UPS and FedEx: Which One Should Delivery Drivers Work For?


Whether you’re ready or not, the holidays are coming. They are still a few months away, but those months pass quickly. Although it likely varies from market to market, you shouldn’t be surprised to see a drop in rideshare business shortly after Thanksgiving. The college kids on the quarter system are buried in finals, and then it’s home for Christmas. For the rest, there are out-of-town visitors and the holiday traditions of cooking and decorating that keep people at home. Others hold on to their money for holiday gifts. 

Business doesn’t crater, but it tends to drop. You’ll notice it. Then again, some markets don’t drop off at all. 

If you are driving food delivery, you might be looking for something that pays a little more and has some stability during the holidays. You want a gig where you can earn some extra money. 

We have the answer. Both FedEx and UPS, the premier package carriers in the US, hire temporary drivers over the holidays. The pay is good, and you might have a few hours left for a gig driving job at the end of each day. 

Read on as we cover the following topics

What kinds of temporary driver jobs do UPS and FedEx offer?

First, these are not gig jobs. Both UPS and FedEx hire regular part-time and temporary driving positions during the holidays. It’s an hourly position, and you’re on the clock. UPS calls these employees  Personal Vehicle Drivers (PVDs). You use your own car, similar to an Amazon Flex driver, but as a PVD, or UPS delivery driver, you get reimbursed $0.56 cents per mile.  

At FedEx they also hire part-time seasonal drivers. They classify these FedEx delivery drivers in such a way that you don’t need special driving certifications, even though you are operating a company car.

What do UPS and FedEx pay?

According to a June 20, 2022, report by Glassdoor, the seasonal UPS delivery driver salary for a PVD starts at a base pay of $22 an hour. If you hustle and do a good job, you can move that needle to as much as $30 an hour. This is in addition to the $0.58 per mile mileage reimbursement. 

Another report by Glassdoor cites FedEx delivery driver jobs starting at a base pay of $18 an hour, with incentives that take you up to $21 an hour. These numbers may vary according to where you live. 

Both of these numbers are unchanged since the last time Gridwise reported on them in October 2021 in a blogpost titled Seasonal Delivery Jobs: Earn More with Fed-Ex and UPS. There is no indication whether the Great Resignation or other worker shortages will drive those wages up as we approach the holidays. 

Also, keep in mind that there is very little chance for tips in either of these positions. 

Requirements for UPS PVDs, both car and driver

For UPS there are requirements for you, and because you drive your personal car, there are requirements for your car, too. Let’s list car requirements first:

  • no logos or markings from any other company
  • no bumper stickers or political stickers
  • no offensive markings
  • no low rider suspensions and no oversized rims
  • proof of vehicle registration
  • proof of minimum state-required auto insurance 

In a series of YouTube videos by Bowhunting Soul (here and here), you learn that UPS also wants the car to look respectable. Bowhunting Soul mentions that they don’t want to see any large rust spots or body damage.  

As far as UPS delivery driver requirements, here are the typical requirements you will encounter for many package delivery driving jobs, both gig and regular employment:

  • ability to lift, lower, and carry packages up to 70 pounds 
  • 21 years of age or older 
  • valid driver’s license
  • no at-fault accidents or moving violations within 12 months 

For UPS you must also have the ability to work shifts lasting five and a half hours, Monday through Friday (some holiday and weekend work is possible). Bowhunting Soul says it is possible to work more than one shift a day. In some markets, drivers work as much as 60 hours a week if they want. 

Requirements for FedEx delivery drivers

FedEx delivery driver requirements are similar:

  • at least 21 years of age
  • ability to lift up to 75 pounds 
  • pass mandatory drug screening, background check, and medical examination 
  • ability to operate vehicle in all weather conditions  

FedEx also has a history of hiring convicted felons, but it is a case-by-case situation. Considerations include the type of crime, how long ago it was, and no criminal activity since then. 

Also remember that unlike UPS, FedEx drivers use only company vehicles.

How to apply for UPS or FedEx temporary driver positions

The application process is similar in both instances. Go on to the respective company websites, navigate to the jobs section, and fill in the blanks. Then watch for an email or text message. The need during the holidays is acute, so there is a good chance you will get a call if you take action soon enough. 

What about route navigation?

With both UPS and FedEx you will get a navigation app for your phone. Interestingly enough, both companies use proprietary navigation for their app. FedEx calls theirs Dynamic Route Optimization (DRO). The DRO app provides a route plan to show drivers the destination for each stop.  

UPS released new navigation for its app in 2020. The app is called On-Road Integration Optimization and Navigation (ORION). The new navigation is called Dynamic Optimization. It uses advanced algorithms, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. It is designed to increase the efficiency of the drivers, reduce miles driven, cut down on fuel consumption, and lower carbon emissions. One interesting feature is that the navigation is almost devoid of left turns. This cuts down on idling time (and fuel consumption) while waiting for oncoming traffic. It also enhances safety, as left-hand turns lead to more accidents. 

How the jobs work

For UPS PVDs, the drivers come in at about 10:00 or 10:30 a.m., after the regular full-time drivers have loaded their trucks and left. PVDs get their assigned route and then their packages. Bowhunting Soul describes the process as chaotic, and you have to flow with it. He did add that he generally worked in the same area each day, which allowed him to get familiar with the streets. 

Once you are out on the route, it is a detail-oriented job, making sure you get the packages to the right address. When you finish, you can return to the UPS distribution center to see if there are additional shifts available—or you can consider yourself done for the day. 

FedEx is more structured. They’ll assign you three eight-hour shifts a week maximum. 

Which company should you choose?

If you are looking to make as much money as possible during the holidays, UPS is your choice. Especially in regions with large suburban areas, you can rack up a good many hours. FedEx pays slightly less, but you’ll have a more predictable schedule.

Check out this comparison of the two companies on Indeed.  

Maximizing your package delivery gig

Whether you drive for FedEx or UPS, you always need to track your mileage. Gridwise’s free mileage tracker allows you to set it and forget it when you’re on the road. Make sure you’re maximizing that tax deduction!

Start tracking your miles with Gridwise

There may also be areas you’ll want to supplement with other discounts, particularly when it comes to gas and car help. This makes the benefits you get with Gridwise membership all the more important. Gridwise offers its users discounts on car maintenance, buying a new car/trading in your current one, and most importantly, gives users up to $50/month off with the Gridwise Gas program.

Download Gridwise for free to save on gas


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