Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Summary

delivery truck drivers and driver sales workers image
Delivery drivers and driver/sales workers transport goods around an urban area or small region.
Quick Facts: Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers
2012 Median Pay $27,530 per year
$13.23 per hour
Entry-Level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Work Experience in a Related Occupation None
On-the-job Training Short-term on-the-job training
Number of Jobs, 2012 1,273,600
Job Outlook, 2012-22 5% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2012-22 68,800

What Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers Do

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 with a gross vehicle weight (GVW)—the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo—of 26,000 pounds or less. Most of the time, delivery truck drivers transport merchandise from a distribution center to businesses and households.

Work Environment

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers have a physically demanding job. Driving a truck for long periods of time can be tiring. When loading and unloading cargo, drivers do a lot of lifting, carrying, and walking.

How to Become a Delivery Truck Driver or Driver/Sales Worker

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically enter their occupations with a high school diploma or equivalent. They undergo 1 month or less of on-the-job training. They must have a driver’s license from the state in which they work.

Pay

In May 2012, the median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $22,670. The median annual wage for light truck or delivery services drivers, was $29,390 in May 2012.

Job Outlook

Employment of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations. Improved routing through GPS technology can make existing truck drivers more productive, which may limit the demand for additional drivers.

Similar Occupations

Compare the job duties, education, job growth, and pay of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers with similar occupations.

More Information, Including Links to O*NET

Learn more about delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers by visiting additional resources, including O*NET, a source on key characteristics of workers and occupations.

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

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers
Delivery drivers drop packages off 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 with a 26,000-pound gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity or less. Most of the time, they 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
  • 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 plan their routes. Some have a regular daily or weekly delivery schedule. Others have different routes each day.

These 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. They must have a thorough understanding of an area’s street grid and know which roads allow trucks and which do not.

Light truck drivers, often called pick-up 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.

Driver/sales workers are delivery drivers who additionally 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 type of product. Driver/sales workers also deliver goods, such as take-out food to consumers, and accept payment for those goods.

Work Environment About this section

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers
Most delivery drivers work for couriers and express delivery services.

Light truck drivers or delivery services drivers held about 841,600 jobs in 2012.

The industries that employed the most light truck or delivery service drivers in 2012 were as follows: 

Retail trade20%
Couriers and messengers20
Wholesale trade17

Driver/sales workers held about 432,000 jobs in 2012.

The industries that employed the most driver/sales workers in 2012 were as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places32%
Wholesale trade29
Retail trade13

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers have physically demanding jobs. Driving a truck for long periods of time can be tiring. When loading and unloading cargo, drivers do a lot of lifting, carrying, and walking.

Injuries and Illnesses

Given the nature of their jobs, these workers are at risk of being involved in motor vehicle accidents and have a higher risk of injuries due to lifting and moving heavy objects than workers in most other occupations.

Work Schedules

Most drivers work full time, and many work additional hours. Those who work on 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 be there 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 be able to read maps and navigate city streets.

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically enter their occupations with a high school diploma or equivalent. They undergo 1 month or less of on-the-job training. They must have a driver’s license from the state in which they work.

Education

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

Training

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

New drivers also have training to learn company policies about package dropoffs, 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 potential 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 on package loaders, 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. When driving, delivery drivers need to observe their surroundings while simultaneously operating a complex machine.

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 convince customers to purchase new or different products from them.

Speaking ability. Drivers must comprehend English well enough to read road signs, prepare written reports, and communicate verbally with the public and law enforcement officials.

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 2012

Total, all occupations

$34,750

Motor vehicle operators

$32,800

Light truck or delivery services drivers

$29,390

Driver/sales workers

$22,670

 

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $22,670 in May 2012. 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 $16,780, and the top 10 percent earned more than $46,240.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for driver/sales workers in the top three industries in which these drivers worked were as follows:

Wholesale trade $30,170
Retail trade25,490
Restaurants and other eating places18,330

The median annual wage for light truck or delivery services drivers was $29,390 in May 2012. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,190 and the top 10 percent earned more than $62,520.

