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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 having a total weight of 26,000 pounds or less 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 all applicable traffic laws
  • Report serious mechanical problems to the appropriate personnel
  • Keep their truck and associated equipment clean and in good working order
  • Accept payments for the shipment
  • 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 new products to businesses and solicit new customers. These drivers may have a regular delivery route and be responsible for adding new clients 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 487,400 jobs in 2019. 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 2019. The largest employers of light truck drivers were as follows:

Couriers and messengers 24%
Retail trade 21
Wholesale trade 17
Self-employed workers 8

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 or delivery services 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 many work additional hours. 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.

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 enter their occupations with a high school diploma or equivalent. 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 a new driver is able to operate a truck safely on crowded streets.

New drivers also get training to learn 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 2019

Total, all occupations

$39,810

Motor vehicle operators

$38,550

Light truck drivers

$34,730

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

$32,020

Driver/sales workers

$25,860

 

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $25,860 in May 2019. 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 $18,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,970.

The median annual wage for light truck drivers was $34,730 in May 2019. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $21,060, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $65,400.

In May 2019, the median annual wages for driver/sales workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Wholesale trade $35,640
Retail trade 29,220
Restaurants and other eating places 22,100

In May 2019, the median annual wages for light truck drivers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Couriers and messengers $49,220
Wholesale trade 33,470
Retail trade 26,340

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 many work additional hours. 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.

Job Outlook About this section

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2019-29

Light truck drivers

6%

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

5%

Motor vehicle operators

5%

Total, all occupations

4%

Driver/sales workers

3%

 

Overall employment of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2019 to 2029, faster than the average for all occupations. 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 and delivery drivers will be needed to fulfill the growing number of e-commerce transactions.

Self-employed or independent contractors, who sign up with smartphone-based food delivery companies, may be needed to deliver food from grocery stores and from restaurants that previously provided only takeout services. In addition, robotic driverless vehicles may replace some workers in food delivery.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities for delivery truck drivers and drivers/sales workers are expected to be good. Job applicants with experience and a clean driving record, or who work for a company in another occupation, should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers, 2019-29
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2019 Projected Employment, 2029 Change, 2019-29 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

1,506,000 1,581,000 5 75,000

Driver/sales workers

53-3031 487,400 501,900 3 14,500 Get data

Light truck drivers

53-3033 1,018,600 1,079,100 6 60,500 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 or Delivery Services Drivers

Video