6 Tips for Managing Your Time as a Driver
From route optimization to streamlining your delivery process, discover time management tips for delivery drivers.
Want our top time management tip? Circuit Route Planner optimizes your delivery stops, giving you the shortest and most efficient route possible.
You’ve got places to go and people to deliver to.
But there’s only so much time in the day!
And as a delivery driver, you know how important it is to manage your time wisely.
Research shows that nearly half of online shoppers (48 percent) normally get their packages within two to three days.
Of course, this affects delivery operations, as e-commerce businesses fight to stand out to online shoppers by offering faster and cheaper shipping options.
Bigger demand for faster shipping = more delivery driver jobs.
But the added pressure for faster delivery also trickles down to delivery drivers, who already have to deal with endless pickups and drop-offs each day.
So, how do you do what needs to get done, manage your schedule, meet your delivery deadlines, and master time management as a delivery driver?
Start with this guide. I give some key tips for time management as a delivery driver, whether you’re delivering packages, a food delivery driver, or a truck driver with a CDL.
Why time management is so important for delivery drivers
Your job as a delivery driver is very time-sensitive.
If you’re not careful with your time, you might miss delivery deadlines, which can piss off customers (risking your job and any potential tips!)).
In fact, 66 percent of Americans say they would stop ordering from a company or delivery app if their delivery was late!
Plus, the fewer packages you deliver on time, the less money you might make — affecting your takehome pay.
So, if you’re doing last-mile delivery, you understand how important time management is to streamline your delivery process.
It can also help you avoid feeling stressed and rushed, allowing you to stay safe on the road (the last thing you want to do is speed) and even enjoy your time behind the wheel (listened to anything good recently?).
6 time management tips for delivery drivers
As a delivery driver, you might think time isn’t on your side, but these tips can help you get more deliveries done, improve the customer experience, and have a better delivery experience.
Let’s jump in.
1. Use the best route planner to save an hour every day
Have you ever heard of route optimization software? If you haven’t, get ready to have your mind blown.
Let us introduce you to Circuit Route Planner, a route optimization software that can change how you do last-mile deliveries.
Circuit speeds up the delivery process by finding the shortest and best route possible based on your delivery stops — so you’re not having to backtrack because of road closures or rush-hour traffic.
You can also find addresses fast or use the hands-free option to add, delete, or re-optimize multiple stops while you’re on your route.
Circuit is a multidrop route planner — meaning you can easily add all your stops and let Circuit work its magic by automating your delivery routes for maximum efficiency.
Plan your routes with confidence and save an hour every day.
Set priority deliveries and time windows for stops you have to do at specific times to reduce the chance of backtracking and finish work early.
This means that you can save time on your deliveries — which can free up your schedule to make more deliveries or take on more orders!
Don’t take my word for it — check out this testimonial to hear a firsthand account.
Are you seeing dollar signs yet?
Plus, with Circuit Route Planner, you can give real-time delivery updates to customers.
When you drop off a package, Circuit will send the customer a text or email notification as proof of delivery.
Shopping around for the best route optimization app? Check out our in-depth guide to find out why Circuit stands out above the rest.
2. Effectively plan out your delivery schedule
The good news is that you don’t have to be Einstein to be a better delivery driver.
It all comes down to a realistic and well-planned delivery schedule.
It’s not about what you want to get done. It’s about what you can get done.
How do you figure out what you can get done?
Start by identifying how much time you have. Are you a delivery truck driver working an eight- or ten-hour workday?
Or are you a delivery driver working as an independent contractor, making your own hours and picking up scheduling blocks here and there?
Next, figure out the time it will take you to complete each stop on your route.
Now, we need to build in some contingencies. This is just a fancy way of saying, “expect the unexpected.”
Plan for some unexpected factors that could slow down your delivery process, like traffic, weather, and the number of stops on your route.
Next, schedule your tasks based on priority.
For example, you might have a priority package that has to be dropped off well before all your other packages. Or an Uber Eats order with hot food that can be dropped off before the order with salads.
Finally, like any good scientist, you need to analyze your results.
Is your delivery schedule realistic? Can you complete your deliveries on time? If not, what can you do to make it more realistic?
The big idea here is to make your delivery schedule a roadmap to reach your goals, not a roadblock that gets in the way.
You can also use tools and software to plan better delivery schedules.
For example, we’ve already shared how Circuit Route Planner comes up with optimized routes to help you save time as a delivery driver.
