Starting work as a courier soon

Any tips for a first timer?

:slight_smile:

Are you using there bike or yours? whats the company name ?

Are you mad. :slight_smile:

Well I’d say don’t take risks that aren’t worth it, regardless of the time pressure or anything your controller says to you. Just ride smoothly and try and work out the quickest routes you can find, though its all about road and street knowledge really and the longer you do it the quicker you get basically.
Its less about riding flat out and more knowing the short cuts etc.
Its tough when you first begin, give it a couple of months and you’ll have a good working knowledge both of the best routes and your usual customers, location of buildings and businesses etc - a lot of runs can be repetitive so once you’ve learnt a regular circuit its a hell of a lot easier.
Don’t expect to earn a huge amount when you’ve only just started though, it takes time to get quick and time is money basically…
Good luck. Not the best time of year to start though!

what he said!:smiley:

6 months or so was enough for me;)

tho some people are good at it and can earn the money, so good luck!:slight_smile:

Yup, find a different job!:slight_smile:

Couple of tips:

Puncture repair kit, tool kit with a dry clean cloth, gaffa tape, cable ties, torch (with fresh batteries), magnifying glass, a bottle of mineral water, headache pills, plasters. Spare gloves and socks are also useful.

Waterproof boots or socks are a must, as are waterproof overs. Lots of bungees. Take sandwiches.

Places to pee are few and far between :slight_smile:

If you cannot hear what the controller said keep asking till you get it, or get it spelt phonetically, texted etc.
There is a joke about the courier who got asked by the controller to head to Moorgate for a pickup.
A couple of hours later, wondering whether the courier had picked up the Moorgate job the controller called him. Won’t be long the courier says, just pulling into Margate now :slight_smile:

Usually get package off the customers desk as a priority. Once POB the pressure reduces unless there are deadlines or tenders.

Dont tell the controller to f**k off or you get no work for a while :slight_smile:

Expect to drop the bike once every three months (average). Be it slipping and losing balance or crashing.

Bike takes a beating daily. Keep it serviced and legal.

Keep the mindset that everyone else on the road is out to get you and is a potential hazard (other bikes included).

You will not ride at weekends and will hate riding in your spare-time :frowning:

When you crash, do not pick up the bike until you have picked up all the packages and stuff that came flying out of your topbox. As soon as the bike is picked up everything starts moving again and you will have to retrieve your packages whilst dodging between the cars :slight_smile:

Rainy days are sh*t.

Some days are just the best in the world (sunny, dry, biking hero :slight_smile: ) and cannot be beaten for the feeling of freedom and the rush of adrenalin that you get when it all comes together :cool:

Will be starting again January/February ish and might see you out and about.

Good Luck :slight_smile:

Thanks to all those that gave a few pointers.

To all those asking why…

Well it’s better than arguing down the dole office for money that is legally yours, when the staff are giving you grief like as if you’re asking for money coming out of their own pocket.

thats what i thought…

i done it for 6 months, i wasnt very good at it to be honest, i was ok but not good enough to earn good money, plus after nearly getting taken out most days i got bored with it, i started messign about on the biek doign silly things in silly places, you defo have to discipline ya self, i would have ended up injured, dead or banned.

no matter what i’d never go back to it, some people love it as a job, good luck to em, not me…noooo sir.

good luck fella, if your workign for who i think you are you be ok if you like it!:slight_smile:

All the best with it, give it go, you wont know till you try…

a pal of mine tried it years back, spent more on fuel getting lost than he earnt lol

What sort of things do the couriers carry now?

I would of thought email had a big impact on work?

[quote]
Ratty46 (23/12/2009)

Cheers mate :slight_smile:

You’re right it did. Many old timer couriers I know say that the 80s and early 90s were the glory days in terms of what you could earn.

Some blame the wage drop on foreigners coming in and accepting low pay which then drove down the base amount that firms were willing to pay out, but as far as I heard, couriers didn’t protect themselves against this situation or start unions to regulate wages.

who you going to be working for??

