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Independent Delivery Contractor: Job Description, Income and Salary, and How To Become

Are you looking for a side hustle with a great schedule?

Or perhaps you’re looking to make a career change where you’re your own boss.

Whatever the reason, becoming an independent delivery contractor is a great option worth considering for your working life.

In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know about the delivery contractor career path, including the tasks involved, skills and experience required, and pay rate.

So, keep reading this complete guide to delivery contractor jobs if you’re ready to find out if it’s the right career for you.

What Is an Independent Delivery Contractor?

An independent delivery contractor is a type of independent contractor, meaning they aren’t an employee of the company for which they’re working.

Instead, they have a contract with the company and get paid for the number of deliveries they make or the miles they travel to deliver.

Independent delivery contractors have to find their own clients.

Luckily, with the rise of gig economy jobs, delivery contracts are fairly easy to come by.

Companies like Uber Eats, Instacart, and GrubHub are typically always hiring.

They might also get a contract with smaller businesses like local eateries or one-off grocery stores.

What Does an Independent Delivery Contractor Do?

The responsibilities of an independent delivery contractor vary depending on the type of business they’re working for.

But, in general, the two main tasks for any delivery contractor are pickup/dropoff of items and driving.

If the job involves larger items or packages that must be signed for, then interacting with customers will be a significant part of the job.

However, most delivery jobs won’t require much, if any, customer service.

You’ll mostly be dropping off packages on porches and driveways at residences.

In some cases, heavy lifting may also be required.

Employers must disclose what level of lifting the job will require.

What Does an Independent Delivery Contractor Usually Focus On?

The main jobs of an independent delivery contractor are to ensure the items get delivered to the customer in good condition and promptly.

So fantastic time management skills, attention to detail, and a knowledge of the area are the main focuses of a delivery contractor.

Independent Delivery Contractor Job Description

While it varies from job to job, an independent delivery contractor job will typically involve the following:

  • Pick up, transport, and deliver items to customers.
  • Complete orders within a specific time constraint.
  • Make sure orders are correct and that any changes are confirmed by the customer.
  • Accept payments for deliveries.
  • Provide friendly and professional customer service.
  • Follow all transportation laws and maintain a clean driver’s abstract.

With larger companies like GrubHub or FedEx, independent delivery contractors usually don’t have to deal with complaints, as its customer service department will take care of it.

However, if working with an independent business, they may also have to resolve customer issues.

Top Independent Delivery Contractor Jobs and Careers

Some of the top-rated delivery jobs include the following:

Where Can an Independent Delivery Contractor Work?

The beauty of being an independent delivery contractor is that you can work wherever you want.

Many independent delivery contractor jobs, like food delivery services, allow you to change your location.

So you can even work while you have some downtime on vacation!

However, if you work for a package courier, you’ll likely be limited to the city in which you got hired.

Of course, some locations aren’t as suitable for certain independent delivery contractor jobs as others.

If you live in a rural area, there may not be many positions for food couriers or retail delivery.

So, you may need to factor in the time and money to commute to a large city to see if it’s worth it to become an independent delivery contractor if you live in a remote area.

What It’s Like To Be an Independent Delivery Contractor

Like with any job, independent contracting has benefits and drawbacks.

Below, you’ll discover the job’s complexity, stress level, work/life balance, and what an average day looks like for an independent delivery contractor.

Is Being an Independent Delivery Contractor Hard?

Being an independent delivery contractor requires concentration, physical ability, and organization.

So, while it’s not the most strenuous job, it requires a fair amount of effort.

But, if you have the necessary skills, it will make the job a lot easier.

Is an Independent Delivery Contractor’s Job Stressful?

It can be.

However, it all depends on the person.

If you get stressed out easily, you may find that keeping up with the strict delivery window, especially when you don’t have control over circumstances, like instances of traffic or bad weather, is a lot of pressure.

Customer complaints are also a stressful factor, and these are usually out of your control.

However, if you don’t take complaints to heart, the job won’t be too stressful.

More often than not, you’ll not have much interaction with the customer, to begin with.

