How to Become an Independent Delivery Courier Contractor in 2024?

keyKey Takeaways:
  • Firstly, you should choose a reliable and reputable company to work as an independent delivery courier contractor.
  • A delivery courier should have a valid driver’s license and own a personal vehicle.
  • delivery courier contractor should give detailed attention to the terms and conditions of the contract before taking up a job.

Messengers and couriers are required by many enterprises, including mom-and-pop corner shops, huge corporations, and even your neighbors. 

As per the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, the jobs of delivery truck drivers are expected to expand by 12% between 2020 and 2030, quicker than the overall average. In addition, the European Union is also grappling with a driver deficit, which began before the global epidemic. 

According to Politico, 24% of trucker posts in the UK were empty in 2019, 22% in Poland, 21% in the Czech Republic, and 20% in Spain.

While independent courier contractor jobs are not exclusively for couriers, there will always be a demand for transporters and couriers, regardless of where you live. So are you interested in learning how to become an independent courier contractor but don’t know where to begin?

We’ve assembled some of the most useful data and recommendations from current couriers for a comprehensive look at how to be an independent courier contractor.

What is an Independent Courier Contractor?

A delivery courier’s job accounts for the transportation of documentation, shipments, and other things. They might work for various companies, customers, or independently, where they’re known as independent courier contractors.

When an assignment becomes available, an independent delivery driver is often notified by a supervisor from a delivery company over the telephone or radio. They then move stuff from one location to another using their vehicle.

Independent contractor couriers can use their own vehicle and be their boss for completing the courier service journey. These could be huge corporations such as FedEx that contact courier drivers or small enterprises like florists or legal firms.

Independent delivery drivers are liable for paying for their vehicles, vehicle maintenance costs, gas costs, and other necessities such as a cell phone and vehicle insurance.

Attributes of Independent Courier Contractors

The essential attributes of independent contractors are-

  • Record of safe driving: Independent couriers must exhibit a safe driving record to attract new customers, demonstrating that they can make safe deliveries.
  • Navigational abilities: Independent couriers may be required to go to locations across multiple regions. Therefore, they must be able to navigate unfamiliar terrain to complete their deliveries.
  • Client service abilities: Customers’ requirements must be addressed, and independent couriers must display patience and professionalism. If delivery delays are due to heavy traffic or adverse weather, couriers must get in touch with customers and update them about the status.
  • Organizing your time: Independent couriers must be able to make on-time shipments for their clients, especially if they are making multiple deliveries in a single day.

4 Steps to Become an Independent Courier Contractor in 2024

To become an independent courier contractor, obtain the necessary licenses, secure a suitable vehicle, and establish an online presence. Network to find clients, set competitive rates, and prioritize excellent customer service to build a strong reputation.

Following are the steps to becoming an independent courier:

Step 1: Purchase a Vehicle

Buying a good delivery vehicle is the first step to becoming an independent courier. Having a hygienic, reliable vehicle that’s also large enough to deliver huge cargo is critical. 

Some courier service providers, for example, make deliveries in cargo vans and trucks. Until you can legally operate a vehicle that you find, you must have the following items:

  • A valid driver’s license (Commercial driver’s license)
  • Legitimate license plate
  • Commercial vehicle insurance 
  • Insurance against liability

Step 2: Improve Your Driving Abilities

Because you may spend the bulk of your working hours on the road as an independent courier, enhancing your driving skills is critical.

You may have to maneuver through small parking spaces and travel across streets and areas with different traffic laws when completing your delivery job duties.

Remember to keep an eye on the items you’re transporting while driving. Be aware of all traffic laws and maintain a clean driving record. 

Maintain a record of how long it takes you to go to different areas and which are the busiest hours.

