Top 8 Skills Every Route Delivery Driver Must Have

keyKey Takeaways:

  • Delivery drivers must have excellent time management skills to ensure they deliver all packages on time.
  • Good communication skills are crucial for drivers to interact effectively with customers and dispatchers.
  • Drivers should have basic technical skills to operate GPS systems and mobile devices used for tracking and communication.

If there was one good thing about 2020, it was the surge in business for delivery services.

Over 103 billion parcels shipped in 2019, with that number expected to double by 2026. In the U.S., grocery delivery alone saw a 133 percent increase in grocery delivery customers from 2019 to 2020.

Now there are over 2.14 billion online shoppers worldwide – almost a 30 percent increase from 2016.

It’s no wonder people are looking for delivery jobs.

As a delivery service, you need skilled delivery drivers. Yet, with so many in the talent pool opting for third-party delivery services like GrubHub and DoorDash, they can be hard to find. So hard that when current hires get lost, break down, or get stuck in transit, it can lead to significant delays. Or worse: Customers complain about your drivers’ poor manners.

Fortunately, you can prevent these situations by hiring people with the right skills.


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8 Must-Have Skills for Route Delivery Drivers

Knowing what to look for in potential drivers can be challenging. Start with these eight essential skills, which we gathered from actual job descriptions for route delivery drivers.

8 Skills for Route Delivery Drivers

1. Customer Service

Whether or not your employees interact with clients, delivery is about fostering relationships. Many skills in this list involve customer service:

  • Driving
  • Communication
  • Problem-solving
  • Organization

Drivers with strong customer service skills result in satisfied customers, and satisfied customers are more likely to use your delivery service and the company they bought from again.

Bottom line: Your route delivery drivers need to prioritize customers and their needs.

2. Safe, Efficient Driving

Time is one of the biggest challenges of delivery driving. Customers expect packages to arrive on time or even early. Before onboarding, determine that these non-CDL route delivery drivers you hire can balance safety and efficiency. Other related skills include concentration and navigation. Your employees must be able to stay focused for long periods of driving. Route optimization should not be difficult for them.

If a candidate can do all that in traffic without road rage, they’re a keeper.

3. Car Maintenance

This is a no-brainer question: Can your potential route delivery drivers survive on the road? Misadventures on the road happen more often than you would like. Accidents, breakdowns, and other mishaps can severely delay deliveries. Drivers who can fix these problems on a basic level are most useful to you. If they cannot maintain a vehicle’s most basic needs, don’t waste your time and money on them.

4. Effective Communication

Effective communication is integral to your business. Potential candidates for these jobs should communicate effectively, both verbally and in writing. Look for professional, courteous people who remain level-headed even in difficult situations. If they encounter customers often, they need to communicate in a calm, kind, helpful manner.

A good driver also notices opportunities and reports anything that seems amiss. A positive, can-do attitude will help them deal with ambiguous or conflicting situations.

5. Problem-Solving

The unexpected happens all the time. What if a disaster happens on the road? How does the driver you’re interviewing handle unfamiliar situations? What if they get lost? Problem-solving even applies to customer interactions. How will your candidate handle a disgruntled customer? Adaptability and innovation are telling characteristics of a good problem solver.

6. Organization

With paperwork, multiple packages, and often complicated navigation to manage, drivers can quickly get overwhelmed. Anyone you hire must be organized enough to keep it all in check.

  • How do they manage multiple tasks at once?
  • Is their car’s interior trashy or clean?

At the same time, too much time spent organizing their vehicles or necessary notes cuts into your delivery time. That’s bad for business and bad for customer satisfaction rates.

Other organizational skills include time management, punctuality, and attention to detail. Ask interviewees to provide examples of demonstrated ability in each area. You can ask their references the same question.

7. Computer Use

These days, digital skills are a must. Many delivery businesses use computers, route-planning apps, and other delivery technology. During the interview for new hires, ask candidates about their digital proficiency. While they do not need to be programmers, drivers must be able to operate a phone and any other productivity technology your business uses.

8. Physical Fitness

Delivery drivers often handle heavy packages. Can your candidate lift the minimum weight requirement? More importantly, can they lift it safely? Because they may sit for a long time before lifting, drivers can be more at risk for back and neck injuries. As an employer, you want as little injury liability as possible. Hire someone who will not put themselves – and subsequently, your business – at risk. Avoid that risk altogether by hiring only those who can lift the minimum weight you require.

How to Find a Skilled Route Driver?

You know which skills to look for in delivery candidates. Now you need to find those drivers. If that task sounds daunting, start by refining two areas of recruiting: job postings and interviews.

Tips for Job Postings

As job boards are often where you first connect with potential drivers, job postings should do most of the “weeding” for you with concise, clear, targeted content.

Create a job posting that lists the job’s terms in an easily scannable format by using bullet points and headings. Include a brief description of your company, the job type, the job’s pay per hour/minimum salary, is it full-time or part-time? Also, do not skimp on the job description. Clearly define who you are, the job title, and what the position consists of. Be specific. List all responsibilities and requirements, including necessary skills, minimum lifting requirements, and previous experience. Tell applicants how to apply and what experience to include:

  • Should they send a resume?
  • A cover letter?
  • References?

Think of a job posting as a letter to the ideal employee, asking them to work at your company. Write in a way they would understand. Make it interesting and attractive to them. When you effectively market yourself to your ideal candidate, they’ll come to you.

Tips for Interviewing

Once the least ideal candidates are filtered out, you can begin interviews. Avoid questions that are unfair or can be considered discriminatory. If you’re at a loss for questions, try some of these:

  • How would you rate your navigation skills?
  • How would you fix a flat tire?
  • How would you respond to a disgruntled customer?
  • As a part of your driver jobs, what would you do in X situation?
  • Do they have a clean driving record?

Before interviewing each route delivery driver for driver jobs, search their driving record to see if their responses to the above questions line up. Ask for references as well. Two to three honest references can shed light on a person’s ability to meet job expectations. Even better: As a best practice, ask your top employees to refer people they think would be effective workers. While this recruitment method can be risky, referrals from a trusted employee can save you weeks of time and effort.

You might be struggling to find talent. As a last resort, consider hiring workers with high potential and training them. A fast learner with great customer service skills is better than a highly skilled driver with low social aptitude.

Boost Your Delivery Drivers’ Skills with A Route Planning App!

Do your drivers have these eight skills? If not, train them – and make the training process easier by implementing a route delivery app. Our app increases productivity while cutting costs and time. No more excuses, no more wasted gas. Focus on your business, not route planning. With skilled employees and an optimized route plan, your business will soar.

Author Bio
Rakesh Patel
Rakesh Patel

Rakesh Patel, author of two defining books on reverse geotagging, is a trusted authority in routing and logistics. His innovative solutions at Upper Route Planner have simplified logistics for businesses across the board. A thought leader in the field, Rakesh's insights are shaping the future of modern-day logistics, making him your go-to expert for all things route optimization. Read more.