A Day in the Life of a FedEx Driver

fedex home delivery driverI have been a FedEx Home Delivery driver for a little more than three years. I am what is called a supplemental driver, meaning I work for a contractor who owns the vehicle I drive. I get paid by the day rather than the hour or by the stop, so no matter how long I work it is the same pay. Some days I get home around 5PM and some nights (around Christmas) it may be 10PM.

On my typical day at FedEx (Tuesday-Saturday) I get up at 4:30AM and get ready for work. I leave home shortly after 5 and gas up my van. When I get to the FedEx terminal around 5:45, I start scanning my packages and loading my van. I am one of the first drivers there on most mornings because I like to get the loading done and get dispatched as soon as possible.

-- See the average salaries for workers at Federal Express Corporation, FedEx Ground and FedEx Office.

My route is typically about 150-170 miles and a normal day has me doing 75-80 stops. The way my FedEx route is set up, I take pressure off of other routes by doing some of their stops. Thus my route changes slightly from day to day depending on where exactly I am running.

When I am dispatched I collect my overview maps and turn by turn directions as well as a manifest for my stops. I also get a spare scanner battery so if mine dies I won't have to return to the shop to get a new battery. When I get dispatched and on the road before 7:30AM, I am a happy camper.


Close encounters

As you may imagine, dogs are a big part of the delivery driver's day. Most are friendly -- though of course some are not. As I write this article I am recovering from a dog bite to my right leg and the dog is in quarantine with animal control.

The dog was some kind of collie and a little bit taller than knee-high to me. I was trying to deliver a package to the home right as it was getting dark. The dog was frantic and I could see he was scared of me as he ran and hid in the garage. While trying to ease the package to a spot near the garage but out of the path of any cars, the homeowner suddenly came out. As soon as he spoke to me, the dog attacked me and bit me three or four times in the same spot on my leg.

The homeowner was extremely nice about the situation and apologetic. I did not seek medical treatment but did call animal control at my boss's request so we could ascertain if the dog had rabies.

In my only previous serious dog attack, the homeowner thought it was funny and said the dog only ripped my pants and didn't bite me. I pointed out that a mystery of great proportions had taken place as I never saw pants bleed before. His German shepherd tried to bite me again on a later date but I avoided him.

I do get nipped from time to time by little ankle-biter dogs, Poodles can be a holy terror! But by and large, most dogs are barkers and not biters. Many even come up with a ball or a stick in their mouth, wanting to play. I carry dog treats to give to all the dogs on my route whether they are friendly or not.

One dog even protects the delivery drivers who come to his house. This has happened to me on several occasions and to at least one other driver that I know of. The dog is a big male German shepherd and there is a female coon dog of some sort there as well. The female wants to bite any visitors to the house. The big male escorts the driver to the porch and back to the truck. When the female moves in to bite, the big male rolls her over like a football block. He won't bite her but he knocks her down every time to protect the driver.

Dogs are not the only animals we contend with as delivery drivers. I have been chased by geese, roosters, goats and one bull who escaped his pasture. I have been hissed at by cats and wolf-whistled at by some sort of talking bird inside a house. I saw the pervert looking at me from inside his cage.


The good and the bad

What I enjoy about FedEx is meeting interesting people and learning about new places I have not seen in my home state. I have delivered to plenty of people who work in NASCAR as drivers or crew, and even to cousins of mine who I didn't know existed until then.

My pet peeves about being a delivery driver are people who don't put aggressive dogs in a pen and those who don't use address markings anywhere on their house. We always find the house, but lack of an address marking can cause a delay of a day sometimes. All in all, working as a delivery driver is a good job -- and I sure need the exercise that all the walking provides.

Next: Confessions of a Census Worker >>


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