What Are the Pros and Cons of Being a Delivery Driver?
Updated March 3, 2023
Becoming a delivery driver may be a good choice if you enjoy traveling and driving and have strong people skills. Some people like being a delivery driver because of benefits such as continually changing work environments, increased earning potential and greater flexibility with their job schedule. If you're thinking about working as a delivery driver, it may be useful to learn more about the job, including the benefits and potential drawbacks of this role. In this article, we share the pros and cons of being a delivery driver to help you determine if it's the right job for you.
What are the responsibilities of a delivery driver?
The responsibilities of delivery drivers differ depending on the industry in which they work. There are food delivery drivers and commercial delivery drivers. Commercial delivery drivers deliver goods to places like wholesalers, distribution centers or retail shops. A food delivery driver, however, typically brings food orders from restaurants and other eateries directly to an individual client's home. Other responsibilities of food delivery drivers include:
Maintaining the vehicle, such as by refilling gas the gas, rotating tires or having the brakes checked
Loading and unloading the vehicle
Verifying the contents that are on the delivery schedule
Driving vehicles to different locations
Reporting expenses with receipts from deliveries
If you're working as a commercial delivery driver, other responsibilities include:
Selling products from truck inventory
Keeping a record of sales
Sharing a financial report at the end of the week or every month
Collecting the payments of goods after delivery
Performing maintenance on vehicles, such as changing tires or installing light bulbs, fuses and plugs
Following directions to ensure that you deliver goods to the correct location
Pros of being a delivery driver
Here are some of the major advantages of being a delivery driver:
Set your own schedule
Many delivery drivers get to choose the days and hours that they work. A more flexible schedule can help you balance the other responsibilities in your life, whether that's a second job, child care or appointments.
If you work with a third-party vendor that allows you to deliver food directly to customers from multiple restaurants, you can decide each day when and for how long you want to be on the job. You can also usually take time off as needed without having to give a supervisor advanced notice. If you find employment directly with a specific company, you can typically give them a few weeks' notice as to what type of schedule you'd like for the coming weeks or months.
Choose your type of work
Delivery drivers can choose the type of assignments they receive. For example, commercial delivery drivers can decide whether they prefer to make local or long-distance deliveries. The ability to select the type of tasks that you perform can improve your satisfaction with your job.
Related: Learn About Being a Delivery Driver
Raise your earning potential
Delivery drivers may receive a higher salary than many other hourly wage positions. The average salary for a delivery driver is $17.12 per hour. Delivery drivers can also increase their earning potential through bonuses or benefits. Commercial delivery drivers often receive benefits through their employers, such as medical insurance, paid time off and mileage reimbursement. Food delivery drivers, meanwhile, earn tips from their clients. A food delivery driver may also receive bonuses from their company during popular food delivery hours, peak traffic in their area or holidays.
It's important to remember that individual salaries for delivery drivers may vary. Many factors can influence individual salaries, including the type of delivery work you perform, your years of experience and your location.
Start your job quickly
Delivery drivers may be able to begin their jobs more quickly than some other profession. Becoming a food delivery driver rarely requires any formal education or training. A food delivery driver typically only needs a clean driving record, access to a car and a driver's license.
The requirements for commercial truck drivers are a little more strict, but still simple compared to some other career options. Driving trucks of over a certain size or tonnage requires professionals to have a commercial driver's license (CDL). CDL requirements vary by state, but they typically involve first getting a learner's permit for commercial vehicles and passing a written exam.
Enjoy different work environments
Many delivery drivers appreciate the chance to conduct their job duties in a range of work environments. Whether you make local or long-distance deliveries, delivery drivers constantly travel to new locations. This means that they get to enjoy this changing scenery as part of their job.
Be your own supervisor
Delivery drivers perform most of their responsibilities without direct supervision. Most delivery drivers do need to submit regular delivery or financial report to their managers. However, they rarely interact with those managers daily.
Exercise on the job
Depending on the length of your shift and how far you travel to make your deliveries, you may get some exercise while on the job. Some delivery drivers may continually go in and out of their car or truck to pick up or drop off orders. Commercial delivery drivers and food delivery drivers who handle larger orders may also perform some lifting as part of their job when safely loading or unloading their vehicle. This on the job exercise can help you stay both physically and mentally healthy.
