Types of courier services that a courier service can provide.

Types of Courier Services

As an introduction to courier services, it’s essential first to define what courier service involves and get know to the types of courier services. In common, all types of courier services involve shipping packages from one place or person to another. The courier company’s fleet transport packages. A courier company can deliver almost everything a person uses in their everyday lives. For example, it can deliver what online retailers, groceries, chain stores, florists, and restaurants sell to customers. A courier business transports and delivers parcels such as documents, packages, and letters exchanged between individuals. Knowing the types of courier services is more important for those who want to start a courier business or want to develop their courier services. If you are one of these people, we suggest you read our other article on how to start a courier business.

This post introduces you to the types of courier services that courier companies provide. For this reason, we have categorized them to understand them better after you read the post.

Types of Courier Services Based on Their Scope of Work

Several types of courier services exist. Their activities and the location of their activities are two ways in which courier services and organizations are classified. There are courier companies that offer last-mile delivery services covering an area as small as a single city block up to as large as multiple nations or continents, depending on the company’s size and policies.

Local Courier Services

Local courier services provide delivery services within a city. Locally based enterprises usually contract with local delivery companies or provide delivery services to the public. In fact, despite their locations in multiple cities or even countries, some prominent local corporations do not ship goods across borders or from one country to another. Instead, they operate locally throughout many cities, and they usually ship items within the local market. Grab Express, Lalamove, and Stuart are just a few well-known companies that provide different types of courier services.

Global Courier Services

Another type of courier service provider operates on a much larger scale, such as across several nations or continents. These businesses are often postal competitors and have huge fleets. In general, global courier companies provide better service than postal companies and a greater degree of service. Just a few examples of global courier companies are DHL, TNT, UPS, and FedEx. International courier services are courier services that ship packages internationally.

Types of Courier Services Based on Delivery Method

Several types of courier services are available, depending on the type of delivery. Another aspect that may characterize courier services is picking up and delivering products. In this respect, we can categorize courier services into four types, which we will examine in the following sections.

Same Day Courier

The same-day courier companies deliver packages on the same day. They must pick up packages before noon and deliver them by the afternoon. Several Same Day courier companies offer the Next Day Delivery service. It is based on delivering packages on the following day if they are received in the afternoon.

Deliveries are picked up first and then delivered in this manner because it is less expensive and requires a smaller fleet to collect packages in bulk. A courier would pick up several packages at 7:00 a.m. and deliver them to a courier company. A courier may transport many packages at a low cost with this technique, reducing the cost to the end customer. However, the product might not arrive at the end-user at the right time and may take up to a day.

Route optimization is one of the most challenging aspects of Same Day Delivery, so route planning and optimization are vital. If these requirements are met, the cost of courier service can be significantly reduced.

We’ve written a complete guide about Same Day Delivery Service already.

Overnight Shipping

When using the Same Day as one of the types of courier services, it frequently made deliveries between 9 a.m. and 11 p.m. However, items are delivered after 5 p.m. and at night. This method has several advantages, such as keeping the goods safe in the vehicle (courier) as it is not stuck in traffic, preventing damage from the heat, and ensuring faster and more predictable delivery. Manufacturing enterprises find this strategy more appealing.

Parcel Services

As with the previous delivery methods, this delivery technique is pretty similar. One difference is that special-conditions packages are typically relocated by monitoring their specific locations. The same-day delivery of restaurant meals is impossible since the delivery must be dispatched within an hour. Courier businesses providing this service must deliver food in less than an hour, and the courier differs from the rest of the fleet. In addition, another difference between Same-Day and Parcel services is that on Same-Day, large numbers of packages and varied commodities are shipped together. In contrast, in Parcel, they are shipped separately or in packages of the same material.

Next Day Delivery

Next-day delivery is a service offered by courier companies where items are delivered to the recipient within one day after they are picked up or processed. This means that if you place an order today, you can expect to receive it by the next-day, typically within a specified time window. Businesses requiring immediate product dispatch, particularly those dealing with perishable goods such as fast food outlets, flower shops, and bakeries, cannot fully utilize this service. However, other businesses, such as sports equipment sellers, clothing stores, cosmetics retailers, and bookstores, often find next-day delivery to be an ideal solution for their shipping needs. To learn more about the next day delivery, you can visit our blog post about what is next day delivery.

On-Demand Delivery

On demand delivery is a type of courier service.

