Important Questions to Ask Any Potential New Courier Service

A courier service is typically very different than a trucking company that may handle large shipments of goods that need to be sent to another state or even another country. Couriers are usually used for delivering documents and small packages across town or to nearby cities, and they may be called on for same-day or after-hours deliveries. Because they are a bit different than standard shipping companies, note a few important questions you might want to ask such a service before hiring them.

1. Always ask if they can handle sensitive deliveries

Many courier services are called on for medical deliveries; this may be someone looking to get medical or lab test results done quickly, or it may be for those delivering medicines that are needed promptly. These types of materials may need special handling; they cannot simply sit in a backpack of a bike messenger or in the basket of a bike, but may need refrigerating or at least some type of protection from the elements. Always ask how they handle sensitive deliveries and their methods of transportation so you know your materials will be protected, rather than assuming they will even be delivered in a vehicle much less given added protection from extreme temperatures and weather.

2. Ask if you can electronically track the package

With so many handheld devices that are available for courier services and that quickly and easily connect to the internet, you should be able to electronically track your package in real time so you know it's been picked up and delivered, and can see a signature from your client or customer, if necessary. However, it's good to ask about this rather than assuming, as some courier services may not expect to even collect a signature from the recipient or may not track your package at all. If this is important to you, don't assume they offer this service the way a major freight company might, but ask the courier about what's available.

3. Ask if they handle the package from start to finish

Some courier services will have other companies they work with to "pass the parcel," and you may not be comfortable with having your sensitive documents or medical supplies handled by several different people. Ask if they deliver the package themselves or how many other companies they would work with and how many would handle your package, and then note if this is something you feel comfortable with for your courier service.