what is a courier?

Typically, couriers make sure that important documents get to the right place. Couriers can work for law offices, medical labs or financial institutions. Sometimes, a courier will bring copies to other parties. This means you may have to go to a person's home or place of work to deliver paperwork to them. Usually, the recipient expects the documents, such as when waiting for a legal response about their litigation case. However, sometimes you have to deliver court papers to someone who isn't expecting them, such as when a person is being served notice that lawsuit documents or divorce papers have been filed against them. You have to be brief and professional in these instances while maintaining a calm demeanour.

A courier can work for an attorney's office or as an employee for a courier service. Some couriers work as independent contractors as well.

courier roles available

average salary of a courier

According to Job Outlook, couriers earn an average weekly pay of $ 1,277, below the national average wage of $1,464 per week. As you start your career, your salary is low but increases as you improve your skills and experience. The compensation package often depends on your employer and the scope of the role.

For instance, you are more likely to earn minor working for the government than working for a private courier service. Medical and legal couriers also make more than flower couriers.

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courier salary

types of couriers

You can be a courier for a law firm, a delivery service or another 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 a law firm if you aren't an independent contractor.
  • Medical lab and delivery service couriers: you can also work as a courier 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 handles essential documents and valuable items such as the financial institution's cash deposits. To qualify for this courier position, you should be vigilant and have self-defence training. Couriers who work for banks use an armoured truck for safety.

working as a courier

Being a courier requires you to learn as you go. However, no matter the industry you perform deliveries for, it's still crucial for you to have excellent interpersonal skills since you'll be interacting with various types of people throughout the day.

courier job description

Some of the standard duties of a courier include:

  • Picking and delivering parcels: as a courier, your primary responsibility is to pick up documents from a client's office and drop them at the stipulated destination. For instance, you can pick legal paperwork from the court or medical specimens and ensure they arrive in good condition.
  • Taking phone delivery orders: when you work for a courier delivery service, your job involves taking delivery orders and planning your schedule. You need to plan your route to maximise efficiency and time.
  • Getting recipient signatures and confirmation: when you deliver a package, the recipient should sign a delivery form to ascertain that they have received the parcel. You also answer any questions from the recipient.

procedural knowledge

Couriers should also be aware of their obligations in the chain of custody. When the evidence in the documents or items is sensitive, court messengers must take special precautions to deliver the items intact and document each delivery process step. Couriers often deliver papers for law offices that don't trust other delivery methods. These documents can include confidential information or sensitive evidence that could make or break a case. Legal couriers sometimes run miscellaneous errands as well. Couriers may also be asked to file paperwork with the court or negotiate with courthouses to ensure court divisions have the proper pleadings and return the correct filed copies of these documents to the appropriate law offices.

work environment

As a courier, you'll be working outdoors often since you drive or walk from one location to another to deliver packages or documents. You won't be in an office all day, which could be beneficial if you prefer a change of scenery during the day. Being a courier does involve travel, so make sure you know the weather forecast so that you can plan your commute to ensure your items are delivered on time. When you are a bank courier, you travel in armoured vehicles to transport sensitive items.

who are your colleagues?

Depending on your employer and the industry you work in, your colleagues might include delivery drivers, store persons and transport and dispatch clerks. You might also work close to transport services managers and logistics clerks, as well as other specialists that could include, but are not limited to, florists, lab assistants, legal secretaries, and executive assistants.

work schedule

As a courier, you'll have hours of free time in your day paired with specific time frames to complete your assignments, whether you're an employee or an independent contractor. You may not have a standard 9 to 5 schedule when you're a courier. Therefore, you will need to stay organised and prioritise your work. You might want to schedule all the things you need to do in a day in order of importance. Be sure to plan in case of an emergency or unexpected events that may prevent you from getting important documents to the appropriate parties on time. You can work full-time or part-time positions depending on the flexibility options provided by the employer.

job outlook

As a courier, you can progress to other roles in the delivery field like becoming a dispatch clerk or moving to supervisory positions like logistics clerk or store person. If you improve your skills and educational qualifications, you can become a procurement or supply chain officer. Some couriers specialise in transportation and become delivery drivers. You can open a courier service when you have extensive experience in the parcel delivery industry. A self-employment is only an option when you have years of experience working with a courier company.

advantages of finding a courier job randstad

Finding your courier job through Randstad provides essential advantages such as:

  • a wide variety of training and development opportunities
  • an experienced contact person to provide help if needed
  • a range of options in your area
  • get paid weekly or monthly, depending on the job
  • temporary and permanent contracts

want a permanent contract?

A temporary job as a courier is often a stepping stone to an attractive permanent career. Thousands of people earn a permanent contract with great employers every year thanks to a temporary job found through Randstad. What's more, many companies recruit their permanent employees through Randstad too.


education and skills

Entry-level couriers must have a high school diploma or equivalent education, a driver's licence and a clean driving record. Couriers should also have reliable transportation they have access to at all times since they could be called on at any time to deliver paperwork. You may also need to undergo a background check since you'll have sensitive information in your possession as you transport it from one place to the next.

Legal couriers also go through customised training programs that teach them the principles of document security, confidentiality & ethics and other topics related to being a successful courier. This training is recommended but is not mandatory to start working as a courier.

skills and competencies

Some of the soft skills of a courier include:

  • Organisation skills: couriers must be organised since they handle the paperwork for several clients and cases simultaneously. Organisational skills help you deliver the correct documents to the intended client and maintain the necessary delivery paperwork.
  • Reliability: as a courier, you need to have a reliable mode of transportation to avoid inconveniences. You should meet deadlines and show responsibility and resourcefulness when handling sensitive parcels. You can ensure reliability by regularly servicing your method of transport and mapping out alternative routes during heavy traffic to avoid delays.
  • Thinking outside the box: you should consider on your feet and be creative sometimes. For instance, you may have to contact the recipient if you receive documents that must be filed with the court by 4 pm and are stuck in traffic a few minutes before the deadline. Get in touch with the courts to inform the judge or legal counsel that you will get the documents to the right place as soon as possible.
  • Time management: couriers have legal obligations to beat or meet deadlines. It is their job to pick up and drop off packages and documents that must submit within a specific time frame. Lawsuits usually include tight deadlines, so couriers must ensure all involved parties get the paperwork they need in time to fill out certain documents and submit them to the appropriate parties. You can plan your delivery routine well and ensure all parties receive the parcels on time with time management skills.
  • Communication skills: You communicate with various people during the day as a courier. You must learn phone etiquette and customer service skills to answer the recipients' questions after delivery.

FAQs about working as a courier

Here are the most asked questions about working as a courier:

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