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Delivery Driver Career Guide

What is a delivery driver?

A delivery driver is someone who gets stuff where it needs to go. They might take packages from a warehouse to your house or from a store to another store. They drive all sorts of vehicles like cars, vans, or big trucks, depending on what they’re delivering. These drivers make sure everything arrives safe and on time.

Lots of different businesses need them—like online stores, restaurants, car parts suppliers, and hospitals. Thanks to more people shopping online, delivery drivers are more important than ever.

Duties and responsibilities

Delivery drivers do more than just drive. They have to make sure they deliver things safely and on time, load and unload their vehicles, and keep their ride clean and working well. They also deal with paperwork like delivery notes and sometimes even take payments.

Work environment

Delivery drivers are on the road a lot. They mostly work by themselves and have to be good at planning their day and routes. They might deliver to busy city streets or quiet neighborhoods, and sometimes even out to places that are hard to get to.

The job can be tough—it involves lifting heavy packages and dealing with traffic and bad weather. Some drivers stay close to home, but others might travel far, even to other states.

Typical work hours

Delivery drivers’ hours can really vary. Some work normal business hours; others might have shifts that include nights and weekends. Especially if they drive long distances, they could be working at all kinds of hours.

How to become a delivery driver

Becoming a delivery driver is pretty straightforward. Here’s what you need to do:

Step 1: Get a driver’s license

First things first, you need a valid driver’s license. This means taking a driving class, practicing with a learner’s permit, and passing your driving test.

Step 2: Take a defensive driving course

This step isn’t a must, but it’s a good idea. A defensive driving course teaches you how to avoid crashes and be a safer driver, which can impress future bosses.

Step 3: Find the right car insurance

If you’re driving for work, you need insurance that covers you just in case something goes wrong while you’re on the job.

Step 4: Keep your driving record clean

Show you’re responsible by not getting tickets or getting into trouble on the road. Employers like drivers they can count on to be safe and smart.

Step 5: Build physical strength

Since you might have to lift heavy boxes or packages, it’s a good idea to be in good shape. You can work on your strength, stamina, and flexibility.

Step 6: Learn how to handle customers

Dealing with people is a big part of the job. Experience in customer service, like knowing how to handle complaints or just being friendly, can really help.

Step 7: Know your way around

Knowing the best and quickest ways to get around your delivery area can make you much faster and more efficient.

Step 8: Start applying for jobs

Once you’ve got the skills and knowledge, start applying for jobs. Make sure your resume talks up your driving skills and any customer service chops you have.

Step 9: Nail the job interview

When you get an interview, be ready to chat about how well you know the area, your driving experience, and how you deal with customers. Being well-prepared can really make you stand out.

How much do delivery drivers make?

Compensation for delivery drivers varies by experience, industry, education, location, and organization size. Fuel costs, vehicle maintenance, and the nature of goods being delivered can significantly impact their overall compensation. The demand for delivery services in a particular area can also affect earnings.

Highest paying industries

  • Natural Gas Distribution: $55,000
  • Postal Service: $53,000
  • Couriers and Express Delivery Services: $51,000
  • General Freight Trucking: $48,000
  • Specialized Freight Trucking: $46,000

Highest paying states

  • North Dakota: $54,000
  • Alaska: $52,000
  • Massachusetts: $51,000
  • Connecticut: $50,000
  • Washington: $49,000

Browse delivery driver salary data by market

Types of delivery drivers

Delivery drivers do more than just drop off packages; they specialize in different types of deliveries depending on what’s being shipped. Here are some common types of drivers:

Parcel delivery driver

These are the drivers who bring small to medium packages right to your doorstep. They usually work for postal services or courier companies. Whether it’s a new phone case or a book, they’re the ones making sure your orders get to you safely and on time.

Food delivery driver

Ever ordered a pizza or a burger to your home? Food delivery drivers are the folks who bring it hot and fresh. Working with restaurants and through apps, these drivers are a big part of why we can get any food we want, delivered anytime we crave.

Furniture delivery driver

These drivers handle bigger items like sofas, beds, or desks. Not only do they deliver furniture to homes and businesses, but they sometimes also help set it up. This job needs drivers who are strong and know a bit about assembling furniture.

Heavy truck delivery driver

When it comes to big jobs, like delivering a lot of goods or heavy items like building materials, heavy truck drivers are on it. They drive the big trucks and often need special training and licenses because they handle much bigger vehicles than your typical delivery van.

