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
2016 Median Pay $28,390 per year
$13.65 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, 2016 1,421,400
Job Outlook, 2016-26 4% (Slower than average)
Employment Change, 2016-26 59,300

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 driver/sales workers was $22,830 in May 2016.

The median annual wage for light truck or delivery services drivers was $30,580 in May 2016.

Job Outlook

Overall employment of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Job applicants with experience and a clean driving record, or who work for a company in another occupation, should have the best job prospects.

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 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
  • 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 have a thorough understanding of 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:

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.

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.

Work Environment About this section

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

Driver/sales workers held about 467,900 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of driver/sales workers were as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places 40%
Wholesale trade 25
Retail trade 12
Self-employed workers 8

Light truck or delivery services drivers held about 953,500 jobs in 2016. The largest employers of light truck or delivery services drivers were as follows:

Retail trade 22%
Couriers and messengers 21
Wholesale trade 18
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 service 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 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 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 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 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 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, 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 About this section

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Median annual wages, May 2016

Total, all occupations

$37,040

Motor vehicle operators

$34,980

Light truck or delivery services drivers

$30,580

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

$28,390

Driver/sales workers

$22,830

 

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $22,830 in May 2016. 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 $17,500, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $48,400.

The median annual wage for light truck or delivery services drivers was $30,580 in May 2016. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $19,200, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $60,630.

In May 2016, the median annual wages for driver/sales workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Wholesale trade $33,360
Retail trade 25,760
Restaurants and other eating places 19,210

In May 2016, 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 $46,610
Wholesale trade 29,950
Retail trade 24,170

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 About this section

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Percent change in employment, projected 2016-26

Total, all occupations

7%

Light truck or delivery services drivers

7%

Motor vehicle operators

6%

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

4%

Driver/sales workers

-1%

 

Overall employment of delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers is projected to grow 4 percent from 2016 to 2026, slower than the average for all occupations. Employment growth will vary by occupation.

Employment of light truck or delivery services drivers is projected to grow 7 percent from 2016 to 2026, about as fast as 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.

Employment of driver/sales workers is projected to show little or no change from 2016 to 2026. Self-employed or independent contractors, who sign up with smartphone-based food delivery companies, may be needed to deliver food from restaurants that previously only provided takeout services.

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, 2016-26
Occupational Title SOC Code Employment, 2016 Projected Employment, 2026 Change, 2016-26 Employment by Industry
Percent Numeric

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

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

1,421,400 1,480,700 4 59,300

Driver/sales workers

53-3031 467,900 462,400 -1 -5,500 employment projections excel document xlsx

Light truck or delivery services drivers

53-3033 953,500 1,018,300 7 64,800 employment projections excel document xlsx

State & Area Data About this section

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.

CareerOneStop

CareerOneStop 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 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 2016 MEDIAN PAY Help
Bus drivers

Bus Drivers

Bus drivers transport people between various places—including work, school, and shopping centers—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 $31,920
Laborers and material movers

Hand Laborers and Material Movers

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

No formal educational credential $24,880
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 $41,340
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.

High school diploma or equivalent $26,820
Postal service workers

Postal Service Workers

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

High school diploma or equivalent $56,790
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 $57,160
Taxi drivers and chauffeurs

Taxi Drivers, Ride-Hailing Drivers, and Chauffeurs

Taxi drivers, ride-hailing drivers, and chauffeurs transport people to and from the places they need to go, such as airports, homes, shopping centers, and workplaces. These drivers must know their way around a city to take passengers to their destinations.

No formal educational credential $24,300
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 $54,870
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers,
on the Internet at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/delivery-truck-drivers-and-driver-sales-workers.htm (visited November 28, 2017).

Last Modified Date: Tuesday, October 24, 2017

What They Do

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Work Environment

The Work Environment tab includes the number of jobs held in the occupation and describes the workplace, the level of physical activity expected, and typical hours worked. It may also discuss the major industries that employed the occupation. This tab may also describe opportunities for part-time work, the amount and type of travel required, any safety equipment that is used, and the risk of injury that workers may face.

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Pay

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State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment Statistics (OES) program, state projections data from Projections Central, and occupational information from the Department of Labor's CareerOneStop.

Job Outlook

The Job Outlook tab describes the factors that affect employment growth or decline in the occupation, and in some instances, describes the relationship between the number of job seekers and the number of job openings.

Similar Occupations

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Contacts for More Information

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2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

Work experience in a related occupation

Work experience that is commonly considered necessary by employers, or is a commonly accepted substitute for more formal types of training or education.

Number of Jobs, 2016

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2016, which is the base year of the 2016-26 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2016-26

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026. The average growth rate for all occupations is 7 percent.

Employment Change, 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Entry-level Education

Typical level of education that most workers need to enter this occupation.

On-the-job Training

Additional training needed (postemployment) to attain competency in the skills needed in this occupation.

Employment Change, projected 2016-26

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2016 to 2026.

2016 Median Pay

The wage at which half of the workers in the occupation earned more than that amount and half earned less. Median wage data are from the BLS Occupational Employment Statistics survey. In May 2016, the median annual wage for all workers was $37,040.