How to become a delivery driver? Delivery Driver with blue top sitting in Van checking the address on a package

How to become a Delivery Driver?

Overview

Job Role Delivery Driver (aka Multi Drop Driver, Home Delivery Driver, Tow Truck Driver)
Responsibilities Collecting goods from a warehouse, shop or collection point, delivering good and collecting signatures.
Salary

£7.83 per hour / £17,660 per year

Required Qualifications

Full drivers licence


What do I need to do to become a Delivery Driver? 

A delivery van driver is responsible for collecting goods and transporting them to customers or clients. There are many types of companies you could work for, based all over the country, from retail businesses to courier services. So you could, for example, be delivering furniture, clothes, electrical goods, car parts, plants and anything else that will fit in your van.

And the good news is that with an increase in online shopping, the need for multi-drop drivers is increasing; so there are lots of job opportunities out there. In the UK, the average annual salary for a van driver is £17,660, or £7.83 an hour, according to payscale.com. This type of work is great if you need flexible working hours or shift patterns, or want to work part-time. Your hours will usually be between 36 and 48 hours a week on a full-time contract. It may be possible to work regular day shifts but employers may need you to work some evenings, weekends or during the night.

Your day as a delivery van driver will usually start with collecting goods from a warehouse, shop or collection point. You will load the vehicle, and then ensure your route isn’t being affected by traffic or roadworks. Once you get to the drop off address you will be responsible for unloading deliveries and getting signatures if required. Another important part of this job is recording your hours and delivery records. If you’re a multi-drop driver you’ll move onto the next drop off, or return back to base.

The most important thing you need to work as a van driver, is a car driving licence, which allows holders to drive a van that is less than 3.5 tonnes. If you don’t have a licence to drive a car, the process is explained below. If you already have a car driving licence, then the date on which you passed it will affect what size of delivery vehicle you can drive so keep reading.

If you got your car licence after 1 January 1997, you can only drive vehicles up to 3.5 tonnes with it. To drive vehicles between 3.5 and 7.5 tonnes, you will need further training to get a category C1 licence. To get this, you must be at least 18 years old, and pass medical, theory and practical tests. If you need to get your C1 licence, you must follow the same steps as getting a catergory C and/or E, which allow you to drive heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). This process is outlined in this article. If you passed before 1 January 1997, you are allowed to drive vehicles up to 7.5 tonnes without the need for a separate C1 licence.

Firstly, to get a car driving licence you must be over the age of 17 to be able to learn to drive and take the test, and have eyesight that meets the required standard. The first stage is applying for a provisional car driving licence from the government’s Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA).  This will cost you £34 if done online or £43 to apply for it by post. Once you have this, the next step is to prepare for the computer-based theory test, and to get driving lessons from an instructor or a qualified driver who holds a full driving licence. You can start practicing for the theory test at any time, and before you start your driving lessons. You are allowed to take the theory test as soon as you have your provisional licence.

Before taking the test, start off by reading the Highway Code; this is what the test is based on, and is available online for free or you can buy the book. You will need to book the theory test online, and make sure you take all of the required documents with you. If you don’t, you can’t take the test and will have to pay again to rebook it.

The practical element is a hands-on skill that is tested on real-life roads. You will need to either take lessons from an instructor or be tutored by someone who is over the age of 21, has a full car driving licence and has held it for three years or more. When you feel ready, this test is also booked online. Again, make sure you take all of the required documents with you.

The practical aspect of the driving test involves five parts: an eyesight check, ‘show me, tell me’ vehicle safety questions, general driving ability, reversing your vehicle and independent driving. The test is the same for both manual and automatic cars and you’ll drive for around 40 minutes. You can read all about what happens during this test here so you know what to expect. All of the information you need about driving a car in the UK can be found on this section of the government’s website.

In order to pass the relevant theory and driving tests, and therefore do this job, you will need to be educated to GCSE level in English and Maths. You will also need a reasonably good level of fitness to be able to move the goods in and out of the van and be able to drive for most of the shift.

Other things that will help you succeed as a delivery van driver include good communication skills. This will be important when taking instructions from your manager, liaising with colleagues and also when talking to customers. Being able to solve problems and think on your feet will also help when driving on the roads. It’s very important to be a calm and patient driver, as accidents, planned road works and bad weather are things that are out of your control but will affect your working day.

Any experience you have of working in transport and logistics, or driving in a professional capacity, will be a bonus when applying for jobs. Vacancies will usually be listed on specialist jobs boards, and online on the careers page of companies’ websites. If there is a company you’re particularly interested in working for, you could also approach them directly asking if they might have a job for you.

In terms of career progression within this role, you could do training to allow you to drive dangerous goods and special loads. Or if you want to move on to driving larger trucks or lorries, you could think about getting your Driver Certificate of Professional Competence (CPC) card, and adding extra categories to your driving licence. You can read about how to become a class 2 HGV driver here. These jobs typically pay more due to the extra training required and responsibility of driving a larger vehicle.

One of the benefits of being a delivery van driver, not a HGV driver, is that your drop off locations will usually be local. This means you won’t be driving for hours on end and won’t have to stay away from home over night. It’s also a great role if you enjoy a varied workday and don’t mind early starts.

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