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Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Summary

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Video transcript available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhDMoNCrniA.
Quick Facts: Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers
2020 Median Pay $34,340 per year
$16.51 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, 2020 1,493,900
Job Outlook, 2020-30 12% (Faster than average)
Employment Change, 2020-30 182,900

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.

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 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.

Pay

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $27,960 in May 2020.

The median annual wage for light truck drivers was $37,050 in May 2020.

Job Outlook

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.

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 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 2020

Total, all occupations

$41,950

Motor vehicle operators

$40,600

Light truck drivers

$37,050

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers

$34,340

Driver/sales workers

$27,960

 

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers was $27,960 in May 2020. 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 $18,600, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $50,910.

The median annual wage for light truck drivers was $37,050 in May 2020. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $22,470, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $70,080.

In May 2020, the median annual wages for driver/sales workers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Wholesale trade $38,600
Retail trade 30,330
Restaurants and other eating places 23,540

In May 2020, the median annual wages for light truck drivers in the top industries in which they worked were as follows:

Couriers and messengers $50,790
Wholesale trade 35,140
Retail trade 27,890

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

State & Area Data About this section

Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS)

The Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) 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 OEWS 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 on Entry-Level Education 2020 MEDIAN PAY Help on Median Pay
Bus drivers Passenger Vehicle Drivers

Passenger vehicle drivers operate buses, taxis, and other modes of transportation to take people from place to place.

See How to Become One $34,670
Laborers and material movers Hand Laborers and Material Movers

Hand laborers and material movers manually move freight, stock, or other materials.

See How to Become One $30,010
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.

Postsecondary nondegree award $47,130
Material recording clerks Material Recording Clerks

Material recording clerks track product information in order to keep businesses and supply chains on schedule.

High school diploma or equivalent $38,470
Postal service workers Postal Service Workers

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

High school diploma or equivalent $51,150
Train engineers and operators Railroad Workers

Railroad workers ensure that passenger and freight trains operate safely. They may drive trains, coordinate the activities of the trains, or control signals and switches in the rail yard.

High school diploma or equivalent $64,210
Water transportation occupations Water Transportation Workers

Water transportation workers operate and maintain vessels that take cargo and people over water.

See How to Become One $59,250
Suggested citation:

Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers,
at https://www.bls.gov/ooh/transportation-and-material-moving/delivery-truck-drivers-and-driver-sales-workers.htm (visited November 18, 2021).

Last Modified Date: Wednesday, September 8, 2021

What They Do

The What They Do tab describes the typical duties and responsibilities of workers in the occupation, including what tools and equipment they use and how closely they are supervised. This tab also covers different types of occupational specialties.

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.

How to Become One

The How to Become One tab describes how to prepare for a job in the occupation. This tab can include information on education, training, work experience, licensing and certification, and important qualities that are required or helpful for entering or working in the occupation.

Pay

The Pay tab describes typical earnings and how workers in the occupation are compensated—annual salaries, hourly wages, commissions, tips, or bonuses. Within every occupation, earnings vary by experience, responsibility, performance, tenure, and geographic area. For most profiles, this tab has a table with wages in the major industries employing the occupation. It does not include pay for self-employed workers, agriculture workers, or workers in private households because these data are not collected by the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) survey, the source of BLS wage data in the OOH.

State & Area Data

The State and Area Data tab provides links to state and area occupational data from the Occupational Employment and Wage Statistics (OEWS) 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

The Similar Occupations tab describes occupations that share similar duties, skills, interests, education, or training with the occupation covered in the profile.

Contacts for More Information

The More Information tab provides the Internet addresses of associations, government agencies, unions, and other organizations that can provide additional information on the occupation. This tab also includes links to relevant occupational information from the Occupational Information Network (O*NET).

2020 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 and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2020, the median annual wage for all workers was $41,950.

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, 2020

The employment, or size, of this occupation in 2020, which is the base year of the 2020-30 employment projections.

Job Outlook, 2020-30

The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030. The average growth rate for all occupations is 8 percent.

Employment Change, 2020-30

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

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 2020-30

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

Growth Rate (Projected)

The percent change of employment for each occupation from 2020 to 2030.

Projected Number of New Jobs

The projected numeric change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

Projected Growth Rate

The projected percent change in employment from 2020 to 2030.

2020 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 and Wage Statistics survey. In May 2020, the median annual wage for all workers was $41,950.