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Route Delivery Driver Job Description, Career as a Route Delivery Driver, Salary, Employment

Definition and Nature of the Work, Education and Training Requirements, Getting the Job

Education and Training High school and license

Salary Median—$9.96 per hour

Employment Outlook Good

Definition and Nature of the Work

Route delivery drivers are truck drivers who sell and deliver goods along local routes. They may sell retail goods and services or wholesale products. Their specific duties vary according to their industries, the policies of their employers, and their role in sales.

Retail drivers work directly with people who buy and use goods and services. Drivers who deliver for laundries, for example, deliver clean linens, towels, and work clothes to customers on a regular basis. They also pick up soiled laundry, record work orders on computers or forms, and even collect money. Retail drivers may also be responsible for soliciting new customers along their routes.

Wholesale drivers, on the other hand, deliver goods to stores, such as grocery stores. They often stock the shelves with their goods and lobby for more prominent placement. They also describe upcoming specials to store managers; pitch new products; and take orders for the next delivery date.

Both retail and wholesale drivers handle paperwork, including invoices.

Education and Training Requirements

Employers prefer to hire applicants who are high school graduates and at least twenty-five years old, although younger people who start work in their warehouses may be promoted to driver positions. In most states, route delivery drivers must have commercial driver's licenses, which require written examinations, driving tests, and good driving records. Applicants should have good eyesight and hearing and be able to lift heavy objects. Prior work in sales and high school math courses can be helpful.

Most companies provide on-the-job training. New hires are taught business math, sales techniques, and defensive driving. Supervisors go with them on their first few trips to offer advice and to help them learn their routes.

Drivers often handle large sums of money, so companies may require them to be bonded. Companies generally pay for this kind of insurance, but sometimes workers have to pay the fees.

Getting the Job

Route delivery drivers who belong to unions may go to union hiring halls to find out about jobs. Others can apply directly to personnel offices of companies that need drivers. State employment services, newspaper classified ads, and Internet job sites are sources of employment leads.

Some route delivery drivers deliver packages to customers within a certain local area. (AP Images.)

Advancement Possibilities and Employment Outlook

Workers who drive retail trucks can move to wholesale routes, which have fewer customers but larger and more profitable accounts. Drivers can also become route or sales supervisors.

Employment of route workers is expected to increase slightly through 2014. Many companies are shifting sales duties away from route drivers to sales staffs in their offices.

Working Conditions

Route delivery drivers often finish their routes early and are allowed to return home without cuts in pay; on other days they may finish late and are not paid extra. Hours vary; milk delivery drivers, for example, begin and end the day early. Drivers should enjoy working with people, have good customer-service skills, and be patient and courteous.

Earnings and Benefits

Earnings for route delivery drivers vary, depending on the type of work and the size of their commissions. Large firms pay a minimum salary set by union contracts, which vary according to location and the kind of company. For example, companies that deal in wholesale goods generally pay higher wages. Firms that ask workers to drive big rigs such as gas and oil tankers also pay higher wages.

In 2004 the median wage of route delivery drivers, both retail and wholesale, was $9.96 per hour. The best salespeople earned much more.

Where to Go for More Information

American Trucking Associations
2200 Mill Rd.
Alexandria, VA 22314-4677
(703) 838-1700

International Brotherhood of Teamsters, AFL-CIO
25 Louisiana Ave. NW
Washington, DC 20001-2198
(202) 624-6800

Benefits may include health insurance, paid holidays and vacations, and retirement plans. Most companies provide uniforms.

Additional topics

Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesTransportation & Logistics