Blood Money vs. Living Wage+

For the last couple of years, especially since Amazon started the retail to consumer race, I have noticed a change in what companies are looking for in a delivery service. What they say they want and what they decide are two very different conversations.

What they say:

Couriers are to make a fair living wage. They even require it in the RFP.

Service is important.

What they do?

Hire the cheapest company they can.

What is Living Wage? As defined by Wikipedia: “A living wage is the minimum income necessary for a worker to meet their basic needs. Needs are defined to include food, housing, and other essential needs such as clothing. The goal of a living wage is to allow a worker to afford a basic but decent standard of living. Due to the flexible nature of the term “needs”, there is not one universally accepted measure of what a living wage is and as such it varies by location and household type.”

Service is defined by as: “an act of helpful activity; help; aid”

Why is this important?

Most couriers seriously struggle to make end meet and often must have roommates to help pay for their roof. Very few can afford a family or any small “luxuries” like going to the movies and having popcorn. The companies they work for do one of two things: the charge so little per job that the courier only makes a couple of dollars per delivery or they only pay out a small percentage of the revenue. The couriers only option is to hope they have high enough volume to cover gas and life. Couriers get bitter. “Company A” pays fast and more – the couriers who have been squeezed in the past get happy and provide better service for Company A. USA Couriers has very low turnover rate because we look out for the courier and pay them more. Most couriers drive their own vehicle.  Company C’s couriers have cars in better condition and newer, so there are fewer breakdowns and delays. They represent the client better in more professional clothes. states the average courier makes $30,177.00 and states it at $35,302.00. What these figures fail to mention is how much of that money is spent on fuel or wear and tear on their automobiles. Let’s say they drive 80,000 miles per year, according to, would be $7,857.00 in gasoline. So really, that courier is only making $22,320.00. In many cities that would mean you need roommates and a very tight budget. Using AAA’s calculations, there is roughly $18,000+ wear and tear on the vehicle. It’s a downward spiral for the pocketbook. Blood Money.

Being a courier is a choice – a decision to be able to work flexible hours, work outside an office and still meet new people every day while earning money. Many couriers do not have degrees or specialized/trade education. Others may be retired and need the extra money.

Being a courier shouldn’t mean you live in poverty.

USA Couriers provides couriers with additional training which allows them to carry medical specimens or hazardous biological substances. Plus, TSA, HIPAA, Security and Information Awareness, 6.2 packaging and Defensive Driving training. Other companies offer bits and pieces, some more than others. Couriers should be compensated for their knowledge and abilities.

So now you know more than you expected about courier pay you can see how it affects service. The courier is your face (and mine) when he/she delivers your package. Don’t you want a happy professional who will go the extra mile? Next time you are considering hiring a courier service keep this is mind. The difference in cost isn’t so much, but it’s worth it’s weight in gold.