This is the most common question we get at TDS. Our original guide was first published in 2012 and a decade in we wanted to provide an in-depth update on what you can expect to make driving for UPS. This includes payroll data from Teamsters, ADP, Indeed, Glassdoor, Payscale.com and driver surveys.
A career as a UPS driver can be lucrative and rewarding. But the exact UPS driver pay depends on what type of vehicle you operate. Long-haul trucking “OTR” driving pays more than driving local package delivery “brown trucks.” But both career paths pay well and have great benefits packages.
Let’s break down the details…
UPS Truck Driver Salary Info
UPS Delivery Driver Pay (Local “Brown Trucks”)
Let’s start with those familiar brown trucks you see around town.
The brown trucks you see are referred to as “package cars.”
Currently, the starting salary for a UPS package car driver is $18.75 an hour.
At 12 months, that rises to $19.50 an hour. At 24 months, it increases to $21 an hour. At 36 months, it jumps to $25 an hour. The average top rate is $37.06 an hour.
These local drivers earn, on average, roughly $23.82 an hour.
That isn’t bad at all—but there is great news. The Package Division at the Teamsters labor union has reached a tentative agreement with UPS that could see a major jump in full-time package car driver wages.
Assuming the agreement goes into effect as planned on August 1st, 2022, UPS salaries for local delivery “brown truck” drivers will increase as follows:
$21/hour starting salary
$23/hour at 12 months
$24/hour at 24 months
$28.75/hour at 36 months
$40.51/hour average top rate
Let’s say you are making $21 an hour starting out as a UPS “brown truck” driver, and you are driving 40 hours a week. Over the course of a year, you would earn $43,680. That is a pretty sweet starting salary!
Now imagine you stay with UPS for long enough to become one of their top-earning package car drivers. If you are earning $40.51/hour and working 40 hours a week, your annual salary would be $84,260.
As the Teamsters point out, this doesn’t even include the “excellent benefits UPS workers receive.”
We’ll get back to those momentarily. First, let’s take a look at what you could earn driving freight OTR for UPS.
UPS Freight OTR Pay
Now that you know what you could earn driving a “brown truck,” let’s talk about how you can earn even more driving for UPS.
If you are up for long-haul driving, you could earn competitive wages as a UPS OTR freight driver.
Once again, the company has its own terminology for referring to OTR trucks. It calls them “feeder vehicles.”
Indeed.com lists high salaries for UPS feeder vehicle drivers.
According to the site, the average UPS OTR driver salary is $72,945 per year. Glassdoor has this slightly lower at $68,342. Our average for 8 data points is $70,132.
At the low end, drivers are making around $24,000 per year. At the high end, they are making around $148,000 per year.
How much you earn will depend on how long you have been driving for UPS as well as where you are located. Another way to make more money driving OTR for UPS is to haul doubles or triples.
UPS freight drivers enjoy great quality of life, and praise not only their high salaries, but also their consistent routes.
And once again, UPS offers excellent benefits to feeder truck drivers, just as they do “brown truck” drivers.
According to the company, this is 34% higher than the national average for most OTR drivers. Our research shows that is slightly inaccurate as our industry average for 2021 is $59,158. However, for new drivers, this would be a big bump to their 1st-year earnings versus the starting pay for most OTR trucking companies.
What States Pay The Best For UPS Drivers?
You might be wondering what the geographical breakdown is for UPS driver salaries.
For that information, we can turn to ZipRecruiter. For “UPS truck drivers,” the site lists a national average salary of $56,146 per year, with a low end of $20,000 per year and a high end of $80,500 per year.
It is unclear how much of this data refers to local drivers vs. OTR drivers, but we expect it is a combination of both.
The highest paying state at $62,505 per year is Washington State for a delivery driver. The lowest paying state at $40,675 per year is North Carolina.
Here is the full table of data for the top 10 highest paying states for UPS truck drivers:
As you can see, most of these states are located either on the East or West Coast. The only ones in the middle of the country are Nebraska and Oklahoma.
The lowest paying states for a delivery driver after North Carolina include Missouri, Illinois, Mississippi, Michigan, Arkansas, Kentucky, Florida, New Mexico and Iowa.
You might also be wondering about the top 10 highest paying cities for UPS truck drivers.
San Francisco, CA
Santa Clara, CA
Not surprisingly, most of the highest paying cities for UPS truck drivers are located in California. The remainder are in Connecticut, Alaska and Washington State.
Keep in mind that these are expensive cities to live in. So, while you can earn more, you also may have a higher cost of living.
Benefits Offered at UPS
Now that we’ve gone over detailed delivery driver pay information, let’s talk about benefits with United Parcel Service.
Indeed.com lists the following benefits for UPS feeder drivers:
Paid toll fees
Paid time off
Each of these can add significantly to the money you can make as a UPS driver.
Employees post satisfied reviews and high ratings for the benefits and bonuses offered by UPS. Some benefits increase the longer you are with the company, most notably paid time off (PTO) and opportunities to earn extra money.
UPS Driver Requirements
Here are the basic requirements you need to meet to be a UPS driver:
Be age 21 or older.
Pass a drug screening and criminal background check.
Hold a valid driver’s license.
Be able to speak and write in English.
Be able to lift packages up to 70 pounds.
Maintain a clean driving record.
You will need to have the stamina to drive for 8 hours or more daily. If you become a freight driver, you will be away from home for 3-5 days at a time.
Something to note about applying for UPS driving jobs is that there is a catch. With such competitive salaries and benefits, most UPS drivers do not leave the company until they retire. Not only that, but UPS has a strong tendency to promote from within its own ranks.
That means that when UPS hires drivers from outside the company, those openings are very competitive. In fact, even if you already work for UPS and are trying to get promoted into a driver position, you will be up against a lot of strong applicants.
So, it is essential you go in with as competitive a resume as you can possibly have.
Do You Need a CDL to Drive for UPS?
You can apply to work as a “brown truck” driver at UPS without a CDL. But if you want a chance at a higher-paying OTR feeder vehicle job, yes, a CDL is a requirement.
If you do not yet have your CDL, check out our CDL Training 101 guide to learn the requirements to get a CDL. In that post, we also recommend some top CDL schools.
Additionally, you are going to need to get a Haz-Mat endorsement before you apply for the OTR division at UPS.
How Do You Become a UPS Driver?
The first step to becoming a UPS driver is to get your CDL and meet all other requirements.
Then, you have two options:
1-Apply directly for a job as a United Parcel Service brown truck or OTR driver.
2-Apply for an entry-level job at the company, and work your way up through the ranks. For example, you could start out as a package handler, and then later apply for a driving job when a vacancy appears.
It will take time to climb the ranks at UPS. But believe it or not, it could be a faster way to get into driving a feeder vehicle or brown truck at the company. United Parcel Service offers many different related jobs such as driver helper, freight packer, etc..
Once you have a job driving at UPS, however, you may be able to do it until retirement. That type of job security is hard to come by elsewhere these days.