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Old 11-08-2012, 11:24 AM
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How Does One Obtain a Job As a Document Courier?

On my last business trip, I had the good fortune to sit next to a gentleman who was a document courier. He told me he took at least 4-5 international trips per month. It pays little money, but your expenses are covered-plus, you get to travel.
I have searched the internet for these jobs (without success)-are they still around? I would have thought that with the advent of electronic document transfer, couriers would be long gone-anybody know?
Old 11-08-2012, 11:25 AM
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I've wondered this as well. If it's anything like steady work, it seems like a very cool way to make a living.
Old 11-08-2012, 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
On my last business trip, I had the good fortune to sit next to a gentleman who was a document courier. He told me he took at least 4-5 international trips per month. It pays little money, but your expenses are covered-plus, you get to travel.
I have searched the internet for these jobs (without success)-are they still around? I would have thought that with the advent of electronic document transfer, couriers would be long gone-anybody know?
Just curious: Why didn't you ask the man how he landed his gig?
Old 11-08-2012, 11:57 AM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I have searched the internet for these jobs (without success)-are they still around? I would have thought that with the advent of electronic document transfer, couriers would be long gone-anybody know?
The Queen's Messengers are often retired military types.
Old 11-08-2012, 12:02 PM
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I did this for a while after college. I was working for a courier company that often needed legal documents sent on the next plane from NYC to Washington DC, for example, or a can of film (yes I'm that old) to go from NYC to LA, as hand-luggage. I'd get a cab to the airport, fly with the item as personal baggage (in the overhead or my backpack, never checked baggage) and then get a cab to my destination. They tried to work it so that there was a package requiring a courier at my destination, so I often was on the next flight back, but sometimes I got to hang and visit friends or see sights. I imagine the internet has made much of this job obsolete.
Old 11-08-2012, 12:03 PM
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This might not help much, but I once had a footloose & fancy-free friend who signed up with a courier service and had to agree to leave for almost anywhere on short notice. When they called, he jumped on a plane, delivered the package and returned, all paid for by the service, plus a little profit. He didn't mind that he never knew far in advance where he was going; he said he got to go many interesting places and that was good enough. He kept an overnight bag always packed.

I haven't had contact with him for years, so I wouldn't be able to find out what the service was.
Old 11-08-2012, 12:04 PM
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It sounds like an easy job, but the question I have is why are these documents being sent by courier rather than by FedEx, which I imagine is worlds cheaper than funding a roundtrip ticket from NY to Seoul and a hotel, even if you can get a discount because you buy so much.

I wonder if these "couriered" documents are documents of extreme importance or secrecy, such as Coca Cola sending a copy of its secret formula to a new factory, Obama sending top-secret war plans to the Naval base at Pearl Harbor, or contract documents that must be signed by executives in Tokyo, London, and Rio de Janiero by next Tuesday or else the company will lose millions on a deal, and the executives are having visa difficulties and can't all show up together on short notice.

If so, I guess the answer is "be considered to be very reliable and trustworthy"

I'm interested in knowing too.
Old 11-08-2012, 12:07 PM
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Originally Posted by robert_columbia View Post
It sounds like an easy job, but the question I have is why are these documents being sent by courier rather than by FedEx, which I imagine is worlds cheaper than funding a roundtrip ticket from NY to Seoul and a hotel, even if you can get a discount because you buy so much.
If you need it delivered NOW, FedEx's overnight-by-morning service is too slow. And then there's the personal service, where the package never leaves the courier. No barcode scanning/tracking procedure can guarantee that.
Old 11-08-2012, 12:27 PM
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I knew two people in NYC who did this about 10 years ago. But they probably had two trips per month and mostly to Europe and were paid as consultants. One carried jewelry exclusively and the other was more random (documents? samples?) but they both were somehow related (not by blood) to the companies that needed the service. They were both friend of an employee or something like that and as such the jobs fell into their laps. The jewelry guy was former military, bouncer, body guard so he was into free lance security already and the carrying of high value goods wasn't a big deal (he would carry them on his body generally especially as he exited the store), it was carrying the cash for the taxes that was the bigger problem for him.

