With online shopping at an ever increasing high, the demand for couriers is also seeing record levels. Becoming a self-employed courier driver is extremely appealing and in 2013 accounted for 5 – 8% of the logistics sector delivering a billion parcels in 2012!
With courier service providers such as Deliveroo increasing their market share, the level of self-employed delivery drivers is on the rise.
A huge benefit to becoming self-employed is the flexibility of the job. As a self-employed courier, you will typically choose the hours to which you wish to work which allows you to work around your other commitments.
As a new ‘Novice’ courier, you can expect to make around £12k a year, but experienced couriers often see around £20k a year.
If you are considering becoming a courier, here is what to think about from comparing cheap courier insurance to qualifications.
Aside from a full UK drivers licence typically held for more than a year, you don’t require any formal qualification. If you wanted to go that extra mile and rise above your competitors, maybe consider joining a recognised association or gain a logistics centred NVQ. They are not required but do look good on CV’s or applications for courier based work.
An often overlooked but ever so vital skill of a self-employed courier is knowing where to go and how to plan out your route. Your route will not be planned out for you so typically you will need to look at your drop offs and work out your own route. Take time to learn the local traffic patterns as well. This will enable you to avoid traffic jams and hold ups.
Being a courier is not just about driving and dropping off parcels. Correct and accurate book keeping is also required when self-employed. Not paying your taxes through bad book keeping can leave you in a lot of trouble with the HMRC. Forgetting to take out a courier van insurance policy is equally damaging if pulled over by the police.
Being a courier means you spend a lot of time on your own, which works for some but you will be required to talk to and meet other people. If you regularly deliver to companies, take the time to get to know who is who, it will make delivering in the future a lot easier.
It goes without saying that you will require your OWN van, or at least have a leased van in your OWN name. Insurance companies cannot quote or protect vehicles not owned by you or registered to you a soul keeper. You van will require a valid MOT and be protected with insurance. Working on keeping your drivers license clean and not claiming if not required will also help you tenfold in the long run.
Keep a level of basic tools as well, make sure you have a spare wheel and the means to change it if required.
If you meet all these skills or can carry out all the above, it sounds like you are set to become a courier. We have another article on working out your courier van costs that may be worth you reading.