Couriers and Messengers

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Also known as:
Bank Courier, Bicycle Messenger, Courier, Court Messenger, Laboratory Courier, Office Messenger, Office Runner

Video transcript

Some call them messengers, some call them couriers. What they do is pick up and deliver letter, important business documents, or packages. Even in the electronic age, the physical act of delivering something important is essential.

A messenger is called when the item has to be delivered quickly or when it's so important that it has to be hand-carried to its destination. Usually, messengers deliver things locally - either within a building, when they work for a large company, or across town in a metropolitan area. They get their orders by phone or radio and get moving.

A messenger can be an independent contractor working for him- or herself or a salaried or commissioned employee. This kind of work is available at large financial institutions like banks and insurance companies and also at a messenger or delivery service. It's a job that requires efficiency and the ability to read addresses and find locations.

As many messengers move on to other occupations, there is a steady stream of openings for courier work. Electronic transfer of materials will continue to cut in to the need for messengers, but large documents, medical samples, and other materials still must get there the old-fashioned way.

Many messengers work on foot or on their own bikes. You might also have to invest in gear, such as a carrying bag. To be a motor messenger, you'll need a valid driver's license and, sometimes, your own vehicle. You'll need to make sure it's registered and inspected properly so you're ready for the road.

Pick up and deliver messages, documents, packages, and other items between offices or departments within an establishment or directly to other business concerns, traveling by foot, bicycle, motorcycle, automobile, or public conveyance.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
Physical demands
Daily tasks

Unload and sort items collected along delivery routes.

Perform routine maintenance on delivery vehicles, such as monitoring fluid levels and replenishing fuel.

Obtain signatures and payments, or arrange for recipients to make payments.

Record information, such as items received and delivered and recipients' responses to messages.

Load vehicles with listed goods, ensuring goods are loaded correctly and taking precautions with hazardous goods.

Sort items to be delivered according to the delivery route.

Receive messages or materials to be delivered, and information on recipients, such as names, addresses, telephone numbers, and delivery instructions, communicated via telephone, two-way radio, or in person.

Deliver and pick up medical records, lab specimens, and medications to and from hospitals and other medical facilities.

Walk, ride bicycles, drive vehicles, or use public conveyances to reach destinations to deliver messages or materials.

Plan and follow the most efficient routes for delivering goods.

Deliver messages and items, such as newspapers, documents, and packages, between establishment departments and to other establishments and private homes.

Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Transportation Knowledge of principles and methods for moving people or goods by air, rail, sea, or road, including the relative costs and benefits.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Public Safety and Security Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
Clerical Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
Geography Knowledge of principles and methods for describing the features of land, sea, and air masses, including their physical characteristics, locations, interrelationships, and distribution of plant, animal, and human life.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
Medicine and Dentistry Knowledge of the information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries, diseases, and deformities. This includes symptoms, treatment alternatives, drug properties and interactions, and preventive health-care measures.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Time Management Managing one's own time and the time of others.
Service Orientation Actively looking for ways to help people.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.