Top tips for new couriers

The current coronavirus pandemic has had a dramatic impact on our economy. As a result many people have found themselves on furlough, working reduced hours or out of a job altogether after being made redundant by their employer.

Yet, while job opportunities in certain sectors have dwindled during the pandemic, a number of industries have actually seen increased demand. The courier industry is one of them.

The delivery industry has boomed during lockdown as a result of shops and restaurants being closed, and people spending a lot more time at home. This may have inspired you to consider a job working as a courier driver, especially if you’re currently out of work.

Delivery drivers have been hailed ‘the new emergency service’, explains a Guardian article. It states: “Just a month ago, they were deemed unskilled workers. Now they are essential in the fight to control coronavirus.”

Delivery drivers have helped keep the economy ticking along during the lockdown. They have delivered essential items to vulnerable people.

They have transported packages to businesses to enable them to continue operating. And they have allowed us to continue enjoying the occasional takeaway or online purchase!

There’s certainly a newfound appreciation for the humble courier, which might be a reason why you are considering working as one, even if it’s on a temporary basis.

Before we share some of our top tips for new couriers, the first thing you’ll need to do is think about insurance.

If you’re looking for van insurance for convicted drivers, we can help. The Insurance Factory specialise in arranging competitively priced van policies with cover tailored to your specific needs and requirements.

Whereas many insurance companies might deny you cover if you have a past conviction – whether it is motoring related or not – we will consider your individual circumstances and strive to find the most suitable policy, for the best price.

Meaning you can get on with earning money and building a new career in the delivery business!

A courier unloading packages from his van with a dolly

What makes a great courier?

When you’ve sorted all the admin, including van insurance for convicted drivers, and you’re ready to get out on the road, here are some top tips for being a successful courier.

Give yourself time

It can be quite stressful when you’ve got a van packed to the brim with packages that all need to be delivered to your customers before the end of your shift.

So give yourself as much time as possible – wake up that little bit earlier, make sure your route is mapped the night before, and have a backup plan in case there are any disruptions on the road.

If you feel stressed and under pressure because of time, you’re more likely to take risks on the road and drive erratically – which can put you in danger as well as other road users.

Never feel compelled to speed if you feel like you’re slipping behind schedule – it’s simply not worth it. Plus, sharp acceleration and braking increase the risk of damaging your customers’ goods in the back of the van.

Take care of people’s goods

It really goes without saying that your customers’ parcels should be handled with care. Not just when you’re carrying the goods from your van to the door, but also when loading and unloading them from the vehicle.

Treat them all as if they contain something fragile, also being mindful of how you should stack them safely and effectively – i.e. by loading larger items first, distributing the load evenly, securing goods if applicable, and being aware that items may have moved around when you come to open the doors.

Stay on top of your admin

Being a great courier requires strong organisational skills.

Of course, the amount of admin you will be expected to do will depend on whether you set up as self-employed or work for a courier company or other company requiring delivery drivers.

Nevertheless, staying on top of your admin includes:
  • Ensuring contact details are carefully recorded, including names, addresses and telephone numbers
  • Asking for signatures at the time of delivery (doing this could prove invaluable if you encounter any delivery disputes later down the line)
  • Informing customers in advance if you expect any delays to the delivery of their goods
  • If applicable, making sure you send clear and concise invoices, keeping a copy for yourself and regularly checking that they have all been paid
Two couriers unloading large boxes from the back of their van on a delivery

Don’t neglect health and safety

Couriers always need to be operating with health and safety in mind, but it’s more important than ever during the pandemic.

Given that you’re involved in handing over goods to people, you need to ensure that you maintain a high level of cleanliness from the start of your day to the end. This means that you should:
  • Sanitise your hands before handling goods. Note that hand sanitiser should never replace proper soap and water and you should seek to wash your hands thoroughly in this way if the facilities are available.
  • Keep your distance from customers when delivering goods. Many delivery drivers now hand over parcels by leaving them on the doorstep before knocking the door, then taking two steps back. If you choose to do this, make sure to wait around for the customer to answer.
  • Maintain a safe distance between other couriers at the parcel centre, if applicable.
  • Clean your van at least once a day, ideally more on places you touch often such as door handles and steering wheel. You should use a good quality antibacterial product or disinfectant suitable for the type of surface you are planning to use it on.

Van insurance for convicted drivers

Remember, before you can work as a courier you need to be covered. Insurance Factory Courier now offers 30- and 90-day courier policies if you’re working as a delivery driver as a short-term solution during the pandemic.

Depending on which policy you go for, we can also arrange a number of optional extras to run alongside your insurance.

This includes things like 14-day van replacement, excess protection, key care cover, gadget protection and insurance for breakdown and accidental damage.

Get a free, no-obligation quote today!

Policy benefits, features and discounts offered may very between insurance schemes or cover selected and are subject to underwriting criteria. Information contained within this article is accurate at the time of publishing but may be subject to change.