There is undoubtedly a need for couriers as more and more people choose to do their shopping online. Whether it is buying a new dress, microwave or a 16-piece crockery set, so much can be purchased using the Internet.

In fact, back in 2016, it was estimated that in the region of 2.8 billion parcels and packages of all shapes and sizes were delivered to people’s homes here in the UK and it was predicted that figure would increase.

So, if you are thinking of setting up as a self-employed courier having perhaps worked for a national courier company for some time but decided to go your own way, what sorts of things should you consider?


If you are on a very tight budget you may be able to use your car but you would be limited as to the size of packages you could carry.

Realistically you will need a van. However, you will need to decide whether to purchase a new vehicle or a second hand one and, again, your budget will be an influencing factor when making this choice. If you require finance then you will find that there are various lending packages available.

One of the major decisions you will need to make is the size of van. The larger the vehicle the more packages you will be able to carry and you will be able to deliver bigger items.

Mobile phone

Nowadays, a mobile phone is a must as it keeps you connected with both the businesses you are delivering for and the customers that you are dropping off parcels to. Make sure that you choose the most suitable contract.


This is probably going to be one of your largest business expenses so it is likely you will choose a diesel fuelled van bearing in mind the many thousands of miles you will no doubt travel on an annual basis. You will also need to know where the cheapest priced service stations are to fill up your van with fuel. You should also drive in the most fuel-efficient manner to maximize the number of miles per gallon.

Sat Nav

This will be an invaluable aid to run your business making getting from one drop of location to another so much easier than having to refer to an A to Z street map. The latter should be kept as a back up and local knowledge can be invaluable to find your way around the back roads if you encounter traffic problems.


You will need to know how to market your self-employed courier service such as setting up a website, using social media and advertising your services by way of leaflet drops.

You will need to get on with both the owners of the businesses you deliver for and the customers that you deliver to.

Business Acumen

You will need to make sure that you are charging enough to cover your expenditure and provide you with a good income.

You will need to keep accurate records of your courier businesses income and expenditure. You may wish to employ the services of an accountant to help prepare your accounts.

You will also need to provide figures to HMRC and pay any income tax and National Insurance.

Courier Insurance

You will need to make sure that you have adequate insurance in place to cover the likes of your van, the goods you are transporting and public liability cover.

We wish you every success in your new business venture as a self-employed courier and hope that you found the above to be of benefit.