It's Courier, or bike messenger bty...
Well, after graduating in drawing pretty picture from an allegedly top London College for drawing pretty pictures I embarked on the glittering and glamorous career in warehouse work and bike shop staff.
As testing and fulfilling as these careers were, I felt that dying slowly from alcohol abuse and boredom in the Midlands (London was to expensive for a skint graduate) wasn't for me and saved up cash to move back down to a flat in suburban west London.
Using my Miarella Frostrup level of connections I soon found out art galleries only employ trust fund kids or their mates niece. I needed cash fast and had to stop dreaming of spending time hanging up paintings and serving drinks. Went into a Job centre in Shepards Bush, saw and applied for a job as a bike messenger.
The job itself (despite the other review) is pretty easy. All you need is to be in good physical condition (I ride bikes all the time anyway) and have a good temperament. I knew it was going to be physical work, I knew I'd be dealing with incompetent muppets' on the road. No biggie. If your used to the service/retail industry you deal with idiots all the time.
My interview process was a few basic questions.
'Do you know London well?'
'Yes.' (but not as well as I thought )
Do you ride regularly or do any other physical activities?
'Yeah, I ride BMX and do Thai Boxing'.
Pay was a retainer of £250 a week cash in hand, up to me to sort out taxes/expenses. obviously the more drops I did, the more I'd earn. I averaged about £300 a week, working 10-12 hour days.
Then I shadowed another messenger on his route for a week, picking and dropping as we went.
We used mobiles, not radios. They gave me a (Ortlieb) bag and tried to fob me off with some ropey looking recumberant bike to which I declined and used my Specialised Rockhopper, adapted for single speed.
One thing you really need to know is bike maintenance. You should carry tubes (repair kits take to long, fix em at home), micro-pump, spare links & chain tool, spoke key and an Alan key set. Make sure nothing on your bike is quick release, it'll get nicked. Carry a good lock, a small Kryptonite is good for weight, but a chainlock around the waist is more practical. As for clothes I wore some Van's low top trainers, shorts, my old BMX racing leathers, tight t-shirt, gloves and cap. I tried a pollution mask but they get too sweaty. I carried a fold up waterproof jacket too and had a fleece top and beanie for the winter.
Due to being tired in the evenings, I couldn't really do much apart from look for decent jobs or chill at home. I couldn't really afford to socialise much beyond going to a skatepark anyway. Rent and bills were too much for that sort of thing during the week.
But I didn't mind, the job itself was a laugh. Riding all around London at breakneck speeds, flirting with bored receptionists, going into impressive buildings unchallenged by security, having a few 'encounters' with drivers who try to kill you, it can be real fun. Sometimes the weather isn't allot of fun though... But that's just part of the job. If you get a cold easily and let the sniffles get you down, get an office job.
Weekends were a heady mix of getting absolutely wasted and (for me) riding my BMX. Allot of messengers know their way around the squat party scene and the other scenes that go with it.
You really burn the candles at both ends, but as you're so fit your body can take it. Plus allot of messengers know people who know people (or maybe it was just my mates...) so whatever you want from cheap jeans to computer games to vitamin pills you can get it all really, really cheap.
I eventually quit after a year. I was tired of getting almost run over (was only in one bad accident) and not getting paid enough. It's also tough when your mates are earning three times what you do and you just can't afford to go out with them... Plus I didn't work my arse off at Art College to end up as a delivery boy. Which is what it is, no matter what retro fixie and stupid haircut you have.
I'd recommend it as it can be fun, but it's not for the weak hearted or the feeble minded.
Alison was an Army officer for 21 years and Michael worked in banking for 30 years, before we met in 1995 and got married in early 1996. Life had not been a bed of roses for either of us, being both made redundant in 1995.
In 1992, Michael had been divorced from his then wife and the settlement in 1993 left him with no house and no cash after paying £15,000 in legal fees.
Michael tried various work after redundancy, but found them all unrewarding until we joined Kleeneze in June 1998.
We started with 200 catalogues, and took orders of £1,690 in our first 4-week period earning us £490, and £2,945 in our 2nd , earning us £913.
We got our initial investment back within 10 days. Not many businesses can do that.