By utilizing the On-Demand Delivery Service, the courier company responds to the customer’s request by assigning them a dedicated courier. With this approach, the courier goes straight to the customer’s location and only moves and delivers the package, performing no other tasks. Although more expensive, this method has several advantages:

  • Rapid package delivery
  • Top security and low risk of damage
  • Ability to send many packages to multiple addresses at the same time
  • Ability to choose the vehicle
  • Ability to schedule a delivery time
  • Tracking the driver using a map

The On-Demand method offers a slew of additional benefits, and it has a sizable market. Many established courier companies and prominent startups have entered this market. Therefore, providing higher-quality services to clients is crucial, and companies in this sector have shifted their focus to customers. Grab Express, Lalamove and Doordash are examples of startups that provide on-demand delivery services. If you’re eager to learn more about software designed for on-demand delivery services, you can find additional information on our dedicated on-demand delivery software page.

Types of Courier Services According to Their Platform

The courier service industry uses platforms to manage their fleets, clients, and business operations. Some of these substrates are old and are no longer as effective as newer technologies, posing competition issues. Historically, paper documents and books were popular but have become obsolete. Some courier companies now use Excel files to coordinate their services or get signatures on paper sheets to complete the POD process. Others use the software more sophisticated than Excel that can simply manage orders.

Technology has, however, made it necessary to use all the power produced by technology to compete in the arena of courier services with the emergence of the Internet and the proliferation of mobile phones. Our capabilities included mobile application development for drivers, web dispatchers to manage orders and fleets, admin dashboard to manage courier businesses, mobile and web applications for customers, as well as Web APIs and applications for businesses. Businesses have been developing scalability and more outstanding market share with Web applications and software APIs for these highly competitive industries. Visit our courier software page for more information.

Types of Courier Services Based on the Way of Business Running

Today, with the emergence of startups, courier services can also be classified based on the way they are running business. Two main business models for courier businesses can be imagined: SME and Startup.

SME Courier Companies

SME (Small and Medium Enterprise) is a traditional way of doing business. SMEs are looking for profit in all stages of business implementation. Usually, the financing method in SMEs is to get a bank loan if needed. Most SMEs work locally.

Startup Courier Services

Startups are businesses whose growth ratio is not the same as their cost ratio. In fact, a successful startup should reach a point after a while where its costs are almost constant but its profits increase exponentially. Startups courier services are usually innovative and creative, and in the path of their growth, they seek to get the largest share of the market. Usually, the method of financing startups is through attracting venture capital.

Types of Courier Services Based on Types of Vehicles

Traditional couriers have a fleet of vehicles like motocycle, car, van, and truck to transport goods from one location to another. But in recent years, to maintain the sustainability of nature, vehicles such as bicycles and scooters were added to the fleet of couriers. Also, courier companies with heigh-leveled technologies are trying to use self-driving vehicles as delivery fleets. But one of the newest members of the courier fleet could be drones. Drones have many advantages, such as not getting stuck in traffic and increasing delivery speed.

Types of Courier Services Based on the Type of Goods They Carry

Courier services can also be categorized based on the type of goods they carry. Some common types of courier services based on the goods they carry are listed below.

Document Courier Services

These courier services specialize in the delivery of important documents, such as contracts, legal papers, and other sensitive materials.

Medical Courier Services

These courier services specialize in the transportation of medical equipment, samples, and supplies. They often require special handling and transportation procedures to ensure the safe delivery of sensitive medical materials.

Food Courier Services

These courier services specialize in the delivery of food, groceries, and other perishable items. They require temperature-controlled vehicles and specialized packaging to maintain the quality and freshness of the food.

Retail Courier Services

These courier services are designed for delivering retail products, such as online orders from e-commerce websites, books, and electronics.

Hazardous Materials Courier Services

These courier services are specialized in the delivery of hazardous materials, such as chemicals, biological agents, and radioactive materials. They require specialized handling and transportation procedures to ensure the safety of both the courier and the environment.

Freight Courier Services

These courier services specialize in the delivery of large, heavy items, such as machinery, vehicles, and furniture. They require specialized handling and transportation equipment to handle these bulky items.

To Sum It Up

By selecting a suitable courier, you can minimize the risks of delays, items getting stowed at borders, and items disappearing. Different couriers offer a variety of services. A most competent courier will deliver the quickness, safety, and service that your company demands. To choose the courier that meets your needs best, you must first understand what they are and how they might benefit your business. The purpose of this post was to discuss different types of couriers across different scopes. These are just a few examples of the types of courier services available. The specific types of courier services offered may vary by country, region, and courier company.

If you are investigating courier software, click the button below to get your courier software demo for free.

Try Onro for Free

Get your free access to the Onro Fully White-label Courier Software.

Originally published October 8, 2021 5:58 PM, updated Tuesday, 13 February 2024.

Related Post


Access Free Demo Now

You will access demo version after
completing the form