What are the Responsibilities of a Courier?

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There have never been more couriers on UK roads. The amount of new companies launching online services and the widespread popularity of home deliveries since the pandemic started has been increasingly growing. For some, this has opened up opportunities in a new career as a courier or haulage driver.

However, despite the relative openness of this career to people of all walks of life, there are several requirements and responsibilities that new drivers will need to take into account before they enter the world of transportation for hire.

What Exactly is a Courier? 

Couriers are professionals who deliver packages from one location to another. They can transport a whole range of goods in various volumes and to various locations. For instance, one courier could transport 20-30 single parcels per day within a small geographic location while another could transport 50-100 packages across a whole county or district.

A courier delivers products, goods and parcels safely and efficiently to designated locations within a set timeframe. They must ensure proper handling and delivery of sensitive materials and deliver high standards of customer care.

This role is very similar to that of a haulier with some minor differences. Whereas couriers tend to do a number of small drop offs, a haulier is someone who does a lower maximum number of drop offs (2-3) a day which usually consists of larger goods from warehouse to warehouse, rather than from warehouse to customer.

If you fit the haulier criteria, your vehicle use will be classified as ‘haulage’, rather than the ‘carriage’ of goods for hire and reward. This might not seem important but it really is. It influences the amount of risk you will encounter in a standard day and the definition of courier and haulier differs between insurer to insurer, so it’s important that you explain the nature of your work to your provider and get the most cost effective and suitable policy for your circumstance.

Couriers are often employed by private delivery companies, but some work independently. You could be a part time courier, but may work full time and for extended hours during the holiday season.

What Job Duties Does an Entry Level Courier Perform? 

The level of experience you have and your seniority level within a company will affect the kind of duties you will be expected to perform each day, however, we’ve outlined some common activities you’ll need to perform as a courier.

  • May deliver up to 100 parcels a day
  • Keeps accurate records of deliveries and customer authorisation and ensure all documentation is submitted to management on time
  • Properly uses and maintains delivery equipment, including handheld scanner
  • May have to lift heavy products or parcels
  • Drives safely and follow all laws and rules of driving to maintain a safe and healthy work environment
  • Keeps company vehicle clean and ensure it is well-maintained, has fuel, oil and is ready to drive
  • Communicates with customers by phone to update them of delivery times if there have been issues or changes to their estimated time of arrival
  • Follows pre-planned route accurately without deviation from set course
  • Maintains communication with management to be informed of any change of delivery, route or schedule
  • Informs management of any obstructions to making safe, efficient deliveries on time

Major Roles

The duties assigned to each courier will vary from place to place, but there are some duties that are widespread throughout the profession.

  • Load and Unload Cargo – You will typically be responsible for loading and unloading cargo on your own. This means you should have knowledge of safe lifting techniques. Occasionally you might work in pairs when delivering particularly heavy or bulky items, however, it is often considered a role where employees can get plenty of time to themselves, but whether that’s a good or bad thing is often down to the individual.
  • Deliver Packages – After getting goods from a starting point to a specific location, the ultimate goal of a courier is to deliver packages to a recipient within a certain time frame. These packages must arrive undamaged and in the condition they were loaded in. Ideally, they must be handed to someone who can verify their receipt, but some companies may allow you to drop parcels by people’s door or in designated areas.
  • Accept Payments – Many couriers, especially food delivery drivers, will need to accept payment for packages or delivery fees upon arrival. This is where the customer service angle really comes into place. You may need to do this with a card reader or mobile credit card processor device, and you will also need to keep track of any payments made with records uploaded to an electronic database.
  • Drive Delivery Vehicles – Couriers often use company vehicles to deliver packages to their specified locations. Others may use their own vehicles to complete jobs.

Get Insured!

If you’re looking for a transit insurance policy online, we’d recommend you keep the above in mind to make sure all your future activities are covered. If you’re just starting as a courier, you might be advised by your company of the right policy to take out, however, you may also have to decide this yourself if you drive your own vehicle. If so, feel free to browse our different types of transit insurance policy online or get in touch with us directly.