We didnt speak to anyone or demonstrate any products.
We ignored all other distributors, whether Kleeneze, Betterware, or Avon.
We quickly realised that there was more to this business than putting out catalogues.
It is a people and communication business and weve made so many new, like-minded friends.
We decided we wanted to build an extra income for ourselves and we started to go to meetings, joined the ITS(voicemail) and decided to be teachable.
Our Kleeneze income has already overtaken both our pensions, for which we worked for 21 and 25 years respectively.
However, it has required hard work, time, persistence, determination & patience. Thus, weve become a top distributor in Kleeneze and in our area.
We are part of the Fast Forward Group, which is the fastest growing group in Kleeneze. It has won most of the business building competitions in the last 5 years.
If you have the will to earn an extra £50-£1,000 a week, in your spare-time, we can show you how to do it.
This will work for you anywhere in Britain, Ireland and Holland & soon to move to other parts of Europe.
We give you unlimited support and help, backed up by the 82-year old European Home Retail plc, whose shares trade on the London Stock Exchange.
The Benefits of Joining us
1. Earn money from Day 1
2. No boss, no commuting, therefore no stress.
3. Lots of recognition
4. Chance to do the things you always wanted to do.
5. Have lots of fun
6. Secure the safety of yourself and your family
7. You restore the balance of life.
8. You get the chance for self improvement of your mind
9. It saves you time, trouble and money
10.You can have comfort in your life
Kleeneze helping to spread the word for Neighbourhood Watch
For the past six years Kleeneze has provided a vital lifeline to the neighbourhood watch movement in Great Britain. Most people are familiar with the Kleeneze brand as a result of the household product catalogues that are pushed through letter boxes at various times of the year. What is perhaps not so well known is the commitment the company has made to supporting neighbourhood watch in recent years. Kleeneze is the market leader in the UK and has achieved its success by building a network of 16,000 trusted, independent distributors. As well as delivering Kleenezes product range of household goods ranging from feather dusters to garden tools direct to doorsteps across the UK it has also generously allowed the National Neighbourhood Watch Association to benefit from its distribution network free of charge. Millions of neighbourhood watch factsheets on different home security subjects have been distributed through the Kleeneze UK network. Not only that, the company has also met the costs of producing and printing our information leaflets. NNWA Chairman, Roy Rudham, said: Kleeneze has been a fantastic supporter of the NNWA for a number of years and are founder members of our corporate sponsorship club. Thanks to Kleenezes printing and distribution operations we have been able to get the neighbourhood watch message out to literally millions of people across the UK.
September issue of NNWA NewsWatch
A bumper five-page issue of the September issue of NNWAs electronic newsletter, NewsWatch, can be downloaded from today by going to our Home page at www.neighbourhoodwatch.net, and clicking on NNWA NewsWatch September Issue in the right-hand column.
We run our own homebased shopping biz from home,around our 3 children on a part time basis. We joined 6 months ago after being with another well known home shopping company for 21/2 years and its been the best decision we have made.
We deliver and collect catalogues in our local area, place the orders and deliver to the customers - we have our own territory to work and nurture, the catalogue is an A4 glossy brochure with over 800 products in - items such as Ecover environmentally friendly products(washing up liquid, washing powder, shower gel, in fact all products in all sizes, HG cleaning products, printer cartridges, hoover bags, traditionally made sweets, sugar free sweets, coffee, Tiger Tiger cooking sauces as well as a range of cleaning materials, kitchen essentials, garden and outdoor essentials etc and a further 2500+ products online.
There are no meetings to attend, a rewarding payplan 27% retail price for sales over £100 month, low start up and ongoing running costs,and this is a groundfloor network marketing opportunity.
The hardest part as in any biz is setting it up, follow our system to find your customers and be prepared to give it time and with perseverance and effort you will build a lucrative customer base.Sometimes you will come back with no orders in the early days, some books may be lost or get wet and it will feel an uphill struggle but once you have found your customers it gets easier and more rewarding.
By introducing people and teaching them to find their customers in their area you can build a team whose turnover will count with yours towards any bonus due.
