What’s the Difference Between a Courier and Delivery Driver?

What’s the Difference Between a Courier and Delivery Driver?

Courier and parcel delivery driving has never been more popular, with more drivers looking at extra ways to boost their incomes. But did you know there’s more than one avenue to delivering for a living?

We take a look at the main differences between a courier and a delivery driver, to help you decide which is right for you. 

What does a delivery driver do?

A delivery driver works for a delivery or logistics company. 

Generally, drivers will deliver non-urgent personal or business goods – perhaps your latest eBay or Amazon purchase for instance. 

Driver responsibilities include performing the delivery service and ensuring timely delivery of packages, following safety rules, and keeping accurate records. You will typically report to a Logistics Manager, working part-time, full-time, or on a freelance basis. – From Hiringpeople

In essence, delivery drivers are responsible for delivering goods from point A to point B, safely and on time.

What does a courier driver do?

A courier driver either works for a courier company, or is self employed. They specialise in door-to-door delivery, offering a faster and more personal service.

Instead of working a pre-planned delivery route, a courier driver is more on-demand, meaning they’ll take jobs when booked. 

Couriers step in when parcels, letters or other goods need to be delivered quicker than standard delivery times. Time-sensitive documents or valuable items are often sent via courier as a more secure option than standard delivery. 

Because of the more personal service, couriers will often work solo, or for one delivery partner rather than multiple. 

man delivering parcels to a customer

What is the difference between a courier and a delivery driver?

The biggest difference between a courier and delivery driver is availability. 

Delivery drivers typically work a delivery route, with all loaded parcels to be delivered within a set time. Standard delivery times vary between companies, but you could expect a parcel to be delivered within 3-5 business days. 

Courier services are available to be booked 24/7, 7 days a week. Users will often pay more than standard postage, but it means their item will be delivered much faster. This enables couriers to be more reactive to jobs, and can be more agile than their delivery driver counterparts.

The downside to being a courier driver is that you’re not guaranteed a job, and you may have to drive long distances in short periods of time in order to meet delivery deadlines. 

As a delivery driver, you’ll also be expected to work to tight deadlines, but with far more parcels, and less chance of building connections with customers. 

What Skills Do I Need?

Luckily, the majority of skills needed to be a delivery driver are transferable. Great time management and organisation skills are a must, as are top notch driving skills, a friendly nature and flexibility. You will need to be reliable and trustworthy, and show strong communication skills. Positions that require care of medical supplies may ask for more experience, but the majority of jobs are entry-level, and you can learn on the road.

a man in a black jacket checking his phone, with parcels in his other hand

Is it better to be a courier or a delivery driver?

That really depends on you!

Both courier driving and delivery driving present their own set of challenges, from relying on on-demand work, to potentially long delivery routes with multiple drop offs. 

Delivering for parcel services like Evri or DPD can offer a more “normal” working day, having a start and finish time alongside your driver colleagues. 

Being a solo courier can be lonely, especially on long distances, but potentially would suit someone who prefers to appreciate the drive and works better without distractions. 

Courier and delivery drivers earn similar salaries, and both can top up their earnings by working for other online delivery platforms, such as Amazon Flex. 

Check job boards such as Indeed for driver jobs in your area. 

If you’d like more information about becoming a courier or delivery driver, you can check out our Day in the Life.

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