Interact with different people
Delivery drivers often get to interact with a variety of people during their shifts. Depending on the type of delivery work you perform, you may regularly see various types of clients, distributors and restaurant shop owners. These different interactions can make your work environment more mentally stimulating and enjoyable. They may also help you build interpersonal skills, like active listening and negotiation.
Improve work-life balance
Delivery drivers may be able to enjoy a healthy work-life balance. The flexibility of delivery jobs can make it easier to fulfill both your professional and personal responsibilities. Delivery drivers also don't need to take their job tasks home with them, which can help maintain a work-life balance.
Develop transferable skills
Delivery drivers can learn transferable skills while on the job. Transferable skills refer to abilities and sets of knowledge that professionals can use in a range of job positions and industries. Transferable skills that you may learn as a delivery driver include:
Communication: Delivery drivers use communication skills to let their clients know the approximate times they may come to pick up or drop off their deliveries. They also might need to clearly convey how the client can make their payment.
Self-direction: Since delivery drivers typically conduct their responsibilities without direct supervision, they use self-direction skills to stay on task and ensure customer satisfaction.
Flexibility: Flexible can help delivery drivers adapt to new situations or challenges they might encounter while on the job.
Organization: Delivery drivers typically make multiple deliveries within one shift. They use organizational skills like task prioritization and time management to plan the most efficient route.
Active listening: Delivery drivers use active listening skills to understand what their clients want. This can help ensure that they deliver an order that matches the client's needs and expectations.
Cons of being a delivery driver
Before deciding to become a delivery driver, it's important to be aware of some of the potential drawbacks. Here are the cons of being a delivery driver, along with ways to minimize the effects of these drawbacks:
Delivery drivers may not have much job security. Since there are few qualifications needed to become a delivery driver, it can be easier for employers to find replacements for these positions. A company's delivery driver needs may also highly depend on factors beyond that company's control, like economic conditions or supply chain management issues.
To improve your job security as a food delivery driver, consider working for multiple restaurants or third-party vendors. Having multiple employers can help ensure that you always have potential delivery opportunities. If you want to increase your job security as a commercial delivery driver, think about getting a more advanced CDL that can make you eligible to drive a greater range of vehicles.
Delivery drivers may sometimes encounter unexpected issues or challenges while on the job. These types of circumstances may add stress to being a delivery driver. Challenging situations you might encounter include:
Apartment buildings that require keys, access codes or a security check-in
Unpredictable availability of delivery job
Navigation to unfamiliar areas
Here are some strategies to help you lessen the stress of these issues:
Plan your routes ahead of time. Use tools like GPS to make sure that you know where you're going for your various deliveries. You can also call your clients ahead of time to ask about nearby parking, apartment building restrictions or restroom access.
Drive during non-commuting hours. Traffic conditions tend to be worse during prime commuting hours. If possible, plan to perform your deliveries outside of these peak commuting hours.
Figure out alternative routes. If you make local deliveries, become familiar with side streets and back roads. While freeways and highways can sometimes be faster, knowing about alternative routes can help you make efficient local deliveries even during high-traffic hours.
Some delivery drivers may find it challenging to advance their careers. Depending on the company you work for, there may not be many internal opportunities to learn new skills or receive a promotion.
If you're a delivery driver who wants to advance your career, you may need to be more proactive than some other professionals. Consider having a conversation with your manager about your career ambitions and how your company could help advance them, such as by giving you additional responsibilities or a supervisory role. Other options include:
Joining a professional association for delivery drivers
Taking classes related to your interests and current career, such as in business management
Becoming a delivery driver instructor
Starting your own delivery driving business as either an independent contractor or a manager of other delivery drivers
Although delivery drivers typically interact with a range of people, they also can spend a lot of time alone in their vehicles. Some delivery drivers may find this to be an isolating experience.
To lessen the isolation of being a delivery driver, consider listening to music, podcasts or audiobooks while you drive. You might also consider having phone calls with friends or family members. Be sure to follow all local and state regulations for your area, such as using a hands-free calling method.
If you become a food delivery driver, you typically need to own your own vehicle. Food delivery drivers also usually manage and pay for other expenses related to their vehicles, like gas and automobile insurance.
To help minimize some of these costs, take your car into a shop regularly to make sure that all its parts function well. You should also ask your automobile insurance provider if they provide special coverage for food delivery drivers. Some insurance companies offer special policies or add-ons that can provide additional protection for those using their automobiles for both personal and delivery purposes.
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