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Top 10 Tips From a Parcel Delivery Driver

Steve has been writing on this site for 10 years now and has in the past written on many subjects. He now concentrates on helping people.

Here are some tips from an experienced delivery driver.

Here are some tips from an experienced delivery driver.

Parcels and More Parcels

So you think you could be a parcel delivery driver? In this article, I'll cover what you will need to know. You should first know that this job is not easy. There is a lot you will have to learn in order to get the hang of this job. Luckily, you are in the right place to get all the information you will ever need to become a top multi-drop parcel delivery driver.

Your Journey Begins Here

Through the course of this article, I will give you all the information you will ever need to learn how to become a parcel delivery driver. All of my tips and tricks have been developed over the course of my career. I learned it all from scratch, but you don't have to. The best part is that these tips are free and will not cost you a dime. There are e-books out there written by so-called professionals that cost an arm and a leg. They have probably never even been a multi-drop driver.

What to Expect Down the Road

As a parcel delivery driver, you can expect to be busy. As online shopping continues to grow and more and more companies get a web presence, parcel firms will get busier. I can foresee that companies will need more drivers in the next few years, which means more people like you will need my guidance, training, and tips if you want to make a living in the parcel industry.

I guarantee that you will never be bored as a parcel delivery driver. If you like to be busy at work, then you will not be disappointed. If you like job satisfaction and a sense of achievement, you will not be disappointed. Think you can hack it day in and day out in all weather? Then you need to keep reading for my tips on becoming a success in your chosen field.

1. Organisation

This is probably the kiss of death for any would-be delivery driver. If you can't organise yourself, your route, or your day, then you may as well throw the towel in now. I have seen many a driver who came into the industry thinking it was going to be a breeze. They thought that all they had to do was drive around, do one or two deliveries and go home. I can tell you that you will be expected to do anything from 50 to 100 deliveries per day, plus collections. It all depends on the area you cover. You might cover large trading estates or high streets. You might cover a rural route with a lot of distance to drive but not as many deliveries. Whatever you do, you will need to be organised and will be expected to manage your time effectively during the working day.

2. Route Planning

Second to organisation, route planning is the most important element to ensure you have a successful day. Most parcel companies try to give a driver the maximum number of deliveries that he/she can handle, ensuring that they make maximum profit on each consignment. If you are at your maximum, it means that you will need to be switched on and make few mistakes when setting out on your route before leaving your depot.

This can be the most pressured part of the day, so make sure you concentrate and use everything available to you, such as maps, Google maps, and the knowledge of colleagues who know your route. Never be afraid to ask for help if it means your day will be smoother as a result.

Many companies are able to optimise your route whereby your scanner will route the parcels after scanning them. This is good, but it does not have your knowledge of roads like you do, so use your own judgement when necessary. By setting out your route using your maps, you will learn the route that much more quickly. Go for this option and you will never have a problem.

Organising your parcels is very important.

Organising your parcels is very important.

3. Parcel Loading

This is a critical part of your day. You must load your van in such a way that locating your parcel while delivering will be quick and efficient. Knowing your parcels and where they are will save you time at each drop. Make sure you load from right to left in a methodical manner and be sure to strap in any larger items. A messy van will slow you down.

My best advice is to have your next four drops at the back or side door. Once those four are delivered, get the next four ready. Organisation is the name of the game.

Safe driving is a key part of the job.

Safe driving is a key part of the job.

4. On the Road

Make progress while driving by using the fastest and shortest route to your drops. Be mindful of road closures, traffic lights, and any delays on your route. If possible, only drive down a road once. You must drive to the speed limits and allow for poor road conditions and weather.

Never use your mobile phone when in control of your vehicle.

Be aware of parking restrictions and always park legally. Be considerate to other road users as well as pedestrians and cyclists. On rural routes, watch for horses being exercised and slow right down when passing them.

If your company requires you to leave cards when a recipient is not in, carry them with a pen in your pocket so you will not need to go back to your van to get one. A mobile phone also is a good idea if you need to ring in to let the depot controller know. This way you can just get back in your van and go.

Try not to overcomplicate the job and only think about your next delivery. Your planning has already been done in the depot. You now have to execute that plan, so only deviate from it in extreme circumstances.

5. At Each Stop

Knock and ring the doorbell. Don't be afraid to give a good hard knock to make sure the recipient knows you are there. If there is a possibility that you are in the wrong place and you have a phone number, give the recipient a call. A landline number will mean that you should hear the phone ringing in the property. If you don't have a number, then do not hesitate to ask a neighbour or look for other clues. There might be post in a post box outside, or you may be able to see post through a porch window with the details of the recipient visible. Never be afraid to look for information.

A good attitude can make the job go smoother.

A good attitude can make the job go smoother.

6. You and Your Attitude

Start your day in the right frame of mind. Never bring problems to work as it will affect your performance and decision-making. You are the face of your company when you are visiting businesses and residential customers, so always be polite even when they are not. Be proud of the service you provide and don't let anyone affect your mood. Your safety on the road is paramount, so your attitude must always be on an even footing.

