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.
As the CEO of JOOR, the leading platform for wholesale business management, I spend my days immersed in the fashion industry. I'm used to weighing in on things like technology decisions, e-commerce trend, and the importance of real-time data.
But I'm also a citizen, a woman, and a mom. As such, I'm affected by what goes on in the world around me.
In December, I watched grisly reports about Jersey City with despair, as gun violence is something I've been profoundly concerned about since the devastating events at Sandy Hook. This year marks the seventh anniversary of Sandy Hook, and heart-wrenchingly, these poor children have now been gone longer than they were alive.
Sadly, these events are far too common in the United States. Every year nearly 1,300 children are killed and 5,800 injured by guns in this country, according to a report issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in 2017.
Translation? About 19 American children are shot on average every single day. As a mother and as a professional, I am absolutely appalled that nothing is being done to stop this terrifying trend.
I think about this when I sit down with my family for dinner each night. Frankly, the idea of my kids facing an armed shooter at school or in any public place is terrifying to me. And it's terrifying to them.
It may not be in my job description, but as a business leader, I have a responsibility to speak out on what is clearly a humanitarian issue. My feelings on this issue have nothing to do with politics. I'm disturbed that this has become such a partisan issue. I simply don't want to live in a country where 19 children are gunned down every day of the year, and I can't believe anyone else does either.
We're now seeing a trend of corporate leaders owning their power and responsibility by becoming social leaders as well. Peter Horst, consultant and founder of CMO Network, recently said that "in a world where they no longer expect the government to fix things, people are turning to Corporate America to step in and do some good."
Business Roundtable even supported this trend by expanding their "statement on the purpose of the corporation." The document now says that along with shareholders, companies should also consider employees, customers and the community as stakeholders whose interests should be included in decision-making. These are the people who are sending their children to school all over the country today. Just as I send my kids off each morning. It is refreshing that businesses are getting involved to advocate on their employees' behalf.
Along the same lines, I'm especially heartened to see private sector leaders taking action on the issue of gun control. In September 2018, Chip Bergh, CEO of Levi Straus & Co., pledged more than $1 million to American nonprofit organizations dedicated to ending gun violence. Bergh made this decision in spite of the risk that it could alienate consumers; the moral stakes were too high.
I applauded Walmart's decision to end the sale of handguns and handgun ammunition as well as their request to stop open carry in their stores. And I was moved by Dick's Sporting Goods' destruction of over $5 million in military-style, semi-automatic rifles. Both actions came after the horrific shootings last August in El Paso and Southaven.
Despite all these signs of hope and progress, we are not moving forward nearly fast enough on the issue of gun control. Other than a few states passing red flag laws, little to nothing has really been accomplished, and now Jersey City is just another gruesome reminder.
If we, as a country, are serious about stopping mass shootings, we have to disengage from partisan politics and commit to truly protecting our families and communities from gun violence. With so much media coverage and debate, it's shameful we've made so little progress in solving the problem.
We know that gun deaths and injuries can be reduced, because we've seen it happen in other places. Yes, cultures vary, and each country must develop solutions that are unique to its own specific cultural context. But we can learn from nations like Australia, Britain, Norway, and Japan.
Research institutions can provide unbiased help moving forward. For example, the Rockefeller Institute conducted an in-depth study on mass shootings and developed a list of 19 strategies for intervention based on its findings. Each and every one of us must learn about gun laws in our states and advocate for strong research-based legislation that will make the changes we so desperately need.
It's time to set aside partisan fighting, roll up our sleeves, and craft solutions that allow our families to feel safe going to school, church, the market, or any other public place. It's time to take the Sandy Hook Promise, something I did after marching with the organization, and help them fulfill their mission:
"I promise to do all I can to protect children from gun violence by encouraging and supporting solutions that create safer, healthier homes, schools, and communities." - Sandy Hook Promise