So my suggestion is to figure out what markets might need a courier and apply directly. I really doubt there are agencies as such. Alternatively, I do believe there are now pet delivery services that are essentially the same thing.
Old 11-08-2012, 02:31 PM
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Googling Courrier Service leads to fair number of leads. Everything from commercial to US State Dept. courier positions. I would suspect having or having had a security clearance would be a plus.
Old 11-08-2012, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by KneadToKnow View Post
I've wondered this as well. If it's anything like steady work, it seems like a very cool way to make a living.
It seems to me that the best job along these lines would be "international sperm donor." Your profile would be on file with agencies around the world, and if someone selected you, you'd have to hop on a plane right away to some exotic destination and provide a sample, before the ovulation window were to close.

You know, I think I'm talking myself into an innovative business idea here. All I need is some seed money.
Old 11-08-2012, 03:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
All I need is some seed money.

Nice...
Old 11-08-2012, 03:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
It seems to me that the best job along these lines would be "international sperm donor." Your profile would be on file with agencies around the world, and if someone selected you, you'd have to hop on a plane right away to some exotic destination and provide a sample, before the ovulation window were to close.

You know, I think I'm talking myself into an innovative business idea here. All I need is some seed money.
deleted ;-(

Last edited by zoid; 11-08-2012 at 03:50 PM.
Old 11-08-2012, 03:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
It seems to me that the best job along these lines would be "international sperm donor." Your profile would be on file with agencies around the world, and if someone selected you, you'd have to hop on a plane right away to some exotic destination and provide a sample, before the ovulation window were to close.

You know, I think I'm talking myself into an innovative business idea here. All I need is some seed money.
But you have to be aware that this is a high-pressure job. So to speak.
Old 11-08-2012, 04:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tom Tildrum View Post
It seems to me that the best job along these lines would be "international sperm donor." Your profile would be on file with agencies around the world, and if someone selected you, you'd have to hop on a plane right away to some exotic destination and provide a sample, before the ovulation window were to close.

You know, I think I'm talking myself into an innovative business idea here. All I need is some seed money.
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Originally Posted by Donnerwetter View Post
But you have to be aware that this is a high-pressure job. So to speak.
I expect that it wouldn't be regular work, though. The jobs would probably come in spurts ...

Si
Old 11-08-2012, 04:55 PM
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My girlfriends father does this, however there is no overseas work for him. He regularly dives to London (we live 200 miles north) with legal documents that need to be at destination x by a set time. The documents are of such importance that couriers will not be used.

He is a self employed chauffeur. He has two luxury cars and is on the books of an agency. They call, he drives.
Old 11-08-2012, 05:12 PM
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Originally Posted by dam0 View Post
My girlfriends father does this, however there is no overseas work for him. He regularly dives to London (we live 200 miles north) with legal documents that need to be at destination x by a set time. The documents are of such importance that couriers will not be used.

He is a self employed chauffeur. He has two luxury cars and is on the books of an agency. They call, he drives.
Why does he need luxury cars? Is it expected that such a courier will be traveling in style, or does he prefer it that way?
Old 11-08-2012, 05:30 PM
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Why does he need luxury cars? Is it expected that such a courier will be traveling in style, or does he prefer it that way?
Ah, no. His primary business is ferrying people about. Weddings, businessman to airports etc.
Old 11-08-2012, 06:22 PM
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I did some client-oriented promotional work for a company that still uses couriers. They specialize in analyzing electronic and hybrid technology prototypes and streamlining them for mass production in various ways. Simplifying production techniques, converting existing production facilities instead of building new ones, replacing needlessly expensive materials with cheaper ones that still meets the tolerances and so on. Prototypes were carried by hand from country A to B in order to retain a 100% chain of custody security.

I can see tech companies - like Apple - doing that, though they're big enough to keep things in-house. I hear they've gone nuts about security lately.

And yes, the guys fit the profiles listed above. Looked like former military or police types, respectably done up, old enough that it was probably a last cushy job before an early retirement.
Old 11-09-2012, 07:39 PM
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Originally Posted by ralph124c View Post
I have searched the internet for these jobs (without success)-are they still around?
Beware -- almost any such 'job' that you find advertised on the Internet is a scam. Eventually you will be asked to front some money for 'fees', 'investigation & clearance', etc.

There are fewer & fewer of such jobs anymore; even years ago faxes were cutting into this, now with email and overnight delivery, they are even more uncommon. The few that remain are for extremely high-value (or illegal) items, and such items aren't entrusted to random people who apply over the Internet. You need to be personally known to company employees to get such a gig nowadays.
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