While courier service drivers themselves face many job hazards, including traffic accidents, muggings and strained muscles, the logistical infrastructure for transporting electronics, flowers and legal documents to consumers and businesses would be a chaotic mess without them. And that's not even including the human organs and perishable items these drivers must deliver on time. Couriers plan and organize deliveries, following the most efficient routes. In return, they earn a decent salary for their hard work.
Salary and Benefits:
Most couriers are paid by the hour -- and they can accumulate a lot of overtime hours during the holiday season. They earned average annual incomes of $33,120 as of May 2011, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. The top 10 percent made over $58,440 per year. Couriers have the option of working part time or full time. Those who work full time can expect benefits such as medical insurance, paid time off and retirement plans. Part-timers and independent contractors do not usually receive benefits.
Salary by Industry:
A courier's salary can vary considerably by industry -- with some earning nearly double of others. They earned the highest salaries of $51,490 per year working for courier and express delivery companies, according to the BLS. Those who picked up and delivered packages for the U.S. Postal Service earned $51,240 annually. These workers also earned above-average salaries in the motion picture industry at $49,850 per year. But incomes were significant lower for those delivering floral arrangements -- $20,960.
Salary by State:
Couriers earned the highest annual salaries in Alaska in 2011, according to the BLS -- $43,010 per year. They also earned comparatively high salaries of $37,330 and $36,810 per year, respectively, in Maryland and New Jersey. Those in California and Colorado earned incomes closer to the national average for all couriers -- $34,810 and $31,670. And those who worked in Florida made $31,670 annually.
Jobs for couriers are expected to increase 13 percent from 2010 to 2020, according to the BLS, which compares to the 14 percent average growth rate for all U.S. occupations. Job seekers will find more job opportunities delivering highly sensitive items, including medical samples and lab specimens. Those who deliver documents will face tighter job markets, as more of these items are being delivered electronically.