7. Follow the Correct Procedures

Now, this is an area that many have not mastered. The parcel industry is a very serious business, and this is reflected in procedures, particularly out in the field. My best advice is to never cut corners, as you will always be found out. If you do everything by the book, you will have a long and rewarding association with the company you work for.

Procedures in the industry are not just for good customer service. They are there to protect you. Procedures should always be remembered.

8. Never Get Too Good

You can ignore this rule if you like to be taken advantage of. The fact is that the more you do, the more you will be expected to do. And this is where the parcel industry becomes very ugly. You see those who do enough just to keep their jobs. They get help when they are busy and constantly moan about their lot in life. Then there are those who do anything for anyone. They get everything but the kitchen sink thrown at them during the work day because they just get on with it and don't complain.

I have seen many good workers run into the ground until they couldn't take it anymore and quit. The plodders then get to plod a little more until someone else qualifies to get the extra work. Don't let this happen to you. By all means, work hard and do a good job, but play the game and don't let them get you down. Ignore them and tell them in a positive and calm way that you don't appreciate them taking advantage of your good nature.

9. Go a Stage Further in Your Planning

When you become comfortable with your daily routine and organisation of your route, you can take route planning a stage further. This entails really thinking about the drops you have to do, where they are, and which part of the van you will put them in in relation to the doors so you can access them as quickly and efficiently as possible.

You can even think about your route and which way you will drive to delivery, as well as where you will place a parcel to easily locate it later. Little tweaks can save so much time and allow you to make the delivery so much faster. You can then keep your momentum going.

10. Review Your Day's Deliveries

Once you have finished your daily deliveries, you should see an empty van. This is the point where I review the route I took and maybe just think a few minutes about what I could have done a little more efficiently. It is also a good point to pat yourself on the back on a job well done. By the same token, you can learn from the things which didn't go quite so well. This way you can make a mental note not to repeat the things that don't work for you.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2013 Steve Mitchell


Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on January 14, 2013:

Always exploring, your drivers have obviously not read this article yet. When there is a bell on a door I still knock as well....loudly. I like to deliver all of my parcels. It can take longer to write a card out. Thanks for reading.

Tirelesstraveller, thanks so much for reading and commenting.

Austinstar, welcome back. I bet they were really pleased they helped.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on January 14, 2013:

I just tipped two delivery drivers $20 each because they went above and beyond delivering my new hot tub. They are only supposed to deliver to curb side and that's it. But they helped us to get the 500 pound spa all the way down to my deck and I thought that was pretty awesome.

They said delivery services are in demand and I can safely say that if I were looking for a job, I would certainly look into this.

Judy Specht from California on January 13, 2013:

Nice organized hub on the life of a Parcel Delivery Driver. I would not be a good candidate. Not that organized.

Ruby Jean Richert from Southern Illinois on January 13, 2013:

Great article and tips. We have a real problem here with UPS not leaving a package when you're at home. I had this happen two weeks ago and i was at home. They didn't come to the front door where i have a bell, thiy went to a side door by the garage and knocked. My house is big and i didn't hear them, i had to leave a note on the side door telling them i was at home and please come to the front door and ring the bell. Who would do that? UPS..Ha. Thank's

Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on January 13, 2013:

Lela, I understand where you are coming from. It is good that you have made arrangements for your parcel's to be left for you.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on January 13, 2013:

Well, I totally hate telephones. It's a quirk my husband and I have. We rarely give out our phone number and then only when it's required. We absolutely do not give out our cell phone numbers unless required. And our phones are generally answered by voice mail. But I suppose they could hear it ringing to know it's the right place.

Mostly our drivers just leave packages in the carport or inside the gate. Only very small packages get lost and I can't seem to get Amazon to understand that. I ordered a memory disc about the size of a thumbnail and it got lost in our carport (wind?), but Amazon wants me to return it before I can get a refund. Huh? How can I return something I don't have? Strange.

Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on January 13, 2013:

Hey Lela, thanks for a great contribution in answer to my article. It is always a difficult task delivering in rural areas. Make sure when ordering that the company will provide your phone number to the carrier. That way he can always ring if there is a problem.

Lela from Somewhere near the heart of Texas on January 13, 2013:

Well written and kept my interest even though I was looking for tips to help my delivery driver. As a customer, I want it to be really easy for him or her to find my house and have as easy a time as possible to delivery my internet shopping.

I live in a rural subdivision and the roads out here are not well marked so I put up a big sign at the end of my driveway with our name and address on it. I think that helps a lot. If I was in a homeowners association with rules against that, I think I would use as conspicuous address marker as allowed.

But, one thing, I think you are so right about job increases in the delivery business because as I age, I shop more from home. I hate going out and driving through traffic to go from store to store looking for something that I can find in ten seconds on my computer. I wish I had bought Amazon stock right away. What a great business model!

Anyway, thanks for supporting the delivery driver!

Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on January 13, 2013:

Shiningirisheyes , hi, I am glad you agree. Hope the boss doesn't see it!

Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 13, 2013:

Very useful tips. I especially agree with the "never get too good" advice. This tip should be heeded throughout many other areas as well!

Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on January 13, 2013:

Mhatter99, glad you found it interesting and thanks.

Martin Kloess from San Francisco on January 12, 2013:

Thank you for these useful tips.