7 Essential Skills Every Delivery Driver Needs
Due to services like grocery shopping online, food delivery, and e-commerce stores, the need for capable and reliable delivery drivers is on the rise.
Plus, people who want to follow this career path can have their own business and enjoy a more flexible lifestyle than 9-to-5.
Of course, if you go into this career path as an entrepreneur, you also have to consider the business expenses such as vehicle insurance and maintenance, taxes, and so on. On the other hand, if you work for a delivery company, the pay is decent ($22.07/h on average in the US) and you don’t have to use your personal vehicle.
In short, as long as you have the skills and the drive to be consistent, being a delivery driver is a great career move.
So, if you want to get into this profession or you are the one looking to hire, here is a list of essential skills every delivery driver needs.
1. Excellent Driving Skills
Given you’ll be spending most of your work time on the road, in traffic, driving skills are the most important aspect of this position (whether as an employee or an entrepreneur).
As a delivery driver, you have to follow a specific route, often designed by an automated route planner that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to find the shortest and less consuming delivery routes.
Plus, even though you have a strict schedule to follow, you also have to drive safely and avoid any traffic incidents.
2. Problem-Solving Skills
Most delivery companies will try to keep their drivers focused on driving and delivery. This is why they use smart tracking and monitoring systems that can update the drivers in real-time about traffic jams, incidents, and other issues.
However, things don’t always go as planned, which leaves the driver looking for creative and fast solutions to unexpected problems. This is why problem-solving skills are a plus in this job. You need to be able to quickly assess the situation in the new scenario, come up with a solution, and apply the new plan to move forward and continue your delivery route.
3. Familiarity with Technology
Delivery drivers use all sorts of devices to communicate with their management, stay up to date with the state of traffic, check out their routes, navigational tools, and more. In order to be successful and keep in touch with everyone, they need to know how to work with different technologies.
For instance, if you or your delivery company uses a same-day courier service system like Dropoff, you’ll need to be able to quickly understand how it works and how to use it. Overall, these systems have a user-friendly interface, but it can take a bit of time if you’re not used to modern technology.
4. Communication Skills
You’re not just a driver; you’re also the intermediary between your company and the customer. In fact, the driver’s behavior can make the difference between a loyal customer, who will use your company again, and a lost customer who will go to the competition.
This is why delivery drivers need excellent communication skills - they need to make a good impression every time they interact with a customer. Even if you don’t have to meet with the customer (as it happens for no-contact deliveries), your behavior is often registered by doorbell cameras.
Plus, customers don’t like it when their packages arrive damaged (as if it was thrown from the van right onto their porch).
Most delivery companies use a series of systems to keep track of their drivers and their behavior, but this doesn’t mean you won’t have to fill in reports and keep track of your own delivery record.
And, when you’re handling over 100 deliveries/day, things can get hectic if you are not organized. Plus, if you run your own delivery company, you are also in charge of arranging the packages in the van, collecting signatures, and keeping track of missed deliveries.
Learn to prioritize tasks, manage your time (which is already limited) and keep records in order. This will save you time and stress at the end of the day when you have to draw the line and process the data.
6. Stamina and Physical Strength
Driving around all day long and carrying heavy boxes from and to the van is not exactly an easy job. If you add the elements and temperature changes, you start to get an idea as to why being a professional driver is not exactly an easy job.
Therefore, physical strength and stamina must be on the list of skills if you want to be a delivery driver. Also, you need to know how to eat to keep yourself focused and active even during the afternoon slump or when you are stuck in traffic.
A clean appearance, polite and friendly demeanor, reliability, and professional behavior are some of the ingredients that can boost you up to “employee of the month” status in no time. If you add to that a strong work ethic, you will become a hot commodity on the delivery drivers market should you ever want to switch companies.
Plus, the same ingredients will help you get more customers as an entrepreneur, especially for last-mile deliveries. The same is true even if this is just a temporary position since these are important skills for any job in any line of work.
Lastly, professional behavior and people skills can help you connect with the team (your coworkers) as well. As a result, you’ll learn how to be a team player and may even get some leadership skills as well.
Keep in mind that none of these skills is a natural talent. You can learn them by showing up with an open mind and actively looking to improve. In fact, many companies favor young workers who are willing to learn and polish their skillset.
Overall, as long as you can drive safely under difficult conditions and can maintain a daily driving schedule, you should be able to get things started. From that point forward, your success will be strongly connected to your desire to learn and improve.
About the Author
Cristina Par is a content specialist with a passion for writing articles that bridge the gap between brands and their audiences. She believes that high-quality content plus the right link building strategies can turn the tables for businesses small and large.