How to Start a Delivery Driver Career in the Modern Economy
Thanks to eCommerce and the seemingly permanent shift towards the gig economy, delivery drivers, couriers, and truck drivers are in high demand. While you can become a delivery driver through a rideshare program, you can also take the traditional route for more opportunities.
What Does a Delivery Driver Do?
Delivery drivers are responsible for transporting goods by truck, van, or car. They’re responsible for verifying shipments, inspecting their vehicles, loading goods, and ensuring their products arrive at their destination safely. Delivery drivers may have to install furniture or appliances.
Besides transporting goods, delivery drivers are also responsible for maintaining accurate mileage, fuel costs, and delivery records. Depending on the company, delivery drivers will have to communicate with the buyer or central dispatch to schedule delivery times and locations.
What Skills and Qualifications Do Delivery Drivers Need?
To learn how delivery drivers make money, we have to look at the necessary skills couriers need to be successful. Here’s a brief overview of what employers look for in potential drivers:
- A secondary school diploma.
- A valid driver’s license for the type of vehicle needed.
- A clean driving record for the last 12 months, but 24 months may be required.
- A clean criminal record (some states allow for non-car-related misdemeanors).
- Certifications to handle dangerous goods, like WHMIS, if applicable.
- Certifications to handle long-form transportation of perishables, if applicable.
- A valid passport for international deliveries if applicable.
As a rule, international truck drivers make more money than national truck drivers, and government-owned services, like the post office, offer better benefits than private companies.
It’s crucial that you look up the individual requirements for each delivery job you apply for to ensure you have all the recommended licenses and certifications. Some businesses will train you onsight or pay for certificate-based training if you’re experienced and trustworthy.
How to Start Your Career as a Delivery Driver
No formal training or education is required for a standard Delivery Drivers career, but you’ll likely have to experience a lot of mental and physical stress. You’ll have to keep up with scheduled delivery times where possible, meet quotas, and speak with home and business owners.
To ensure you’re the right fit for your new role, it’s recommended that you are:
- Physically Fit: You must lift heavy objects up to 50lbs and walk several miles daily.
- A Good Driver: You’re representing a company, so you can’t make mistakes. Do you signal when you turn? Do you come to a complete stop at stop signs?
- Timely: You’ll have to meet daily deadlines without sacrificing your efficiency.
- Flexible: You may need to change your route or schedule at a moment’s notice.
- Organized: You’ll have to keep to ever-changing calendars and appointments.
- Friendly: You’ll interact with strangers and co-workers throughout your shift.
Experience isn’t required for most delivery driver roles, but you’re more likely to get hired if you’ve worked for another company in the past, whether it’s Uber or an employer.
When writing your resume, it’s important that you highlight your skills in:
- Driving and adjusting to new state road laws.
- Loading and unloading products in a timely manner.
- Inspecting your truck/car/van thoroughly.
- Writing detailed records for fuel and deliveries.
- Collecting payments and signatures.
- Assembling appliances and furniture at the time of delivery.
- Delivering items to the correct location on time.
- Safety for both the items on board and the other drivers on the road.
Delivery drivers typically make $20 an hour or $38,400 a year, but you have the opportunity to make more if they need a special license to drive a vehicle. Applicants can apply online or at post offices, grocery stores, warehouses, courier services, and most manufacturing plants.