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What Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers Do About this section

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers
Delivery drivers drop off packages with customers.

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers pick up, transport, and drop off packages and small shipments within a local region or urban area. They drive trucks weighing less than 26,001 pounds total for vehicle, passengers, and cargo. Delivery truck drivers usually transport merchandise from a distribution center to businesses and households.

Duties

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically do the following:

  • Load and unload their cargo
  • Communicate with customers to determine pickup and delivery needs
  • Report any incidents they encounter on the road to a dispatcher
  • Follow applicable traffic laws
  • Report mechanical problems to the appropriate personnel
  • Keep their truck and associated equipment clean and in working order
  • Accept payments for delivery
  • Handle paperwork, such as receipts or delivery confirmation notices

Most drivers generally receive instructions to go to a delivery location at a particular time, and it is up to them to determine the best route. Other drivers have a regular daily or weekly delivery schedule. All drivers must understand an area’s street grid and know which roads allow trucks and which do not.

The following examples are types of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers:

Driver/sales workers are delivery drivers who also have sales responsibilities. They recommend products to businesses and solicit new customers. These drivers may have a regular delivery route and may be responsible for adding clients who are located along their route. For example, they may make regular deliveries to a hardware store and encourage the store’s manager to offer a new product.

Some driver/sales workers use their own vehicles to deliver goods to customers, such as takeout food, and accept payment for those goods. Freelance or independent driver/sales workers may use smartphone apps to find specific delivery jobs.

Light truck drivers, often called pickup and delivery or P&D drivers, are the most common type of delivery driver. They drive small trucks or vans from distribution centers to delivery locations. Drivers make deliveries based on a set schedule. Some drivers stop at the distribution center once only, in the morning, and make many stops throughout the day. Others make multiple trips between the distribution center and delivery locations. Some drivers make deliveries from a retail location to customers.

Work Environment About this section

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers
Delivery truck drivers load and unload packages.

Driver/sales workers held about 458,200 jobs in 2020. The largest employers of driver/sales workers were as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places 46%
Wholesale trade 22
Retail trade 9
Self-employed workers 8

Light truck drivers held about 1.0 million jobs in 2020. The largest employers of light truck drivers were as follows:

Couriers and messengers 30%
Retail trade 20
Wholesale trade 16
Self-employed workers 7

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers have physically demanding jobs. When loading and unloading cargo, drivers do a lot of lifting, carrying, and walking. Driving in congested traffic or adhering to strict delivery timelines can also be stressful.

Injuries and Illnesses

Light truck drivers have one of the highest rates of injuries and illnesses of all occupations. Injuries can result from workers lifting and moving heavy objects, as well as from automobile accidents.

Work Schedules

Most drivers work full time, and some work more than 40 hours per week. Those who have regular routes sometimes must begin work very early in the morning or work late at night. For example, a driver who delivers bread to a deli every day must arrive before the deli opens. Drivers often work weekends and holidays, and their schedules may vary.

How to Become a Delivery Truck Driver or Driver/Sales Worker About this section

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers
Drivers need to maintain a clean driving record and be able to navigate city streets.

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically need a high school diploma or equivalent to enter these occupations. However, some opportunities exist for those without a high school diploma. Workers undergo 1 month or less of on-the-job training. They must have a driver’s license from the state in which they work and have a clean driving record.

Education

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically enter the occupation with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Training

Companies train new delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers on the job. This may include training from a driver-mentor who rides along with a new employee to make sure that the driver is able to operate a truck safely on crowded streets.

New-driver training also covers company policies about package dropoffs and returns, taking payment, and what to do with damaged goods.

Driver/sales workers must learn detailed information about the products they offer. Their company also may teach them proper sales techniques, such as how to approach new customers.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

All delivery drivers need a driver’s license.

Other Experience

Some delivery drivers begin as package loaders at warehouse facilities, especially if the driver works for a large company. For more information, see the profile on hand laborers and material movers.

Important Qualities

Customer-service skills. When completing deliveries, drivers often interact with customers and should make a good impression to ensure repeat business.

Hand–eye coordination. Drivers need to observe their surroundings at all times while operating a vehicle.

Math skills. Because delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers sometimes take payment, they must be able to count cash and make change quickly and accurately.

Patience. When driving through heavy traffic congestion, delivery drivers must remain calm and composed.

Sales skills. Driver/sales workers are expected to persuade customers to purchase new or different products.

Visual ability. To have a driver’s license, delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers must be able to pass a state vision test.

Pay About this section

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Median annual wages, May 2021

Total, all occupations

$45,760

Motor vehicle operators

$42,670

Light truck drivers

$38,280

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

$36,660

Driver/sales workers

$29,280

 

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $29,280 in May 2021. The median wage is the wage at which half the workers in an occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,360, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,850.

The median annual wage for light truck drivers was $38,280 in May 2021. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $24,380, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,500.

In May 2021, the median annual wages for driver/sales workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Wholesale trade $38,640
Retail trade 29,940
Restaurants and other eating places 23,400

In May 2021, the median annual wages for light truck drivers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Couriers and messengers $47,670
Wholesale trade 37,390
Retail trade 29,520

Some drivers/sales workers, such as pizza delivery workers, receive tips in addition to hourly wages. Sales workers can also receive commissions from the products they sell.

Most drivers work full time, and some work more than 40 hour per week. Those who have regular routes sometimes must begin work very early in the morning or work late at night. For example, a driver who delivers bread to a deli every day must arrive before the deli opens. Drivers often work weekends and holidays, and their schedules may vary.

Job Outlook About this section

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2020-30

Driver/sales workers

18%

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

12%

Motor vehicle operators

12%

Light truck drivers

10%

Total, all occupations

8%

 

Overall employment of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers is projected to grow 12 percent from 2020 to 2030, faster than the average for all occupations.

About 190,700 openings for delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers are projected each year, on average, over the decade. Many of those openings are expected to result from the need to replace workers who transfer to different occupations or exit the labor force, such as to retire.

Employment

Much of the projected employment growth in these occupations is due to recovery from the COVID-19 recession that began in 2020 and is likely to occur early in the decade. Employment growth will vary by occupation.

Continued growth of e-commerce should increase demand for package delivery services, especially for the large and regional shipping companies. More light truck drivers will be needed to fulfill the growing number of e-commerce transactions. Drone delivery services may also be used for some deliveries over the decade. However, this technology is expected to complement rather than fully replace these workers, so the downward employment effect is expected to be modest.

The general demand for delivery likely will increase both for in-house delivery services and for independent contractors who sign up to provide app-based food delivery. These workers also may be needed to deliver food from grocery stores and from restaurants that previously provided only takeout services.

Employment projections data for delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers, 2020-30
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2020 Projected Employment, 2030 Change, 2020-30 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

SOURCE: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Employment Projections program

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

1,493,900 1,676,900 12 182,900

Driver/sales workers

53-3031 458,200 540,000 18 81,900 Get data

Light truck drivers

53-3033 1,035,800 1,136,800 10 101,100 Get data

Contacts for More Information About this section

For more information about truck drivers, including delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers, visit

American Trucking Associations

O*NET

Driver/Sales Workers

Light Truck Drivers

Video