Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Career, Salary and Education Information

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What Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers Do[About this section] [To Top]

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 of Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically do the following:

  • Load and unload their cargo
  • Communicate with costumers 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.

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. Driver/sales workers also deliver goods, such as take-out food to consumers, and accept payment for those goods.

Work Environment for Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers[About this section] [To Top]

Light truck drivers or delivery services drivers hold about 884,700 jobs.

The industries that employ the most light truck or delivery service drivers are as follows:

Retail trade 20%
Couriers and messengers 19
Wholesale trade 18

Driver/sales workers hold about 445,300 jobs.

The industries that employ the most driver/sales workers are as follows:

Restaurants and other eating places 35%
Wholesale trade 28
Retail trade 13

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

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers have a higher rate of injuries and illnesses than the national average. Injuries can result from workers lifting and moving heavy objects as well as automobile accidents.

Delivery Truck Driver and Driver/Sales Worker 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] [To Top]

Get the education you need: Find schools for Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers near you!

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.

Delivery Truck Driver and Driver/Sales Worker Education

Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers typically enter their occupations with a high school diploma or equivalent.

Delivery Truck Driver and Driver/Sales Worker Training

Companies train new delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers on the job. This may include driving 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 have 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 on package loaders, see the profile on hand laborers and material movers.

Important Qualities for Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers

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.

Delivery Truck Driver and Driver/Sales Worker Salaries[About this section] [More salary/earnings info] [To Top]

The median annual wage for driver/sales workers is $22,450. 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 $17,310, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $47,410.

The median annual wage for light truck or delivery services drivers is $29,850. The lowest 10 percent earned less than $18,860, and the highest 10 percent earned more than $60,350.

The median annual wages for driver/sales workers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Wholesale trade $31,130
Retail trade 25,330
Restaurants and other eating places 18,950

The median annual wages for light truck or delivery services drivers in the top industries in which they work are as follows:

Couriers and messengers $46,770
Wholesale trade 29,120
Retail trade 23,740

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 for Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers[About this section] [To Top]

Employment of delivery truck drivers and drivers/sales workers is projected to grow 4 percent through 2024, slower than the average for all occupations.

Employment of light truck or delivery services drivers is projected to grow 3 percent through 2024, slower than 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.

However, improved routing through GPS technology can make existing light truck drivers more productive, which may limit the demand for additional drivers. With improved routing, drivers can be more efficient, navigating better in traffic and spending less time idling at each stop.

Employment of driver/sales workers is projected to grow 5 percent through 2024, about as fast as the average for all occupations. As the number of restaurants that offer delivery services continues to expand, the demand for food delivery drivers should grow. Employment of driver/sales workers in the restaurants and other eating places industry is projected to grow 10 percent through 2024.

Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers Job Prospects

Job opportunities for delivery truck driver and driver/sales worker are expected to be competitive. Because these drivers do not have to spend long periods away from home, these jobs tend to be more desirable than long-haul trucking jobs. Job applicants with experience and a clean driving record, or who work for the company in another occupation, should have the best job prospects.

Employment projections data for Delivery Truck Drivers and Driver/Sales Workers, 2014-24
Occupational Title Employment, 2014 Projected Employment, 2024 Change, 2014-24
Percent Numeric
Delivery truck drivers and driver/sales workers 1,330,000 1,378,100 4 48,100
  Driver/sales workers 445,300 466,100 5 20,800
  Light truck or delivery services drivers 884,700 911,900 3 27,300


*Some content used by permission of the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor.

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