what is a courier?

Couriers collect and deliver parcels to customers for businesses. You can use a vehicle provided by the employer or your own vehicle to complete the deliveries. Some couriers also use bicycles, vans, public transport or motorcycles to deliver parcels. 

A courier's job is quite demanding since you have to pick up parcels and deliver them on time despite the traffic. Most couriers use a multi-collection and multi-drop system to help them increase the shipping volume while keeping the transport costs at a minimum. As a courier, you need route optimisation software and a satellite navigation system to schedule deliveries and collections efficiently. You can identify the shortest routes for deliveries and pick-ups to optimise your workday.

Apart from collecting and dropping off items, a courier also needs to keep good records, such as proof of delivery and payment. You also need to provide good customer service, as you are the first point of contact between the company and the client. It’s important to be polite, friendly and efficient. You also handle any issues that arise during delivery and ensure they don't affect the delivery schedule.

Would working as a courier suit your dependability and resourcefulness? Then read on to find out what competencies and qualifications you need to thrive in a courier role.

courier jobs

average salary of a courier

The average salary of couriers is around £45,000 per year. However, when you're starting out, your salary may be about £20,000 before promotions and raises.


male standing beside van delivering package
male standing beside van delivering package

types of courier

Being a courier requires you to learn as you go. However, no matter the industry you perform deliveries for, it's still important for you to have great interpersonal skills since you'll be interacting with various types of people throughout the day. You should also be detailed-oriented and know how to follow directions since you'll likely be delivering several items or documents to various locations. You can be a courier for a law firm, a delivery service, or another type of professional office where you are required to transport goods or documents from the home office to another location.

legal couriers

Although delivering time-sensitive materials within legal venues is the primary function of this position, you might also find yourself doing clerical and other miscellaneous work for the law firm if you aren't an independent contractor.

medical lab and delivery service couriers

You can also work as a courier if you want to work for a delivery service or medical lab. In this position, you may be asked to transport sensitive or hazardous materials, work according to a strict schedule and properly label lab materials.

bank couriers

A bank courier not only handles important documents but also items of value such as the financial institution's cash deposits. Couriers who work for banks often use an armored truck for safety. To qualify for this type of courier position, you should be a vigilant person and possibly have training in self-defence.


working as a courier

Working as a courier involves helping businesses deliver goods on time and provide the best customer service. The role requires daily interactions with different people and following strict delivery procedures. Read on to learn the daily tasks and work environments of a courier.


education and skills

Couriers don't need post-secondary education since most employers focus on your driving record and licences. You can apply for a courier job when you complete your GCSEs and have a good driving record and a valid driver's licence. Most employers also expect you to have basic math and English skills. Some couriers join the role through intermediate apprenticeships as delivery drivers.

skills and competencies 

Some qualities of a courier include:

  • be dependable and reliable: couriers don't always need special certificates or training, but they need a dependable form of transportation, the ability to meet deadlines, and the capability to be resourceful and responsible. Your employer and clients should be able to count on you for urgent deliveries. You should also be familiar with your delivery route's major and minor roads.
  • thinking outside the box: as a courier, you should think on your feet and be creative. Sometimes, you can get stuck in traffic a few minutes before the deadline when delivering urgent legal documents. You may have to contact the recipient or the courts to inform the judge or legal counsel of the delay.
  • communication skills: as a courier, it's useful to be a good communicator since you interact with coworkers, managers and customers. Efficient communication also helps you to provide accurate information to clients.
smiling female in a warehouse
smiling female in a warehouse


FAQs about working as a courier

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