5 Ways to Earn More as a Courier

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Parcel delivery driving work is hugely in demand after the Covid pandemic accelerated the move to online sales. There are an increasing number of apps and delivery companies now in operation in the UK offering freelance, permanent, part and full-time work. Independent companies also hire delivery drivers and full time, permanent jobs can even offer use of a company car. Drivers must be aware that if using their own car they are probably expected to pay for their own courier insurance, although some basic cover may be provided by the employer.

With earning potential often down to the number of parcels delivered, here are some tips to earn more money and make drivers more efficient.

Don’t stick to one courier company

Drivers are restricting the amount of work they can get if they stick to one delivery app. Couriers are allowed to work for more than one app during the same shift, although it is usually not allowed to work for two at exactly the same time.

There are very real chances a driver could have a gap of a few hours between one job finishing and another coming in. By being logged in to numerous apps they are giving themselves the biggest chance of being busy during their own shift.

And if one is providing a lot of jobs that day, it may be worth sticking with that one even if it pays less, because the earning potential is more than the other better paid – but quiet – app.

Courier insurance requirements are very similar at each app, so signing up to more than one shouldn’t cause too much extra administration.

Compare different companies and apps

Another reason it is worth signing up to more than one service is because it gives couriers the best chance to compare wages, workloads, number of shifts, collection locations and more.

It’s worth asking other couriers when they’re seen waiting at the same place as they may highlight opportunities or tricks not known before.

Tips are increasingly common

While the perk is not usually automatically available for those working for courier firms compared to food and taxi apps such as Uber and Just Eat, some customers may decide to give a cash tip if they are especially happy with the service.

Be in with a chance of receiving gratuity by:

  • Delivering the goods quickly and with care.
  • Speaking to the customer, saying their name, smiling and asking how they are. Often drivers have the same route and have regulars so it’s worth taking the time to build a rapport with these people.
  • Apologising if there is a delay in delivery, even if it is not the driver’s fault. Explaining why shows the customer the carrier is human and is not trying to hide anything.
  • Saying goodbye and wishing them well.

Pick the right vehicle – and route

There is little point using an expensive, petrol-guzzling car to whizz around a town clocking up miles. It will cost a lot more to keep the car running – in fuel, repairs and insurance – compared to more efficient vehicles.

There is a reason many Uber drivers use electric cars as they are so cheap to power. While a courier may not want to invest in an electric vehicle, it’s still worth considering whether their vehicle is economical to run.

Looking around at fellow drivers may offer some inspiration as to which models are efficient.

Planning a route is also worthwhile. Getting to know the local area will help to make deliveries efficiently and navigate around road issues like crashes or closures. This comes with practice, but it’s worth taking note of where all the red lights, difficult junctions, busy roads and other issues are, and trying to work a way around them.

Use peak hours and heat maps

Each app will have its own peak time and this is often quite obvious depending on what service is being delivered. With parcel deliveries, drivers have the chance to earn the most in the run up to Christmas. One driver said he earned £9,000 in the three months to Christmas, compared to his usual £1,000 a month. Being paid per parcel delivered means peak shopping periods such as bank holiday weekends and big national events will also be more lucrative.

Online retailers such as Amazon regularly run big savings promotions, such as Amazon Prime Day, which will see an influx of orders and deliveries. Black Friday is a marketing strategy used across the board to encourage more sales, and shoppers are generally going online for these big promotional days to avoid chaotic scenes in-store. Using Amazon as an example, here is a list of the online retailer’s biggest sales periods when there will be more demand for its Amazon Flex couriers. 

Heatmaps can also be available for some apps, which show where people are ordering items from. It can be worth moving to these locations if the current one is quiet.

It’s worth testing a few different times to see what the workload is like. There may be a sweet spot that is not necessarily the busiest but has less competition, giving enough jobs to be working all shift without a wait.