How Much Does A UPS Driver Make?

Last Updated: Nov 6, 2018

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 
  • Professional Driver - $21.76 per hour from 3 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 will find yourself working any and all 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 could find yourself working first shift one day and third shift the next day. You will find yourself in unfamiliar territory on a regular basis. 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 if anything appeals to you, and you may also apply online. Once you click on a listing the job requirements are listed for you, as is the means by which to apply. It will also state whether or not this listing is through a third-party company that works with UPS. Their eligibility requirements are as follows;

  • Must pass a DOT physical
  • Must pass a UPS road test
  • 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 minimum, 1-year CDL with interstate commerce experience
  • Must have ability to life 70 pounds and be physically able to load, unload, bend and stretch
  • Must be willing to work a flexible schedule
  • Union membership will be 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 HazMat , Twin trailer and Tanker endorsements
  • A copy of your motor vehicle driver abstract that has been issued within the last 30 days must be provided

The list of requirements is derived from a variety of listings, all of which varied to some degree. Because UPS is present in every state, they provide listings by location that will adhere to both federal and state law, so that some of these requirements will 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 state those listings are specific 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 2015 Mental Floss article, there are strict rules drivers must abide by, and intense training they must get through to be successful with UPS. Here are some of the highlights.

Mental Floss Article
  • Their every move is tracked with the DIAD (Delivery Information Acquisition Device) drivers carry to scan and check in packages or with devices within the trucks that record everything from stops to drive time, speeds driven, any accidents, which way the truck turns… literally everything
  • Hopeful UPS local delivery drivers must successfully complete an intense specialized training class called Integrad, the UPS “boot camp"
  • Driving in reverse is strictly discouraged – no backing up except 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 extremely common for UPS local delivery drivers to be attacked by dogs. UPS even maintains tracking records of places where unfriendly dogs live
  • A neat mustache is allowed but other facial hair is frowned upon. 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 so many stops

Much of this information applies to local drivers who do not drive a big rig but much of it applies across the board. Local drivers are required to have a class C license. One local driver, we’ll call him Jose, told me that the pay range (in the Chicago area; this may vary depending on the area in which you live) is $36 to $40 per hour but that it is “very hard work".

We all know that tractor-trailer drivers are not generally 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 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 or not 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 more than 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 have already realized that 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. So, you will understand that the feedback offered by others might be recognized as a positive by some and a deal breaker by others. 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.

  • There are many seasonal positions and UPS hires a lot of temporary employees for these
  • There are many part time positions that will not allow you to support a family without another job. 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
  • A background check is done by a third party. UPS states that they will hire felons, but respondents lament that 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 tow the line do not last long
  • Numerous reviews indicated that management at UPS is interested in keeping quotas high and are not particularly concerned with the well-being of employees. Some lamented that management told them, in so many words, that if they were not willing to perform to UPS standards, there were plenty of people waiting in line to gain employment there – more than a few felt bullied
  • Many respondents indicated that the pay and benefits offered at UPS are well worth the hard work you are expected to perform
  • Other respondents indicated that they made between $10-$13 per hour and were part time, and that the supervisors were not keen to work with your 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, making for a poor work/home balance

Some Videos to Round Out Your Research

Youtube is a popular place to get a birdseye view of a driver’s perspective. UPS also posts videos and these can offer a glimpse into the culture of the company. Here are a few videos that you might find of interest to add to the information you have gathered as you decide if a career as a driver for UPS is right for you.

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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