Ever been tempted by a courier job? With the rise of the gig economy and a boom in app-based delivery services, courier jobs are soaring in popularity all over the world. Offering flexible working hours and great commissions, would-be couriers with an entrepreneurial streak are drawn to the idea of being their own boss.
But is it really as great as it sounds? Tough working conditions in all weathers, long working days and even the risk of losing salary all put strain on the delivery drivers we rely on. We took a look at the average courier salary from cities around the world to see which pays hard-working van drivers and cyclists the most.
London: £24,414 per year
Door-to-door deliveries have long been a staple, but in the past few years the number of bicycle couriers navigating the city’s busy (and dangerous) streets has skyrocketed. With the city’s booming gastro-scene and numerous busy commuters, it’s little wonder that tired Londoners are turning to the luxury of eating delicious food in the comfort of their own home.
But what salary do these couriers receive for their time and trouble? It seems to vary significantly per company. Many couriers are paid on a per-drop basis, earning between £3 - £5 on each delivery made. Whilst payment per drop has its downsides (since there’s no pay for time spent travelling or waiting), high-profile courier companies have admitted that those on a per-drop basis are typically making much more than those per hour. Hourly salaries tend to come in at around £8 - £10 per hour, but finding such pay is increasingly rare. Equally busy, though perhaps less fraught with danger on the capital’s tempestuous roads, van drivers for well-established firms can earn around £24,414.
Beijing: £7,227 per year
Beijing couriers face some of the trickiest conditions of all. Risky roads, demanding customers and high-pressure employers can make courier work a less-than-appealing option, and all for a relatively low salary. For just 11 pence per drop (averaging roughly £230 - £458 a month), Beijing’s couriers must often deliver all parcels by 2pm, or else risk a fine. This isn’t the only loss of earnings they need to insure themselves against: damaged packaging, hard-to-read handwriting and customer dissatisfaction can all lead to salary loss for these diligent couriers. What’s more, 25% of Beijing’s delivery drivers report working 12+ hour days on a regular basis, so maybe think twice before signing up to navigate the historic city’s Hutongs.
Vancouver: £14,769/£21,412 per year
Becoming a courier in Canada’s beautiful city is a serious business: in order to operate as a bicycle courier, applicants must take an exam and earn a licence. Both the licence and the exam administration fee must be paid for out of the applicant’s own money, which can total around $60 Canadian Dollars. A new licence plate must be purchased every year, and couriers are expected to carry formal ID at all times. Bad news for students looking to make some extra cash for college: only those over 19 years of age are eligible to apply. A bike courier can expect to earn the equivalent of around £14,769 for full-time work, whilst those in arguably more formal employment as a delivery driver can expect to earn around £21,412, making Vancouver one of the most appealing places to be a courier van driver.
Buenos Aires: £2,037 per year
Couriers in Argentina have been treated to a brand new market since 2016, when restrictions on purchasing foreign goods were lifted. Argentinians have leapt at the opportunity to have products from abroad delivered straight to their doors, meaning the couriers of Buenos Aires have had quite the job on their hands. From navigating narrow streets barely wide enough to let a car pass, to being stuck in the city’s traffic jams, the city’s couriers are hard at work. But do they earn enough to enjoy the steak and red wine the country is so famous for? The nation has been suffering inflation for decades, so the average salary of 106,059 Pesos per year barely equates to £2,034 per year. What’s more, that average salary only applies to those who’ve been in the game for three years or more. First-timers can expect to earn just 84,000 Pesos per year - a mere £1,611.
Johannesburg: £5,958 per year
Perhaps a courier’s greatest fear is the risk of having their goods - or even their vehicle - stolen. This is not far-fetched for the hard-working couriers of Johannesburg, sometimes tipped as having the world’s highest crime rate. According to latest stats, Joburg’s crime index is certainly one of the highest in South Africa, with the risks of robbery, armed robbery, car hijacking and more ranking as high - very high on locals’ list of routine worries, making courier van insurance an absolute must-have. Despite the vulnerable position couriers are put in, Johannesburg courier salaries can’t compete with their London counterparts: a courier van driver earns on average just £5,958 a year; equivalent to 109,959 Rand per annum.
New Delhi: £3,138 - £6,280 per year
Delhi has seen a year-on-year boom in courier services, thanks to its growing national wealth and demand for app-based food delivery services. Unlike in other cities, where this has led to market saturation and a devaluation of a courier’s time, Delhi has happily seen the average courier salary as much as doubling. In 2017 the average monthly courier salary was around 16,000 Rupees. Now couriers can expect to make as much as 300,000 – 600,000 Rupees a year. Although this is only around £260 - £530 a month, most couriers come to the big city from rural areas, hoping to provide a better life for their families. They succeed: this wage is more than double what many of their peers in rural India are paid.
If you’re a courier looking to protect yourself against the risks of the road, contact Tradex today (01708 678 400) for a free quote. Their comprehensive Courier Insurance package covers both goods and vehicles: perfect for delivery drivers searching for courier van insurance.