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How to become a delivery driver: Earning extra

Looking for a career change or something you can do in your spare time? Then look at this guide on becoming a delivery driver, where to look and how much you can earn.

how to make money as a delivery driver
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Delivery jobs to consider:

  • Uber Eats
  • Hermes
  • Amazon
  • Royal Mail
  • Local takeaway
  • Just Eat
  • Yodel
  • Deliveroo

How to become a delivery driver

There are points in your life that make you reconsider everything you believe. One moment you know where you’re going, with everything mapped out, and then BAM, it all changes. That’s why I am always keen on looking for new ways to make money on the side.

2020 was an eye-opener for many that convinced us that perhaps everything isn’t quite as clear-cut as we once thought. Maybe our careers aren’t as secure or important as we believed.

It’s certainly true that we started to look at people working in supermarkets and as delivery drivers in a new light. We began to realise how important these roles were when we once took them for granted. In fact, the Coronavirus saw all kinds of people become delivery drivers, as their old roles were no longer required.

Supermarkets have seen an increase in online orders, and more and more of us rely on retail stores to send our orders, rather than us visiting the high street and takeaway food is in more demand than ever. That means there are plenty of opportunities for delivery drivers.

Do you need your own transport?

This depends on who you decide to work for. Major delivery companies such as DHL and Royal Mail will usually supply you with a vehicle. However, for most delivery jobs, you will need to have your own transport, whether it be a van, car, motorbike or bicycle.

Do delivery drivers need insurance?

When making deliveries for commercial purposes, you will need the correct insurance to do so.

If the company you work for provides you with a vehicle, you will usually be covered by their insurance. Otherwise, you will need to inform your insurer that you are involved in the ‘carriage of goods for hire and reward’. This will probably increase your premium, but it’s important to do so. If you fail to inform the insurance company, your policy will be void and you won’t be covered for any accidents or claims.


Also worth reading

Why not combine delivery work with one of these genuine work from home jobs?

Is there a minimum age to being a delivery driver?

This changes between companies. Some delivery jobs ask for a minimum age of 25, whilst others reduce this to as young as 18. You’ll often find that the companies who pay for your insurance look for older drivers as it lowers their costs.

There may be requirements that you hold a clean driving licence too, although some delivery companies may allow you to have as many as six points.

What are the benefits of being a delivery driver?

So, why would you consider becoming a delivery driver? Well, the work comes with quite a few benefits.

Flexibility

Many delivery jobs allow you to choose your own days or hours. That means that you can fit it around whatever work or studying you currently do, or around your family life.

The harder you work, the more you earn

Most delivery jobs pay you in relation to how much you deliver – the more you do, the better you earn. This can be quite refreshing if you’re motivated and willing to put in the extra effort.

Not having to rely on others

The majority of your work relies on you. Ok, so you have to deal with customers and staff from where you collect your delivery items, but that is only for a short period. The rest of the time is yours. This is great for people who enjoy driving, listening to music or the radio, and not being wound up by others!

Tips

Depending on who you work for and where you deliver to, you may receive tips. Of course, most parcel delivery staff never receive a penny from customers, but you may get a little something if you’re delivering food. And don’t expect richer people to be more generous with their tips – they’re often not!

Downsides to being a delivery driver

Of course, as with any job, there are downsides if you decide to make deliveries as a source of income.

Anti-social hours

This depends on the delivery job you decide to take, but most food delivery takes place in the evenings. That means you could work well into the night whilst most people are tucked in bed.

If you decide to deliver parcels, you usually have to collect the items early in the morning for delivery throughout the day, which means dawn starts.

Whichever you choose, although not impossible, you’ll find it difficult to find regular 9-5 working hours.

Extra costs

Don’t forget to factor in any extra costs you may incur. For example, if you use your own vehicle, you will probably have to pay for your own insurance costs. On top of that, you will need to pay for fuel and factor in your vehicle’s wear and tear costs.

Income not guaranteed

If you work for a major company like Royal Mail, you may be employed on a full-time contract and your income will not be a problem. However, more casual work will mean that your income is not guaranteed. You may find that at weekends the money comes pouring in, and you have too much work to handle, whilst other days of the week can be extremely quiet.

Seasons may also dictate how much work you receive. Christmas will see an increase in the need for delivery drivers, although this usually tails off over the following months.

Safety

Now, this isn’t a major issue, but still worth noting. Unfortunately, there are some places where you need to deliver which, shall we say, are less desirable than others. This is worth considering when you decide whether to take a delivery job. I remember seeing a programme about a Domino’s in Tottenham several years ago, which had trouble recruiting as so many of their drivers had been attacked.

As I say, this isn’t usually a problem. But always make sure that your employer knows where you are.

Where to start looking for delivery driver jobs

There are many possibilities out there if you want to become a delivery driver, it’s just a case of narrowing down the right options for you. Do you want to work extra to supplement your current income, or are you looking for full-time employment? Do you have a preference for delivering parcels or food?

Let’s look at some of the major delivery companies you can work for.

Royal Mail

One of the oldest companies, the Royal Mail was established in 1516. Although no longer part of the government, it is still one of the most respected organisations.

The Royal Mail offers a variety of careers, not just as a delivery driver or postie, but you can work in the sorting office, operations, facilities, engineering and many more. Working for RM means you also receive a pension and paid holidays.

The best thing is that your transport is provided, so you won’t have any added costs. However, you’ll find that the RM option is far less flexible compared to the other jobs on this list. And you’ll need to be a big fan of early morning starts.

