This article is part of a larger series on Hiring.
Hiring a qualified delivery driver can be a tough decision, and making the wrong hire means you could end up with an unreliable and potentially dangerous person driving your company vehicle. To avoid that, it’s important to follow a structured hiring process, from determining the type of driver you need and writing and posting the job ad to reviewing and interviewing candidates and checking their references.
Whether you’re looking for long-haul delivery drivers, drivers to move your goods around town, or food delivery drivers, ZipRecruiter makes hiring a seamless experience. You can use one of its free job description templates to help craft your job ad and post it on multiple job boards with one click of a button. Try it free today.
Step 1: Determine the Type of Delivery Driver You Need
Learning how to hire employees is necessary to running your small business. If you need delivery drivers to take your goods around town, you need someone you can rely on and trust to keep your vehicle safe and your goods secure—all while getting your customers the products they expect in a timely manner.
Depending on the type of business you operate, your delivery driver needs may vary. The most common types of delivery drivers are warehouse, moving company, route, and gig. If you run a grocery store, you may need warehouse drivers. If you run a restaurant, you may need a gig driver. Regardless of the specific type you need to hire, there are certain requirements and skills you want to look for. These might include
- A good driving record
- A valid and unrestricted driver’s license
- A general understanding of vehicle safety
- The ability to follow all traffic and road laws and regulations and assigned routes
- The ability to load, unload, and lift items up to 50 pounds safely
- Knowledge on how to accept payment from customers
- Knowledge on how to prepare reports relating to deliveries
- Attention to detail to review orders for accuracy
- Excellent customer service skills
Most delivery drivers won’t need specialized licenses, so a regular driver’s license should suffice. But you do want to ensure the person you hire has a clean and safe driving record—more on that later.
You can pay a delivery driver employee a salary or an hourly rate. The average salary for a delivery driver is just over $43,000, while for independent contractors it’s a tad north of $46,000. The more experience you need a driver to have, the more you’re going to have to pay. You may need to increase your budget in certain areas of the country too.
Compliance Tip: If your business is hiring a delivery driver in certain states, you may need to put your target salary range in your public job posting. Check your state laws to see if you need to comply. Also, ensure asking about a candidate’s past salary is allowed in your state.
Independent Contractor Delivery Drivers
When deciding on the type of employee to hire, you have options: full-time, part-time, seasonal, and even independent contractor. Depending on the needs of your business, an independent contractor may be the way to go.
For businesses with one-off delivery needs such as restaurants, you may consider paying an independent contractor delivery driver a flat rate per delivery. According to the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), a driver can only be classified as an independent contractor “if the payer has the right to control or direct only the result of the work and not what will be done and how it will be done.”
If you tell the driver when to work, how to get their job done, and what to do when making deliveries, they’re an employee. Classifying them as an independent contractor when they’re really an employee could lead to steep fines and penalties, plus back taxes and overtime pay.
So, keep in mind that an independent contractor has the freedom to choose when and how they work. The benefit to your company is that you don’t have to worry about the overhead of hiring a new employee. You still need to pay the person fairly and do your due diligence before engaging with them to make deliveries for your company, but you could save money by going this route. ZipRecruiter can help you find the right independent contractor to make your deliveries.
For more information on how hiring a delivery driver as a contractor vs an employee will differ, check out our guide on 1099 vs W2 workers.
Step 2: Write the Job Description & Post the Job Ad
Regardless of whether you are hiring an employee or partnering with an independent contractor, you need to write a clear job description and post your job ad to get applications. Your job ad should include the specific skills and experience you’re looking for and also include a brief discussion of what makes your company special:
- Benefits you offer
- Time off package
- Any other factors that distinguish you from competitors
When you post your job ad, expect candidates to apply the same day. The less experience you’re looking for, the more likely it is that you’ll get lots of applications quickly.
When you’re ready to post your job ad, consider our top-recommended job posting sites.
Step 3: Review Applicants & Conduct Interviews
Making a list of your must-haves is the best way to avoid getting overwhelmed. It’s possible that no candidate will match up perfectly to your job description, so making a list of half a dozen essential skills will help you narrow your list of qualified applicants down.
After you’ve reviewed your top candidates, call each to schedule an interview. You could email them, but only in addition to placing a call. It gives you a chance to gauge their excitement for the job and their communication skills, something very important for being a delivery driver.
It’s important to ask each job seeker the same questions so that you can evaluate them on similar grounds. Have a list of interview questions, but don’t be afraid to ask additional ones as the conversation progresses. Here are some key questions to ask:
- What do you do to ensure all orders are complete and delivered on time?
- If you have more than one delivery to make, how do you plan your route?
- How do you ensure items are loaded securely and arrive undamaged?
- Tell me about the biggest delivery mistake you made. How did you correct it?
- Tell me about a time when a customer was unhappy with your delivery. How did you handle it?
Each of these questions will provide you with insight into the person’s experience and how they handle difficult situations. Feel free to use real-life examples to see how they would react.
Check out our step-by-step guide on how to conduct a job interview for more in-depth help.
Step 4: Call References & Run a Background Check
The interview process will naturally eliminate some candidates. If one applicant hasn’t emerged as the best choice, try to keep this final stage to just two or three. This will make your decision easier and ensure you make the right choice without being overwhelmed.
Ask each candidate for at least three supervisory references and make sure you speak with at least two of them. Supervisors can shed light on the reality of each candidate’s skills and abilities as a delivery driver. A good reference check can also help you understand what it’s like to manage this person and alert you of any red flags.
You should also consider running a background check on the candidate you want to hire. While not always necessary, it’s good practice. You need to ensure the individual has a clean driving record and does not have any criminal convictions that may render them ineligible for the job. If you don’t do your due diligence and hire a person with a poor driving record who causes an accident, your company could be liable for negligent hiring.
Before running any background check, have the candidate sign an authorization form allowing you to run the background. The background check company you partner with will give you a template.
Compliance Tip: Check your state laws. Some states require that companies run background checks after a job offer has been accepted.
Step 5: Make an Offer
After you have completed all the steps and figured out which candidate to hire, it’s time to make an offer. Before writing up the formal offer letter, call the applicant. You can give them the good news over the phone and discuss any final details, like salary and start date, to ensure they are on board before doing more in-depth work.
When you do draft the offer letter, be sure to include the:
- Job title
- Start date
Also include the job description. Having the candidate sign off on their ability to handle the core duties of the job gives you an opportunity to hold them accountable if they fail to meet expectations.
Sending the offer letter can be done electronically and will speed up the process. Using online signature software, upload the letter and send it to the candidate for their review and signature. Give them at least a few days to send it back to you. Once you have the signed offer letter back, it’s time to begin your onboarding process.
Hiring a delivery driver can seem like an arduous process, but if you follow these steps and use the right resources, you can make the right hire. Consider using ZipRecruiter to post your job ad and help you field candidates, ultimately helping you hire the best delivery driver available.