Common Independent Delivery Contractor Work Day

The average work day of an independent delivery contractor will vary depending on what’s getting delivered, and the company with whom you have a contract.

Below you’ll find the typical tasks and schedule of a delivery contractor.

Independent Delivery Contractor Tasks & Duties

The tasks of a delivery contractor are straightforward:

  1. Collect/accept a delivery
  2. Pick up delivery items
  3. Drive to the delivery location
  4. Drop off items/mark delivery as complete
  5. Repeat

Independent Delivery Contractor Work Hours & Schedule

Another great benefit of being a delivery contractor is that, in most cases, you can work on your own schedule.

That is especially true for food couriers, as some restaurants and fast-food shops are open well past midnight—some are open 24 hours a day.

In the case of retail delivery and package delivery, the schedule will revolve around business hours.

Most retail stores are open anywhere from 8 am to 10 pm, and most package deliveries occur between 9 am and 5 pm.

That will vary depending on the business.

Does This Career Field Embrace Work/Life Balance?


Since most jobs allow you to work whenever you want, being a delivery contractor leaves plenty of room for personal activities.

This way, you can plan your work around what you really want to do, instead of the other way around, as with many traditional jobs.

Do Independent Delivery Contractors Make Good Money?

The money you’ll make as an independent delivery contractor depends on several factors, including how much you work and the area in which you live.

For instance, if you live in a big city and are a full-time delivery contractor, the average yearly salary will be around $66,000, which is a good chunk of change!

However, this number will be lower if you live in a smaller town or if you’re making deliveries as a side gig.

How Much Do Independent Delivery Contractors Make?

The annual salary for an independent delivery contract has a vast range due to the flexibility of the job.

A delivery contractor can make anywhere from $13,000 to $189,000 yearly in the United States.

That said, only 4% of delivery contractors will make over $109,000 a year, while the majority will make between $13,000 and $45,000 per year.

How Do Independent Delivery Contractors Get Paid?

Most delivery contract jobs pay through apps, and you can choose when you get paid, be it daily, weekly, biweekly, and so on.

There will typically be a minimum cash-out amount, but as long as you’re above that, you can get paid whenever you want.

Requirements, Skills, and Education Required for Independent Delivery Contractors

There are a few requirements for becoming an independent delivery contractor, which will be covered below.

Who Should Consider an Independent Delivery Contractor Career Path?

The main activity of an independent delivery contractor is driving.

So, anyone with a valid driver’s license and who enjoys driving should consider this career path.

And, of course, if you want to be free from traditional work schedules, a delivery contract career is an excellent choice.

Who Should NOT Consider an Independent Delivery Contractor Career Path?

It might go without saying, but if you don’t enjoy driving, you shouldn’t consider being a delivery contractor, as you’ll spend most of your time behind the wheel.

Also, if being under time constraints isn’t your thing, you may want to consider a different career path.

Is It Hard To Become an Independent Delivery Contractor?


Some companies don’t require formal education, so all you’ll need is a valid driver’s license to become an independent delivery contractor.

That said, a lot of companies will perform a background check, so if you have a checkered past, it may be difficult to find a job.

What Do I Need to Become an Independent Delivery Contractor?

This section will cover the requirements, skills, education, and experience needed to become an independent delivery contractor.

Requirements for Becoming an Independent Delivery Contractor

A few of the base requirements for becoming an independent delivery contractor are:

  • Valid driver’s license
  • Dependable vehicle
  • Good driving record
  • Vehicle Insurance
  • Cellphone/GPS

Some additional, but not necessary, requirements you may want to consider for your health and safety are:

  • Reflective vest
  • First aid kit
  • Lifting equipment

What Skills Does an Independent Delivery Contractor Need?

Some of the skills you’ll need as an independent delivery contractor are:

  • Time management: Time management is a significant factor when considering becoming a delivery contractor, as you’ll need to ensure all deliveries get completed in a timely manner.
  • Navigational abilities: Delivery contractors spend their days navigating the city and surrounding areas. So, you’ll need to be able to navigate effectively, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place.
  • Customer service: As stated, not all delivery jobs require customer service skills. However, at the very least, you’ll be interacting with customers who are present to accept deliveries, so you’ll need a level of professionalism and patience when dealing with customers.  

