dispatch rider messenger
Transport, distribution and logistics

Career outlook for courier

Average UK salary


Currently employed in Scotland


"LMI for All" supplies our salary and employment status information. "Oxford Economics" supplies job forecasts and employment figures. Due to COVID-19 the jobs market is constantly changing. Some of the information may not reflect the current situation.

What's it like?

You would collect packages, documents and letters from customers and use a van, motorbike or bike to deliver them quickly and reliably.

Most of your work would be for businesses which need to send something to another business or to a customer. The parcel may be urgently required or it may contain confidential documents that cannot be posted.

The package would probably need to be delivered as soon as possible after you pick it up.

You’d usually work in and around large towns and cities. But you could also work on cross-country deliveries.

You would:

  • Collect a schedule of pick-up points and deliveries from your depot
  • Plan routes and sort the jobs into order for dropping off the items
  • Find the quickest routes to delivery addresses
  • Sign for the packages that you pick up and get signatures when you deliver them
  • Keep paperwork and delivery records up to date

You’d usually drive a van or ride a motorcycle, but in larger cities you might work as a bicycle courier.

Working conditions


Your average working week in a full-time job would be around 30 to 40 hours. This may include evenings, weekends or shifts. Part-time work is often available.


As a motorcycle or bicycle courier, you would mainly work in city centres and surrounding areas. If you work as a van courier, you may have to spend periods away from home, as some companies deliver goods across the country.

UK employment status





Self employed


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  • Resilience
  • Positive attitude
  • Reliable
  • Time management
  • Taking initiative
  • Developing a plan
  • Resourceful

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Getting in

Entry requirements for courses can change. Always contact the college, university or training provider to check exactly what you'll need.


No formal qualifications are required but most employers will value a good general education with English and maths. Some employers will ask for qualifications at SCQF level 4/5.

Useful subjects

  • English
  • Maths
  • Geography

You will also need

  • A driving licence will be essential for some jobs. 
  • You may need your own car, van, motorcycle or bicycle.
  • You may need to pass a Protecting Vulnerable Groups (PVG) Disclosure check for some jobs.

Helpful to have

Qualifications and experience that demonstrate employability skills such as good time keeping and physical fitness.