How Does a UPS Driver Spend a Workday?

United Parcel Service is a global packaging delivery service most recognized by their signature brown vans and uniforms.
Most UPS drivers report to work by 8:30 am, dressed in the required brown uniform. The uniform consist of pants, a button down shirt and brown derby jacket, all of which are provided by UPS. If the driver chooses to wear shorts, he is required to purchase UPS approved brown socks.

All drivers arrive at the warehouse, also known as “The Barn,” in their own personal vehicles. The warehouse is where the packaging trailers are sorted and processed for delivery in their area. Drivers check all the packages in their van, which have been preloaded the night before. In the “preload,” as it is called, the packages are mapped based on the route schedule, keeping in mind regular stops, priority deliveries, and bulk items.

Before drivers leave the “The Barn,” they attend a morning stretch. This was implemented to help prevent the drivers from injuring themselves when they carry heavy packages. After the 15 minute stretch, they attend a morning meeting to discuss general business, safety and any new rules and regulations. All UPS drivers must have a good driving record and attend monthly road safety meetings given by the Department of Transportation.

All of the UPS drivers are required to drive off the lot in a caravan. It usually happens about 5 to 10 minutes after their morning meeting. Once off the lot, drivers pull over and do a safety check to make sure there are no nails, holes, or problems with the vehicle.

On the Road Again

Most first stops are bulk stops, where they may have a large delivery. This is done first to allow more room to work in the back of the van. It is also coupled with priority stops. Most UPS drivers try to keep a routine because customers expect to see the UPS drop offs around the same time each day.

Depending on their route, UPS drivers either have a business, business residential or straight residential route. Most of the business deliveries happen first. The residential ones are done later. On a given day, a UPS drivers can make anywhere from 130 to 150 stops between the hours of 9:00 and 5:00.

A driver’s basic duties are to remove package from the truck, walk them to the door and get a signature, if required. If a signature is not required, drivers leave each package in a safe place. They often leave a note for the recipient that indicate where the package is. Each driver has a “dial-board,” that has the information for each delivery. That is the large electronic tablet that the recipient signs. It also tells the driver where he is going next.

Most UPS drivers work in the same area every day. There can be anywhere between five and six drivers in one zip code. After all the packages are delivered, the pick up route starts, ranging from 10 to 40 pickups a day, depending on the area.

They then take everything into the warehouse, making sure all priority deliveries are processed and sent before 6 pm.