So, continue on from part 1 of “An Exciting Well Paid Day in my Life of a 3.5 Tonne Parcel Delivery Driver” here is part 2…
You might feel lonely being a parcel delivery driver. And yet you’ll meet people all the time.
Obviously delivering parcels to them but yet it will still feel lonely because you only get a fleeting moment with each person and never make any meaningful connections.
Which if you’re fine with, then great, it’s not a dating service after all, but I’ve spoken with a number of people who don’t like the coldness of the job, they always feel rushed, needing to get from one delivery to the next.
I’m fine with it myself, I’ve no desire to get to know the people I’m delivering to, but at the same time I am able to make meaningful conversation in the fleeting moments I meet them, maybe that’s just me, I can always find something to talk about, even if it’s for 30 seconds and we’ve never met.
But working for this particular company it is certainly a rushed feeling throughout the day. A great example of some deliveries I did the other day that shows this is this, read it in an ever increasing tempo……..
I delivered to a customer, they started talking to me about the last time I delivered something to them and how it wasn’t quite the right size or colour.
A voice in the back of my head reminding me that my next delivery was down that narrow road with no parking spaces that I’ll end up getting beeped out for simply stopping for 60 seconds to deliver a parcel to.
And when I get there it will turn out to be the house of the person who just beeped at me, who will then look at me sheepishly as if to say, well, if it wasn’t my house you’d delivered to I would’ve been in the right beeping my horn at you for stopping in the road for all of these amazingly long 60 seconds.
Just as the beeping stops, I turn around to see Tiddles being chased by Butch, who in turn is being chased by the old lady I delivered to last week who then asks in her most frantic voice if I could stop Butch from chasing her precious Tiddles before the poor thing has a heart attack.
Again all whilst the voice in the back of my head keeps saying that I’ve still got to deliver to that amazingly well thought out town centre with no parking for deliveries and park on double yellow lines whilst trying to dodge the parking attendant, yet again.
Then once I’ve dodged the parking attendant and finished delivering to the 5-6 shops before the local double decker bus arrives and starts beeping their horns at me as they can’t get past my van, I quickly jump back into the van and scrape my shin on the door and reopen the scratches that Butch lovingly gave me whilst trying to save Tiddles from him start to throbbingly bleed again.
I drive off whilst making eye contact with the parking attendant who has just come around the corner and realised I was parked on double yellow lines but they didn’t catch me and I smile to yourself and move on to the next delivery realising that any small victory is still a victory, oh and then I remember to breath.
That was a funny few deliveries that day, frantic, hectic, stressful, frustrating, funny, hilarious, tiring and energising all rolled into one.
I drove off after all that and just said to myself, this job is fucking awesome.
I love it when it’s like that. It’s a real challenge and every day I overcome it and feel like I’ve accomplished something.
Until you’ve experienced it, reading about delivery driving doesn’t give it justice.
It can, of course, be simple and easy, almost boring at times if you like.
I get deliveries where it goes smoothly. No traffic or parking issues. No cats or dogs to catch/save. No people to listen to moan about the clothing they’ve ordered not fitting or the chair they ordered being the wrong colour.
Just an easy house to find, with a small parcel to deliver and get signed for, then move on to the next one and the next one.
That’s when you can really find out if you’re cut out to be a delivery driver. If you can tolerate doing the same thing day in day out, hour after hour.
Sure the traffic can be different, the people can be different, of course being British even the weather can be different.
But some days are just…. the same.
You deliver to the same houses, the same people, you don’t say anything apart from “Hello, I have a parcel for you”. “Sign here please” and “Thankyou”. Do that 100 times and then you’re back to the depo again.
Those are the days when you realise how much you actually enjoy the harder days.
The harder days when for no reason things go wrong in the depot and a 60-minute parcel sorting session turns into a 120 minute one.
The harder days when you have to really use your local knowledge of your route, some intuition and hope for some luck because it’s so busy with parcels that anyone else would take 12hrs to do what you’re about to attempt to do in 8hrs.
The harder days when you use your organisational skills to load your van evenly and safely so as to not overload one side or cause any damages to customer’s goods because they’ve wrapped something in tissue paper and also despite being delayed in the depo for an extra hour and knowing you have to be at the furthest point of your route away from the depot within the next 20 minutes.
The harder days when you rely for the 10th time on seemingly not so common courtesy and patience whilst stuck in a traffic jam knowing you’re the only one who has to be 1.5 miles away in 5 minutes and could nip down that road over there, but a few people have decided to ignore the yellow boxes on the road in front of it and that’s the main reason the for traffic jam on your side of the fucking road.
