Courier/​Delivery Agent

Kaikawe Karere/​Utanga

Alternative titles for this job

Couriers/delivery agents sort, collect and deliver mail, packages, parcels and other goods to homes and businesses.

Pay

Couriers usually earn

$45K-$130K per year

Source: New Zealand Couriers and New Zealand Post, 2018.

Job opportunities

Chances of getting a job as a courier or delivery agent are poor due to low turnover and high competition for vacancies.

Pay

Pay for couriers varies depending on where they are located, the number of packages they deliver, and their employer. They usually work on contract and are paid a commission based on the number of packages they deliver.

  • Couriers usually start on $45,000 a year, before tax and running costs.
  • They can earn up to $130,000 on a busy round, before tax and running costs.

About a third of what a courier earns goes on running costs, such as fuel and maintenance of their vehicle, as well as uniforms and equipment.

To cover slow periods, many courier companies pay their drivers a retainer if they earn below a set amount.

Delivery agents employed by New Zealand Post usually earn between $28,000 and $29,000 a year, based on a 30-hour week.

Sources: New Zealand Couriers, 2018; and New Zealand Post, 2018.

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our pay information)

What you will do

Couriers and delivery agents may do some or all of the following:

  • sort and deliver mail, parcels and other goods
  • collect items for delivery from businesses or private homes
  • keep a record of deliveries made, including the delivery of registered mail
  • receive payment on delivery of goods, or arrange for accounts to be settled
  • hold mail for customers who are away and redirect mail for people who have changed address
  • keep their delivery vehicle in good working order.

Skills and knowledge

Couriers and delivery agents need to have knowledge of:

  • New Zealand geography, especially the area where they're based
  • correct lifting techniques
  • how to use tracking equipment such as scanners
  • the Road Code, defensive driving techniques and transport regulations.

They may also need to know how to handle hazardous goods.

Couriers running a small delivery business need business skills.

Working conditions

Couriers and delivery agents:

  • usually work four to six days a week, and start between 5am and 8am to sort mail and packages before they start their deliveries. Delivery agents usually work 30 hours a week but couriers can work up to 84 hours a week in busy periods
  • work outside in all weather conditions and may drive in heavy traffic
  • travel locally, usually within a set area. 

What's the job really like?

Diane Bartrum

Diane Bartrum

Postie

Diane Bartrum says getting outside every day is one of the best parts of being a postie. "I like architecture and gardens – I just love it."

Working quickly and methodically gets the job done

Diane says she is never bored. She begins each work day sorting mail, which takes about two and a half hours, before going out on her delivery bike.

The work is fast-paced, especially when sorting mail. "You have to be able to scan letters quickly and also know which ones have been mis-sorted and don't belong to your round. You quickly place letters into the correct slot – in the order that your route will go."

A job that leaves time for creative pursuits

There's no change in pace once Diane is out doing her deliveries. "The quicker I deliver my mail, the quicker I get home. I do a lot of creative stuff, like develop my own photos, and I've got my afternoons to do all that."

Entry requirements

To become a courier or delivery agent you need to have the correct type of licence for the vehicle you're driving.

Courier drivers may need their own vehicle (such as a van), a dangerous goods (D) endorsement, and a goods service licence.

Secondary education

There are no specific secondary education requirements to become a courier or delivery agent, but maths and English are useful.

Personal requirements

Couriers and delivery agents need to be:

  • able to sort quickly and accurately
  • good at reading maps, and able to memorise road names, street numbers and names
  • skilled at driving
  • honest and reliable
  • friendly, helpful and polite
  • able to provide excellent customer service
  • able to work well in a team and independently
  • organised and punctual.

You need to be the sort of person who likes driving and doesn't get hassled by traffic. You have to be really patient – you can't afford to take risks trying to get across the road to do your next delivery.

Photo: Jackie Lahmert

Jackie Lahmert

Mail Delivery Contractor

Useful experience

Useful experience for couriers and delivery agents includes:

  • work as a mail sorter or newspaper deliverer
  • work in the transport and logistics industry, such as taxi driving, or any other driving work.

Physical requirements

Couriers and delivery agents need to be physically fit and healthy as may can walk up to 15 kilometres or cycle up to 25km to deliver goods. They may also have to handle heavy parcels weighing up to 30 kilograms.

Find out more about training

New Zealand Couriers  
0800 800 841 -  www.nzcouriers.co.nz
New Zealand Post
(04) 496 4999 - www.nzpost.co.nz

What are the chances of getting a job?

Opportunities for couriers and delivery agents limited

Chances of getting a job as a courier or delivery agent are poor because:

  • most people stay in the roles for a long time, limiting vacancies. This is particularly true of couriers, who pay start-up costs ranging from $32,000 to $63,000, and tend to stay in the job until they start making a profit
  • competition for vacancies is high
  • New Zealand Post, the main provider of postal services in New Zealand, is reducing employee numbers due to falling demand for mail services.

According to industry training organisation MITO, 4,823 couriers worked in New Zealand in 2016.

In 2017, New Zealand Post had 5,099 employees – down from 7,531 in 2015. The number of workers may fall further as restructuring continues.

Better opportunities during holiday season

Your chances of securing work as a:

  • courier are best during busy holiday periods, such as Christmas, when parcel volumes grow significantly. These courier jobs tend to be casual or part time only
  • delivery agent are best in the main centres of Auckland and Christchurch.

New Zealand Post major employer

New Zealand Post is the main provider of postal services in New Zealand and a major employer of couriers and delivery agents.

Couriers and delivery agents may also work for:

  • courier companies as employees, or self-employed owner-operators in a franchise or contract arrangement
  • New Zealand Post as a self-employed rural mail delivery contractor 
  • other registered postal operators.

Sources

  • CourierPost, 'Courier Information Pack', accessed February 2018, (www.courierpost.co.nz).
  • Grace, W, fleet manager, New Zealand Couriers, careers.govt.nz interview, January 2018.
  • MITO, 'Commercial Road Transport 2016', accessed January 2018, (www.mito.org.nz).
  • New Zealand Post, 'First of 500 Electric Parcel Delivery Vehicles Arrive in NZ' (media release), 2 June 2016.
  • New Zealand Post, 'Integrated Report 2017', 2017, (www.nzpost.co.nz).

(This information is a guide only. Find out more about the sources of our job opportunities information)

Progression and specialisations

Experienced couriers and delivery agents may move into training, supervisory or management roles.

A courier delivering a parcel to a customer

Couriers and delivery agents deliver mail and parcels

Last updated 12 September 2019