Job opportunities for local delivery and courier service drivers are plentiful as long as the correct licences are held. Many jobs are entry level and job requirements in terms of skills and English language proficiency are not stringent. This sector includes a diverse range of employers and opportunities to work as either an employee or as an owner-operator.

Prospects

Job opportunities for local delivery and courier service drivers are plentiful. Many of these positions are entry level and, as such, have a high turnover rate. As current employees gain transferrable skills and move on to better jobs, their positions open up to others. However, obtaining the required driver’s licence and minimum expected length of driving experience with a clean record may take time for a newcomer to achieve.

Delivery driver

Types of work and employers

While many of the available jobs in this sector are indeed for drivers, there is also work available for helpers, particularly at companies delivering large items. As well, delivery services often have their own transportation or warehousing facilities and employ individuals for loading, storage, and unloading functions. Advancement to better jobs with higher pay may be facilitated by these companies

The type of vehicle used for deliveries is dependent on product and business. Vehicles used range from ordinary passenger cars, to cube vans, pick-up trucks, box trucks, cabover city delivery trucks, refrigerated (reefer) trucks, and even semi-trailers.

There are many different types of employers for local delivery drivers, with varying opportunities. The Statistics Canada website lists some of the different types of employers; others can be discovered by browsing job boards. Employers include:

  • Airlines and air freight forwarders;
  • Bakeries, to deliver bread products to local restaurants;
  • Bulk water suppliers, for water coolers;
  • Canada Post;
  • Commercial laundry/linen services, typically servicing automotive, industrial, hospitality, and health care businesses;
  • Dairies;
  • Dry cleaners, to pick up and deliver dry cleaning orders;
  • International and national couriers (e.g. FedEx, UPS, Purolator);
  • Local courier services;
  • Meal and fast food delivery;
  • Medical couriers;
  • Manufacturers, distributors, and fulfilment services, to retail stores and to consumers;
  • Newspaper distributors for delivery to home and businesses;
  • Online retailers (e.g. Amazon, office products, electronics, flowers);
  • Other retailers (e.g. furniture, appliances, groceries, Home Depot to consumer homes);
  • Shuttle companies, to transport customers (e.g., between hotel and airport; or for car dealerships/repair shops);
  • Wholesalers to local stores; and
  • Vending machine suppliers.

Owner-operators

Usually, local delivery drivers are considered employees, since they act as ambassadors for the company brand; they wear a uniform; they are given direction on the job; and they work hours stipulated by the employer. As employees, they are entitled to minimum wage, overtime and vacation pay. (See Delivery driver wants Dominos to pay up after years of making less than minimum wage, CBC, May 14/18)

In some cases, local delivery drivers will be engaged as owner-operators, meaning that a driver must supply his or her own vehicle. See our discussion of some considerations about self-employment/entrepreneurial opportunities in our separate post on Long and Short Haul Truck Driving. A major challenge for a newcomer, especially a refugee newcomer, is to have access to his or her own, or a borrowed, vehicle.

Delivering for Uber Eats provides an example of an opportunity to earn income as an independent contractor (owner-operator.) Uber Eats drivers can set their own hours and work as much or as little as they like. They are not required to wear a uniform and they receive little on-the-job direction. However, they are not entitled to minimum wage, overtime, or vacation pay. As well, they will not will have payments made by their employer on their behalf to the Canada Pension Plan (CPP), Employment Insurance (EI), or income tax. Uber Eats drivers will be expected to pay into the CPP when they file and pay income tax, and they will not be eligible for EI.

Downsides

Work as a local delivery driver can be stressful, as many work conditions are dependent on weather, road conditions, and other drivers. Downsides to employment of this type include:

  • Bad weather;
  • Traffic delays;
  • Sharing the road with incompetent drivers;
  • Stress related to meeting deadlines or making enough deliveries;
  • Having to supply one’s own vehicle, in some cases, with resulting wear and tear; and
  • Where tipping is expected to compensate for low wages (such as when delivering meals, fast food, or flowers), tipping is variable and can’t be counted on as steady income.

Licence and vehicle requirements

In some cases, local delivery drivers may need to supply their own vehicle; and where necessary to do so, there may be certain vehicular requirements. Uber Eats, for instance, requires that their drivers use a 2- or 4-door car made after 1997.

Driver licensing requirements depend largely on the type of vehicle. In many cases, an unrestricted Class G licence is sufficient for driving as part of a a job in Ontario. (It can often take two years or more, following issuance of a beginner’s G2 licence, before a driver in Ontario can be eligible for a full G licence, although in some instances, this process can be expedited.)

If the vehicle is larger than a pickup truck and/or if the vehicle is hauling any type of trailer, a different type of licence may be required. For more information about the different types of licences, check the “Driver’s licence requirements” section of our post on Long and short haul truck driving.

In addition to a specified driver’s licence, the Government of Canada Job Bank website advises that those working as delivery drivers may need to be eligible for bonding and, in special cases, may require transportation of dangerous goods (TGD) certification.

