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.
New Year, new job ?
It is the start of another year, 2013, as I write this article. New Year's day to be precise. The time when many of us think to the future in an effort to begin to carve out a better life for ourselves. A time to take stock and perhaps try a change of direction in terms of our careers and jobs.
If this is you maybe you could benefit from my experience as a Parcel Delivery driver of almost 10 years now. In this article I will pass on my top tips for being a Parcel Delivery driver.
Mine is probably a familiar story in that I became frustrated in my chosen career of over 20 years and decided that I needed to change my life as I was in a rut. I had done a little bit of Parcel Delivery driving when my eldest son was a toddler and it was a job I had really enjoyed. My main career had been as a Store Manager for a large chain of D.I.Y Stores in the UK.
I began researching Parcel Delivery companies and found one which were looking for self employed owner drivers. Self employment had always appealed to me in the hope that I could gain a little control over my working hours, as well as being able to earn more for my family. Surprised at my findings in that I could earn as much as an owner driver as I did as a Store Manager responsible with lots of responsibility. Imagine, I could be my own boss and make more money.
The company I decided to apply for had a vacancy in my hometown and I started in the New Year of 2004. With my brand new liveried vehicle I began what was to be a very rewarding 5 years until the company was taken over by a rival who did not know how to treat their owner drivers. Sadly my association with this company ended in September 2010 and I was devastated. It was my choice to leave as it believed it was for the best for me to part with them.
Luckily I was owed a lot of money by this company which I would be paid the following month. This allowed me to take time and look for another job. I have to say that If the company had not been taken over I would have still been there. I was so proud of what I was achieving being self employed and proud to be associated with the company.
Can anyone do it ?
In my experience I would say it isn't a job that everyone can or, indeed, would want to do. This job is hard, physically demanding, fast paced with long hours, but is very rewarding. It is what I call 'a good honest job'.
If you can work on your own in all weathers it is a good start. If you need company at work from others then it is not for you.
As long as you can work without being constantly praised and appreciated by your bosses then you will be ok. You have to remember it is a service industry and you are expected to achieve set levels of service every day and you will be constantly reminded of this. The parcel industry is very competitive and only the strongest survive. It is a very serious business so don't expect the bosses to share too many jokes with you. Bless them!
The main players.
The main players in the UK parcel delivery market are :
In no particular order of size or favour,
All of these firms have good qualities and equally poor qualities like any company in any industry. There is one particularly good and very reputable company and a number of less reputable companies for one reason or another. The thing that sticks out about the best of the companies is the service levels they provide. The best companies are not always the biggest.
My top tips for becoming a parcel delivery driver are by no means a comprehensive list but I believe that they are the minimum qualities that you need to be successful in this field of employment in 2013 and beyond.
- Care about the service you provide.
- Aim to be the best.
- Be customer focused.
- Get the job done on time, first time.
- Be able to work under pressure.
- Able to work to someone else's time scales.
- Work until the job is done.
- Be organised.
- Able to work unsupervised.
What to do now if this job is for you.
If you think that this work is for you I would suggest making enquiries with the major Parcel Delivery firms about becoming a delivery driver for them. My advice to you would be to start as an employed driver and only go down the self employed route if it is absolutely necessary.
A google search for any of the above companies will take you to their web sites, all of which will have a recruitment page where you can peruse current vacancies and contact details for you to apply or enquire.
Good, experienced parcel drivers are hard to come by so when a company gets one they will want to keep him or her.
Employed versus Self - employed.
For me now this is a no brainer. After trying both ways of working I would advise working as an employed driver if you can. The reasons for this are as follows :
I have been both employed and self employed and the employed position is the one I would choose every time. You can drive someone else's van, not pay for diesel, van insurance , public liability insurance and road tax to mention just a few. There is no cost to you for maintenance of the vehicle and no penalties for having your vehicle off the road.
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
Courierio on February 02, 2015:
Great advice Steve, if you are an owner driver looking for work it is also a good idea to join a courier based exchange website such as http://www.returnloads.net/owner-drivers
WilsonEdwards on June 24, 2014:
Thanks Steve for your valuable tips which is beneficial for user in becoming a successful parcel delivery driver. Lot of experience required for this challenging job. As a courier delivery driver, you should be honest in your work and don’t think about rest until the work is not properly done.
Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on February 05, 2013:
Hey CarNoobz thanks for voting. It's all about service. Cutting corners never works out, you always get found out. Nice to meet someone with a shared interest.
CarNoobz from USA on February 04, 2013:
I was a delivery driver for about 8 years in various industries. I think that tip about doing the job right the first time is awesome. On one delivery run when I did furniture installation, my sup wanted to lie and say the customer wasn't home (it was the end of the day and he wanted to go out with his gf). So that's what we did.
That day didn't end well. LOL
Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on January 23, 2013:
Jools99, thanks for reading and commenting. More and more ladies are coming into the job. Heavy boxes aren't a problem as most will help to carry them for a lady delivery driver. Trolleys are provided by most firms also.
Jools Hogg from North-East UK on January 23, 2013:
Steve, very interesting hub. can drive but haven't driven for over 20 years but I think this sounds like the kind of job my daughter might be interested in because she loved driving! Not sure of she'd cope with heavy boxes though. Lots of good advice here and your personal experience was very interesting, food for thought.
Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on January 05, 2013:
Shiningirisheyes, hi again, I wouldn't put it quite like that but it is a very rewarding job in terms of personal achievement and satisfaction. You maybe interested to know that as a result of this article Tali Kord of the Independent on Sunday Newspaper contacted me to use my knowledge for her article to be published on 6th January about Courier Companies.
Shining Irish Eyes from Upstate, New York on January 05, 2013:
Very interesting article. Sounds like this was a perfect fit for you.
Mary Craig from New York on January 03, 2013:
Will do Posh!
Steve Mitchell (author) from Cambridgeshire on January 03, 2013:
Thank you for the votes once again, I really appreciate it. Why not watch out for my next article on the subject coming soon ?
Mary Craig from New York on January 02, 2013:
You make some very valid points and provide lots of good information. Your lists are very useful and your experience even more so. Nice job.
Voted up, useful, and interesting.