Being a bike messenger or courier is a difficult and demanding job. A lot people may think that just being fast and knowing your way around the city is enough, but there's a lot more to it than that.
While it can be tough when getting started, if you do well, you can earn a decent living from it. And for some, it is a great way to monetise the time they'd otherwise spend riding. Regardless of why you want the job, here are five essential tips for female bicycle couriers.
You Can't Ride Any Old Bike
You need to buy a bike that you can comfortably ride for hours. This type of bike can cost anywhere from £400 to £1,400, but since you'll be riding it so regularly you'll also need to set aside enough to pay for essential repairs each year.
Of course, you'll spend even more fixing the bike if you don't know how to do repairs yourself, which is why some people say that if you can't and won't repair the bike regularly, you shouldn't be a bike messenger. So, make sure that you are ready for additional expenses along the way, or upgrading your current bike if this is the one you intend on using.
You Should Take Out Insurance
Everyone knows that driving a car requires auto insurance, but if you're a bicycle courier you really should view courier insurance as just as essential. After all, you're carrying goods to your customers and taking on liability risks, so it's just as important to be properly insured. Sites like Quotezone.co.uk will allow you to compare courier insurance policies. You'll be able to get a quick quote and compare policies from multiple insurers.
It is Hard Work
As a courier, you're paid for the runs you make. You won't earn much money per run, so you have to make multiple trips to earn decent pay. The faster you go, the more money you'll earn. This means you can't earn a living as a messenger if you're travelling at a leisurely pace. It isn't uncommon to do 20 to 30 jobs a day and travel sixty miles in the process.
Most bike couriers are freelancers. This means that you don't get paid if you don't work. Freelancers like couriers don't have sick pay or sick leave, either. If you don't ride in that winter weather, you need to find another way to pay the rent. On the other hand, you don't get to choose when you work when you're working with a delivery service; the controller assigns certain days to you. If you don't show up when you're expected to work, you won't be working with them any longer.
Don't let the promised pay rate per run fool you. You'll have to pay your own expenses out of that money whether it is bike repairs, food, or renting a two-way radio among other things.
Learn Your Way Around
As a bike courier, you'll be navigating city streets every day. Learn your way around the city so you don't spend as much time checking maps or apps. The better you are at navigating the city, the faster you'll finish your route. And you won't be able to count on your GPS all the time, so if you thought you could get around knowing the city this way, think again.
You also need to learn where the service entrances are where you go to pick up deliveries, because they don't want you coming in the front door and through the reception area.
Pay Attention to the Process
One of the first things you'll have to get down is basic radio communication. You'll need a radio or mobile phone to accept jobs, but be careful not to agree to anything before you have remembered the address for both pickup and delivery. Every parcel is supposed to be signed for. When you've dropped off all the packages in your load, tell the controller you're empty so that they know you're ready for more work. You can hold off on this until after you've had something to eat.
Arrive early so you can get one of the first jobs and get going. Try to pick jobs that take you further from the office, because nearby jobs don't take long but leave you wasting time in line every time you return for your next assignment.
Working as a bike courier is a great way to get in shape, have fun and earn money. However, you need to know the facts going into it so that you can make the most of it.
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Help! My Friend Is a No Show
Dear Armchair Psychologist,
I have a friend who doesn't reply to my messages about meeting for dinner, etc. Although, last week I ran into her at a local restaurant of mine, it has always been awkward to be friends with her. Should I continue our friendship or discontinue it? We've been friends for a total four years and nothing has changed. I don't feel as comfortable with her as my other close friends, and I don't think I'll ever be able to reach that comfort zone in pure friendship.
Dear Sadsies,I am sorry to hear you've been neglected by your friend. You may already have the answer to your question, since you're evaluating the non-existing bond between yourself and your friend. However, I'll gladly affirm to you that a friendship that isn't reciprocated is not a good friendship.
I have had a similar situation with a friend whom I'd grown up with but who was also consistently a very negative person, a true Debby Downer. One day, I just had enough of her criticism and vitriol. I stopped making excuses for her and dumped her. It was a great decision and I haven't looked back. With that in mind, it could be possible that something has changed in your friend's life, but it's insignificant if she isn't responding to you. It's time to dump her and spend your energy where it's appreciated. Don't dwell on this friend. History is not enough to create a lasting bond, it only means just that—you and your friend have history—so let her be history!
- The Armchair Psychologist