Behaviour and care as a courier

It goes without saying that courier companies expect all couriers to behave reasonably and to take care in actually doing the job. Your actions, good or bad, will be seen as representative of the courier company as a whole and of course will be representative of their customer at the delivery point. Most of what follows will be obvious to anyone who has had any kind of customer-facing job in the past, but just in case it helps, let me spell it out:


You should remain polite and helpful when dealing with customers at all times, even when under stress. For example, you might arrive at a customer’s premises and they may think that you are late (you may be for one reason or another) and a member of their staff may comment on this. The technique here is to apologise, and not to react badly to the comment. You can either ask them to take the matter up with the controller, or if there is a genuine reason for the delay (traffic congestion, bad weather, kept waiting at collection point, etc.) then feel free to tell them what kept you.

Here are some examples (real ones) of the kind of things not to say to customers as a reason for being late or in any other circumstance include:

“Well, I had to get the other two jobs on board first, mate!”
“Do you wanna have a go and see if you can do any better?”
“My van broke down on the way here but I think I’ve fixed it now.”
“The other guy they sent got lost so they sent me instead.”

Always remember that you’re the person on the spot, so you’ll occasionally have to deal with some grief, but that in the end it’s up to the courier company to sort out any disputes. That’s what they’re there for. Just make sure you don’t add any fuel to the fire.

Taking care

By agreeing to carry out a delivery for a courier company, you have a serious duty of care to do the job with reasonable care in every respect.

Your vehicle has to be suitably equipped to undertake courier deliveries, and to take care of whatever you’re carrying.

You have to take care of the package, and be sure that it is safe to be carried on/in your vehicle – safe, that is, for you, for on-lookers, for anyone helping you, and for the consignment, both during the loading and unloading process, and whilst on board during the journey.

If you do not think it is safe to take the job, call the controller. The judgement of whether it is safe for the consignment and/or safe for you, remains your responsibility.

Make sure that the consignment is suitable and suitably packaged for transit by your vehicle type, in the weather conditions outside.

The whole point is that the consignment arrives at the delivery point in the same condition as was when you collected it.

It is worth making a written note of any flaws in the condition of the consignment (e.g. a crack in a mirror or piece of glass, or wet or broken packaging) before you leave the collection point (in these circumstances it would be the correct course of action to point out the flaw to whoever has given you the item, making a note of the person’s name). If you’re really well equipped, you could even take a picture of the damage using the camera in your mobile phone.

This way you are less likely to get blamed for damage done before you picked it up. To cover yourself, you should always alert the controller before accepting the consignment, and make a note of who you spoke to.

It’s a good idea to carry polythene bags so that you can keep the worst of the weather off a package not made waterproof by a customer, and carry a blanket to help reduce damage occurring in the van.

All of this is common sense, of course, but a moment’s carelessness with someone else’s property can cost you and the courier company a lot of money.

In summary

To protect yourself and the courier company, check the following:

– That the consignment is exactly the same as on your delivery instructions.
– That the goods are suitable and insured for carriage in your vehicle.
– Whether handling assistance will be required either at collection or delivery point.
– Whether the goods are fragile and do they are suitably packed.
– Whether the goods are of a hazardous nature (there’s a lot of regulation about this: Google for “ADR” and “carrying hazardous goods”).
– That you have a sensible-looking delivery address.
– That you let the courier company know of any stops or delays.
– That while you have a consignment on board, you don’t leave vehicle unattended, especially overnight.
– That the consignment is securely tied down while in your van to prevent damage to it, to your van, and to you.
– That you always use your common sense.

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