How Much Does A UPS Driver Make?

Last Updated: Dec 27, 2019

The Beginning Of UPS

We’ve all seen the big brown trucks with the yellow UPS logo, steadily making their way down the highways and local streets, delivering parcels and packages state to state and town to town. UPS refers to their organization as a global network of movement. This is not an exaggeration; UPS is worldwide and constantly moving.

UPS has been in business since 1907, starting out as the American Messenger Company in Seattle, Washington. Back then, deliveries were local and made by foot or with bicycles. It wasn’t until 1917 that this company branched out to Oakland California and became the United Parcel Service.

 

In the 1930’s UPS began to expand across the nation. By 1975 they were servicing all of the lower 48 and went international. In 1988 UPS Airlines was launched. Today, UPS delivers millions of packages all around the world every day.

How Much Do UPS Drivers Make?

Indeed offers information on the average salaries you can expect, depending on the type of job you pursue. These salaries are derived from information reported by current or former drivers with an average calculated from the total responses. Some of the positions offer many responses while others only show a few. Keep in mind that these are averages and salaries will vary regionally.

Indeed Salary List for UPS Drivers
  • Company Driver - $693 per week from 3 reports
  • Courier - $11.59 per hour from 57 reports
  • Courier Driver - $66,029 per year from 5 reports
  • Delivery Driver - $14.07 per hour from 716 reports
  • Driver - $20.51 per hour from 385 reports
  • Driver Trainer - $66,750 per year from 4 reports
  • Local Driver - $17.39 per hour from 4 reports
  • Owner/Operator Driver - $197,899 per year from 860 reports 
  • Route Driver - $46,192 per year from 12 reports
  • Team Driver - $100,000 per year from 6 reports
  • Tractor-Trailer Driver - $30.24 per hour from 241 reports 
  • Truck Driver - $18.14 per hour from 37 reports

The Pros And Cons Of Working For UPS

The next two videos are from a current employee’s perspective of the pros and cons of working at UPS. The videos also offer a great view of the operations to give you a better idea of what goes into the operation overall.

Video: Pros & Cons Of Working For UPS Part 1

 

Video: Pros And Cons Of Working For UPS Part 2

 

How Do You Get a Job With UPS?

If your goal is to work for UPS your first stop may be with CSI (Cartage Services, Inc), a dedicated third-party provider that sometimes hires drivers to work with UPS. CSI is just one third-party company that may work with UPS and appears to be regional. This first step may be the means by which to get your foot in the door at UPS. This work, however, does not offer a dedicated route or a regular schedule. You may work any shifts, covering various routes as needed while the dedicated driver goes on vacation, takes a leave of absence, or for whatever reason is off of his or her route for any length of time. You may work first shift one day and third shift the next day. You will find yourself in unfamiliar territory regularly. And if you work hard, you might just find yourself one day being hired as a dedicated driver with your own route.

UPS also hires direct. Their website lists jobs across the country for local delivery drivers, tractor-trailer drivers, and freight drivers. You may enter search criteria and peruse their listings to see what jobs appeal to you, and you may also apply online. Once you click on a job listing you will see the job requirements and how to apply. It will also state whether this listing is through a third-party company that works with UPS. Their eligibility requirements are as follows;

UPS Driver Requirements

  • You must pass a DOT physical
  • You must pass a UPS road test
  • You must possess a class A CDL issued in the state in which you live, clear from any revocations or suspensions
  • If your license was ever suspended or revoked for illegal use of alcohol and/or drugs, it must have been reinstated for five years or more
  • If your license was ever suspended or revoked for any other reason (except above) it must have been reinstated for three years or more
  • You must comply with UPS appearance codes and wear the provided uniform
  • Must be at least 21 years of age
  • Must have, at a minimum, a CDL for one year with interstate commerce experience
  • Must be able to lift 70 pounds and be physically able to load, unload, bend and stretch
  • Must be willing to work a flexible schedule
  • Union membership is required after 30 days of employment
  • Must be able to read, write and speak English
  • Doubles endorsement is desirable
  • *Dockworkers with CDL are required to have a HazMat endorsement, Doubles and Triples Endorsement, and Tanker endorsement
  • You must provide a copy of your motor vehicle driver abstract issued within the last 30 days

Because UPS is present in every state, they provide listings by location that will adhere to both federal and state law. Some of these requirements may not pertain to you depending on the state in which you are seeking employment. Visit the UPS website at the link below to search for job listings and to see which states those listings apply to.

UPS Truck Driver Job Listings

The UPS Culture

UPS delivers more than 15 million packages to more than 220 countries and territories around the world every day. They have spent decades perfecting their trade and training their drivers for extreme efficiency, which is a top priority. According to a Mental Floss Article about UPS, there are strict rules that drivers must abide by, and intense training they must go through to be successful with UPS. Here are some of the highlights.

UPS Driver Training

  • UPS tracks each driver with the DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) which drivers carry to scan and check in packages. UPS also uses devices within the trucks that record everything from stops to drive time, speeds driven, accidents, and even which way the truck turns. They track nearly everything imaginable.
  • Potential UPS local delivery drivers must successfully complete an intense specialized training class called Integrad, the UPS “boot camp”
  • UPS strongly discourages backing up unless you’re backing into a loading dock
  • A good driving record with UPS will earn you rewards that increase in value the longer you maintain your good driving record
  • The big brown local trucks are known as “package cars” throughout UPS and they are neither heated nor do they have air conditioning or radios
  • It is common for dogs to attack local UPS delivery drivers. UPS even maintains tracking records of places where unfriendly dogs live.
  • UPS allows a neat mustache, but they frown upon other facial hair. Likewise, your hair may not touch your collar
  • The pay at UPS is, by many reports, very good. Drivers, on average, make $30 per hour
  • Seniority allows you to bid for better routes. Better routes are those that require a lot of driving (think rural routes) and not as many stops

Some of this information applies to local drivers who do not drive a big rig, but much of it applies across the board.  Local drivers must have a class C license. One local driver, we’ll call him Jose, told me that the pay range in the Chicago area is $36 to $40 per hour, but says it is “very hard work”.

