How to become a delivery driver: a step-by-step guide
Updated 28 September 2023
Delivery drivers play an essential role in helping businesses and families get their packages in a timely fashion. This is a versatile profession that offers employees a variety of different fields to work in, like food, textiles or home goods. If you're someone who enjoys driving and is interested in the prospect of getting to travel often, then working as a delivery driver may a viable career path for you. In this article, discuss what a delivery driver does, how to become a delivery driver and review some frequently asked questions about the position.
Please note that none of the companies, institutions or organisations mentioned in this article are affiliated with Indeed.
What does a delivery driver do?
A delivery driver is a professional who collects goods, products and items from one location and transports them to a new location. They can drive short or long distances and transport anything from furniture to food. It's common to have delivery drivers make shipments for individual consumers and businesses, but depending on their employer, they may focus on one or the other. Delivery drivers pick up and drop off items on a timed schedule and are usually responsible for tracking their time while on the road. They also have to review orders to ensure they pick up the right packages.
The average salary for delivery drivers
The average salary for a delivery driver can vary depending on location, employer, and experience. According to Indeed, the national average salary for a delivery driver is £27,208 per year. It's important to consider that the average salary for a delivery driver can evolve due to various factors like consumer demand and advancements in automated self-driving vehicles.
Cities with the highest average salaries for delivery drivers include:
Salary figures reflect data listed on Indeed Salaries at the time of writing. Salaries may vary depending on the hiring organisation and the candidate's experience, academic background and location.
Delivery driver work environment
Delivery drivers spend most of their working hours driving, but it can be a physically demanding job. They are often responsible for lifting and carrying packages when they load and unload them from their vans. This cargo can be light or heavy, so it's important for delivery drivers to maintain proper posture to ensure they avoid self-injury.
Some delivery drivers work part-time or have flexible hours, but most work full-time. It's common for a delivery driver to have a regular route, so they may have to work early in the morning or during the night.
How to become a delivery driver
Here are five steps on how to become a delivery driver:
1. Get a driver's licence
Getting a van driver's licence is the most important first step to becoming a delivery driver. This is a driver's licence that allows you to drive a van that is under 3.5 tonnes. If you've already obtained your driver's licence, the date that you achieved it can affect the size of the delivery vehicle you're allowed to drive. For example, if you gained your licence after January 1, 1997, then you're only authorised to drive a vehicle with no greater than 3.5 tonnes of goods. To drive with larger loads, consider getting a C1 licence.
2. Maintain a clean driving record
It's essential that you maintain a clean driving record, as this can help to hold your status as an eligible candidate. To be a successful delivery driver, there are several methods you can try to follow to achieve this. Consider taking an approved driving safety course to provide you with new knowledge or reaffirm information you may have forgotten. Practice careful driving practices and call a friend or cab if you're unable to safely drive by yourself.
3. Identify the type of delivery driver you want to be
Take some time to consider the type of delivery driver role that interests you, as this can determine the type of work schedule you have. You may have the capability to be a full-time delivery driver, but if your current obligations aren't accommodating for such a commitment, then consider working part-time or freelance. If you want to spend more time at home, then a full-time job as a delivery driver may not be for you. It's also important to determine if you want to transport small, medium or large loads, as this can affect the vehicle you need.
Related: 10 jobs with motorcycles
4. Start an apprenticeship
Consider joining a delivery driving apprenticeship program, as this can help introduce you to enter the field and gain practical experience. During an apprenticeship, you can expect to travel with a professional delivery driver initially, as these beginning to intermediate stages serve to show you the fundamentals of the job and how to properly operate and drive the vehicles. In an apprenticeship, your mentor shows you how to track your time and what some of the best safety practices are.
Most apprenticeships take at least 12 months to complete and you may also need GCSEs including maths and English to qualify for it.
5. Apply for entry-level delivery driver jobs
The last step is to apply for entry-level delivery driver jobs, as these can help you learn the basics of the role, and they usually have fewer entry requirements. You can apply for a role in person at a delivery facility or apply through a variety of online job boards. Make sure that you write a CV that accurately details your skills, experience and why you are a candidate qualified for the role. Even if you don't have any previous delivery experience, some companies may help you achieve all the prerequisites before employment.
Essential delivery driver skills
Here are some of the most important skills you need as a delivery driver:
A delivery driver needs professional driving skills, which could include knowing how to operate large vans. This means knowing how to drive safely and respond appropriately to dangerous road conditions. It also means knowing how to maintain your physical health when spending a significant amount of time driving, including proper seat placement.
Delivery drivers need to be able to focus not only on the road in front of them but on the signs, pedestrians and other drivers around them. This is to ensure they maintain a safe driving distance and speed in contrast to everyone around them. Delivery drivers also have to make a routine of sufficient sleep every night to make certain they are alert and attentive for driving long distances or during the night. They also need to be able to concentrate on the amount of time they have to ensure they deliver shipments by the deadline.
Delivery drivers need communication skills to coordinate with their customers, clients and colleagues. In route, they may need to contact their manager about a broken down vehicle or respond to an unforeseen change in the delivery address. Knowing how to communicate with others can help them maintain professionalism and stay updated on any developments regarding their deliveries.
Read more: What are communication skills?
Attention to detail
Attention to detail is an essential skill for a delivery driver and serves a vital role in their daily activities. They often need these skills to ensure they properly track the inventory they are delivering. This means they need to pay close attention to each item as it goes in and out of the van. This skill also helps them to have a better sense of their surroundings while driving.
Read more: How to improve your attention to detail
A delivery driver needs to be able to adapt to changing situations in the role. Their employer may contact them to cancel a delivery or transport it to a new location. They may enter into heavy traffic and have to find an alternative route to ensure they get it to its destination on time. Sometimes a package doesn't make it through the entire trip completely intact. For these unforeseen variables, a good van driver knows how to adapt to each situation and make the most beneficial decisions.
FAQs about how to become a delivery driver
Here are some additional FAQs about becoming a delivery driver:
Can a delivery driver be self-employed?
Yes, a delivery driver can be self-employed. Some delivery drivers start their own business or take freelance driving jobs. The requirements for these jobs can vary depending on the assignment, but it's a viable opportunity for someone who wants more flexibility with their work schedule and how frequently they have to spend time away from home.
Is a delivery driver a good second career?
Working as a delivery driver is a good second career because it can potentially offer you more job freedom. You may be able to choose your own work schedule or decide to only work part-time. It's also an opportunity to travel and see new places. Although everyone has their own reasons for working as a delivery driver, it offers many benefits that could make it a worthwhile job to pursue.
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