What Education Does an Independent Delivery Contractor Need?

You don’t need any formal education to become an independent delivery contractor.

However, some companies will require that you have a high school diploma or equivalent.

Some will also require post-secondary education, but those are few and far between.

Also, if you’ll be handling alcohol, some companies will have you take a course to ensure you can responsibly deliver it responsibly.

What Experience Does an Independent Delivery Contractor Need?

Most independent delivery contractor jobs don’t require any previous experience.

However, you’ll find that a lot of job posts will list the following as an asset:

  • Driving experience
  • Delivery experience
  • Warehouse experience

How To Become an Independent Delivery Contractor

If all the above information about becoming an independent delivery contractor sounds perfect for you, you can start looking for a job immediately.

Here are some tips to help you find a delivery contractor job quickly.

Where To Find Independent Delivery Contractor Opportunities

The best place to start looking for delivery contractor opportunities is online.

A quick Google search will bring up multiple jobs in your area.

However, if you have a specific company in mind, it’s best to go to their official website and look under the “Careers” section, usually found at the bottom of the page or in a dropdown menu.

You can also download apps, like DoorDash or GrubHub, and find out if the company is hiring there.

Applying for the Gig(s)

Most independent delivery contractor jobs have a simple application, and many of them can be done in under ten minutes.

Many of these companies will have set pay rates, so you won’t need to bid or negotiate your salary.

That said, the majority of courier companies will require a more formal application accompanied by a resume and cover letter.

With these jobs, you may have a bit of wiggle room to negotiate your pay.

Interviewing for the Gig(s)

Again, most independent contractors don’t need to go through the interview process.

You’ll simply fill out an application online or via an app and find out within a day or two if you’ll eligible.

If you require a formal interview, you should be prepared to showcase your skills and understanding of the field.

How Do I Prepare For Independent Delivery Contractor Gigs?

Most companies will give you a starter guide to help you prepare for your first delivery.

You can also find helpful tutorials on blogs or YouTube from experienced independent delivery contractors.

Similar Careers to Check Out

If you like the sound of being an independent delivery contractor, but are looking for some alternative options, here are a few similar careers to consider:

  • Scooter Charger: A scooter charger collects electric scooters for rent throughout the city and brings them home to charge them overnight. In the morning, they will deposit the scooters at various locations and repeat the process at the end of the day.
  • Rideshare Driver: A rideshare driver is someone who uses their personal vehicle to pick up and drop off passengers. It’s similar to being a taxi driver, except they don’t have to work shifts; they can pick up fares whenever they please.
  • Instacart Shopper: An Instacart shopper receives orders for items at retail and grocery stores and shops for the items on the list. They may also have to make substitutions or follow specific instructions, depending on the order.

Frequently Asked Questions

Do you still have questions about becoming an independent delivery contractor?

Below are some common questions with answers to help resolve any lingering concerns you may have about contract delivery jobs.

Is it worth being a self-employed delivery driver?

If you have a lot of self-discipline, then yes.

You’ll need to be able to keep yourself on track.

Being a self-employed delivery driver means you’re your own boss and can work as little or as much as you want.

If you work enough hours, you can make great money.

Do self-employed delivery drivers pay tax?


However, you’re responsible for reporting how much you earned when you file your taxes.

Since you’re not a standard employee, you won’t have taxes withheld from your pay, and you won’t receive a W-2.

So, you’ll need to keep track of how much you make throughout the year.

Wrapping Up

The daily grind can become overwhelming after years of being stuck behind a desk at a 9 to 5 job.

If you’ve had enough, it’s time to search for a job that offers more freedom and variety.

The US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that independent delivery contractor jobs will rise by 12% from 2020 to 2030, so now is a great time to become a delivery contractor if you think the job suits your lifestyle.

If you love to drive, want a flexible schedule, and can commit enough time to make deliveries, then being an independent delivery contractor is an excellent and lucrative career.

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