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
2014 Median Pay $27,490 per year
$13.22 per hour
Typical 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, 2014 1,330,000
Job Outlook, 2014-24 4% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2014-24 48,100

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 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. 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 possess a clean driving record.

Pay

The median annual wage for delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers was $27,490 in May 2014.

Job Outlook

Employment of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations. More delivery drivers should be needed to fulfill the growing number of e-commerce transactions.

State & Area Data

Explore resources for employment and wages by state and area for delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers.

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

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
  • Communicate with costumers 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 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 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.

Driver/sales workers are delivery drivers who have additional 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

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 884,700 jobs in 2014.

The industries that employed the most light truck or delivery service drivers in 2014 were as follows: 

Retail trade 20%
Couriers and messengers 19
Wholesale trade 18

Driver/sales workers held about 445,300 jobs in 2014.

The industries that employed the most driver/sales workers in 2014 were as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places 35%
Wholesale trade 28
Retail trade 13

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

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Injuries can result from workers lifting and moving heavy objects as well as automobile accidents.

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

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 possess a clean driving record.

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 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 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 persuade customers to purchase new or different products from them.

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

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Median annual wages, May 2014

Total, all occupations

$35,540

Motor vehicle operators

$33,590

Light truck or delivery services drivers

$29,570

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

$27,490

Driver/sales workers

$22,250

 

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $22,250 in May 2014. 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 $17,020, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,090.

The median annual wage for light truck or delivery services drivers was $29,570 in May 2014. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,460, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $60,710.

In May 2014, the median annual wages for driver/sales workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:  

Wholesale trade  $29,590
Retail trade 25,340
Restaurants and other eating places 18,570

In May 2014, the median annual wages for light truck or delivery services drivers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:  

Couriers and messengers  $49,690
Wholesale trade 28,550
Retail trade 23,420

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 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

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2014-24

Total, all occupations

7%

Motor vehicle operators

6%

Driver/sales workers

5%

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

4%

Light truck or delivery services drivers

3%

 

Employment of delivery truck drivers and drivers/sales workers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.

Employment of light truck or delivery services drivers is projected to grow 3 percent from 2014 to 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.

Continued e-commerce growth 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.

However, improved routing through GPS technology can make existing light 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.

Employment of driver/sales workers is projected to grow 5 percent from 2014 to 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As the number of restaurants that offer delivery services continues to expand, the demand for food delivery drivers should grow. Employment of driver/sales workers in the restaurants and other eating places industry is projected to grow 10 percent from 2014 to 2024.

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 and 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, 2014-24
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

1,330,000 1,378,100 4 48,100

Driver/sales workers

53-3031 445,300 466,100 5 20,800 [XLSX]

Light truck or delivery services drivers

53-3033 884,700 911,900 3 27,300 [XLSX]

State & Area Data

Occupational Employment Statistics (OES)

The Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program produces employment and wage estimates annually for over 800 occupations. These estimates are available for the nation as a whole, for individual states, and for metropolitan and nonmetropolitan areas. The link(s) below go to OES data maps for employment and wages by state and area.

Projections Central

Occupational employment projections are developed for all states by Labor Market Information (LMI) or individual state Employment Projections offices. All state projections data are available at www.projectionscentral.com. Information on this site allows projected employment growth for an occupation to be compared among states or to be compared within one state. In addition, states may produce projections for areas; there are links to each state’s websites where these data may be retrieved.

Career InfoNet

America’s Career InfoNet includes hundreds of occupational profiles with data available by state and metro area. There are links in the left-hand side menu to compare occupational employment by state and occupational wages by local area or metro area. There is also a salary info tool to search for wages by zip code.

Similar Occupations

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 2014 MEDIAN PAY
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 $30,220
Laborers and material movers

Hand Laborers and Material Movers

Hand laborers and material movers manually move freight, stock, or other materials. Others feed or remove material to and from machines, clean vehicles, pick up unwanted household goods, and pack materials for moving.

No formal educational credential $23,560
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 with a gross vehicle weight (GVW) capacity—that is, the combined weight of the vehicle, passengers, and cargo—exceeding 26,000 pounds. These drivers deliver goods over intercity routes, sometimes spanning several states.

Postsecondary nondegree award $39,520
Material recording clerks

Material Recording Clerks

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

See How to Become One $25,810
Postal service workers

Postal Service Workers

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

High school diploma or equivalent $54,720
Train engineers and operators

Railroad Workers

Workers in railroad occupations ensure that passenger and freight trains run on time and travel safely. Some workers drive trains, some coordinate the activities of the trains, and others operate signals and switches in the rail yard.

High school diploma or equivalent $53,670
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 to take passengers to their destinations.

No formal educational credential $23,210
Water transportation occupations

Water Transportation Workers

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

See How to Become One $53,130
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, 2016-17 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 February 05, 2016).

Publish Date: Thursday, December 17, 2015