By taking the time to build a realistic delivery schedule, you can save time, make more money, and keep your customers happy.
3. Plan accurately to save on fuel costs
One of the most important and often overlooked aspects of time management for delivery drivers is fuel usage.
We don’t need to tell you that gas is expensive.
Planning how much fuel you’ll use can help you save time and money on your deliveries.
First, make sure you’re using the most efficient route possible. Good route planning software, like Circuit Route Planner, can help you figure out the fastest route for your deliveries.
Second, try not to make any unnecessary stops.
Every stop you make, even if it’s to grab a bite to eat, adds miles to your delivery — although we can’t really blame you if you’re stopping to take a piss.
You also want to make sure you’re not carrying more weight than necessary. The heavier your vehicle, the more fuel you’ll use.
Finally, keep to the speed limit — this is definitely not The Fast and Furious. Easing off the gas pedal can help you avoid unnecessary wear and tear on your vehicle.
4. Communicate with customers
The key to any relationship (both business and personal) is good communication.
Communication is especially important for delivery drivers who work as independent contractors.
As an independent contractor, you’re not just a driver — you’re also a business owner.
This means you must be proactive in communicating with your customers and building positive relationships.
- When you first accepted the delivery, what were the customer’s expectations?
- What time do they expect the delivery to arrive?
- Did they give any specific instructions (such as where to park or how to deliver the package)?
If you can’t meet the customer’s expectations, it’s important to communicate with them as soon as possible — otherwise, they might not be too happy.
Take, for instance, this chain of Reddit delivery drivers venting their (justified) frustrations.
One says, “Out of 248 stops yesterday, I was only unable to deliver 1. That’s the one that gets on here and complains.”
Let them know what’s happening, why it’s happening, and when they can expect you to complete the delivery — give them an estimated time of arrival (ETA) when possible.
The good news is that Circuit Route Planner allows you to send delivery notifications to customers through text and email, so they aren’t left guessing when you’re on your way.
5. Try to avoid traffic
You’ve told us it’s one of the most frustrating things you delivery drivers have to deal with.
Not only can it add hours to your delivery time and make it difficult to stick to your schedule — but it can impact your bottom line.
Translation: how much money you make!
While there’s no magic wand to wave and make traffic go away (we wish!), you can use a traffic app, like Waze, to identify any potential delays along your route.
You can also try to plan your route around rush hour — the times when traffic is worst.
If you’re using a route optimization mobile app like Circuit, make sure it uses your favorite GPS like Google Maps (which takes traffic into account).
This way, you have the perfect marriage of route optimization, updated turn-by-turn directions, and traffic updates.
6. Plan how you load and unload
Veteran delivery truck drivers know that one of the best ways to save time is to shorten loading and unloading times.
They’re fast. Have you ever seen a professional moving company pack a truck?
They don’t waste time. And they don’t waste space.
Part of the delivery driver job description is managing your delivery loads.
The goal is to get in and out as quickly as possible. And, of course, avoid breaking stuff, dropping the food, or any other job hazards. – that could cost you both time and money.
There are some things you can do to shorten your loading and unloading times.
First, make sure you pack and organize your vehicle properly. Circuit actually has a Fast Package Finder that tells you exactly where you’ve put your packages in your vehicle.
This means you aren’t scrambling to find the right package at the right stop or wasting time remembering where you put something.
Second, practice loading and unloading. With more experience, you’ll understand the best ways to grab and hold packages.
Finally, invest in some quality loading and unloading equipment. This can include things like a dolly or ramp to make it easier to move heavy items in and out of your truck.
You can find more ways to pack your truck and prevent shipping damage in our expert guide.
How Circuit Route Planner helps you deliver faster and easier
These are some of our top tips to help you manage your time and be more effective as a delivery driver:
- Save time with a route planner
- Plan your delivery schedule
- Saving big bucks on fuel costs
- Giving great customer communication
- Avoiding traffic
- Planning to load and unload
While some of them may seem obvious, others (like route planning and investing in quality loading and unloading equipment) can make a big difference in your efficiency.
At Circuit, you regularly tell us the challenges that you face in the last mile as delivery drivers, and we’re always looking for ways to help you save time and money. (It’s why we built our app!)
Our route optimization software makes it easy to add, delete, and re-optimize your routes — so you’re always on the most efficient route.
Bottom line: With Circuit, you can save time and make more money by delivering more efficiently than ever before.