There are some frequently asked questions about typical courier jobs. Here, we've tried to answer a few; remember though that the answers may vary, depending upon your individual state or country.
What's the difference between a courier and a freight company?
That's a good question and sometimes the lines between the two may be a little blurred.
Typically, the former specialize in point-to-point express collection and delivery. By contrast, freight companies may operate collection, consolidation, haulage, unloading and re-distribution services. Of course, some haulage may involve a single full load also going point-to-point and some delivery drivers may transship. It's also often (but not always) the case that the former specialize in smaller parcels taken via van, motorcycle or even bicycle - perhaps with air transport in between. You won't often hear a motorcycle delivery guy describing themselves as freight haulage specialists or a trucker saying that they do courier jobs!
Do you get international couriers?
Yes, absolutely, though that may mean slightly different things depending upon where you are. Some companies may offer international delivery services that involve a fast motorcycle to the airport, airfreight then a fast bike at the other end collecting the parcel for delivery.
Sometimes, if the consignment is of sufficient value to make it cost-effective to do so, it might be accompanied door-to-door all the way - even around the globe. Where companies are near an international border, cross-border door-to-door accompanied courier jobs may be much more commonplace than they are in, say, areas of the central USA.
Are there certain types of goods that won't be carried?
In theory, you can ship just about anything from anywhere to anywhere, except where national or state laws prohibit it. In practice, some delivery companies may have strict policies that prohibit the carriage of dangerous materials, weapons, live animals and so on. Some may also refuse to carry materials they regard as being offensive - e.g. possibly tobacco, alcohol or adult material etc. Those things may form part of the company's terms and conditions.
Why is special packaging sometimes required?
This is a tricky and sometimes controversial issue but it has its origins in logic. Many courier jobs have got into difficulties (spoilages, losses etc) due to the shipper using poor and inappropriate packing or packaging materials. A related problem sometimes arises due to a shipper failing to accurately declare the dimensions of the object they're shipping.
These sorts of troubles (and others like them) may cause severe difficulties not only in terms of security but also in handling. Examples include vans arriving only to discover that the object is too long to fit safely inside, or cartons being used that are so tiny that they are easily lost if transshipment is required at a depot handling center. To try and eliminate at least some of these, some companies may insist that clients use standard packing cartons.