In a perfect world, being a delivery driver would be easy. You’d just pick up an item, deliver it to a happy customer, and that would be that. Unfortunately, things rarely work out that way. Orders get delayed, traffic jams and weather events slow you down, and customers aren’t always the most grateful people.
One important consideration for all delivery driver jobs is whether you have to use your own vehicle. Miles can add up in a hurry, and you’ll be completely responsible for the increased maintenance that your vehicle will need as a result. If you’re making good money with your job, that could be a trade-off worth making. But if you’re barely clearing minimum wage, you would almost definitely be better off looking for another job.
Below, we’ve put together a list of the most common delivery driver jobs.
Food Delivery Driver
If you’re like most people we’ve talked to, this was the first job that popped into your head when you opened this article. Between pizza delivery and Chinese food delivery, these drivers make up a decent percentage of the cars on the road at any given time.
In nearly all cases, food delivery driver positions are entry-level. Usually, the only formal requirements are being 18 years old, having your old vehicle, and having a clean driving record.
There are definitely some perks that come along with this job. If you like to mostly work on your own and crank your music of choice when you do it, then this can be a fun job. However, it does come with a lot of challenges.
First, no customer in the world is happy with cold food, so there is a constant pressure to get to where you’re going as quickly as possible. On busy nights (particularly Fridays and Saturdays), this can be a challenge.
Second, your income will be highly dependent on tips. That’s great when people tip well, but a lot of times, they don’t. For every person who gives you $5, someone else will completely stiff you or simply round up to the nearest dollar. From conversations I’ve had with food delivery drivers, $3 is the average tip.
Finally, your car can really take a beating in this line of work. If you work in a suburban or rural area, you can easily put a couple hundred miles on your car each night you work. Is that a cost that’s worth it to you? For some people it is, and for others it isn’t.
Package Delivery Driver
Package delivery drivers work for companies like FedEx, UPS, and DHL. They drive company-owned trucks from distribution centers, and deliver packages to their customers’ homes, places of work, and anywhere else a package may need to be delivered.
Compared to the other types of delivery driver jobs available, this one is very physically demanding. Packages can be extremely heavy, and drivers have to move them (either by hand or on dolly) from their truck to the delivery point. Unlike most other types of delivery jobs, having a high level of fitness is a requirement for this position.
This can be a very stressful job, particularly around the holidays when there are a very high volume of deliveries to make each day. Customers expect their packages to arrive by a very specific time, and delivery drivers are the last step in making that happen.
If you want a job in this field, you will need to have a pristine driving record and a clean criminal record. Many companies also like to hire military veterans, given their strength and ability to remain disciplined and on-schedule.
Couriers are a unique type of delivery driver. Rather than delivering items for their employer, they deliver items for their employer’s customers. Here’s an example:
Let’s say I run a doctor’s office, and I collect blood samples from my patients. I don’t have the a lab on site, and I don’t have the time or the equipment to transport my samples to a third party lab. In that case, I’d hire a medical courier service to pick up my samples for me and deliver them to the lab.
The qualifications for being a courier will vary depending on the type of items you’re transporting. Some courier jobs are entry-level, while others require a significant amount of experience. ?However, most will require a clean driving history and criminal record.
Floral Delivery Driver
Floral delivery drivers transport floral arrangements to their customers’ homes and businesses.
Usually, these drivers are provided with a company vehicle for transporting the flowers. These vehicles are sometimes climate controlled, to ensure that the flowers arrive in the same condition they were in when they left the shop. Plus, having custom vehicles driving around town can be good advertising for the business.
These drivers do not operate on tips (since the person receiving the flowers is rarely the person who ordered them), but their base pay is usually significantly higher than drivers who do receive tips on the job.
This is often an entry-level position, though you will need to be at least 18 years old and have a squeaky clean driving record.
Newspaper Delivery Driver
If getting up before the crack of dawn is your thing, then maybe you’d be a good candidate for working as a newspaper delivery driver. These drivers often report to work between 4-5 AM, and deliver their papers before (or shortly after) the sun comes up. Since many people like to read their papers first thing in the morning, it’s important to maintain that early schedule.
In all cases that I’m aware of, newspaper delivery drivers need to use their own car on the job. So as with other delivery jobs, make sure that you factor in the cost of gas and maintenance on your vehicle before you decide to pursue a job in this line of work.
Newspaper delivery drivers do not receive tips, though some kind customers may give a little extra money during the holiday season.
There’s a lot more to being a mail carrier than you probably think. The part of the job that we see — the actual mail delivery — is only a portion of what a mail carrier does each day.
In most places, the mail is delivered in the early-late afternoon. That leaves nearly half of the day (the morning) for other tasks. Some of this time is devoted to sorting the mail in the order that it will be delivered on their route.
Most mail carriers are provided with government-owned vehicles to use on the job. However, mail carriers in rural areas are often required to use their own car.
Since the post office is a government-run operation, the requirements for being a mail carrier are stricter than most other delivery driver jobs. A background check may be required. Also, expect to fill out a lot more paperwork than you would need to when applying for most non-government jobs.