‘Courier’ is one of those jobs that everyone’s heard of and has a good idea about what it involves. But it’s also a job that many people do not understand fully and which only the people who actually do it have a full picture of. Whether you’re thinking about becoming a courier or you’re just interested in learning more about what it actually involves, here we aim to shed a little light on the profession, by presenting five things that you may not know about being a courier.
1. Couriers do it in all kinds of vehicles – Couriers come in all shapes and sizes, and use virtually all kinds of vehicles do carry out their deliveries. While some couriers may use a car or van to speed from one destination to the next, others, particularly in urban environments, zip from one drop to the next on motorcycles and even bicycles. In some parts of the world, especially in remote regions, couriers even make use of light aircraft and boats.
2. Couriers deliver all kinds of packages – Standard delivery drops for couriers include books and DVDs from online shopping sites, expensive jewellery and watches, furniture, letters and other items. Some of the more ‘non-standard’ deliveries that a courier might potentially deliver include vials of blood and organs for transplant.
3. Couriers need excellent navigational skills – Even in this age of sat nav and mobile phones with GPS navigation pre-installed, couriers are required to have exceptional abilities to find their way within their catchment area. This doesn’t just mean being able to get from A to B or C, it also means that you need to be able to find the quickest route there and take factors such as traffic conditions and weather into account.
4. Good interpersonal skills are essential to the job – While you may be by yourself while you’re driving or riding, at either end of your journey you will be required to converse with actual human beings, so this isn’t a job for the anti-social at heart. As well as confirming the contents of the package and checking with the sender and recipient that all relevant paperwork is filled out, it’s generally expected that you’ll make a little conversation, and doing so can actually help break up the working day and prevent the onset of loneliness.
5. Couriers need specialist insurance – If you’re delivering as part of your job using a car, van, motorbike or other motorised vehicle, standard vehicle insurance will be insufficient to cover your activities on the road. Courier insurance is also worthy of consideration. This is because as a professional driver driving throughout the day (and doing more miles on daily basis) you’re exposed to a greater amount of risk and different risks than somebody who just uses their vehicle to commute to work. In fact, if you were driving on regular car insurance and you hadn’t informed your insurer about using your vehicle for work purposes, your policy will most likely be declared void in the event of an accident. Couriers need specialist courier insurance
As well as cover for actually driving the vehicle and insuring it against theft, there are a few other types of courier insurance that all couriers should consider, even those who deliver by pedal-power. Insurance that will cover you in the event that your load is lost or stolen is an essential consideration for courier businesses and self-employed couriers. You should also strongly consider adding public liability cover to your courier insurance, as this will protect you in the event that you cause injury or loss as the result of an accident as you’re zipping around from one place to the next.
Marc Loud is a partner at Park Insurance, for over 30 years of experience who cover a range of specialist insurance sectors.