‘Gig jobs’ or ‘side hustles’ are a good way to make money in a tight economy. Long-distance courier jobs are one option to make cash quickly. But just how much money is there waiting to be made by freelance delivery drivers?
We’ll be answering that question and others in this in-depth breakdown. Outlining the basics of the long-distance courier business, we’ll look at the state of the courier job market today and examine the current pay scale. We’ll also provide a few words of advice and encouragement for those just starting out.
Things to consider when diving into a long-distance courier job
The basic concept of long-distance courier work is fairly simple. Using your own vehicle, you transport goods, merchandise, documents, or even other vehicles from one location to another. The distances can vary from interstate courier jobs to cross-country deliveries.
Whether a freelancer or contracted at a delivery company, if you like driving odds are you’ll find the work rewarding and enjoyable. The constant travel offers something that most other jobs lack – a sense of freedom. Here’s just a few more of the advantages you might want to consider.
- Low barrier of entry: Are you a reliable, responsible driver with a clean record? Do you have a smartphone that can help you manage your jobs and locate addresses quickly? Then you have what it takes to make it as a self-employed courier. The job requires little in the way of equipment – all you need is a registered vehicle and a GPS device.
- High demand: Has it been difficult to find employment in your line of work? Private car transport jobs are a great side-hustle. The shipping industry keeps growing, and the demand is on the rise. If you’re a competent driver willing to put in the hours, you’ll always be able to find work.
- Flexibility: Is the daily grind getting you down? Working as a self-employed courier lets you set your own price and follow your own schedule. You can push yourself to the limit, or enjoy time off at home with family and friends.
Current industry pay scales for long-distance courier jobs
Jobs of this type pay by the mile or by the load. On a cross-country courier job using your own vehicle, dollars per mile really do stack up. An average courier, employed at a big shipping company, makes about $16.20 per hour ($33,699 per year). This nationwide average doesn’t vary that much across state limits.
But for self-employed couriers using your own car, it’s a whole different story. On average, a freelancer earns significantly more per job than a courier working for a big company. Using CitizenShipper’s platform as an example, the average independent driver makes between $8,000 and $10,000 per month.
It’s not that simple, of course – a freelance delivery driver also has expenses to think about. Covering the cost of fuel, repair, and insurance premiums can take as much as 40% off the top. Still, as a freelance courier, you end up more in your pocket than you would as a courier employed by a shipping company.
To explain this price difference in more detail, let’s take a look into the way the courier service industry operates.
Facts about the US courier service industry
Since the nineteenth century, the courier business in the United States has been a large and continually growing market. It’s a great big country, so there is always work moving essential items from one side to the next. Amazon Logistics ships over 2.5 billion packages annually in the U.S., FedEx delivers about 3 billion packages while UPS completes about 4.7 billion. As online shipping surges courier industry’s revenues have also been trending steadily upward.
Sadly, this bounty hasn’t really trickled down to contracted couriers themselves. Wages have been stagnant across the board. Many shipping companies gradually increase their fees, cutting deeper and deeper into courier earnings.
So what’s the solution? Being your own boss, of course! As mentioned above, a freelance delivery driver has more freedom in choosing shipments and keeps a greater share of the profits.
Other driving job side hustles
Driving as a side hustle has been popularized by the rideshare companies Uber and Lyft. While these gigs do offer similar flexibility as a freelance courier, the average driver (outside a major metropolitan area) only earns about $10 an hour. Which is okay, but pales in comparison to the average CitizenShipper driver who makes $22 an hour. And the hourly earnings only go up from there. The top 10% CitizenShipper drivers earn $42 an hour, the top 25% make $35 an hour.
Ready to give it a shot?
If you have solid driving skills and professional responsibility, long-distance courier jobs are an opportunity you really shouldn’t miss. Sign up as a driver on CitizenShipper, a platform that supports your journey as a driver and helps you build your business.
Gain access to hundreds of shipments to bid on, contact customers directly, and negotiate your price. We have a community of freelance delivery drivers, always ready to offer advice or a helping hand. Join us today, and start exploring self-employed courier job opportunities!
Updated September 17, 2021
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