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A Day in the Life of a UPS Driver Helper [Is It Worth It?]

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Key Takeaways

  • Assist UPS drivers with package delivery during peak seasons, especially holidays.
  • Main duties: load/unload packages, help with navigation, deliver packages, and customer interaction.
  • Seasonal position, usually between Thanksgiving and Christmas, to manage increased package volume.
  • Physical role requiring lifting, stamina, outdoors work; offers competitive hourly pay.

Becoming a UPS driver is a highly sought-after job opportunity. This is because it offers a stable position with decent play and plenty of benefits.

However, it’s a fairly competitive job that requires advanced driving skills and qualifications. Luckily, you can still deliver for the UPS without needing a CDL by working as a UPS driver helper.

If you’re interested in finding out more about this role, including roles, working conditions, and qualifications for the job, this guide will have you covered with everything you need to know.

What is a UPS Driver Helper?

As a driver helper, your job is to work alongside UPS personal vehicle drivers and assist them with the delivery of packages.

In most cases, UPS drivers work alone. However, the increased volume of packages puts immense pressure on the delivery network.

Driver helpers step up to meet this occasional demand by speeding up the delivery process and increasing its efficiency.

In other words, the driver helper role is typically a seasonal job and not a permanent one like a UPS driver.

The role is usually for the period between Thanksgiving and Christmas to handle the extra workload on drivers.

One thing you should know here is that driver helpers don’t operate the UPS truck, so they don’t need driving experience. Instead, the typical duties of a UPS driver helper include:

  • Loading, organizing, and unloading packages into the UPS vehicle for a more efficient and reliable delivery process
  • Assisting with the route navigation
  • Dealing with customers and keeping a record of the deliveries

Besides the main roles, UPS driver helpers can also be assigned additional roles from the upper management when necessary.

That’s why every listing for UPS driver helpers is a bit unique. For example, some listings would include a regular workday schedule with standard hours from Monday to Friday.

However, other listings might include specific work days with longer or shorter hours than usual.

Day-to-Day Responsibilities of a UPS Driver Helper

Understanding the roles and responsibilities of the UPS driver role is critical before applying to one. To help you with that, here’s an in-depth breakdown of the typical daily tasks and duties of a UPS driver helper:

1. Loading and Unloading Packages

One of the main responsibilities of a UPS driver helper is to manage the package loading and unloading process.

The helpers will carry the packages and load them into the UPS truck while keeping the truck organized for a seamless delivery process.

Some packages can be quite heavy, so having stamina and the ability to lift is necessary for that part.

2. Organizing and Sorting Packages

Helpers will also help organize and sort packages within the truck. This allows the driver to focus on navigating the route and improve the efficiency of the delivery process.

This part of the job involves various logistical aspects, such as scanning packages, checking addresses, and ensuring they’re in the correct order for the driver’s route

3. Route Navigation and Assistance

While the driver remains the one responsible for navigating the route, UPS driver helpers can also assist with this role.

This includes checking the most reliable routes to avoid traffic and locating the delivery addresses.

The job might also include small assistive maintenance tasks like assisting the driver while changing tires or checking oil levels.

4. Handling and Delivering Packages to Customers

During peak times, it’s the helper’s responsibility to take the right package and deliver it to the customers.

Since the job involves greeting customers, delivering packages, and collecting signatures, helpers need to have basic communication and customer service skills.

How Much Do UPS Personal Vehicle Drivers Make?

Since driver helpers play a crucial role in keeping the holiday season running smoothly for UPS, it’s no surprise that they’re compensated properly.

According to a report by Indeed, the average driver helper at UPS makes around $19.23 per hour, which is around 23% higher than the national average.

Yet, in some locations where demand is higher, the hourly wage can go as high as $29.10. On the other hand, the average UPS driver makes around $23.22 per hour.

UPS offers a lot of benefits to its full-time employees, such as health insurance, paid time off, performance bonuses, retirement plans, and much more.

However, these benefits are rarely provided to UPS Driver Helpers because of the seasonality of the job.

All in all, being a UPS driver helper is a nice gig for anyone trying to make a bit of extra cash for a few months around the holiday season.

That being said, the biggest challenge about the job is the harsh weather conditions, which heavily depend on where you live.

Brett’s Take: Thoughts From an Expert

Working as a UPS driver helper, especially during the holiday season, offers a creative side hustle. It’s a role that suits those looking for seasonal work, offering a chance to earn extra money and gain professional experience.

The work can involve long hours, often extending into the evening, but it provides an opportunity to rack up significant hours, especially during the peak season.

While it pays well, the position can be intense and hectic, with a heavy load of packages to deliver each day. You need to be prepared for the physical aspect of the job, as well as the unpredictable nature of the daily schedules.

Additionally, the pay, while reasonable for seasonal work, may not be sustainable as a long-term career option unless you’re considering moving up within the company.

In summary, being a UPS driver helper is a valuable opportunity for those looking for short-term, seasonal employment. It suits individuals who can handle physical work and are looking for a fast-paced environment.

Requirements and Qualifications To Become a UPS Driver Helper

If you’re interested in becoming a UPS driver helper, you’ll need to meet a set of requirements and qualifications.

Luckily, the job’s requirements aren’t as advanced as the requirements to become a driver. For example, unlike UPS drivers, helpers don’t need to have a driver’s license.

