Some food for thought, for lack of a better expression. It certainly was for me. Working a downtown p/u route yesterday, I see a bike messenger buddy whom I worked alongside. He said that business is steady, and he's getting a bit more work because his co-worker broke hie leg and is out for two months at least. I also noticed that he changed companies as the last one lost a huge client, and there just was no more work, so he had to jump ship (without EI or anything, he found out one day and had to look for work that evening). He said that the current company has an incompetent dispatcher, and in a world where you're paid per piece, it has a very huge effect. He said that it's slow today, and he's been sitting on his ass for about 20 minutes, he likely won't break $100 for the day. So he asked me about my work and I said "yeah it's rough". He scoffed, saying "paid vacation, free uniforms, paid sick days, health benefits, great hourly wage, union protection, and I get the fresh air on my road bike when it's -25c." For a regular 2 hour service which makes a bulk of messengers' trips, they're making $0.80 per trip to a 15 minute rush that'll make them $5.50 up to a out-of-the-core rush that can net around $10 and a lot of riding. Messengers maintain their own bikes, and if they break, they have to be fixed or else a lot of revenue will be missed. They also the risk of them being stolen, which is killer when it happens. Being that they don't have any rights whatsoever (because they're 'self-employed'), they don't get any breaks except when there's no work to be done. Messengers are literally treated like trash; they get hassled when they lock their bike up against a building, use the wrong doors, go in the wrong elevator, drink out of the wrong fountain, ride in the wrong lane, etc. The same door that I entered a building in my buddy messenger was not allowed to. Bike messenger work is extremely physical; when I did it, I would ride 25km a day, not factoring in the 6km round trip commute. And all of these miles involves my flesh amongst the steel, and the faster you go, the more money you make. Follow the HABITS and you'll be making squat. Although messengers have a lot of freedom and no boss and on good days in the winter they get paid at the same level as a top-rate UPS driver, they get a lot less protection. Yes, we work very hard, earn our coin and we have to deal with a lot of crap, but damn do we ever have it good. I'll be sure to think of that after a supervisory clash when I'm in a heated package car looking out to a bike messenger in a foot of snow.