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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?

Courier/delivery agent video

Harmony talks about what it’s like to be a courier/delivery agent – 3.27 mins.

Harmony: Hi my name is Harmony and I work for New Zealand Post as a delivery agent, or better known as a postie, in the Porirua branch.

As a postie I deliver mail and parcels to the community. My day starts at 6am.

Hi Leanne.

The first thing that we do in the morning is safety check our Paxsters, so that we know that they’re all good to take out on the run. Yup it’s all good!

We work as a team. We all help each other out. We’ve got our own rounds to sort. If anyone is struggling or behind we can help them sort up and then have a team meeting - a team brief. Get everyone ready for the day. My colleagues are great. It’s a really good team environment.

So at my branch most of us are on Paxsters, but we also have three motorbiking posties, two biking posties and one on foot.

We’ll pull our mail down, we’ll load up our Paxster, and head out onto the run and deliver the mail for the day. So we alternate our rounds day to day and I deliver in about two to three different areas in the Porirua region.

Not every day is the same. So we’re out on a run. It can take anywhere from five to eight hours depending on the volume of the mail. If we’ve finished delivering our mail then we’ll call someone up and see if they need a hand out on the run. We’ll go back and sort up our mail for the next day, or do some admin work inside. We’ll do roughly ten hour days.

Our days are long and can be quite repetitive. The weather can make it quite hard to deliver, so you have to have a really resilient personality.

Before I started we had to do some online training. Just learning about post protocols and procedures, and learning how to scan the products, and also we did a two-day training course on the Paxster, to drive the Paxster safely.

If you wanted to be a delivery agent, I think you’d need to have a confident personality, be able to solve problems in a friendly manner.

Customer: Sweet, thank you so much.

Harmony: No worries, thank you, have a good day.

Customer: You too.

Harmony: I like interacting with people out on the rounds, meeting new people, patting people's dogs. You get a lot of people waving at you and smiling.

Hey Jenny. How are you?

Jenny: Good, thank you.

I enjoy the social aspect of it and I also enjoy being in the outdoors. So once we’ve delivered all our mail we come back to the branch, we clean our Paxster, park it back up, put our missorts away, and then we can sort up our mail for the next day, just to get a head start.

So for me this job is about providing a service to the customers, and just being an honest, reliable delivery agent.

I love this job because you get to work in the outdoors, and you work with a great bunch of people, and it’s a good team environment to work in.

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 the Census, 5,862 courier/delivery agents worked in New Zealand in 2018.

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).
  • Stats NZ, '2018 Census Data', 2019.

(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 29 March 2021