Here’s a quick look at the set of prerequisites you need to meet to become a UPS driver helper:

1. Personal and Physical Requirements

  • Having enough strength to lift and transport packages up to 70 lbs several times a day.
  • Good sense of time management and organizational skills for efficient truck loading.
  • Being agile enough to climb in and out of the delivery vehicle throughout the day.
  • The job also involves plenty of hauling and working in different weather conditions. As such, you need to have enough endurance for outdoor work.
  • You’ll need to be flexible with your schedule. This is because the work hours are long and vary from one listing to another. But more about that in the following sections.
  • Since helpers work alongside drivers, they need to have excellent collaboration skills and enjoy teamwork.

2. Educational Requirements

  • Although not typically stated in job listings, you need to at least have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
  • A basic understanding of tablets and scanning equipment is preferred but not always necessary.

3. Certification Requirements

The best part about the UPS driver helper job is that it doesn’t require any special licenses or certifications to apply. However, having a driver’s license can still increase your chances of landing the job.

Keep in mind that UPS will typically require a drug screening test and a background check before employment.

UPS Driver Helper Training and Orientation

New UPS driver helpers will go through a brief onboarding to prepare them for the necessary tasks of the job. Here’s how this orientation process goes:

  1. The orientation typically starts with a brief overview of the company, followed by a breakdown of the job’s roles.
  2. You then learn about the necessary equipment for the job, including the UPS uniform, reflective vest, scanners, etc.
  3. UPS driver helpers will also receive some basic training on proper package handling. This includes loading, sorting, scanning, and checking before delivery.
  4. The training also includes basic customer service skills to handle dealing with customers.
  5. Helpers will also receive brief on-the-job training as they accompany a driver who will provide them with practical experience for the job.
  6. Since UPS driver helpers also handle route navigation, it’s typically included in the training. This part usually involves reading maps properly, using GPS systems, and UPS address formats for setting up optimal routes.

The orientation phase will also include essential safety training. This one is essential to prepare helpers for carrying heavy packages properly.

It also includes proper techniques to handle hazardous materials and the importance of safety gear, such as safety boots and reflective vests.

UPS Driver Helper Working Hours and Conditions

As previously established, the UPS driver helper job is quite dynamic. For that reason, the working conditions can vary significantly depending on several aspects.

Depending on the job requirements, driver helpers can work in various schedules, including:

  • Full-time hours: These include working 40 hours a week, with shifts starting early in the morning and lasting until late afternoon. (full-time hours are not the same as a full-time job, as the job is still seasonal)
  • Part-time hours: This one involves a more flexible work schedule where helpers work fewer hours or fewer days per week.

In both cases, the job is typically seasonal, with most listings appearing between October to December to meet the higher demand for package deliveries.

UPS driver helpers spend a significant portion of their time outdoors, navigating all weather conditions. This includes working under pouring rain and freezing temperatures, scorching sun, and everything in between.

The tight schedule also means that the work pace is quite high, also a driver helper gets to rest while driving long distances since driving is not their responsibility.

The Experience of Being a UPS Driver Helper

Despite its perks, being a UPS driver helper isn’t for everyone. The job is physically demanding and fast-paced, as you’re always doing something.

This includes navigating maps, preparing packages, lifting and hauling, delivering to clients, scanning codes, etc.

That being said, many UPS driver helpers find the job pretty rewarding, especially when you consider the benefits. This includes the nice compensation package and the experience they get.

The job also qualifies them to apply and become full-time UPS drivers after obtaining a Commercial Driver’s License.

How to Apply for a Driver Helper Position at UPS

screenshot of UPS driver helper jobs on the UPS website

If you find the conditions and requirements of being a UPS driver helper suitable for you, this section will show you how to apply for that role.

First, you’ll need to search for driver helper openings. The best place to find UPS driver helper jobs is at jobs-ups.com.

You can also find similar listings on popular job boards, but I recommend sticking to the official website.

Keep in mind that driver helper job openings are subject to demand, so they can pop up at any time. The best way to never miss one is to sign up for alerts on the UPS website.

Always read the suitable listings carefully and make sure that you’ve covered all the eligibility requirements and necessary skills before applying.

If your application is accepted, you’ll attend an interview. A good tip here is to familiarize yourself with the duties of UPS driver helpers. Having experience in delivery and outdoor work also helps significantly.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the Role of a UPS Driver Helper?

A UPS driver helper is exactly what the job title implies. They’re responsible for helping UPS drivers while delivering packages, especially during rush seasons and holidays.

What Boots Do UPS Drivers Wear?

There’s no strict boot brand or model that UPS drivers wear. However, the driver’s footwear has to meet the UPS standards of appearance and safety.

For example, the boosts must have non-slip soles and a sturdy upper for protection. They should be made from a polishable material like leather.

As for the color, they can be either black or darker shades of brown.

What Skills Do You Need to Be a UPS Delivery Helper?

The most important aspect of the job is to have the necessary endurance and physical fitness to carry and deliver heavier packages.

UPS typically prefers candidates with good communication and teamwork skills for the job, with bonus points for good organization.

Wrapping Up

There you have it. A brief guide that walks you through everything you should know before applying for the role of UPS driver helper.

Despite being a temporary role, being a UPS driver helper is a unique and highly rewarding job if you don’t mind the physical demands and outdoor conditions.

It’s also an excellent entry-level position if you want to gain experience in logistics and package delivery.

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