Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area. They drive trucks having a total weight of 26,000 pounds or less for vehicle, passengers, and cargo. Delivery truck drivers usually transport merchandise from a distribution center to businesses and households.

Duties

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically do the following:

  • Load and unload their cargo
  • Communicate with customers to determine pickup and delivery needs
  • Report any incidents they encounter on the road to a dispatcher
  • Follow all applicable traffic laws
  • Report serious mechanical problems to the appropriate personnel
  • Keep their truck and associated equipment clean and in good working order
  • Accept payments for the shipment
  • Handle paperwork, such as receipts or delivery confirmation notices

Most drivers generally receive instructions to go to a delivery location at a particular time, and it is up to them to determine the best route. Other drivers have a regular daily or weekly delivery schedule. All drivers must understand an area’s street grid and know which roads allow trucks and which do not.

The following examples are types of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers:

Driver/sales workers are delivery drivers who also have sales responsibilities. They recommend new products to businesses and solicit new customers. These drivers may have a regular delivery route and be responsible for adding new clients located along their route. For example, they may make regular deliveries to a hardware store and encourage the store’s manager to offer a new product.

Some driver/sales workers use their own vehicles to deliver goods to customers, such as takeout food, and accept payment for those goods. Freelance or independent driver/sales workers may use smartphone apps to find specific delivery jobs.

Light truck drivers, often called pickup and delivery or P&D drivers, are the most common type of delivery driver. They drive small trucks or vans from distribution centers to delivery locations. Drivers make deliveries based on a set schedule. Some drivers stop at the distribution center once only, in the morning, and make many stops throughout the day. Others make multiple trips between the distribution center and delivery locations. Some drivers make deliveries from a retail location to customers.

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Work Environment

Driver/sales workers held about 447,800 jobs in 2018. The largest employers of driver/sales workers were as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places                                          46%
Wholesale trade 24
Retail trade 9
Self-employed workers 6

Light truck or delivery services drivers held about 1.0 million jobs in 2018. The largest employers of light truck or delivery services drivers were as follows:

Couriers and messengers                                                         22%
Retail trade 22
Wholesale trade 18
Self-employed workers 6

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers have physically demanding jobs. When loading and unloading cargo, drivers do a lot of lifting, carrying, and walking. Driving in congested traffic or adhering to strict delivery timelines can also be stressful.

Injuries and Illnesses

Light truck or delivery services drivers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Injuries can result from workers lifting and moving heavy objects, as well as from automobile accidents.

Work Schedules

Most drivers work full time, and many work additional hours. Those who have regular routes sometimes must begin work very early in the morning or work late at night. For example, a driver who delivers bread to a deli every day must arrive before the deli opens. Drivers often work weekends and holidays.

Education and Training

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically enter their occupations with a high school diploma or equivalent. However, some opportunities exist for those without a high school diploma. Workers undergo 1 month or less of on-the-job training. They must have a driver’s license from the state in which they work and have a clean driving record.

Education

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Training

Companies train new delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers on the job. This may include training from a driver-mentor who rides along with a new employee to make sure that a new driver is able to operate a truck safely on crowded streets.

New drivers also get training to learn company policies about package dropoffs and returns, taking payment, and what to do with damaged goods.

Driver/sales workers must learn detailed information about the products they offer. Their company also may teach them proper sales techniques, such as how to approach new customers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All delivery drivers need a driver’s license.

Other Experience

Some delivery drivers begin as package loaders at warehouse facilities, especially if the driver works for a large company. For more information, see the profile on hand laborers and material movers.

Personality and Interests

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically have an interest in the Building and Persuading interest areas, according to the Holland Code framework. The Building interest area indicates a focus on working with tools and machines, and making or fixing practical things. The Persuading interest area indicates a focus on influencing, motivating, and selling to other people.

If you are not sure whether you have a Building or Persuading interest which might fit with a career as a delivery truck driver and driver/sales worker, you can take a career test to measure your interests.

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers should also possess the following specific qualities:

Customer-service skills. When completing deliveries, drivers often interact with customers and should make a good impression to ensure repeat business.

Hand-eye coordination. When driving, delivery drivers need to observe their surroundings while simultaneously operating a complex machine.

Math skills. Because delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers sometimes take payment, they must be able to count cash and make change quickly and accurately.

Patience. When driving through heavy traffic congestion, delivery drivers must remain calm and composed.

Sales skills. Driver/sales workers are expected to convince customers to purchase new or different products from them.

Speaking ability. Drivers must comprehend English well enough to read road signs, prepare written reports, and communicate verbally with the public and law enforcement officials.

Visual ability. To have a driver’s license, delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers must be able to pass a state vision test.

Pay

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $25,860 in May 2019. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,970.

The median annual wage for light truck or delivery services drivers was $34,730 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,400.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for driver/sales workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Wholesale trade $35,640
Retail trade 29,220
Restaurants and other eating places                                                    22,100

In May 2019, the median annual wages for light truck or delivery services drivers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Couriers and messengers                                                                   $49,220
Wholesale trade 33,470
Retail trade 26,340

Some drivers/sales workers, such as pizza delivery workers, receive tips in addition to hourly wages. Sales workers can also receive commissions from the products they sell.

Most drivers work full time, and many work additional hours. Those who have regular routes sometimes must begin work very early in the morning or work late at night. For example, a driver who delivers bread to a deli every day must arrive before the deli opens. Drivers often work weekends and holidays.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers is projected to grow 2 percent from 2018 to 2028, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by occupation.

Employment of light truck or delivery services drivers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2018 to 2028, about as fast as the average for all occupations. Continued e-commerce growth should increase demand for package delivery services, especially for the large and regional shipping companies. More light truck and delivery drivers will be needed to fulfill the growing number of e-commerce transactions.

Employment of driver/sales workers is projected to decline 3 percent from 2018 to 2028. Self-employed or independent contractors, who sign up with smartphone-based food delivery companies, may be needed to deliver food from grocery stores and from restaurants that previously provided only takeout services. In addition, robotic driverless vehicles may replace some workers in food delivery.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities for delivery truck drivers and drivers/sales workers are expected to be good. Job applicants with experience and a clean driving record, or who work for a company in another occupation, should have the best job prospects.

For More Information

For more information about truck drivers, including delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers, visit

American Trucking Associations

 

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