Self-employed courier jobs are booming on the back of an explosion in online buying. This brings with it huge opportunities plus some challenges.
Nobody seriously questions that there is an ongoing explosion in the number of self-employed courier jobs out there.
The reasons for that are clear – it’s being driven largely, though not exclusively, by the never-ending appetite of consumers for buying and conducting their business online.
This is important not only for people looking for income via self-employed courier jobs but for the national economy as well.
The Booming Courier Sector
In just a few short years, online buying has gone from a niche and slightly ‘hobbyist’ domain to a national industry worth an estimated £5 billion in 2016. One of the inevitable consequences of that has been a massive growth in the demand for courier delivery services. In fact, the postal/courier industry is worth another £4.4 billion to the economy each year. That makes it one of the UK’s most important industries.
If that was perhaps predictable, even if only with the benefit of hindsight, less predictable is that this demand has also started to change and evolve – almost before it settled down, to begin with.
What’s happening is two-fold:
• Consumer expectations of delivery times are getting more demanding. Increasingly next-day delivery – or in some urban areas even same-day delivery – is being demanded.
• There is a move away from the point to point deliveries and an increasing use of ‘delivery box’ facilities in central locations.
A Dynamic Industry Sector
For the most part, this is all extremely good news for those looking for self-employed courier jobs as a way of earning money. Yet it does have its challenges too.
Customers are now looking for couriers that are fast and flexible while remaining cost-effective. So, that old “yes, we’ll get it delivered sometime in the next few days” just isn’t acceptable anymore. If the customer wants next-day delivery then courier Reading companies will need to find a way of doing so.
Even the switch to drop-boxes offers its own challenges. These exist in a variety of forms, often consisting of a manned location in, for example, mainline train stations where couriers will deliver parcels for collection.
These delivery locations are often in city centres and that has implications for traffic and the environment.
Yet another dynamic is the increasing trend for buyers to ask for delivery to their place of work. Logistically that’s understandable, but for self-employed courier jobs, it has legal implications as well as the liabilities that go with them.
Imagine the position whereby a motorcycle courier has been asked to deliver a parcel to a business address which consists of a large office block.
Do they leave the parcel in reception? And if they do, who has accepted legal responsibility for it? If the courier has to wait for a named individual to sign for it, are they also expected to ask for proof of identity? How long should they wait in reception for that named individual to be tracked down?
While the dynamics and national revenue implications of a booming courier sector are clear and while nobody seriously doubts the benefits to people working within the industry, nevertheless, the pre-occupation with fast and infinitely flexible deliveries must have some natural limits for both practical and legal reasons.
At the moment, though, such considerations are largely confined to the fringes and self-employed courier jobs will continue to boom for the foreseeable future.