How To Become A UPS Driver
UPS drivers are very hard positions to attain, but obviously it’s possible.
As far as jobs without college experience go, it doesn’t get any better than high pay, award-winning benefits, and full pension. Not to mention you are guaranteed to have all major holidays and weekends off.
If you’re wondering what the allure is of driving a big truck and wearing brown shorts, read this first.
If you’re still interested, here is my guide on how to become a UPS driver.
Is A Driver Job Right For Me?
Before you decide to pursue your goal of becoming a UPS driver, you must decide if the job is right for you. You don’t want to waste your time if you don’t meet the demands of the position. To do this, just ask yourself these questions.
Are you OK with working fifty-plus hour weeks?
Are you a physical person with the ability to work through rigorous conditions?
Are you mentally strong enough to learn entire routes and react quickly in sticky situations?
Are you willing to travel in any weather conditions?
Watch this video to get a small preview of what the job will entail.
In order to become a UPS driver, you must be physically fit enough to lift up to 150 pounds (or at least maneuver it), stand for long periods of time, lift and lower objects throughout the day, drive a vehicle for hours on end, and pass a DOT physical.
It is also important to note that you have to be able to drive a manual transmission and pass a UPS driving test (no special license needed).
If you like to drink a lot or use drugs, you should probably look elsewhere for a career. I mean, c’mon, they drive for a living. If you are caught under the influence of alcohol or test positive for a drug, needless to say, your UPS career will be over.
You are given a drug test during your DOT physical when becoming a UPS driver, but not during your hire as a part-time employee.
In order to meet the requirements of a UPS driver, you must fill these appearance requirements: no visible tattoos on arms/legs/neck/face/etc., must have short hair, no facial hair (except mustaches), overall neat and clean appearance.
So cut your long hippie hair and shave the beard.
How To Become A UPS Driver
There are a few ways you can go about becoming a UPS driver. Before we get into how to become a ups driver, let’s quickly discuss how the hiring process for drivers works.
The UPS Driver Hiring Process
Each UPS center has ‘x’ amount of drivers. When one of these drivers is fired, quits, or retires, a spot opens up. UPS then releases a bid sheet for all employees in that current center to bid on the job. Each employee that wants the job signs the sheet, and the one with the most seniority gets the position.
If no one in that UPS center signs the bid for the job, they will hire someone off the street to fill the driver vacancy. You can probably get a clear view now why it is extremely rare to get hired off the street for these positions. Most UPS employees are there with hopes on getting hired to drive eventually.
The Three Ways To Become A UPS Driver
With that in mind, let’s look into more realistic strategies on how to come a UPS driver. The first two examples are long shots, but I have seen people land full-time driver positions in this manner before.
If you are not already employed with UPS, you can go to the UPS hiring website and search for available driving jobs. This is a long shot, though. UPS hires very few drivers off the street. If you get hired this way, more power to you, but it’s extremely unlikely.
If this is the route you want to take, go to Indeed.com and sign up for a free account. Set up job alerts and apply quickly once a spot opens up in your area. Indeed is the best way to ensure that you catch each UPS job posting, as they comb through all of the job websites online.
UPS Seasonal Driver Jobs
A great way to get your foot in the door as a driver quickly is to apply to be a seasonal driver. UPS hires seasonal drivers about two times a year: just before summer and just before Thanksgiving. Check for summer listings in April/May and Holiday listings in October on Indeed.com. Refer to the example above to get alerts sent to you for free when these spots open up.
Once you are hired as a seasonal driver, make sure to do everything to earn a good review from fellow employees. This is vital if you plan on getting a permanent position within the company. Always be on time and work hard; try to impress. If the timing is right, once in a while they will ask a seasonal driver to stay on permanently.
Work Your Way Up
This is the way that UPS intends for their drivers to get their positions. The idea is that you start off with an entry-level position loading trucks or unloading trailers, and work your way up to a driver position. This method will work but it will take years, depending on the specific UPS center that you are working for.
After you landed your UPS job, whether it be pre-load or the twilight shift, now comes the hard part. Waiting.
Depending on the current needs of your center, positions will open up for other opportunities and bids are signed to gain these positions. Whoever has the most seniority will win the bid. If you want to be a driver, look for positions like Cover Driver (vacation driver) or Air Driver. These are positions where you will be driving, just not full-time. If you win a bid, they will give you a simple road test, get you a DOT physical, send you to UPS driving school, and have you ready to wear brown.
Once you gain one of these positions, you will be filling in from time to time driving routes for sick drivers or drivers who are on vacation. You will gain more hours and receive the high starting wage of a full-time driver. Air Drivers run Next Day Air packages on Saturdays and do random air runs in the morning and afternoons. Cover Drivers do the same, plus filling in for other drivers when necessary. This is a great way to gain responsibility and earn praise from management.
The ultimate goal, of course, is to land a full-time driving gig. To do this, you have to wait until a current driver is fired or retires and then a bid sheet will be released for the position. The employee with the most experience who signs a bid for the job will get it.
It takes years of work or a lot of luck to land a full-time driving position at UPS, but it is definitely worth it if you can make it happen.