Step 3: Invest in Good Equipment

You may require the following equipment when replying to dispatchers and transferring materials:

  • Mobile phone
  • Computer
  • GPS receiver
  • Dollies, safety gear, and other equipment

Step 4: Promote Your Abilities

You can attract new consumers by marketing your services as an independent courier. You can advertise your safe driving record and cost to customers for your online services. Moreover, you can also interact with others in your networks, such as relatives and friends, to get suggestions for people who may require a courier service.

What are the Different Types of Delivery Courier Contractors?

There are multiple kinds of independent courier contractor employment available, and the demand for various drivers differs from business to business. 

“Demand for Couriers and Local Delivery sector services, such as delivery companies and food and grocery delivery, has substantially expanded,” according to IBISWorld.

The global pandemic and the surge in e-commerce revenues, online shopping, and firms offering free shipping as a selling pitch have contributed to this growth. In any case, courier employment in the industry is projected to expand.

Fast delivery is also in demand, with several retailers promising same or next-day delivery to tempt customers. It’s the same for specialty services, like the supply of 

  • Urgent and sensitive data
  • Crucial parts or models for production
  • Commodities that require special handling, such as hazardous materials or fragile goods

Working for larger companies as part of a larger group of delivery businesses is an alternative. Alternatively, you may be a local courier who delivers within a relatively small area, such as a city’s downtown core. Listed below are a few examples:

1. Courier Services in Your Area

Independent couriers are responsible for transporting letters and deliveries, in this case, frequently within a city. Official papers or small items could be delivered from one company to another.

2. Delivery Services for Groceries

People sought to avoid shopping in stores during the global pandemic. Therefore, the demand for courier services grew for delivering groceries to customers. A courier contractor takes up orders from the retailer and distributes groceries to the potential clients in this case.

3. Delivery Services for Restaurant Meals

Another service that increased in popularity during the pandemic was this. Food delivery applications or independent delivery men can provide service to customers by delivering eateries.

4. Delivery Services for Alcoholic Beverages

This service is common for folks who don’t want to travel to obtain their libation, and it’s a good way to boost your income on weekends and nights.

5. Delivery Services for Flower Shops

Flowers and plants are still needed for delivery because they are a popular gift or surprise for Valentine’s Day, anniversaries, and other special events.

6. Medical Supply Deliveries

Medical courier transports and delivers medical paperwork, records, lab specimens, test results, emergency aid, and prescriptions to customers. 

7. Delivery of Pharmaceuticals

To deliver medicines to customers, many pharmacies engage freelance couriers. You’d pick up the items at the retailer and distribute them on the store’s behalf once more.

8. Other Kinds of Deliveries

As online shopping becomes increasingly popular, many retailers offer free or low-cost delivery. In places where cannabis is legal, you might be able to find jobs delivering books, clothing, jewelry, watches, and cannabis items.

What is Required to Become a Delivery Courier Contractor?

If you’re serious about being an independent courier contractor, you’ll need to meet the following requirements:

1. A dependable automobile

Although a van or truck is frequently advised for couriers and delivery drivers, working as an independent courier in your car is conceivable.

Make sure the vehicle is dependable and stick to the maintenance schedule to maintain it.

2. Obtaining the necessary permits and insurance

A valid and commercial driver’s license is required, as are acceptable license plates for your car. You’ll also require insurance that protects you and your vehicle for courier work. Being a courier may not be covered by standard insurance, leaving you liable for any damage to the goods or unprotected in the case of an accident.

3. A mobile phone

You must be able to interact with people, necessitating using a cell phone. However, if you choose a cellphone, you can install apps that make your job easier, such as a navigation system or one that provides the closest and cheapest gas rates.

4. Global positioning system

If you don’t already have a cellphone with a GPS app like Google Maps or Waze, you should consider getting one. To stay safe, choose hands-free.

5. Additional necessities

Moving equipment, such as a dolly, may be required if you deliver huge items. To secure packages, you may require straps. Carry a first-aid kit, wear a reflective vest, and dress comfortably.

How much does an Independent Courier make?

In the United States, independent couriers can expect to earn between $34,823 and $54,168 per year, on average. 

