Learn About Being a Delivery Driver

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published December 10, 2019

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

What does a delivery driver do?

A delivery driver’s job is to transport items from one place to another. A delivery driver makes sure the customer’s products arrive at their destination at an arranged time and in good condition. Other responsibilities for this position may include:

  • Packing, loading and unloading items onto and from the vehicle

  • Checking with the customer the items delivered are correct

  • Completing the necessary delivery documentation with the customer

  • Receiving payment for items if necessary

  • Keeping the delivery vehicle clean and in good working condition

  • Handling food items appropriately

Average salary

Delivery driver salaries vary widely from company to company. Their hourly rate can also be supplemented by tips, which can add significantly more to their daily pay. Delivery drivers may work either part-time or full-time schedules, and some may receive higher wages when working holidays or late nights. For the most up-to-date salary information from Indeed, click on the salary link.

  • Common salary in the U.S.: $16.836 per hour

  • Some salaries range from $7.25 to $31.40 per hour.

Delivery driver requirements

Most deliver driver positions have the following requirements:

Education

Most employers will require delivery drivers to have a high school diploma or GED. Some companies may waive this requirement depending on factors such as your driving record and additional qualifications, but most will expect a high school diploma.

Training

To become a delivery driver, you will need to obtain a valid driver’s license. In the U.S., your driver’s license must have been issued from your current state. Most employers strongly prefer or require a clean license. However, some companies will also allow a license that has been clean for two or three years.

Beyond your basic driver’s license, you may also need special endorsements to drive particular vehicles. These include a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) for large vehicles or a HAZMAT endorsement for transporting hazardous material.

Certifications

While additional certifications are not usually required, they can be useful and may help you more easily attain a job. Since driving is the most important part of the job, any driving certifications will help hiring managers see you as a confident and competent driver.

  • NSC-Certified defensive driving courses: In the U.S., the National Safety Council offers courses that train drivers to recognize potentially hazardous driving situations and conditions, and react to them appropriately. These classes are led by NSC-certified teachers.

  • Online driving safety courses: You can take online courses to learn defensive driving skills. These courses offer the advantage of letting you complete them from home so you can easily fit them into your schedule. If you choose an online course, make sure it’s approved by your state or region.

Skills

You will need to develop certain skills to excel as a delivery driver. If you’re thinking of pursuing this career, consider the following skills:

  • Safe driving: If you have been driving for at least a couple of years and have kept your driving record clean, you should be sufficiently experienced. Any additional licensing or driving certifications you might have are a bonus.

  • Navigation: Unless you know your way around the delivery area, you may have to rely upon maps or global positioning system devices. A good sense of direction is particularly helpful, even with maps and GPS.

  • Time management: To make your deliveries on time, you should efficiently manage your schedule. This includes factoring in traffic, road work and other adverse conditions that might delay your arrival.

  • Good physical health: Since you will have to load and unload your vehicle, you will need good upper body and back strength. This will enable you to lift and carry heavy packages as necessary.

  • Concentration: Most of your day will be spent driving, and you may have to drive long distances to make deliveries. Your safety on the road will depend upon your ability to stay focused.

  • Attention to detail: Attention to detail is important when making sure you deliver the correct quantities of the correct items and that all of the paperwork has been properly completed and signed.

  • Communication: As part of your regular job, you will need to communicate effectively by completing reports and clearly interacting with coworkers and customers. 

  • Problem-solving: You will need quick problem-solving abilities to address issues that could arise during your shift, including flat tires and road closures. In these situations, you will need to be able to come up with quick solutions that maintain customer satisfaction and keep you on schedule.

  • Personal responsibility and integrity: You will be responsible for the safe arrival of a customer’s items. While you are driving alone, a sense of personal responsibility will encourage you to drive well, obey road rules -and deliver the customer’s order as requested.

Work environment 

Delivery drivers spend most of their time every day on the road inside their vehicles. Loading and delivering items requires working outside in hot, cold or inclement weather. They often interact with customers and store owners, both in person and over the phone. Some businesses may require the delivery driver to wear a uniform. In some cases, the driver will need to wear protective clothing. Shifts may begin early in the morning or end late at night, though most delivery drivers work a regular schedule of 40 hours per week.

How to become a delivery driver

If you want to become a delivery driver, there are a few things you should do.

  1. Graduate with a high school diploma or equivalent. Delivery drivers need basic reading, writing and arithmetic skills, which you will gain in high school.

  2. Have a current, clean driver’s license. As a delivery driver, it is important to have a good driving history. If there are violations on your driving record, you may still be able to get a job as a delivery driver if the last violation was at least three years ago.

  3. Become licensed to drive other types of vehicles. By obtaining a Class A, B or C Commercial Driver’s License, you are qualified to drive heavier vehicles such as buses and tractor-trailers. Additional licensing is not a requirement, but it will broaden your employment opportunities. You may also find higher-paying work.

  4. Develop soft skills. **For a delivery driver, these include time management and communication skills. These soft skills will help you maintain a consistent schedule and a good relationship with your employer.

Delivery driver job description example

LocalMart is looking for delivery drivers to join our team, providing safe and reliable doorstep delivery of products to our customers. The successful candidate will be required to load and unload the vehicle, deliver products to the correct address at the required time, keep an accurate inventory record and complete necessary paperwork. We expect our drivers to interact with customers in a friendly and professional manner, so communication skills are essential. CDL Class A or B drivers are preferred. On-the-job training will be provided. If you enjoy working with people, have an eagerness to learn and want to be a part of a growing company, apply today!

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