While becoming a medical courier has a relatively low barrier of entry, the industry has seen a steady growth in demand for its services over the last couple of years. The shipping and logistics industry was particularly impacted by the global pandemic, giving need to more local-based medical courier companies who can routinely deal with temperature-sensitive shipments.
While there are very minimal requirements for becoming a medical courier, there are some aspects of the job that are paramount to success. We decided to comb through medical courier forum boards and compile some of the best tips we could find. Read on to learn about the industry’s most important lessons for future medical couriers!
1. Regularly maintain your vehicle.
One user claimed to have put over 250,000 miles on their vehicle over the course of four years. Because many medical couriers work as independent contractors, having your own reliable vehicle is essential to providing a reliable service.
With that said, be sure to schedule regular maintenance so that your vehicle can run efficiently and remain safe for long-term use. The last thing you want happening is a breakdown on the road, with a trunk full of urgent medical orders.
2. Take small routes and expand your service.
A Reddit user who claims to have worked in the medical courier service for 17 years offered this advice: “If you can get even a small route, take it. You’ll still get plenty of on-demand work with it and the routes tend to grow. If you don’t get a route at first, take everything they ask you to deliver, especially nights and weekends if you can.”
This is solid advice, as many new to the medical courier industry may expect to be given the best routes for high volume, one-off deliveries. However, the truth is, you’ll be able to get more business by taking small, low-traffic routes, and taking on additional jobs as they become available.
3. Find a company that offers benefits, albeit stricter requirements.
Some medical courier companies have stricter requirements, such as requiring that their medical couriers are certified in HIPAA compliance.
However, these companies with more stringent requirements will also typically offer better benefits, including vehicle insurance, paid time off, and guaranteed routes.
4. Plan for long trips – your routes won’t always be local.
One user claimed that while working as a medical courier for a local pharmacy, they were often sent on long routes to make deliveries across state lines, and several cities in-between.
It’s important to realize that long-distance trips will be a part of the job, and that you will need to be well-prepared to handle these challenges. If you’re traveling to a far-away destination, it’s a good idea to plan ahead by stocking up on supplies and packing a supply kit in your vehicle.
It’s also recommended that you own a hybrid vehicle, as it will make long-distance trips easier and less expensive.
5. You’re better off as an employee rather than an independent contractor.
In certain scenarios, the misclassification of couriers as independent contractors may actually be illegal – you’re given a set route with a schedule that cannot be changed, and the wear and tear on your vehicle as an IC is unsustainable.
Medical courier companies that hire actual employees, rather than independent contractors, typically offer company vehicles, better pay, and will pay for gas and vehicle maintenance.
So if you are interested in becoming a medical courier, don’t take a gig that misclassifies your employee status, unless the benefits are great enough that you don’t mind.