Being a delivery driver is an option that suits many people’s lifestyle because there are many opportunities, jobs can be part-time or full-time, and it doesn’t require many (if any) qualifications.
While the pay is definitely not stellar, it can be a stepping stone to larger trucks and bigger dollars for a motivated driver.
In terms of the personal requirements, a delivery driver needs a reasonable level of fitness because the job will involve getting in and out of the vehicle relatively frequently throughout the day, loading goods onto racks or trolleys, or using a pallet jack, and delivering those goods to the household or business that requires them.
Drivers also need to be patient and courteous due to the stress of traffic; aggressive drivers in branded vehicles are a poor reflection on the company.
Delivery drivers need to be trustworthy and conscientious with their deliveries to avoid breakages and lost parcels. They need to be able to work alone without supervision.
Delivery drivers usually start out in a small van that can be driven using a car licence, then progress to a light truck then a medium truck.
What training is required?
Training can be broken down into three areas:
- Driving: as a delivery driver’s main risk is low-speed impacts while negotiating tight driveways in unfamiliar businesses, training that encompasses techniques for parking and low-speed manoeuvring is important.
If the vehicle has a tail lift, then tail lift training is essential as tail lifts involve working at height and many drivers are injured (and much freight is damaged) falling from tail lifts every year. Load security training is also critical so that items are not damaged in transit.
- Personal: a delivery driver must maintain the required fitness level, and should also have training in manual handling so as to avoid the risk of injury when dealing with heavy items.
- Systems: the employer should give training on how to use the company’s route planning and job dispatch systems.
What sort of jobs are available?
- Casual driver: these drivers often work gig economy jobs delivering food in the evening. It doesn’t require anything other than a driver licence and a vehicle. It’s unlikely to be a salaried position.
- Courier driver: these are often drivers who have purchased a franchise. The work requires long hours and you are running your own business. Do your due diligence on purchasing or starting a courier business.
- General delivery driver: you could be delivering anything from nuts and bolts to flowers. Pick the type of product based on whether you want to be schlepping around industrial estates or prefer the leafy suburban deliveries.
Bear in mind that delivering to businesses has its advantages (no guard dogs to negotiate, for example), but parking can be a challenge.
- Specialist delivery driver: this can apply to transporting dangerous or hazardous goods (e.g. chemicals or radioactive materials), urgent medical deliveries (e.g. organs for transplant), or specialist supplies to mines in the middle of nowhere.
- Driver + another role: many roles exist where being a delivery driver is a significant part of the role, but not the whole thing.
For example, you deliver fire extinguishers but also install them and test the smoke alarms. Or, you are a yard assistant, plus you deliver client orders.
While driving a delivery truck won’t make anyone rich, the flexibility and accessibility of the job means that it’s a valid and valuable means of income for a great many people. Visit our website for more content like this!