However, it’s essential to note that these figures can vary based on factors such as location, experience, and the specific courier company you work with.

How can Independent Couriers Locate Suitable Delivery Jobs?

If you’re willing to work beyond the 9-to-5 hours, you might be able to fill a position for a specialty firm. For example, a bakery delivering bread to eateries and other clients daily will require a driver to serve early mornings before the delis open.

Rather than hiring an employee, many businesses opt to use an independent courier contractor. For example, hiring a company employee as a full-time driver for a flower business is not always economically feasible.

As a self-employed driver, you may be able to find work with a variety of firms that want part-time drivers. Alternatively, you could work for one company while being an independent contractor.

When it comes to finding courier jobs and related employment, there are several options. You may be aware of local companies that require your assistance. You can also contact local businesses to inquire about their requirements and offer courier driver services.

Consider calling local business organizations like downtown organizations, the Chamber of Commerce, or other local business support groups.

There’s also the option of doing some research online, for example,

  • Courier Exchange in the United Kingdom
  • Indeed, SimplyHired, ZipRecruiter, and others in the United States
  • Indeed and Seek in Australia
  • Workopolis, Indeed, and the Government of Canada’s Job Bank in Canada

Upper Route Planner: The Ideal Companion for Independent Couriers

Keeping track of the ins and outs of their business becomes difficult for couriers, especially when working independently. And this is where the Upper has got your back.

As mentioned in the essential apps for independent couriers section, Upper is a multi-stop route planner software. It is responsible for making delivery operations smoother and streamlining the transportation of packages.

Your workforce doesn’t require technical or customer service skills to handle the software and navigate unfamiliar areas. You can handle different clients and ensure delivery times are within the promised ETA.

To simplify the process of delivery packages, the multi-stop route planner allows handlers to submit package specifics such as parcel info, package count, and shipping photos. You can start the multiple-stop routing within a few clicks to create optimum delivery routes that can minimize the time and effort.


Four vocations that employ similar talents as independent couriers are listed below:

  • Taxi driver: A taxi driver takes passengers in taxi cabs from one location to another.
  • Material handler: A material handler, also referred to as a package dispatcher, moves merchandise and inventory throughout the production process.
  • Mail carrier: A mail carrier is a person who delivers mail and goods to people’s homes and businesses’ mailboxes.
  • Truck driver: A truck driver drives a large truck, such as an 18-wheeler, over long distances to convey large materials.

Where apps like PetrolPrices and GasBuddy can help you locate the best gas prices near you and save time while saving money on gas. Flush, an Android and iOS software, searches a directory of thousands of public restrooms to locate toilets. Also, proper multi-stop route planning applications such as Upper aids independent couriers’ ineffective distribution planning.

DHL employs independent contractors for collection and delivery services in various parts of the United States, according to FleetOwner. It goes on to say that the split among independent contractors and DHL couriers is roughly 60/40, with 10,000 to 13,000 independent couriers.

It should be known that not all couriers work on a self-employed basis. Major delivery companies use company vehicle to operate, while others prefer to work as freelance couriers. Instead of hiring an employee, they hire a company to subcontract with. Alternatively, they can find their end-user clientele and deliver to them every day.

The national average salary for independent courier contractors is $40,000. A bachelor’s degree may be required to begin working as a courier/independent contractor or package delivery driver. You should have prior customer service, delivery driver, or cashier experience and be reliable.


We understood, being an independent courier means you have to fill the big shoes of a delivery agent. An agent needs to be at their best to provide excellent customer service. As an independent courier, you need to rely on independent courier apps while you are on duty. And switching apps for a long time would be frustrating, which may not help you achieve your desired career goals.

At this point in your career, Upper could prove to be a game-changer by improving your performance. Upper being a delivery route optimizer empowers couriers with advanced features to make superfast deliveries. It makes sure you deliver on time and increases customer experience as well. Sign up for free to explore advanced features on Upper.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.