Messenger List


Despite the popularity of fax machines, e-mail and other document transmittal modes, most messenger service companies in Los Angeles are reporting steady or growing business.

The reason? Plenty of documents and other items being shuttled around L.A. either can’t or shouldn’t be sent electronically, according to company officials.

“When fax filing of documents started a few years ago, a lot of messenger service companies panicked,” said David Davoodian, president of the Express Group in West Los Angeles, which debuts on The List this year at No. 10. “There are still many things like drugs, discs, tapes, original documents and documents that have to be signed that need to go by messenger.”

Linda Vlasic, president of Best Express Inc. in Walnut, said that, starting in the late 1980s, as correspondence declined, her business shifted its emphasis to carrying packages.

“For us, business hasn’t declined. We have just changed the focus of the kinds of service we offer,” said Vlasic, whose sale of an undisclosed portion of her company accounted for its drop in L.A.-area employees from 98 last year to 20 currently. She declined to say why she sold the portion of her business.

In all, 15 messenger companies on The List reported growth in their number of local delivery employees, four have cut their local delivery force since last year, and six names are new to the List.

In some cases for example, at No. 7 UCI Distribution Plus the number of delivery employees declined while its reported number of deliveries stayed the same.

Marketing manager John Repka attributed the drop in employees to the company losing a contract, but the company reported that it still managed to make the same number of daily stops in Los Angeles.

Typically, he said, a messenger company secures a two-year contract with a customer.

With 880 L.A.-area employees, Houston-based Corporate Express Delivery Systems is No. 1 again this year, far larger than No. 2 Jet Delivery Inc. with 155 local employees.

Corporate Express, with 11,290 delivery employees nationwide, changed its name earlier this year from U.S. Delivery Systems and acquired last year’s No. 6-ranked company, Midnite Express Inc. That acquisition follows two previous L.A.-area acquisitions by Corporate Express in the prior year.

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