Start up costs are low - £20 registration and how many catalogues you want to start with @50p each + postage £6 to your home address. Full details of this work from home biz opportunity can be found at www.eeinfo.co.uk - no having to put in any details before seeing the info - we are very upfront and have nothing to hide.
My partner and I have been an independent kleeneze distributors now for 12 months. And we easily pay our mortgage each month with the money we make building our kleeneze business.
Kleeneze is growing from strength to strength year on year. Launching in Holland last year and soon europe. Imagine that, a kleeneze catalgoue in germany! WOW.
On the surface it can look a bit of a scam at first, but i trusted the people I had met and asked loads of questions. My boss recommended me to Kleeneze, he too himself was a distributor, I didnt get it, my manager delivering catalogues, he showed me how much he made and just like they say... "the rest is history". We joined.
Starting your own business will always take hard work and the system will reward you for your efforts, it will pay you exactly what you are worth.
It is a network marketing company, founded over 80 years ago and is british. Kleeneze are also a founder member of the Direct Selling Assosiation.
So what does Kleeneze offer to people.
The realistic chance to earn what most company executives earn and more!, some of our team members earn over £50,000 every 4 weeks. EVERY 4 WEEKS. Grrrrrrr
Its simple to earn £50 a week, and even £200. This is easily achievable from week 1.
£200 - £500 are a common place and most distributors that start earn this amount straight away,
Many distributors though have incomes of 4 figures for part time work... proof of incomes are always available...
So, With flexible hours, no boss, work as many hours as you want, gain friends, build a business from home, residual income, more holidays, etc... you can see why we joined up!.
So what have we done in the last 12 months???
Since joining kleeneze we always knew it would be hard work, but its not that hard to deliver a catalogue. We liked the payment structure of kleeneze, and the flexibility of when we worked, afterall we are not shy of a little hard work, especially when theres money involved :P
Every month we have earned over £200. From month one as well, Our highest was £500. Our average is £375 every 4 weeks, This is for about 10 hours work a week. It really helps and pays the mortgage without us having to dip into our main wage... it now feels like im saving and making money rather than always having none. It really does work if you work and the extra money, well its already had a change in our lives.
So how much work do you have to do?
We work 10 hours per week and this is broken down into the following:
Friday we drop 200 Catalgoues. (2 hours)
Monday we pick up the 200 catalgoues (2 hours)
tuesday we collect the catalogues not picked up on monday. (1 hour)
Friday we deliver the orders (2 hours)
the other time is spent recycling the catalogues ready to put out again, so all in all about 10 hours work per week. plus a little bit extra here and there, This will earn you about £200 per month even from month 1. The more you do the more you earn, its simple.
There is a system in place on how Kleeneze works and its like anything at first, takes a bit of learning and understanding, but you slowly see the bigger picture and boy is it exciting!. Just follow the system and you will have a successful kleeneze business... Full training is provided across the country and the people we have met have been tremendous.
How much does it cost to run your business?
You do have to purchase your catalogues priced at £28 for 50. This includes every suppliment in the catalogue packs, so in essense 50 packs. These can be used approx 10 times, they do get ripped and torn, and the ocassional dog will decide to have a "how fast can i destroy this" fit... :P by distributing your catalogues and getting a customer base of customers who do repeatidly buy from you.
Its hard work but gets easier the more you stick at it. Were now in our 1st year and we now earn more money for the same amount of work we were doing last year, due to us now only delivering our 200 catalogues to people that do order with us... (200 x £10) = £2,000 of sales... not bad for 10 hours work.
How do you get paid?
As a distributor you will earn 21% of everything you sell... The more you sell the more you can earn, we have bonus structures in place, on reaching these bonus levels you will then receive an extra % of everything you have sold. This bonus cheque is paid into your account every month, and the other 21% you take when your customer pays for the goods.
What are the disadvantages...
well, it rains, might sound silly, but rain and paper.... ewww, you do looks catalgoues, and these have to be bought for!. You meet all sorts of people, some nice some not so nice, but thats just there nature. Its also very hard work to begin with as you learn new things, but its well worh it, our business is growing from strength to strength.
Why did you join?