In May 2012, the median annual wages for light truck or delivery services drivers in the top 3 industries in which these drivers worked were as follows:

Couriers and messengers $55,130
Wholesale trade27,750
Retail trade23,060

Most drivers work full time, and many work additional hours. Those who work on 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 be there 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 2012-22

Total, all occupations

11%

Motor vehicle operators

9%

Driver/sales workers

9%

Light truck or delivery services drivers

4%

 

Employment of light truck or delivery services drivers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2012 to 2022, slower than the average for all occupations.

Employment of driver/sales workers is projected to grow 9 percent over the same period, about as fast as the average for all occupations.

Improved routing through GPS technology can make existing truck drivers more productive, which may limit the demand for additional drivers. With improved routing, drivers can be more efficient, navigating better in traffic and spending less time idling at each stop.

Additionally, higher diesel prices could cause companies to limit their hiring of new drivers and increase the company’s focus on technological solutions. The limits on hiring will be especially true for drivers at large shipping companies.

However, as the economy grows, the need for more deliveries is expected to increase. From the distribution of warehouse goods to the delivery of packages to households, nearly all goods are brought to their final destination by delivery drivers.

Job Prospects

Job opportunities for delivery truck driver and driver/sales worker are expected to be competitive. Because these drivers do not have to spend long periods away from home, these jobs tend to be more desirable than long-haul trucking jobs. Job applicants with experience, a clean driving record, or who work for the company in another occupation should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers, 2012-22
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2012 Projected Employment, 2022 Change, 2012-22 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

1,273,600 1,342,400 5 68,800

Driver/sales workers

53-3031 432,000 468,800 9 36,800 [XLS]

Light truck or delivery services drivers

53-3033 841,600 873,600 4 32,000 [XLS]

Similar Occupations About this section

This table shows a list of occupations with job duties that are similar to those of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers.

Occupation Job Duties ENTRY-LEVEL EDUCATION Help 2012 MEDIAN PAY Help
Bus drivers

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers transport people between various places—including work, school, and shopping malls—and across state or national borders. Some drive regular routes, and others transport passengers on chartered trips or sightseeing tours.

High school diploma or equivalent $29,550
Laborers and material movers

Hand Laborers and Material Movers

Hand laborers and material movers transport objects without using machines. Some workers move freight, stock, or other materials around in storage facilities; others clean vehicles; some pick up unwanted household goods; and still others pack materials for moving.

Less than high school $22,970
Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers

Heavy and Tractor-trailer Truck Drivers

Heavy and tractor-trailer truck drivers transport goods from one location to another. Most tractor-trailer drivers are long-haul drivers and operate trucks whose gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity—that is, the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo—exceeds 26,000 pounds. These drivers deliver goods over intercity routes, sometimes spanning several states.

Postsecondary non-degree award $38,200
Material recording clerks

Material Recording Clerks

Material recording clerks keep track of information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule. They ensure proper scheduling, recordkeeping, and inventory control.

See How to Become One $24,810
Postal service workers

Postal Service Workers

Postal Service workers sell postal products and collect, sort, and deliver mail.

High school diploma or equivalent $53,100
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Taxi Drivers and Chauffeurs

Taxi drivers and chauffeurs drive people to and from the places they need to go, such as airports, homes, shopping centers, and workplaces. They must know their way around a city in order to take both residents and visitors to their destinations.

Less than high school $22,820
Water transportation occupations

Water Transportation Occupations

Workers in water transportation occupations operate and maintain vessels that take cargo and people over water. These vessels travel to and from foreign ports across the ocean, to domestic ports along the coasts, across the Great Lakes, and along the country’s many inland waterways.

See How to Become One $48,980
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2014-15 Edition, Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers,
on the Internet at http://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/delivery-truck-drivers-and-driver-sales-workers.htm (visited November 28, 2014).

Publish Date: Wednesday, January 8, 2014