About UPS Drivers

Written by john hewitt
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About UPS Drivers
(zyphbear, Flickr)

UPS (United Parcel Service) truck and van drivers are well compensated and enjoy strong job security relative to many other transportation jobs. UPS hires drivers with both commercial and non-commercial driver's licenses, although those who can drive the larger trucks will generally be better compensated and have more chances to make their way up the job ladder.

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Significance

UPS drivers often start off as package handlers at a local distribution centre before moving up to being able to drive the trucks. However, another way that many drivers end up working for UPS is by starting off through seasonal work. UPS hires many temporary drivers during the holiday season, when package traffic greatly increases. The denser the population, the more drivers that UPS needs in the area. There is less job competition for driver positions in more rural areas, however.

Function

One of the best aspects of driving commercially for UPS is that the distances involved are far less than most trucking jobs. It is possible to commute from home every day for most UPS drivers. Most UPS drivers are salaried but eligible for overtime during times of high volume and receive very generous benefits packages. UPS drivers also earn substantial pensions after retirement if they have worked with the company for a certain number of years.

Features

UPS drivers must complete an educational program at the UPS Service Provider Training School before being considered for a permanent position. Many applicants enrol in the training program, which lasts six days, through a part-time position at UPS. The applicant needs to then pass a set of driving tests and written exams. A probationary period of three months follows, and if the driver manages to get through it without accidents or other performance issues, they'll be considered for a permanent position.

Considerations

The UPS delivery truck is called the "package truck." Drivers need to become very familiar with unloading this particular vehicle, using the on-board global positioning device, using the electronic clipboard to monitor the packages and dealing with customers courteously and efficiently. It's a challenging job that requires knowledge, driving skill, responsibility and social skills.

Benefits

UPS drivers are unionised, enjoy health benefits, substantial salaries and pensions. They need to work very hard, are subject to constant semi-automated performance review, must meet zero-tolerance standards of personal behaviour and have to maintain a good level of physical fitness while lifting thousands of pounds of boxes every day. UPS drivers must also adhere closely to corporate policies that determine everything from their driving technique to precisely how many seconds they are allocated to locate and deliver a package.

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