite navigation unit.
It helps if you have local knowledge of the area, including short cuts and one-way systems.
- You would usually receive training on the job from an experienced courier.
- Courier training schemes may be available in some areas.
- You could take the Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ) Driving Goods Vehicles at SCQF Level 5 or 6.
- Promotion prospects are limited, but some couriers can go on to become depot controllers, allocating work to the various couriers.
- It may be possible to become self-employed and start your own courier service.
The following organisations may be able to provide further information.
Driver and Vehicle Standards Agency (DVSA)
Tel: 0300 200 1122
The DVSA replaced the Driving Standards Agency (DSA) in April 2014. Its aim is to promote road safety through improving driving standards, testing drivers, motorcyclists and driving instructors, maintaining the registers of Approved Driving Instructors and Large Goods Vehicle Instructors and supervising training for learner motorcyclists.
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