= Featured Provider
A courier is a specialty delivery service that provides customized services and fast delivery. Historically, couriers have transported items from one location to another on foot or by horseback. Today, they're more likely to use bicycles, vans, and even drones. These companies typically offer customized pricing and are often available around the clock for added convenience.
There are many different types of courier services, some of which are designated by what they transport. Consider the contents of the shipment, the time-sensitivity of it, and the destination when determining what option’s most appropriate.
Standard: Basic shipping services for envelopes and small packages
Local: Limited pickup and delivery in a specific location
International: Pick up in one country and delivery in another, may use another service to facilitate the delivery
Interstate: Domestic services within the country
Rush/On-Demand: May offer same-day or overnight delivery options
Specialty: Delivering specialty items, such as pallets or heavy freight
Courier services can deliver a host of items, including medical equipment, documents, time-sensitive materials, packages, gifts, and many things that people would want to ship. Some couriers can deliver large, bulky items. Even confidential documents, such as medical records that must comply with HIPAA, are handled by some couriers. Some businesses use different courier companies to handle different types of items.
The delivery service a company chooses depends on several factors. Some of these include:
Shipping Time: Courier services typically complete deliveries much faster than standard shipping services like USPS
Availability: Some shipping companies like USPS, FedEx, and UPS have set hours, while couriers are likely available 24/7
Specialty Services: Couriers may be able to deliver items that standard shipping companies won’t
Pricing: Conventional shipping companies have set pricing, but couriers might be willing to work out special pricing for repeat customers
Service Area: Some couriers have limited, local delivery options, which is much different from mainstream shipping services that offer international delivery
International shipping has many considerations. Sending something to another country requires a basic understanding of the duties, taxes, and limitations of shipments. The major shipping companies can usually get items to another country; however, they may not offer services to help with things like paying duties. A courier service is usually considered more reliable than a standard shipping company. The courier will likely provide frequent tracking updates and may handle any issues that arise.
The cost of delivering a package is set by the individual courier or the shipping provider. Most base this on the distance from the pickup location to the destination as well as the size, weight, and possibly the contents of the package. Special services, such as overnight or same-day delivery, will incur an additional charge. Duties, insurance, taxes, and required fees may also add to the price.
FedEx, UPS, and Amazon are shipping services, not couriers. While they offer many of the same services, they don’t provide the personalized attention and care for packages that couriers do. Additionally, they can't match the speedy service that separates couriers from other delivery options. These three large companies also don’t have the flexibility that a courier offers, and they aren’t available around the clock for customers.
The United States Postal Service is a government-backed postal service it's subject to federal guidelines and control. While it offers overnight service in some cases, this might not come with a guarantee of delivery. Another reason the USPS isn’t considered a courier is that its standard shipping isn’t very rapid. Further, its services are limited compared to what a courier can provide.
A courier service can provide businesses with customized delivery options that shipping and delivery companies can’t. Some benefits of working with a courier instead of a shipping or delivery company include:
Time-sensitive delivery, including same-day, local service
Custom prices for high-volume or repeat business
Attention to detail and optimal care for packages
Ability to handle confidential items
Around-the-clock availability for clients
Variety of items, including specialty shipments, accepted
Frequent tracking of sensitive shipments
Assistance with international shipping requirements