Pros and Cons of Using a Courier Service
Steve Mills
June 14, 2024

Today we discuss the pros and cons of courier service; from pricing to convenience, there are a number of things to consider before making the right choice for your business.

First, what are Courier Services?

Simply put, a Courier Service delivers a package or item from one place to another. This is very similar to the UK’s Postal Office. Only usually, it’s a bit quicker, with added security.

However, what makes courier services unique are the business partnerships that can be formed, especially for repeat customers. Couriers can also accept payments in some cases.

So, what are the most significant advantages of using a courier service over, say, a larger 3PL service? And what disadvantages might you face? Below are some of the considerations we advise you to make.

Pros of Courier Services

Need for Speed

Courier services really excel in the area of speed; whether it’s a same-day delivery or a package that must arrive in the next hour, courier services can make that happen. They can be much more agile than larger companies, which can be a huge blessing when time is of the essence.

They are also often available 24/7, day or night, meaning no delays waiting for businesses to open in the morning.


Costs are significant, and courier services can be more affordable than 3PL’s, especially for smaller sized and one-off deliveries. These types of couriers are set up for tailored deliveries and so are priced accordingly.


One of the best parts of using a courier is its reliability. With most courier companies using GPS technology to track the deliveries, you can witness your parcel on the move first-hand and note delivery timing. The service is completed by highly trained staff, meaning trust is a given.

Security and Safety

In the modern age, it’s no longer just sensitive information that needs to arrive quickly. Everything from food shopping to drug tests and lab work results can be shipped the same day, so knowing the parcel will arrive safely and securely is of paramount importance. This is something courier services can easily provide, and due to the one-on-one nature of these types of deliveries, there’s also a much lower chance of breakages.

Personalised Service

The smaller the team, the more tailored the service you will receive. This applies well to courier services. They are often able to provide a better service and dedicate the time to looking into tailored suggestions for you.

This also means they should be more flexible with you when you need it, which is really helpful for smaller businesses with smaller margins for error.

Cons of Courier Services


On the opposite side of the coin, courier services can be more expensive. The cost of your shipment all depends on how much you are sending,  how the items need to be packaged, and any special requirements involved. We’d recommend using a comparison service and running some quotes to find the best deal.

Note, ‘best deal’ doesn’t always mean cheapest; it’s getting the most for your money. Consider how quickly you need the package shipped, special requirements and insurance, too. 

Delivery Limitations

One of the biggest disadvantages of courier services is the limitations imposed on the packages you send. For example, there could be weight and size restrictions and how far they can courier them. Smaller courier services may also suffer from capacity issues and be unable to complete your order in the timeframe you require.

Problem Solving

Depending on how big the courier service is, they may also have limited flexibility and ability to deal with issues that arise with your delivery. A bigger 3PL may have more resources to fix the issue quickly. Any special requests may also be outside their capabilities, especially if it is a one-off and last minute request. Flexibility can only go so far.

Ultimately couriers are great for small businesses, sensitive or valuable packages, or quick deliveries. Whereas bigger or 3PL offerings can accommodate more specialised, larger deliveries.

As with anything, there are many pros and cons to courier services; we’re sure you’ve heard as many horror stories about them as you have rave reviews. But if nothing else, follow these tips if you opt to use a courier.

Top Tips for Using a Courier:

  1. Know the size and weight of your package.
  2. Mention special delivery requests from the start i.e. temperature controlled.
  3. Choose a courier with a pick-up service (saving your valuable time)
  4. Check they use tracking technology on their deliveries.
  5. Look for 24/7 customer support, as this could save your delivery if any issues pop up.

Good Luck!

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