Freight delivery driver

These drivers are all about the long haul. They move large loads of goods over long distances, from warehouses to stores, or between cities. It’s a job that can have them on the road for days, making sure everything from clothes to canned goods gets where it needs to go.

Top skills for delivery drivers

If you’re thinking about becoming a delivery driver, there are some key skills you need to be good at the job. Here’s what you need to know:

Safe driving

First up, you gotta know how to handle a car, van, or truck. This means understanding how to drive on different kinds of roads and in all sorts of weather while sticking to the rules to avoid accidents. Being a safe driver helps make sure everything gets where it needs to go without any trouble.

Physical stamina and strength

These drivers often have to lift and carry packages—sometimes heavy ones! Being strong and fit helps you do this day in and day out without getting hurt.

Time management

Got a gift for being on time? That’s what you need as a delivery driver. You’ll have to figure out the fastest ways to get from point A to point B, deal with unexpected delays like traffic, and make sure all your deliveries are made on schedule.

Customer service

Since you might be the only person from the company that customers meet, being friendly and solving any issues they have makes a big difference. Happy customers mean good business!


Talking things through clearly—whether it’s with customers, coworkers, or your boss—is super important. Good communication helps make sure everyone is on the same page and everything runs smoothly.

Knowing your way around

Being able to navigate well is a huge plus. Whether you use a GPS or old-school maps, knowing the best routes saves time and keeps the day moving.

Delivery driver career path

Starting as a delivery driver can lead you in a bunch of exciting directions, depending on what you’re into and where you want to go. Here are some cool ways your career can grow:

Move up to bigger vehicles

You can level up from delivering small packages to driving big trucks or even tractor-trailers, which are those huge trucks you see on the highway. These jobs usually pay more and can be more challenging, but they’re definitely rewarding if you like the open road.

Step into management

If you’re good with people and planning, you might work your way up to a manager role, like being in charge of a team of drivers or running the whole delivery operation. These jobs need someone who’s great at keeping things organized and making sure everything runs smoothly.

Switch to customer service or sales

With all the knowledge you gain about routes and customers, another cool option is to move into a customer service or sales job within the transport world. This means you’d use what you know to help keep customers happy or bring in new business.

Start your own business

Feeling entrepreneurial? Some drivers decide to buy their own truck and start their own delivery business. This path can lead to bigger earnings and even running your own company one day, but it takes guts and smart planning.

Or maybe you’ll find something totally new that uses your delivery skills, like working in supply chain management or as a logistics consultant. These jobs focus on planning the best ways to move stuff from point A to point B, which is something you’ll know a lot about.

Being a delivery driver is becoming cooler and more high-tech. Here’s what’s going on in the world of delivery driving:

  • Rise of the gig economy: More people are choosing to work as freelance drivers, thanks to apps that make it easy to work whenever they want. This flexibility is awesome if you want to earn extra cash, especially because you can make more money during busy times like evenings and weekends.
  • Tech is taking over: Technology is also changing the delivery game. With new tools like route optimization software, real-time tracking, and digital payments, the job’s getting easier and more efficient.
  • Going green: There’s also a big push to make delivery more environmentally friendly. More companies are using electric or hybrid vehicles, which is not only good for the planet but might soon be a big part of delivery jobs everywhere.

Employment projections

As for job opportunities, things are looking up. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says jobs for delivery drivers are expected to grow by 11% through 2031, which is really fast. More people shopping online means more stuff needs to be delivered, so drivers are in high demand.

Delivery driver career tips

Understand your job well

It’s not just about driving from point A to point B. You’re the company’s face to the customer, so knowing how to handle products and deal with people is super important. Get familiar with your company’s rules on customer service—it could even lead to more opportunities in the future.

Get tech-savvy

These days, delivery companies use cool tech to plan and track deliveries. Getting good at using this tech can make your job easier and show your bosses that you’re serious about your work.

Know your area

Being quick and efficient is all about knowing the best routes and how traffic flows where you work. Spend time learning about your area’s shortcuts, traffic hotspots, and landmarks.

Take care of your vehicle

Whether it’s your car or a company truck, keeping it in top shape is crucial. Regular check-ups mean safer driving and on-time deliveries, which are big pluses for your job performance.