Pretty difficult to form unions when everyone is basically self-employed as you don’t have any kind of bargaining power and firms can just as easily take on more riders as get rid of you.
A lot of riders jacked it in when the Brazilians started arriving at the end of the 90s with pay rapidly declining at the same time. The majority doing the job (in London) these days are Brazilians who come over on short term ‘student’ visas mostly and thanks to the self-employed ‘no questions asked’ nature of the job remain in it which is what attracts a lot of them to it.
Hence pay is poor, £3 minimums and mileage rates even with ‘big’ firms like City Sprint are as low as 55 pence a mile (many bikes cost 55p a mile to run if you believe what you read in MCN!) - barely enough to make much above the minimum wage a lot of the time when you take off all the unavoidable expenses and taxes taking into account working hours which are often 10 hours plus a day.
That said there aren’t many other alternative ways to get paid to ride a motorbike and this is what appeals about the job to a lot of people.

'good luck fella, if your workign for who i think you are you be ok if you like it!:slight_smile:
[/quote]

Cheers mate :slight_smile:

You’re right it did. Many old timer couriers I know say that the 80s and early 90s were the glory days in terms of what you could earn.

Some blame the wage drop on foreigners coming in and accepting low pay which then drove down the base amount that firms were willing to pay out, but as far as I heard, couriers didn’t protect themselves against this situation or start unions to regulate wages.
[/quote]

**

[quote]
ceebee (23/12/2009)

Pretty difficult to form unions when everyone is basically self-employed as you don’t have any kind of bargaining power and firms can just as easily take on more riders as get rid of you.
A lot of riders jacked it in when the Brazilians started arriving at the end of the 90s with pay rapidly declining at the same time. The majority doing the job (in London) these days are Brazilians who come over on short term ‘student’ visas mostly and thanks to the self-employed ‘no questions asked’ nature of the job remain in it which is what attracts a lot of them to it.
Hence pay is poor, £3 minimums and mileage rates even with ‘big’ firms like City Sprint are as low as 55 pence a mile (many bikes cost 55p a mile to run if you believe what you read in MCN!) - barely enough to make much above the minimum wage a lot of the time when you take off all the unavoidable expenses and taxes taking into account working hours which are often 10 hours plus a day.
That said there aren’t many other alternative ways to get paid to ride a motorbike and this is what appeals about the job to a lot of people.

**

pretty much true, dont forget also, e-mail and the internet and digitalisation of things means less work and less money too, best thing to do is go medical…theres always work.

that said beign a courier is easy in thought in reality its not that easy, respect to anyoen that does it for a while and can earn out of it.

I don’t think I could do this job, it’s just so dangerous and high stress.

Good luck and stay safe. No amount of money is worth more than your safety.

Without a doubt the electronic media, growth of the internet etc has killed a lot of the market for same day courier mail but there’s a definite trend with London firms where illegal workers have driven down the pay and earnings expectations.
I think they’d basically be forced to pay more realistic rates if it wasn’t the case as they simply wouldn’t have the riders, as it is so many firms and an overabundance of constantly arriving cheap labour from Brazil means companies are constantly trying to undercut each other on price and feel no obligation to pay realistic money for the work which is a shame really.

**

pretty much true, dont forget also, e-mail and the internet and digitalisation of things means less work and less money too, best thing to do is go medical…theres always work.

that said beign a courier is easy in thought in reality its not that easy, respect to anyoen that does it for a while and can earn out of it.

[/quote]

Does anyone else think that “ceebee” is “cmb” recycled?

Discuss:

  • 1Think you have something there

I think everything that Joe Public said was right, except for places to pee being hard to find.

I did it off an on for 8 years, in three 3 and a half years stints. Each time I left I thought I would never go back to it, but after a while you forget the bad points.

It’s true that the work is not there anymore, and it’s also true that there are a lot of Brazilians on the circuits, but I don’t think they are necessarily taking away all the work. There has always been different nationalities on the circuits, one time there were a lot of Polish people, before that Kiwis and so on.