Well Kleeneze also offers a residual income plan, teach others how to run a successful kleeneze by following the system and kleeneze will pay you another bonus cheque for everything they do...
you sell £800 worth of sales (easily done)
Teach 10 other people how to do that and you have a group sales of £8,000, you then not only earn 21% of your £200, but you are now entitled to an extra % of £8,000.
Eventually you end up being paid for teaching others... you get a percentage on everything they sell and any people they introduce into the business.
Its quite impossible to teach you how all this works, and It really cant be explained in text.
For more information try visiting www.kleeneze.net
or call the Kleeneze Service Centre:
UK - 08703 33 66 88
ROI - 01248 22 22
NL - 0800 023 2517
Kleeneze UK Limited
St Ivel Way.
Alternatively if you would like some more information please visit my website www.findouthow.co.uk for all details. This is my Kleeneze Opportunity site.
Kleeneze - It works if you work
Me (the 'phant), in a rare moment of confidence: "I've made a decision. I'm quitting my office job and I'm going to spend the summer working as a bicycle courier." The reaction? Hysterical laughter vibrating through telephone receivers, disbelieving e-mails and numerous slaps on the back and pokes in the rib cage. "Um...yeah...best joke I've heard all day". That was the me of 2 years ago. My temping agency had fixed me up with a job which started out as acting PA and ended up as 8 hours a day of filing and tea making. I was fed up. It was summer and it was hot and I wanted to be under the blue sky, not stuck in a dingy airless filing room surrounded by boxes and papers. When I saw the advert in The Evening Standard, I didn't have to think twice. Me, the bicycle courier. It sounded perfect. I was due to go on holiday in the Autumn and was worried about baring my white wobbly body on the beach. A few months of cycling would sort all that out. I'd be tanned, toned and my pockets would be laden with £50 notes. (It's amazing how naive I can be sometimes!) Bicycle couriers seem to be everywhere these days. If you ever go to London's West End, you'll no doubt spot numerous couriers zooming in and out of the traffic. Open the newspaper, like I did, and you'll find an abundance of courier vacancies. A simple phone call, an interview date set, and off you go. I set off for my interview feeling very nervous. I'm used to dressing up for interviews. But this was different. I had to show that I was fit and sporty. So tracksuit bottoms and a t-shirt it was. I looked like a scruffy wreck by the time I arrived. I'd had to cycle (to show my cycling abilities) from my home in Kentish Town to East Acton where the company was based - (and if you don't know London, I can assure you the journey is a very long and complicated one). On arrival, I trie
d to disguise my out of breath puffing and blowing and I powdered up my glowing red face. I AM FIT, I kept telling myself. I go to aerobics once a week and I used to cycle a lot when I lived in Lancaster. I AM FIT. The interview was very informal. It was held in a huge warehouse, and I was asked to take a seat - on an old bike tyre! I was asked a series of questions, and I'm ashamed to admit that most of my answers were lies. "Cycling all day is very tiring. Do you think you?ll be able to cope?" "How much cycling have you done in the past?" "How much exercise do you do in an average week?" "How good is your knowledge of London roads?" I was then asked to complete a small written test. I gulped in terror as it was handed to me. The test consisted of a series of geographical questions about London. For example, is (a) north, east, south or west from (b), and describe the quickest way of getting from (a) to (b). Now, for some of these questions it's quite easy to hazard a guess at the answers. But for others - well, if you don?t really know your geography (like me), you're going to have real problems. Horrible memories flashed before my eyes of the shameful 27% I once got in a geography test at school. My test was then marked by the interviewer. And I was told that most of my answers were worryingly incorrect. And that I didn't really look all that fit and healthy. Rude cow, I thought. But she was willing to give me a chance, seeing as I was so enthusiastic and confident I would be good at the job. I was given a clipboard, a large waterproof shoulder bag (for carrying all those packages) and told I had to hand over a £40 deposit, which would be returned to me once I had completed my first week of work. I was also offered a company radio - for the cost of £60. But I told them I would be fine with my mobile. **So, what exac
