Now that you have decided to take on some courier work, how do you decide who to work for? Choosing the best company for you can be a minefield, as there are so many things to consider. We wanted to take away some of this strain, so we have compiled a guide to the best and worst courier companies to work for. All our information has been sourced from Glassdoor and Indeed, as well as the websites of the companies mentioned.
The opinions below are not our own, but have come from real employees, past or present. We hope the information below can help you make an informed decision. All research for this article was done on the 4th February 2021. Ratings and opinions of drivers may have changed by the time you read this article so it's always best you do your own research too.
Uber / Uber Eats
To drive for Uber you would need the following;
A valid UK drivers licence
A private hire licence, from a council that Uber is licenced by. (Uber can help you get this if you do not have one)
Be at least 21 years old
Hold valid private hire insurance
A bank statement
A driver profile photo
UberEats is a little easier to drive for as you would not need the private hire licence, or private hire insurance. If you are looking for a casual side job to get you started with Uber, then UberEats may be for you.
You also need a vehicle that fits their requirements;
Model year 2008 or newer for London, and 2006 for everywhere else in the UK.
4-door car or minivan
Good condition with no cosmetic damage
No commercial branding
Vehicle must be licenced to carry 4 or more passengers.
Uber will take 25% of all fares. The rest of the fare is yours.
Ubereats is slightly different. See the table below;
|London||Manchester & Birmingham||Rest of the UK|
|Mileage||£1.50 per mile||£1.50 per mile||£1.50 per mile|
|Minimum fee (Before Uber service fee)||£3.50||£3.50||£.400|
4* out of 5
Out of all the companies we looked into, this had the highest rating on Glassdoor. Glassdoor is a site where employees can rate their current, or former employers. Over 12,000 reviews have been posted which gives a good indication of this high score.
Passengers can tip you after their journey and you keep 100% of the tips. Uber themselves will take no cut of this, it all ends up in your pocket. This is the same for Uber and Ubereats.
Uber will not set any targets for you to hit, you can take as many or as few rides as you like. This means you are in complete control of your own schedule.
Uber will help with cleaning
There are reviews on Glassdoor stating that if they have had an issue with passengers causing a mess in the car, such as them being sick, Uber will pay for the cost of the cleaning of the car, as long as they are sent evidence.
Many of the reviews state they feel Uber's commission is too high, as they take 25% of your fare, meaning that short journeys sometimes seem almost worthless.
You do have to pay for your own fuel, and your own car insurance. Private hire insurance can be expensive, meaning you may need to take quite a few fares before it covers the cost of your annual insurance.
Beelivery is a company that delivers groceries to people’s homes on the same day. Customers will request groceries and it will be delivered to them as soon as possible, sometimes in as little as 15 minutes. They will request the items they want, the driver will go to the supermarket, buy the items and deliver them to the customer.
Beelivery states that all you need to drive for them is a car, motorbike or bicycle. As well as proof you are eligible to work in the UK, and that you are over the age of 18.
Your own insurance needs to cover you for goods in transit. This is not something Beelivery will help you with.
You are paid on a per delivery basis, which Beelivery states usually ranges between £7 and £20. The minimum being £5.50. The amount you are paid per delivery is based on the distance you travel and the size of the order. You will have to pay for the groceries with your own money and you will be reimbursed for them the next day.
On Indeed.com it is reported by drivers they earn around £10 an hour.
3.8 out of 5
Currently there are only 5 reviews on Indeed.com, this may be due to them being a relatively new company, having launched in 2016, plus they are not as well known or as popular as the likes of Uber. There are currently around 15,000 Beelivery drivers compared to 4million Uber drivers. It is impossible to say how accurate this score is with the low amount of reviews, but it is still a high score. We have also checked out forums online, and Youtube videos from Beelivery drivers, with the comments we found on these forums being in line with the Indeed reviews.
Work to your own schedule
Beelivery set no targets. You can work as much or as little as you want.
It can be difficult to take on jobs if you don’t have money in the bank to begin with, due to the fact that you have to pay for the customers shopping out of your own pocket before you are reimbursed.
There are also some reviews from workers stating that there is not much work being offered, so it can be difficult to make good money.
You would require the following to work for Amazon Flex;
Live in an area where Amazon Flex operates
Be 18 years of age or older
Have a valid UK driving licence
Proof you are entitled to work in the UK
Have at least a mid sized vehicle, such as a 4-door, sedan or a larger vehicle.
Have an Android or iPhone smartphone.
Pass a background check, which includes a criminal record and driving record check.
Business class 3 insurance
Amazon Flex claims that you could earn between £13 - £15 an hour. The reviews on Glassdoor confirm that £13 an hour is pretty accurate. There are very few people confirming they are paid more than this.
Below you can see the comparisons of reported hourly pay by past and present employees. We could not source clear data for the pay of all the courier companies we have mentioned, but Amazon Flex does top the lot in terms of average hourly pay.
3.5* out of 5
This score is based on nearly 2,000 reviews. There are many positive comments about earning good money if you put the work in. There are also compliments regarding the app being easy to use.
You do need to have your own personal car insurance, which included class 3 business use, but Amazon will provide you with the ‘Hire and Reward’ add on. This is a positive where most other courier companies do not seem to help with this. You do still need to pay for your own petrol.
