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I have been working at QMS
Pros – innovative and fun place to work with poor management
Cons – no advancement and poor bonus structure
Advice to Senior Management – look out for grads
2012-01-15 02:46 PST
I worked at QMS
Pros – Not much interaction with coworkers, so if you like an independent work environment like I do, this is a huge plus! If you're a capable navigator then they pretty well leave you to it.
Itemized pay, so if you keep track of your pickups and deliveries yourself, you can cross-reference it with your pay summary and get an idea of what each delivery made you.
Decent commission rate - 55% for cars, 60% for vans.
Friendly staff that treat their drivers with respect and do their best to boost your earnings if you're finding that your earnings aren't where you need them to be to be happy. For the most part it's up to your capabilities as a fast navigator, skilled driver, and being skilled at organizing your routes.
Cons – Before reading this, I would like to point out that many of the problems I am going to state are not specifically problems with QMS, but rather problems with the courier industry in general. If it were up to me, I would make courier work a Base + Commission job, rather than 100% commission, and I would have gas expenses paid for by the company. The industry is a tough one, and really the only problem is that the courier companies don't try to change it, and the couriers are not in a bargaining position to try and change it.
When I started I was told my vehicle would be considered a van and paid 60% commission. When I confronted them about my 55% commission rate, they told me they made a mistake in telling me 60% when I started. The pay checks are so low that 5% is inconsequential - but it makes you feel less appreciated.
Only $9/day in gas allowance. Now, it is nice that they pay a gas allowance at all, as many companies don't seem to. But that $9/day probably hasn't been increased since 1985.
LONG hours. You start between 830am and 9am, and while dispatch goes home between 430pm and 6pm, you are often over an hour away from home right smack in the middle of rush hour traffic by the time you dropped off your last delivery. Most days I got home at 730-8pm.
My vehicle was not very fuel efficient - I spent around $70/day in gas on average. Some days more, some days less. Typically driving around 350-450km/day. When all was said and done, I was left with $85-95/day. Given that I was working 10-11 hour days, this is less than minimum wage!
Courier companies reel you in with their spiel about how you are an independent contractor, you work when you want, if you aren't coming in then just let them know, etc. While this is technically true - dispatch will not be happy when you tell them you're not coming in! And forget about leaving early to make it to a 7pm appointment - because they will still try and send you to god knows where at 4pm during rush hour, before a long weekend, when you know you won't be getting home till 9pm if you take the deliveries.
You will never get praised or given an assessment on how you're performing. You need to be 100% self motivated - this is the opposite of a "rah rah go team!" job. If you think that you totally kicked butt and made the impossible happen to make it clear across the city in 35 minutes in rush hour traffic to make a deadline on an emergency delivery - then praising yourself needs to be enough reward! But what really sucks is when you find out that you were paid only $9 for it, and because it was an emergency in rush hour, you probably spent $20 in gas to get it done, and didn't do any other deliveries.
To make it as a courier:
- Be prepared to work 11 hour days.
- Be prepared to not take any breaks, no lunch breaks (eat while driving).
- Be prepared to forego a social life. You will get home at 730-8pm, you will walk around like a zombie for a couple of hours and fall asleep watching TV. Then you wake up and do it all over again. On the weekend you won't want to do the fun stuff, because you're catching up on sleep to make up for the fatigue of driving 11 hours a day in city traffic.
- You need to be creative with where to park to make your deliveries, because parking enforcement can be a pain in the butt, and while QMS can have your parking tickets cancelled - sometimes there is simply no place to park!
If you do your job well, then courier work is a highly skilled job, that is completely underpaid, and does not receive enough credit from the general public.
The highlight of being a courier, is the happy smile on some of your clients faces when you pick something up or deliver something. Don't let the sour receptionists faces get to you though!
As an aside: Most car insurance companies will consider courier work "commercial use of your vehicle," and will therefore not cover you. If you don't get into an accident then this is fine, but if you get into an accident and your insurance company finds out you were couriering, then they will do everything they can to get out of paying out. You need Commercial Vehicle Insurance - but nobody will tell you that, and I doubt 99.9999% of couriers have it.
The reasons I quit:
- Paid less than minimum wage because my vehicle was not fuel efficient enough.
- I was putting so much mileage on my 1 year old new vehicle, that it was depreciating and wearing out faster than I was making money. If I were to make it a career choice, I would buy a cheap used vehicle and hope my repair bills are less than my earnings.
- It was taking over my life. I ate, slept, and drove. Period.
This job will burn you out if you take it seriously, and if you don't, it won't pay enough to make it worth it.
If it wasn't for vehicle expenses, I would have probably continued on for at least till winter time, in spite of the negative aspects of the industry. I genuinely enjoyed the courier business, and it was a tough decision to leave it.
Advice to Senior Management – Pay more, charge customers more, provide better gas bonuses, let the couriers know when they do a good job, make it an employed position with benefits, and scrap the "you're an independent contractor and work when you want" BS, unless you're going to change the attitude when time is taken off. Either that, or make it clear when a driver starts that they must show up between X and X hours, and that there are no days off.
I do acknowledge the fact that most of these shortcomings are due to the industry, and not QMS specifically. But as a former business owner, I would look at the shortcomings and see how I could pioneer a new way of doing things, rather than sticking with the same thing for eternity.
2011-08-06 19:41 PDT
I have been working at QMS
Pros – The job is very fun although it can be physically demanding (ie in the winter). It is very healthy in that it provides extreme exercise ever day but it is also fairly dangerous. The worst part about the job is the lack of respect it gets from society. The company, as far as messenger companies goes, is very good. There is always work and the dispatcher is friendly and fair. Another bonus is that if you generally do a good job, taking a few days off here and there is never an issue
Cons – very little money, no benefits, no advancement
Advice to Senior Management – pay more
2009-03-01 08:49 PST
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