(“Bonding” is insurance purchased by an employer to protect against potential losses caused by fraud, theft, or incompetence of an employee. For this purpose, an employee may have to pass a criminal background check.)

Need for English language proficiency

According to a Government of Quebec website, delivery drivers, delivery helpers, and related positions are considered semi-skilled. And, according to a Government of Alberta website, a minimum of CLB 4 is suggested for semi-skilled workers.

Local delivery drivers and short haul drivers will have a significant amount of verbal interaction with customers, clients, and front and back of house (business) teammates. It will be expected that all verbal communication be courteous, friendly, and helpful. Drivers will need to have the proficiency required to double check orders for correctness, read signage, follow written directions, and complete records and log books. As well, some drivers will need to accept and process cash, credit, and debit payments. The larger the employer, the more English language proficiency is likely to be expected.

Qualification requirements

Each company will have different requirements based largely on the type of product being transported and the type of vehicle being driven. However, in general, most employers of local delivery drivers will require:

  • A high school diploma or equivalent;
  • 1 to 3 years of driving experience;
  • A clean driving record;
  • Some proficiency with electronic devices;
  • Experience completing log books and pre/post trip inspections; and
  • Scheduling flexibility.

Additionally, some employers may require the following or may consider it an asset:

  • Minimum age (i.e., at least 21 for UPS and Uber Eats);
  • Warehousing experience;
  • The ability to lift 70 lbs. and to maneuver any package weighing up to 150 lbs., while using appropriate equipment; and
  • Meeting a minimum threshold on mandatory pre-placement driver assessment training (i.e., FedEx.)

On the other hand, a local restaurant franchisee may require little or no experience, but want the driver to use his own car, as an owner-operator.

Part-time and seasonal jobs are available for drivers and driver helpers.

Compensation

Pay rates or contract payments for local delivery and courier drivers vary depending on factors such as:

  • The type of products being transported;
  • Type of vehicle being operated and the class of licence required to operate that vehicle;
  • Whether the driver is an owner-operator or an employee;
  • Whether the driver is using a company or personal vehicle;
  • Whether duties other than driving are required; and
  • The size of the company.

The Indeed job board is an excellent resource for researching compensation rates. As examples:

  • Driver’s helpers usually start at minimum wage ($14.00/hr in Ontario).
  • Shuttle drivers start at about minimum wage (but customer tipping is standard).
  • Couriering/delivering light products such as letters/paper goods, meals, fast food, bakery products, and auto parts typically pays about $16-18/hour, with an increase for those driving their own vehicles.
  • Pay rates for medical couriers start around $21/hour.
  • Those delivering and restocking vending machine products are paid $20-25/hour.
  • Large multinational corporations like UPS and FedEx have starting wages near minimum wage, but there is automatic pay progression (up to $24.75/hour) and the opportunity for advancement within the company. Most multinationals will also have comprehensive benefit plans.

Amazon is an example of an online retailer that contracts out local delivery of its shipments to multiple companies. A job posting in November, 2018 by one such company in Markham, Ontario, for delivering packages in a company-provided cube van, was offering $17.50 to $18.00 per hour for 8 to 11 hours per day (with weekend shifts available), with benefits after a three month probationary period, plus unspecified “driver incentives”. Applicants were required to have a “G” licence, a clean driver record, a criminal background check, and a reference letter. They were also to submit a 3 year driver’s abstract, but it was not clear whether a minimum of three years of driving experience was required.

Large companies may be unionized. For example, some divisions at UPS, Purolator, and FedEx are represented by Teamsters Canada. There are positive and negative aspects to a unionized workplace. A discussion on some of the pros and cons of working in a union is included in our post on Construction and maintenance jobs.

Online job boards are a terrific resource, both to actually search for employment and to research opportunities and employers. To return as many results as possible at an online job board, try various search terms such as:

  • Class G delivery driver or Class G courier driver;
  • Courier driver or courier delivery driver;
  • Delivery driver;
  • Delivery partner;
  • Driver;
  • Driver assistant or driver helper;
  • Driver delivery;
  • Food courier;
  • Full-time delivery driver;
  • Home delivery driver;
  • Medical courier;
  • Medical delivery driver or health care delivery driver;
  • Package driver;
  • Part-time driver;
  • Parts delivery driver or parts runner;
  • Route driver;
  • Shuttle driver;
  • Valet or valet driver; and
  • Vending route driver or vending machine route driver.

Other ways to search for work as a local delivery and courier service driver include:

  • Approach smaller businesses directly.
  • Google searches by company name.
  • Search online job listings at non-employment websites like Kijiji, Craigslist, and Jobs on Facebook.
  • Keep an eye out for delivery vehicles on the road, and note business names in order to research job opportunities.
  • Some employment agencies work with companies that need to recruit drivers. Research potential agencies via Google search. Fuze HR Solutions Inc, Revolution Staffing, and Labour Point are just three employment agencies within the GTA that can help applicants find work as a local delivery and courier service driver.
  • Check out employment services.

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