Network with others

Connecting with other delivery drivers or joining groups can be super helpful. You’ll learn from others, find solutions to common problems, and maybe even make some friends who get what your day-to-day is like.

  • National Association of Small Trucking Companies (NASTC)
  • Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA)
  • Truckload Carriers Association (TCA)

Never stop learning

The best drivers keep getting better by learning new things. Whether it’s taking a new driving course, learning about special cargo like fragile or dangerous goods, or studying up on customer service, staying sharp and skilled will keep you ahead of the pack.

Where the delivery driver jobs are

Top employers

  • Amazon
  • UPS
  • FedEx
  • Domino’s Pizza
  • USPS

Top states

  • California
  • Texas
  • Florida
  • New York
  • Illinois

Top job sites

  • zengig
  • Indeed
  • Monster
  • Craigslist
  • LinkedIn


What skills does a delivery driver need to possess?

They should possess excellent driving skills with a clean driving record. Outstanding navigational abilities are key and should be complemented by an ability to manage time efficiently. The ability to lift and transport packages is also crucial, along with excellent verbal and written communication skills. Understanding customer service basics, as being the face of the company during deliveries is often a part of the job, is also recommended.

Is a specific degree required to become a delivery driver?

No specific degree is required for this position. However, a high school diploma or equivalent is usually preferred by employers. Some positions may require a commercial driver’s license (CDL), depending on the size and weight of the vehicle to be driven.

What does a typical workday look like for a delivery driver?

A typical workday begins with checking their vehicle for any maintenance it might need. They then proceed to load packages, plan optimal routes using GPS, and make scheduled deliveries throughout the day while ensuring the safe transport of packages. Drivers may also collect payments, get signatures, and provide excellent customer service. Once deliveries are complete for the day, they often return to the depot to report delivery details.

What are the physical demands of being a delivery driver?

The job can be physically demanding as it often involves loading and unloading goods and sometimes heavy lifting. It also requires spending long periods in the driving seat, which can be physically taxing. Therefore, maintaining good physical health is important for this role.

What are the risks or challenges a delivery driver might face?

They often face challenges like traffic congestion, weather conditions, and tight delivery schedules. There’s the physical strain of lifting heavy goods, the risk of road accidents, and possibly dealing with difficult customers or unsafe delivery locations. In an era of navigation apps, they still need strong directional skills in case technology fails or leads them astray.

What kind of opportunities for advancement are available for delivery drivers?

Drivers have several opportunities for career growth. They can advance to management roles such as supervisor or manager of delivery operations. They can also specialize and become long-haul drivers or drivers for sensitive packages, such as medical supplies or high-value goods. With further training and certification, they can move into roles like truck driving or logistics coordination.

Do delivery drivers work in a team or individually?

They usually work individually during their delivery routes. However, they are part of a larger team that ensures the whole delivery process works smoothly. They collaborate, communicate, and coordinate with dispatchers, receivers, other drivers, warehouse staff, and managers to facilitate efficient delivery processes, so team skills are equally important.

What are delivery drivers’ main responsibilities when dealing with customers?

When interacting with customers, they are responsible for providing excellent customer service. This includes polite communication, listening to customers’ specific delivery instructions, and handling goods cautiously. They are also expected to address any queries or complaints customers may have. A key part of customer interaction is getting delivery confirmation through a signature or a digital acknowledgment.

Can delivery drivers choose which routes they want to drive?

Usually, the routes for delivery are set by the company or dispatchers to ensure time efficiency and to service specific geographic areas. However, some companies may allow drivers the flexibility to choose or alter their routes, especially if they are familiar with a specific area or have experience navigating certain routes more efficiently.

What if the package being delivered is damaged?

If a driver notices that a package is damaged before delivery, they should report it to their supervisor immediately and follow the company policy regarding such situations. If a receiver points out damage, the driver should notate this, promptly communicate with their dispatcher or supervisor, and assure the customer that the company will address the issue. They are responsible for taking every measure possible to prevent damage during transport.

What happens if a delivery driver cannot find the delivery address?

If a driver cannot find the delivery address, they should first double-check the address details and verify GPS guidance. They should contact their dispatcher or supervisor for further instructions if the address still cannot be located. Some companies advise contacting the customer directly for additional directions. The key is to handle such situations promptly and professionally to ensure optimal customer service.