The harder days when someone decides to send a parcel to their friend on a quiet easy to park on road with over 150 houses on but forgets to put the house number on it. And when you take the parcel back to the depot because you weren’t you know, psychic. You find out that the parcel had to be delivered that day as it was a birthday present and the person now wants it delivered to their workplace the next day….. which turns out to be in the town centre you had hoped you weren’t going to tomorrow because it was a market stall day and the parking would be even more non-existent than on any other day of the month!
Those are the days I enjoy the most. Those are the days I get home, cream crackered, but happy that I’ve overcome another day. Another day I can learn from, gain experience from and ultimately get better at my job from and that’s surely what a job you enjoy is all about?
Once I’m done for the day, I head back to the depot and unload any parcels that I’ve collected from customers and/or give back any parcels I didn’t deliver that day.
Most evenings this process takes about 30 minutes, sometimes it takes an hour, it all depends on how many other drivers are back at the same time as me and on the volume of parcels we all have.
Either way, I’m generally back home before 6 pm now.
I know that it’s still an 11hr day most days, but I’m happy with those hours, I average around £15-£18 per hour and am set for around £30k for the year.
I’ve got to take out taxes from that, but being self-employed I can claim various expenses which will reduce that, so I’m more than happy with it.
Like I’ve said, for a parcel delivery driver, it’s very good money. Sure the hours are long, but then I get rewarded for it. Without a doubt, I don’t see myself working for this company for more than a few years at the most, simply because I want a life.
Once I’m home by 6 pm. I normally go and do a quick weightlifting/exercise session. Which for the last 2 months has literally been a few high rep sets of either pushups, chin ups or squats. All with a small amount of weight on or nothing at all.
I just haven’t had the motivation in me to lift anything heavy lately. But now that I’m really getting into the job it’s time to push on and get back to lifting some heavy shit again.
Rest of my evenings are spent preparing the next day’s food (e.g my breakfast) and my dinner and then relaxing/spending time at a friends etc for whatever time I have left before it’s time to hit the sack again.
I say that I want a life and by this, I mean that a normal week is 5 days, but the company wants us drivers to do as many weekends as possible. Because people still want parcels delivering at weekend after all!
Obviously, the drivers don’t want to work weekends if they can help it. It’s a long 5 day week anyway without adding on the 6th day.
I’ve been doing every other Saturday to begin with, mainly because I wanted the money but also because I wanted to get to know my route as quickly as possible.
But now that I’m 3 months into the job I’m going to start only offering to do one in 3 weekends because it’s just too much and I don’t have the time to enjoy things I want to outside of the job.
Since starting this job I’ve averaged 5.6 days a week and 10.8 hrs a day over that 3 month period and 60hr weeks are more than I already want to do, but I’ve kept doing them because of the money.
I’m hoping that by the end of the next 3 months I will have got that daily and hourly average down. Not because I’ll have been working less, but because I should have got to know my route that much better and also got better at the job.
Once the next 3 month period is over I’ll have a good idea what the job is really like and then I’ll make a decision based on that whether it’s something I could do for years on end.
I’m pretty sure I’ll stay for the manic Christmas period, if not just for the simple fact of the increased money earning, but also because I’m just really interested to know what it’s like in a courier company at the busiest time of the year.
I’m kind of scared to find out as I know that my route will most likely be back to what it was like at the beginning. That being 12-13hr days 6 days a week.
Hey ho. It is what it is. The good thing is that I always have a choice.
If I’m not enjoying it, I’ll find another job. There are plenty of other delivery driving jobs out there, and I know I could find one with fewer hours, I’d just have to accept the lesser wage
I’ve got my truck license to fall back on, but I’m reluctant to go into trucking as I found it hard finding a job with no experience that wasn’t nights away from home or stuck in truck stops for hours on end.
I know I have to gain experience somehow, but I don’t want it to be at the expense of home life, that’s always the first choice for me. Home life or more money with a certain job.
I’ll take the home life every time.
Although I am sacrificing home life now with this jobs hours. But at least I’m home every evening!
I really enjoy the hustle and bustle of parcel delivery driving, and think I’d be bored with truck driving for hours on end on motorways, stuck in truck stops for hours, or away from home overnight etc.
I’ve talked myself out of truck driving right there haven’t I? Pah!
Right, I’m done, that was an epic 2 parter.
Until next time…