In response to the queries I’ve had re courier work, please see the following, a bit dated, but informative. It only deals with the sameday market.
Courier and Parcel Services UK Market Synopsis SYN010
May 2013 Introduction
This market synopsis examines the trends and market developments affecting the courier and parcel services sector in the UK. It provides information targeted specifically at new, existing or aspiring small business owners who are aiming to trade or develop their interests within this sector.
Courier service Courier service providers primarily cater for the same-day delivery market. This typically involves B2B collection and delivery, often in an urban environment. Courier services often use a combination of vans, motorcycles and bicycles. The UK’s biggest courier firm is CitySprint (www.citysprint.co.uk), which reported turnover of £74.3 million in 2011, up 21.7% on the previous year. However, it was noted in the company’s annual report that the future was uncertain, as the market is very competitive and some contracts are subject to competitive tender (www.citysprint.co.uk/resources/doc/general/CitySprint_Financial_2011.pdf). The courier sector is characterised by a high number of self-employed individuals, working either independently or as subcontractors for larger firms. These individuals are generally owner-drivers of cars, vans or bikes. For example, CitySprint subcontracts collections and deliveries to more than 2,500 self-employed couriers across the UK. Couriers collect packages from CitySprint’s 37 distribution centres and distribute them in their local areas, with deliveries tracked via GPS devices.
Courier Exchange (www.courierexchange.co.uk) is an example of an online marketplace where independent couriers can find subcontract work. Examples of independent courier services include eCourier (www.ecourier.co.uk), cyclone (www.cyclone-couriers.com) and City of London Courier (www.cityoflondoncourier.co.uk). Hundreds of independent couriers advertise locally and online. Websites such as Find My Courier (www.findmycourier.com) allow customers to book collections and deliveries with registered couriers. The National Courier Association (NCA, http://www.thenca.co.uk) is a network of independent courier companies that collaborate to provide a national service. Many courier services provide niche and specialist services that differentiate them from their competitors. For example, bicycle couriers can access areas of a congested city that nonbicycle couriers cannot. Couriers that use bicycles and electric cars also promote green and carbon-neutral services. Medical couriers specialise in deliveries of pharmaceutical products, clinical supplies and medical notes. Refrigerated couriers can carry foodstuffs and other temperature-sensitive goods. Examples of niche and specialist couriers include Green Mile (www.greenmilecouriers.co.uk), Medical Moves (www.medical-moves.com) and Fresh Move (www.fresh-move.com).