While there are many positive reviews regarding working for Amazon Flex there are some negative reviews with common themes. It does not appear as though you work to your own schedule as much as some of the other companies. Rather than getting paid per parcel, you accept ‘blocks’ with multiple parcels to be delivered in a certain time. Many employees say the targets that they have been given are unrealistic and sometimes you can lose out financially because of this.
We will break down some of the worst rated courier companies to work for at present. This is mainly based on reviews online, and is only a matter of opinion. There may be many employees working for these companies that have the opposite opinion.
This company only scored a 2.5 on Glassdoor. Some of the complaints were;
It is not always guaranteed that work is available
You would not be paid if the customer was unavailable and the parcel was undelivered, despite the time you spent travelling to the location.
You are not paid for return journeys.
There were positive comments of course, mostly regarding a good working atmosphere, and it being possible to make good money if you put in a lot of hard work.
Hermes scored a 3.3 on Glassdoor. Firstly, there were actually many positive comments regarding working for Hermes, including;
No limit on how many parcels you can deliver
Chance to earn between £10 - £15 an hour
Partner rewards programme, which could give you cheaper fuel and breakdown cover
Some of the main issues come from their ‘Self employed plus’ contracts, which some drivers feel blur the lines between being employed and self employed. This means you are not completely your own boss, but you would still not receive all the benefits that being employed would give you. Although going for the ‘Self employed plus’ contract is optional.
Yodel also has a score of 3.3 on Glassdoor at the time of writing the article. Most of the negative comments are regarding the pay. You are paid per parcel and many suggest this can be under £1 on occasions. There are also suggestions you will not be paid if the item cannot be delivered due to a customer not being home, despite still having to travel there, meaning wasted time. This may explain why there are often reports of Yodel drivers leaving parcels in strange places if the customer is not home, just to make sure the delivery is done.
We have only mentioned a few courier companies here that stood out, there are many to choose from if you wish to do courier work. There does appear to be positives and negatives with each company. You would need to weigh up what would work best for your individual circumstances.
All the research for this article was compiled on the 4th February 2020. Company ratings and comments may change daily. The opinions in the article are all from online sources and do not reflect the opinions of Insurance Revolution.
What is courier work?
A courier is someone who will deliver parcels/packages/documents etc, from one place to another. They can be hired as full, or part time employees, but many companies will also have self employed drivers working for them. Employed couriers will most likely have a set salary and will work to the times set by the employer. Self employed couriers will be able to accept or deny jobs sent to them by a courier delivery company. Self employed couriers will be paid depending on how much they deliver, and can work to their own schedule, but will not have the same benefits as those employed on a full contract.
Becoming a courier - what to expect?
Courier jobs will involve carrying parcels in your vehicle, and taking them to their destination, usually to a time schedule. Self employed couriers will usually be paid depending on how many items they deliver, rather than being on a set salary. Some self employed drivers choose to do full time hours to make as much money as they can, while others will do work around their current full time job, for a bit of extra money. There are positives and negatives with being a self employed courier, of course you have the option to earn more money the harder you work, as well as working to your own timetable. But, as you are likely to be paid based on how many items you deliver, there are occasions when a package cannot be delivered, due to no fault of your own, such as the customer not being home, and you may not be paid for this, despite you putting the work in. The way you are paid of course differs from company to company.
What do I need to be a self employed courier?
If you are working as an employee for a courier company, you are likely to have a company car which is already insured, plus there is a good chance the company will be paying for fuel. To be a self employed courier driver you will need your own vehicle, pay for your fuel, and possibly your own hire and reward insurance. Doing courier work also means there is more wear and tear on the vehicle, which you would be responsible for. There are exceptions of course, but due to these extra expenses you take on being a self employed courier, there is a possibility that only doing a few hours a week may not be worth the time financially. You can, however, make good money doing longer hours. It is always best to weigh up your finances and see what works for you.
You need a vehicle suitable for delivering your items, or passengers if you are thinking of driving for Uber. If you are considering delivering plenty of packages, then the bigger the vehicle the better. Match your vehicle to the jobs you are considering to take on, you don’t need a huge van if you are going to carry a few documents. The most important thing is that your vehicle is reliable, and if you do decide to buy a van then it is vital you work out all of your expenses. It is possible to deliver a fair few packages in a standard hatchback.
You will need a mobile phone. It may be worth considering purchasing a second phone which is entirely for business use, this will make it easier to work out tax claims. You should also make sure you have free calls available on your contract. Most couriers companies would have you work with their app, which you would need to accept jobs, etc.
There are some companies that will provide insurance, or at least provide the hire and reward top up that you would need. You should always check with the company what insurance you will need to acquire yourself. If you do need to seek your own insurance, you should make sure it is tailored to your job. Even if you have good intentions, but mistakenly acquire insurance which is incorrect, then your policy could become invalidated if it comes to a claim. Make sure that when you speak to your insurance provider, you give correct information in regards to your job and they will find the right policy for you. Seeking ‘Goods in Transit’ (GIT) insurance is also a good idea, as it covers the packages themselves, that are inside your vehicle, so if they are damaged, you are protected.