I would not advise you not to do it, as you may take to it.

The first six months are tough, especially when I started as it seemed to rain every day. But then one day everything should click into place and the job becomes a lot easier, but you will always have bad days. It’s very very hard to make a living and may need to have saving to cover the first few months.

Plus points.

It should make you a very good rider, and very fast through traffic, although any courier will tell you it’s not about speed.
You will get very fit, unless you spend all day waiting for jobs and eating fast food. You won’t have to work with anyone you don’t like, but it helps to know your controller. You get to go places you would not normally see and meet lots of celebrities, and get inside buildings you would not normally get into. Your outdoors most of the time. Cash jobs.

Downside.
Coming off, Joe Public was not exaggerating, expect to come off about every three months. If you haven’t come off for a few months you start getting worried that this will be the day. Paranoia, a lot of couriers seem paranoid and depressed, they always think someone else on the circuit is getting fed with jobs. Partly true sometimes as newbies don’t get the best of jobs. Being sent to east grinstead at 8pm on a wet winter friday night with no return and your circuit is about to close for the night and you live in St Albans, yuk. But you have to do the job, because you need the money, or someone else will gladly do it, or your trying to keep in with the controller.
The way people treat you, in lifts for example, you would think you have stepped in something. Then there’s the snooty receptionists, hyper mejia types who have no idea what you went through to delivery their package, which you find out wasn’t that urgent after all, nothing ever is. Or the building security guards that seem to delight in watching you walking in to the overly large swanky glass foyers only to tell you the despatch office is round the back two streets away down some **** stained alleyway, that’ll have you chuckling.
Heat, yep the hot summer can be bad, if say you have a multi drop press release on and your brain is cooking away in your helmet.
The cold is not normally a problem, as you get used to it being out all the time, but the wet is a problem, you have to write things down in the wet, which will find a way in somehow to your nether regions, your bag and your top box :slight_smile:
You will not want to ride the bike at the weekend or even look at one, but you may find yourself going round to breakers to get all the parts that fell off your bike during the week. Your gear may just have dried out by Monday morning.
If you do give up after any length of time it can be hard to get back into a conventional job, your taxes might be in a mess.


So you have some freedom if you like being on your own, but you will be working long hours for very little money. You will also be in the minority if you have an accountant and pay your tax and NI each year, those that try find they have to dip in to their tax money for emergencies.

You need to learn the circuits accounts more than the streets, but the streets will come if you don’t know them that well. If you go on a plot circuit (I think nearly all are now) you will end up jumping whenever you here your number mentioned, that’s if you do it for too long.

You might see if there are any contract jobs going with a guarantee as these circuits are much less stressful.

It’s better to have two bikes, and you have to go for comfort and staying power over style. You also need a working knowledge of basic maintenance as you will tear through brake pads, tyres, chains and oil.

So it can be a very interesting/boring job which in probably bears little relation to what it looks like from the outside.

It is very difficult to turn the job into a realistic income, the costs of running any bike 30,000 plus miles a year are high whatever cost cutting measures you take.
For the hours you put in, expenses and time spent servicing or replacing parts on your bike eating away at your free time and free money it doesn’t really make great financial sense.
Even with a good, busy firm your gross income can fluctuate from £600 plus a week down to as little as £300 or so which just isn’t funny really when you have rent to pay and all the usual job costs also. Its hard to describe it as a reliable income no matter what you put into it there’s always some setback (bike breaks down, need to buy some expensive parts etc) which takes away your profit and of course the more miles you do the more it costs you. While at the same time you have an end of year tax bill and payments on account to worry about…
Not a good way to live, particularly as most companies will not pay fixed guarantees these days.
That said the freedom the job can offer is great and in the middle of summer getting paid to blast down a motorway seems a privilege rather than a chore. Obviously the winter months are something you often have to endure rather than take any enjoyment from riding through though.
Riding a bike through necessity is very different to just riding to work or for fun at the weekend.