tly does a courier do?** Well, at 8.30 every morning, before I left home, I was told I would have to call up the company to find out where my first job would be. Each courier is given a number. I was 270. So when I rang up, that's how I had to introduce myself. No, "Hi, it's me Helen, how are you doing today?". It was more of a "270 reporting for duty" kind of thing. God, it was like being in the army! I would then be sent to a random office in a random part of London to collect a mysterious package of some kind. I would be told to deliver this package to a particular address - and off I would go. The package bulging in my bag - constantly reminding me that I could be carrying a bomb or a wad of stolen bank notes or a mutilated body part. Well, you never know what's underneath all that packaging do you! Once I had successfully delivered the package I had to get a signature and a small form was completed. All this had to be handed in to my employer at the end of every week, as proof of the number of jobs I had completed. Normally, on a busy day, my mobile would be constantly ringing: 350 from Courier Headquarters informing me, 270, of the location of my next delivery. **And the MONEY?** For each package delivered I earned £2.50. I know that sounds like a pathetic amount - even less than the minimum wage, but I was told in my interview that it was more than possible to deliver several packages an hour. I totted up a few numbers in my head (the best a non-mathematician can) and concluded that several months on my bike would make me a very rich young lady. Well £10 an hour isn't bad is it. Hmmmmmm, let's keep on dreaming... **What EQUIPMENT will I need?** Well, obviously you're going to need a BIKE. Some courier companies supply their employees with company bikes. But mine didn't. I had my own though, although it was second hand and not a particul
arly good make. Fine for leisurely Sunday cycles down by the canal, but not really up to working an 8-hour day. It's a good idea to take your bike for a little check up before you start working. You'll want to get your tyres pumped up, make sure your lights are in working order and most importantly, ensure your brakes do actually stop your bike from moving. You don't want to be the cause of a 10-car-pile- up. Buy a little water bottle attachment, if you don't have one already that is. Cycling is a thirsty business and water bottles will weigh your bag down (and sometimes they leak!) A HELMET is a necessity. I personally hate wearing them; they make my hair all sweaty and leave a horrid red rim around my forehead. But you will be riding on fairly busy roads, so appearances have to put to one side, I'm afraid. You'll be leaving your bike unattended and sometimes in fairly dodgy parts of town. So you're going to need a very good BIKE LOCK. I had two, but then I'm obsessively paranoid by nature. Cycling itself is healthy. But cycling on busy roads for 8 hours day, inhaling car fumes, is not. To avoid breathing in all that horrid city pollution, I'd advise you to purchase an AIR FILTER MASK. This will cover your mouth and nose, filtering out all the dirt and grime in the atmosphere, whilst still allowing you to breathe. Yes, it's hot and sticky and you'll start to resemble Michael Jackson, but it's worth it. Honest. Getting your CLOTHES right is a tad tricky. If you're a serious cyclist, you'll already have the 'proper' gear - like those sexy skin-tight cycling shorts that show off all your bumps and bulges and the trendy cyclist's trainers that do all kinds of incredible things. 'Proper' gear is expensive though, and if you really can't face forking out on clothes that are going to make you look hideous, then don't. I just wore tr
acksuit bottoms and various trampy looking t-shirts. It wasn't ideal. I'm sure it would have been easier to cycle if I'd been willing to wear the old leggings I hid under my bed 5 years ago. But I just couldn't. Oh, and don?t forget your waterproofs. You'll definitely need SUNTAN LOTION if you're going to be outside all day. I never bothered. Despite the fact that I have very fair skin and the slightest sunray turns my skin a shocking shade of red, I convinced myself that this time it would be different and that I would eventually tan. Needless to say, I suffered for my sins and was in agony for weeks afterwards. It's also a good idea to wear SUNGLASSES. It can be difficult to see when the sun's glaring in your face, and that can be pretty dangerous when you're cycling on a busy road. **The requirements of a good (and happy) courier** I was neither of these, despite my initial confidence. I thought it would be easy, leisurely cycling around London, the wind in my hair and the sun on my face. In reality, it was complete and utter hell. 1) You really do need to be SUPER FIT. At the end of my first day, I thought I would never be able to walk again. I had blisters all over my backside and across my thighs and I felt as though someone had beaten me black and blue. It's all very well lying in your interview and convincing yourself that you're fit. But if in reality, you're a slumped in front of the TV kind of person, couriering is going to kill you. 2) You need to be FAST. Speed comes hand in hand with fitness, and as I was pretty unfit, I was also very very slow. In order to actually make a profit out of couriering, speed is a necessity. Never mind 4 jobs an hour, I was lucky to manage 1. Working hours were supposed to 8.30 - 5.30, but if you're on a job, you had to carry on until you'd finished. On my first day, I didn't get home until 9.3
