How to become a delivery driver

Written by Kate Lopaze

Delivery drivers are not just necessary for logistics, but also bringers of good things. Think about it—when was the last time a delivery driver brought you bad news? Now think about the last time a delivery driver brought you something awesome, like pizza or the Amazon package you just ordered, like, 10 minutes ago. As a delivery driver, you’re making good things happen. And whether it’s a right-now job or a starting point on a road to a broader career in shipping and logistics, here’s what you’ll need to get started.

What does a delivery driver do?

Delivery drivers deliver goods or products, either on a route (like packages) or on demand (like food delivery). They’re responsible for making sure the product gets to customers as completely and efficiently as possible, while limiting damage or delays that can lead to a negative customer experience. A delivery driver’s duties may include:

  • Loading and unloading trucks
  • Driving within a set area in varying road or weather conditions
  • Tracking shipments and deliveries and recording data
  • Troubleshooting customer issues if there is damage or a problem
  • Basic truck maintenance
  • Processing customer payments
  • Handling food safely

Delivery drivers may work around the clock, especially as companies push to deliver goods on Sundays and holidays. These shifts may increase around holidays or other busy times of the year (depending on what they deliver).

What skills do delivery drivers need?

As logistics professionals, delivery drivers need to be schedule-oriented, and customer service-oriented.

Driving Skills: A valid license and a clean driving record are key here. Drivers who use cars to delivery may not need a special license, but delivery drivers who work with box trucks or larger trucks will likely need to complete a training course and pass a special commercial driver’s license (CDL) test.

Customer Service Skills: No one wants to get a mangled box or a pizza where all of the cheese is stuck to the top of the box. The delivery driver is responsible for making sure the customer is getting what he or she expects. And even if that can’t be resolved right away, that means working with the customer to escalate the issue to the right people who can help.

Time Management Skills: Delivery drivers are always on a schedule, no matter what they’re delivering. That means figuring out efficient routes, managing downtime, and staying on track during delivery hours.

Problem Solving Skills: Serving the public is full of variables, as is anything related to driving. A flat tire or an irate customer, can derail an entire schedule. So a delivery driver should be well-versed in solving problems on the fly, or at least coming up with a game plan that can help get things back on track.

What do you need to become a delivery truck driver?

Delivery truck drivers typically have a high school degree or equivalent certificate, plus receive on-the-job training. You’ll also need a valid driver’s license—either a standard state-issued license or a specific CDL if you plan to drive large vehicles. Each state has its own CDL requirements, so be sure to check out what your own state requires before you hit the road.

How much do delivery drivers get paid?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual salary for delivery drivers is $28,390. This can vary depending on the driver’s experience and the type of delivery.

What is the outlook for delivery drivers?

The growth in this field is steady, especially as shipping and delivery logistics continue to take center stage as part of the growth of e-commerce.

About the author

Kate Lopaze

Kate Lopaze is a writer, editor, and digital publishing professional based in New York City. A graduate of the University of Connecticut and Emerson College with degrees in English and publishing, she is passionate about books, baseball, and pop culture (though not necessarily in that order), and lives in Brooklyn with her dog.