Tractor-trailer drivers are not normally paid by the hour. The salary report from Indeed took an annual salary and did the math to come up with an hourly wage. According to other reports, the average annual salary for a UPS tractor-trailer driver is $57,886.40.

 

Real UPS Drivers Speak

It is easy enough to paint the picture with broad strokes of positivity but it is equally important for those seeking information on working for UPS to see the full picture. With that in mind, what other truckers are saying about work they do or have done for UPS might help you to gauge whether a career at UPS is right for you.

Indeed also asks employees and former employees to rate the employer. UPS has a score of 3.9 out of a possible 5 and there are over 27,000 reviews from people with real experience. If you read enough of these you will see some common themes.

If you have been a truck driver for any amount of time, you know there are different types of drivers on the roads. My husband, who has been driving for nearly thirty years, can be a bit of a whiner. He recognizes this about himself and while he may verbalize complaints, he always gets the job done. Different drivers approach the job in different ways. With that in mind, here is a list of common responses I have gleaned from reading many, many reviews from current and former UPS employees.

UPS Driver Responses

  • There are many seasonal positions available. UPS often hires temporary employees to fill these positions
  • There are many part-time positions that will not pay well enough for you to support a family. I suspect people take these to get their foot in the door
  • Union membership is mandatory at UPS. One respondent reported that part-time workers pay $70 a month in dues while full timers pay $90 per month
  • Background checks are done by a third party. UPS claims to hire felons, but respondents say it depends on the felony. Convictions for theft, for instance, appear to disqualify applicants
  • By many accounts, working for UPS is not unlike being in the military. Everything they do is highly regimented and those who cannot toe the line do not last long
  • Numerous reviews said that management at UPS is interested in keeping quotas high and do not concern themselves with the well-being of employees. If drivers were not willing to perform to UPS standards, management said there were plenty of people waiting in line to work there. Many drivers felt bullied.
  • Many respondents said the pay and benefits offered at UPS are well worth the hard work they expect you to perform
  • Other respondents said that they made between $10-$13 per hour, they were part-time employees, and their supervisors were not keen to work with their schedule for school or another job
  • Supervisory positions pull you out of the union and make you ineligible for the union pay and benefits packages
  • It is common to work very long shifts, 12 hours or more.

UPS Videos

Youtube is a popular place to get a birdseye view of a driver’s perspective. UPS also posts videos that offer a glimpse into the culture of the company. Here are a few videos that you may find useful if you’re considering a career as a UPS driver.

Video: A UPS Driver Who Loves His Job

 

Video: A UPS Pre-trip Inspection

 

Video: The Life Of A UPS Driver

And a little humor to end things on a funny note…

 

Pre-trip Inspection:

A pre-trip inspection is a thorough inspection of the truck completed before driving for the first time each day.

Federal and state laws require that drivers inspect their vehicles. Federal and state inspectors also may inspect your vehicles. If they judge a vehicle to be unsafe, they will put it “out of service” until it is repaired.

CDL:

Commercial Driver's License (CDL)

A CDL is required to drive any of the following vehicles:

  • Any combination of vehicles with a gross combined weight rating (GCWR) of 26,001 or more pounds, providing the gross vehicle weight rating (GVWR) of the vehicle being towed is in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any single vehicle with a GVWR of 26,001 or more pounds, or any such vehicle towing another not in excess of 10,000 pounds.
  • Any vehicle, regardless of size, designed to transport 16 or more persons, including the driver.
  • Any vehicle required by federal regulations to be placarded while transporting hazardous materials.

HAZMAT:

Hazardous Materials

Explosive, flammable, poisonous or otherwise potentially dangerous cargo. Large amounts of especially hazardous cargo are required to be placarded under HAZMAT regulations

Dedicated Route:

A driver or carrier who transports cargo between regular, prescribed routes. Normally it means a driver will be dedicated to working for one particular customer like Walmart or Home Depot and they will only haul freight for that customer. You'll often hear drivers say something like, "I'm on the Walmart dedicated account."

Regional:

Regional Route

Usually refers to a driver hauling freight within one particular region of the country. You might be in the "Southeast Regional Division" or "Midwest Regional". Regional route drivers often get home on the weekends which is one of the main appeals for this type of route.

DOT:

Department Of Transportation

A department of the federal executive branch responsible for the national highways and for railroad and airline safety. It also manages Amtrak, the national railroad system, and the Coast Guard.

State and Federal DOT Officers are responsible for commercial vehicle enforcement. "The truck police" you could call them.

Interstate Commerce:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Interstate:

Commercial trade, business, movement of goods or money, or transportation from one state to another, regulated by the Federal Department Of Transportation (DOT).

Doubles:

Refers to pulling two trailers at the same time, otherwise known as "pups" or "pup trailers" because they're only about 28 feet long. However there are some states that allow doubles that are each 48 feet in length.

HOS:

Hours Of Service

HOS refers to the logbook hours of service regulations.

DWI:

Driving While Intoxicated

APU:

Auxiliary Power Unit

On tractor trailers, and APU is a small diesel engine that powers a heat and air conditioning unit while charging the truck's main batteries at the same time. This allows the driver to remain comfortable in the cab and have access to electric power without running the main truck engine.

Having an APU helps save money in fuel costs and saves wear and tear on the main engine, though they tend to be expensive to install and maintain. Therefore only a very small percentage of the trucks on the road today come equipped with an APU.

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