While the concept of delivering local packages and messages may seem like a new phenomenon, courier services date all the way back to Egypt over 4,000 years ago for the delivery of written documents. Today, with the advent of bicycles and motor vehicles, the practice continues and relies on both full-time and freelance employees, yet it can also cause controversy.
It’s no surprise that freelancing, which allows workers to accept payments for individual jobs or tasks, would also extend to delivery services. As more businesses and individuals look for fast, affordable, and secure local deliveries, they turn away from the post office and instead rely on local couriers to carry their documents and packages. For freelancers, this means getting paid per assignment: the more a courier can deliver, the higher earnings a courier can receive.
While landing a job for a company as a freelance courier be profitable, it isn’t a guarantee of overnight success. Additionally, companies may have several requirements upon hiring a freelance courier, and as with any freelance work, it’s important for anyone considering this career not to take on more than possible.
Having reliable transportation, good car insurance, and a cell phone for contacting customers are all essential when starting out as a freelance courier. However, there are start-up costs involved: a person may have to purchase additional insurance coverage if he or she plans to use a personal vehicle for work. In addition to good cell phone coverage, some businesses may recommend the use of computers, smartphones, and GPS systems, which are all useful for obtaining directions to a delivery site but can be pricey investments.
One of the advantages of working as a freelance courier is that it is possible for the courier to choose his or her own pricing structure. With the high costs of gasoline in the United States, averaging around $3.64 according to AAA, freelance couriers should factor gas prices into their rates, in addition to mileage and wear and tear on their vehicles.
Finding local businesses that require a courier may be a challenge for some, but freelance couriers can advertise their services in the want ads to gain customers. Sometimes, the types of businesses that require a courier are unexpected.
One such case of an uncommon delivery service is same-day alcohol delivery, as is available from Australian liquor provider Dan Murphy’s. Dan Murphy’s came under fire in the past year for their alcohol deliveries, as critics pointed out that the retailer could, either intentionally or unwittingly, sell alcohol to minors.
A spokesperson for Dan Murphy’s stated that measures are in place to prevent the sale of alcohol to minors, who Australia count as anyone under the age of 18. The Dan Murphy’s website simply asks for a birth date at checkout; the site’s statement on responsibility of alcohol sales, however, informs customers that they will need to show ID when they receive any delivery if they appear under 25.
Sensitive deliveries, such as those involving confidential documents, medical equipment, and pharmaceuticals, are common requirements for couriers, as some businesses fear these materials getting lost in the mail. While the issue of a courier service for alcohol deliveries may remain controversial for some time, what these deliveries and others illustrate is that the possibilities are endless for these services, both for businesses and for freelancers.