With more and more people shopping online and requiring parcel delivery as well as businesses needing such services, demand for self-employed couriers is high
You might have noticed in recent times that whenever you look out of your window, there is a courier van whizzing up or down your street. While Royal Mail is still the big name in postal services, many other companies now dominate the parcel delivery arena. And with more and more people shopping online and requiring parcel delivery as well as businesses needing such services, demand for self-employed couriers is high. So, is it the right business option for you?
Working for a company
Many couriers start out working for one of the big companies while others become self-employed under a company like Hermes. With Hermes, you are self-employed and can use your own vehicle but you don’t have to go around searching for customers. And you find you may be delivering many eBay packages. The system employs people in their local area to make the most of their knowledge and allows them to work the hours and days that fit in with their lifestyle – this also makes it a good second source of income alongside another job.
The process is simple – someone orders from a company who use Hermes and the company arranges the pick up or return. Parcels are dispatched to the courier and they then deliver them within the timeframe. If the customer needs to return an item, the use the from phonethem.co.uk to arrange the return and the courier collects the item.
Setting up on your own
The other option is to become a self-employed courier who works for themselves without being affiliated with a company like Hermes. There are pros and cons to this approach to consider.
For starters, the hardest part can be finding your first client. Once you start building up a few customers and have testimonials to offer to new customers to back up your promises, then it becomes easier to add to your list. Therefore, many new couriers look to offer slightly different services to those offered by the big companies to stand out in the crowd – evening deliveries and collections, for example, or weekend options.
Obviously, the biggest downside of the business is the same with any self-employed business at first – you are the business and if you don’t work, you don’t get paid. This might mean that you end up working longer hours or strange shift patterns to get the business established. But if you are dedicated, down the line when the business is thriving you can often take on employees to help.
Bike, car or van?
There are three main types of courier vehicle currently being used – motorbikes, cars and vans. Some inner-city couriers are even going for the environmentally friendly approach and using a bicycle to deliver parcels and this could be a niche for certain types of business.
Vans have the biggest capacity and therefore can hold the most items but are also the biggest investment. You need specialist courier insurance for all motorised vehicles and you will also want to check it covers the items you are carrying as they don’t belong to you – this makes it different to a normal policy that covers your own belongings.
Motorcycle couriers are quite a growing option. Capacity is smaller, obviously, but they are more mobile and can work around traffic in a way a car or van cannot. It does limit the number of jobs you can take but makes for a specialist service that is popular for high value, time sensitive or delicate items.
Starting your business
Autumn can be a good time to start your business as the demand for parcels increases as the Christmas season comes around. Make sure you have a firm business plan in place and look at how you will manage in quieter months during the summer to ensure your business is a success.