DELIVERY DRIVER - Requirements
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As with most of the jobs in this book, you will need a commercial driver's license, depending upon the size and weight of your vehicle. Depending upon the type of delivery being made, you may need a partner or two to get the job done. Most times, though, the deliveries are made on your own. This is the type of job that requires a little more expertise than a messenger has, since you may need to know how to operate the delivery vehicle and all its functions. For example, if you deliver oil, you need to understand how the pump works, how to find the intake pipe at your destination, and how to safely deliver the oil.
Many deliveries are made in company-owned vehicles. This includes deliveries for overnight package services or regional dairies. In these cases, you will be operating a light truck, van, or panel truck. These are closer to a car in handling than larger trucks or specialized vehicles. You will need to have a CDL in most cases and will be obligated to follow the Department of Transportation's guidelines. Each state has its own specific guidelines as well, and you should consult your local state's department of transportation for details.
Delivery drivers usually report to a distribution center to pick up their cargo and their vehicle. In most cases, you will wear some form of identifying uniform, such as a shirt or jacket so people recognize that you represent a specific company.
A typical ad for a company delivery driver reads as follows: “Clean-cut delivery drivers needed. Local delivery only. CDL license is NOT REQUIRED, but applicants are encouraged to apply. Must have clean driving record and knowledge of the area. Will be meeting with clients on daily basis so neat appearance is required. Must have no felonies in the past 7 years and a clean motor vehicle record [MVR], and must agree to a D.O.T. drug screen prior to hiring. Skills/Requirements: Clean MVR and valid driver's license, neat professional appearance, knowledge of area. Pay comments: depending on experience. Job status: full-time.”
For those who do not want to use another vehicle and prefer their own car, there are less specialized delivery jobs, such as pizza delivery. In these cases, you do not need a special license, but a clean driving record will be important. You will also need a knowledge of the vicinity, which will be more limited than, say, an overnight package company.
A national pizza chain advertises for drivers by pointing out, “Our driver position is an excellent start to learn about the delivery business, customer service, and the creation of a great product—from start to finish. [We're] committed to promotion from within—most of our managers started as drivers. It is a stepping-stone to advancement into our management development program. Even if you choose a different career path, you will learn skills for life!”
It should be noted that there really isn't room to move up, and this may be seen as a first job, not a career. On the other hand, note that President Harry S. Truman began his working life as a deliveryman.
Some companies prefer experienced drivers and look for them to be older than eighteen. In Toronto, for example, companies look for drivers who are at least twenty-two.
If you want to get started, this is perhaps the easiest entry field for a high school graduate and exposes you to different companies and work environments, which makes choosing your next career step much easier.