Closer to Christmas, due to an increase in demand, you can also find lots of temporary jobs for short periods of around six weeks.

You can find out more about Royal Mail jobs here.

Hermes

A delivery company that doesn’t have the best reputation, but perhaps you can change that? In 2019, Hermes introduced a new scheme that allowed drivers to opt for an hourly wage, which also meant they qualified for holiday pay. The pay started at £8.50 per hour, although if you chose to stay on the self-employed terms, the pay (according to job sites like Indeed) could be as much as £16.40 per hour. But remember, this income isn’t guaranteed.

You will need your own vehicle to become a delivery driver for Hermes.

Take a look at jobs available at Hermes.

Amazon

It doesn’t seem that long ago since Amazon used other couriers to deliver parcels. But you’ve probably noticed they now have their own fleet of drivers, and sometimes, you can find more than one delivering to you in a day.

Being a delivery driver for Amazon is known as Amazon Flex. The estimated pay is between £13-£15 per hour. All you need to do is reserve your delivery block, make your deliveries using your phone and vehicle and then get paid.

Find out more about Amazon Flex.

Yodel

Another major player in the parcel delivery world. Yodel offers you the choice of becoming either an employed or self-employed driver.

If you choose self-employed, you will either need to use a 3.5-tonne van if you want to be a service partner or a car if you opt for being a courier. The main difference is the amount and weight you can carry. You are paid per parcel and delivery, with the hours being fairly flexible. Of course, you don’t receive any extra benefits.

Employed drivers are given a contract and will work a shift pattern – which can be 9-hour or 11-hour days. You are provided with a van and a uniform and will be paid a salary and also receive various employee benefits.

Take a look at Yodel jobs.

Uber Eats

Uber Eats has no minimum (or maximum) number of hours you have to work and the minimum age to get started is only 18. If you don’t have a car, you can also deliver by using a scooter or motorbike – and in some areas, just a bicycle.

It’s fairly easy to become a deliverer, you need to register, consent to a safety screening and upload your documents.

The advantage to working for Uber Eats is that it can take as little as 48 hours to receive your payment.

LondonBirmingham/ManchesterRest of UK
Pick-Up£1.40 £1.40£1.90
Mileage (per mile)£1.50 £1.50£1.50
Drop-off£1.10 £1.10£0.65
Minimum fee
before Uber service fee
£3.50 £3.50£4.00

So, let’s say you live in the ‘Rest of UK’ and make a delivery two miles from the restaurant. You will be paid £1.90 (pick-up), £0.65 for dropping off and £3.00 for mileage, earning you £5.55.

Uber does pay a minimum fee if your delivery address is far closer.

However, there is a service fee that you need to pay to Uber Eats, which depends on your vehicle and where you’re located. In the example above, if you were using a car, you would need to give 25% back to Uber (about £1.39).

LondonBirmingham/ManchesterRest of UK
Bicycle25% 30%30%
Motorbike20% 25%25%
Car25% 25%25%

Sign up for Uber Eats.

Just Eat

Another popular food delivery service, Just Eat, is similar to Uber Eats. However, you earn money through your delivery fee based on distance and driving time. Although the fees tend to be lower compared to Uber Eats, Just Eat doesn’t take a commission. That makes it far easier to calculate how much you earn.

You are paid once weekly, and the money goes straight into your bank account. According to job sites, Just Eat drivers typically earn around £12 per hour.

Since writing this article, it has been announced that Just Eat will offer contracts to employees. This means that staff will be entitled to minimum wage, as well as holiday, sick pay, pension contributions and other benefits such as maternity or paternity leave

Sign up to Just Eat.

Deliveroo

Yet another food delivery service. Deliveroo is aimed more towards cyclists and scooter riders, but you can also deliver if you have a car. If you decide to join, you also get some free kit:

Bicycles

  • Reflective jacket
  • Phone mount
  • Helmet
  • Small thermal bag
  • Insulated backpack

Scooters

  • Reflective jacket
  • Phone mount
  • Insulated backpack

Cars

  • Two thermal bags, one of which should be a minimum 36cm x 36cm x 43cm
  • Phone mount

Although you need the proper motor insurance, Deliveroo offers extra cover to protect you against accidents and injury.

How much you earn per delivery depends on the distance you need to travel. Deliveroo considers aspects such as the distance, traffic flows, diversions and hills when calculating every fee, which means you should be given a fair fee. You will be paid every Tuesday.

Depending on your location, Deliveroo drivers in the UK are paid £4 per delivery. And according to Deliveroo, you can make as much as £120 per day, but you will need to work a lot of hours to hit that target.

Apply for a job with Deliveroo.

Local takeaways

This is probably the most casual of all the delivery jobs. How much you earn depends on who you work for, but the pay can be as little as £1 per delivery. But plenty of companies are looking for drivers, so it’s worth asking in your local restaurants. Also, keep your eye on local Facebook groups, as people often advertise there when looking for drivers.

Which is the best delivery company to work for?

You can’t go wrong with the Royal Mail if you’re looking for a career with more variety and chances of progression. The other parcel companies can be quite demanding with the number of parcels you need to deliver within a day.

If the work you want is more casual, then the food delivery companies are all very similar. It may be worth joining all of them to see which offers the best pay in your local area.

FAQs

Are tips taxable?

Yes, they are. If you receive a cash tip from a customer, you need to declare this and pay tax. However, you do not need to pay National Insurance on tips.

How much do delivery drivers make?

According to Indeed, the average driver makes £9.14 per hour. But location and the company you work for can mean you earn more.

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