0 and I was so exhausted I just collapsed in a heap in the hallway. 3) You need a good and thorough AREA KNOWLEDGE. I'd only just moved to London and I just about knew how to get to the West End from my house, but that was it. I didn?t have a clue about anywhere else. I was sure it wouldn't be a problem though. I brought an A to Z with me every day and thought that would be enough. It wasn't though. A to Z?s don't tell you the quickest ways to get to places. They don't tell you which roads are blocked and which are congested with traffic. And reading them takes time. Time you can't afford to be wasting. 4) You need to be a CONFIDENT CYCLIST. I'd always enjoyed cycling in the countryside, and felt I was fairly confident riding on the roads aswell. I'd had driving lessons and I'd passed my theory test with distinction, so I knew all about roundabouts and rights of way, and what various road signs meant. Hey, I was an expert. Except I wasn't. Being a bicycle courier in London means riding on very busy roads. And busy means scary. At one point, I found myself on what I'm sure was a motorway. (I have no idea where it was, so I can't give road names). The cars were zooming back and forth in 4 different lanes down a very steep hill and into a long dark tunnel. Cycling down there, next to zooming cars and screeching motorbikes, not knowing where I was or where I was going - it was one of the scariest few moments of my life. 5) You need to be TOUGH. I burst into tears several times when I was a courier. Tears of exhaustion, tears of frustration and tears of indescribable pain (well, have you ever had a blister on your bottom??) 6) You need to be totally UNCONCERNED ABOUT YOUR APPEARANCE. Even with your helmet and your filter mask on, the dirt still finds it's cunning way to your face, and arms, and legs. When I got home and looked in the mirror after my first nightmare o
f a day, I was horrified. My face was black - literally. I was covered in exhaust fumes, road grit, and even came across several dead flies. Then when I'd finally scrubbed all the dirt away, I discovered several layers of peeling sunburnt skin - of the purple variety. *** If you're a super fit, super tough athlete, and you still want to be a bicycle courier, I'd advise you to look around at different courier companies before you make your final choice. The courier industry is crying out for employees so don't feel you have to go with the first to offer you a job. The company I worked for was particularly bad. Yes, White City Courier's, you know who you are! Firstly, I was sent from one end of London to the other - cycling a ridiculous number of miles to get to each job. Ok, the fact that I was slow and incompetent didn't help, but most companies (as I found out afterwards) do only concentrate on one particular area. Obviously, this means more packages being delivered an hour - therefore more money in your pocket. Secondly, don't trust companies (like mine) that demand you pay them a deposit. I only worked for 2 ½ days (I very tearfully quit and went home to lie in the bath for a week) - and was told that because I hadn't worked a full week, I wasn't entitled to my deposit. The following week I was then sent a letter demanding that I pay a total of £25.00 for the loss of the bag they had given me. A bag that I distinctly remember handing to a security man standing at the gates. I was told that if they didn't receive a cheque immediately, they would send me a courts summons and I would be charged a hefty fine. My boyfriend, even more furious than I was at this point, grabbed the phone, rang the courier company and argued and argued until eventually they gave in and decided to "let me off". Some companies are also far more generous with their wages. You should be earning
a fair bit more than £2.50 per package - even if you're capable of doing several in an hour. If you're quick and efficient and the right person for the job, then it's possible to make a great deal of money being a bicycle courier. *** I know not everyone has had such bad experiences with courier companies. I see plenty of very happy looking couriers around the centre of London. Admittedly, they look nothing like me. They're always dressed in the correct clothes and look as though they run the marathon every year, and probably swim across several oceans on a regular basis aswell. For normal people like you and me though, a single day as a bicycle courier will be enough to leave us longing for that comfortable office chair.