What Do Couriers and Messengers Do?
Couriers and messengers deliver items between businesses, usually with same-day service. They may work within one large company or go back and forth between several businesses in the same general area, and may drive, walk or bike from place to place. This category does not include workers who are considered delivery services drivers or light truck drivers.The US job market expects 1,260 openings in this field each year, even though there is a projected decrease in the total number of people working in this occupation. The projected openings are likely due to replacement of workers who are leaving this field.
Couriers and Messengers Skills and Abilities
Couriers and messengers must know their assigned territories by heart. They must also have alternate routes and forms of transportation in mind, in case of emergencies or transportation malfunctions. If you want to work in this field, you’ll have to be a good communicator. You’ll also have to be well-organized and know how to best manage your time. The usual reason that a client employs a courier instead of a shipping or postal service is time sensitivity. Always have a backup plan in place so that you can complete your assignments on time.
Couriers and Messengers Duties
Your duty as a courier will be to deliver goods, documents or messages to their intended destinations relatively quickly. To do this well, your daily tasks may include:
- Unloading freight
- Loading goods so as to prevent damage and to ensure that their weight is distributed appropriately
- Receiving messages, packages and specific instructions
- Keeping detailed notes and records
- Sorting goods and other items
- Managing your time well
- Doing routine office work, including filing and mailroom duties
- Planning your route for the utmost efficiency
- Maintaining your vehicle, if applicable
- Keeping good records of mileage, tolls and related expenses
- Keeping accurate records of what was delivered, what time it was delivered and the name of the person who received it
- Providing receipts and accepting payments
- Using office equipment to make copies and send messages
- Obtaining signatures when needed
- Relaying important information accurately and on time
- Communicating clearly and effectively
- Practicing good customer service skills
- Actively listening to ensure that you thoroughly understand your assignment
- Running miscellaneous errands for your employer
Couriers and Messengers Tools and Technology
In the course of your job as a courier, you may use office and warehouse tools such as barcode scanners, mail meters and forklifts. You may need to operate a vehicle (car, truck or van) or a bicycle. Alternatively, you may use public transportation such as bus systems or light rail. You will probably use spreadsheets, word processing software and mapping software (GPS) every day.
Education and Training for Couriers and Messengers
A high school diploma, along with a modest amount of on-the-job training, is usually all that is needed to get started as a courier. If the position requires you to drive, you will also need a driving license, a clean driving record and auto insurance.
Couriers and Messengers Salary
In the United States, couriers and messengers typically earn between $18,100 and $42,300 per year, with the median annual wage being $26,600. This works out to between $8.69 and $20.32 per hour, with a median hourly wage of $12.81.
Couriers and Messengers Jobs by Geography
Indiana, Alaska and Florida each expect an increase of over 10 percent in the messengers and couriers field. New York and California employ the highest number of couriers, but demand is expected to drop over time. When you’re looking for a courier job, consider which states are experiencing growth, and compare the expected wage with the typical cost of living. Remember to take into account any benefits that are offered, including mileage reimbursement.