Courier services have been around for hundreds of years, dating back to the creation of Wells Fargo in 1852. They can provide delivery on national and international levels or within a metropolitan area.
Wells Fargo and the Early Days
The first-ever private industry courier company in the United States was Wells Fargo, which was founded in 1852. At that time, packages were delivered door-to-door with very little competition and no regulation. Wells Fargo shipped newspapers, gold and packages as the country expanded West.
In 1859, the Leavenworth and Pike’s Peak Express Company (The Pony Express) was founded. It became a quicker way to send letters across the country. From 1860 to 1861 letters were sent from the Atlantic to the Pacific coast in a matter of 10 days. This courier service helped keep the new state of California connected with the rest of the country.
The United States Postal Service, which is the only government-owned courier service in the industry, was also active during this time and still is today.
Trains and Automobiles
The courier industry expanded greatly when trains starting shipping packages across the country. Add in the invention of the automobile and the industry took off even more.
Even though courier services can use cars and trucks these days, they still utilize couriers on bicycles, especially in large cities where it takes a lot of time to get around due to traffic. Bicycle couriers cut down on delivery time in major cities and overhead for companies.
The U.S. Courier Industry
The courier industry in the United States is a $59 billion industry. It is dominated by larger courier services such as UPS and FedEx.