If the occupation of courier is in your future, you may be able to design your own business if you decide to become a contractor in the field. Many couriers are independent contractors who use personal vehicles such as bicycles and vans to make deliveries, working to get documents and packages from point to point. It is a fast-paced job that requires an intricate knowledge of the city you work in and a high level of responsibility as the items your customers entrust you with must arrive safely and on time
- Decide on the type of courier service you want to offer by contract. If you choose to be a bicycle courier, for example, remember that it will restrict you to smaller coverage areas. If you choose to use a van or truck for your contract services, you will be able to make deliveries to more individuals and cover larger areas.
- Specify and set delivery times that you will offer to your contracts. For example, you may decide that you will offer a one-hour service. This choice will limit your coverage area, but it may also increase the number of clients you may be able to serve because you have a tight delivery windows.
- Choose whether you want to offer your services as a subcontractor or by contract to the customer. Subcontracting means that you are signing a contract with an established courier business and they will pay you to deliver to their customers. Customer contracts require that you find customers and service them directly. The advantage of subcontracting is that you do not have to find clients. As a direct contractor, however, you can choose your clients and locations more personally.
- Decide how much you will charge for your services. There are many options and they can depend on the number of deliveries, location, weight and distance. For example, if you contract with a company that asks you to deliver every day, you will most likely charge them a different per delivery rate than the occasional contract.
- Contact an insurance agent and inquire about the types and cost of insurance you will need. You will want to insure your courier vehicle, even if it’s a bicycle. This is considered a business and you will be able to cover it. Check into health insurance as your accident risks either behind the wheel or on a bicycle may be higher. Finally, check into becoming bonded. This is a form of insurance for the customer that verifies that you are of good moral character and can be trusted to take their valuable packages.
- Join a network of other contractors. These networks can help you build your business when you take the time to learn from those already doing the job. You can get inside tracks on job opportunities and learn which companies are best to work for and which independent contracts might be available to you.
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