How Much Do UPS Drivers Make?

Rochester, Michigan, USA - June 08, 2016: A UPS driver making a delivery to a residence in Rochester.
RiverNorthPhotography / Getty Images

You’re in the market for a new career opportunity, and you’re thinking about applying to become a UPS driver. Sitting behind a desk isn’t your thing, so a job that allows you to travel all over town every day seems like a great fit.

Of course, you want to make sure this job will pay enough to uphold — or maybe even elevate — your current standard of living. Therefore, you’re wondering: How much do UPS drivers make?

Here’s a look at starting wages for UPS drivers across the country, as well as factors you should consider if you’re interested in pursuing this line of work.

UPS Driver’s TikTok Video on Hourly Pay Goes Viral

It’s possible your interest in becoming a UPS driver came from a now-viral TikTok video created by Mykol Gummings — @mykol_gummings — on Aug. 22. In the video — which currently has 1.1 million likes, nearly 7,800 comments and over 35,000 thousand shares — he revealed that he makes almost $40 per hour as a UPS driver.

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In an interview with Newsweek, Gummings revealed he’s been with the company for more than four years. His starting hourly pay was $21, but he said he’ll be earning $40 per hour by next year.

He also told Newsweek that all UPS employees receive benefits and insurance after a year with the company.

UPS Driver Wages Across the US

Can you make a living as a UPS driver? That’s what you want to know before setting your sights on this job choice.

In the second quarter of 2022, the median weekly earnings of full-time wage and salary workers in the U.S. was $1,041, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. For a 40-hour workweek, this equates to $26.03 per hour or $54,132 per year.

Specifically, you might want to know how much UPS drivers make in your area. Here’s a look at the starting pay for seasonal package delivery drivers in several different U.S. cities, according to the company’s website:

  • Aberdeen, Maryland — $21 per hour
  • Austin, Texas — $22 per hour
  • Boston — $23 per hour
  • Boulder, Colorado — $28.50 per hour
  • Chicago — $23 per hour
  • Cincinnati — $21 per hour
  • Cleveland — $21 per hour
  • Dallas — $22 per hour
  • Detroit — $21 per hour
  • Durant, Oklahoma — $21 per hour
  • Fallon, Nevada — $23 per hour 
  • Honolulu — $23 per hour
  • Indianapolis — $21 per hour
  • Key West, Florida — $21 per hour
  • Lexington, Kentucky — $21 per hour
  • Los Angeles — $23 per hour
  • Milwaukee — $23 per hour
  • Minneapolis — $27 per hour
  • Philadelphia — $21 per hour
  • Phoenix — $23 per hour
  • St. Louis — $21 per hour
  • Salt Lake City — $25 per hour
  • San Diego — $23 per hour
  • Seattle — $30 per hour
  • Shreveport, Louisiana — $21 per hour   
  • Staten Island, New York — $22 per hour
  • Sunnyvale, California — $38 per hour
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Given these starting wages, you might think you know the answer to the question “Do UPS drivers make six figures?” However, if you guessed “no,” you might technically be incorrect.

On average, full-time, permanent small package delivery drivers earn a total compensation package of $145,000 annually, according to the UPS website. This includes up to seven weeks of paid vacation, paid time off for holidays, option days and sick leave, in addition to zero-cost healthcare premiums.

Therefore, if you were to become a full-time, permanent UPS driver, there’s a good chance you could work up to a total compensation package valued at six figures. Of course, this might be faster in some areas than others, according to your starting pay.

How Much Does a UPS Driver Make in California?

Maybe you live in California or perhaps you’re thinking of moving to the state. Either way, you’re wondering if working as a UPS driver would allow you to provide a comfortable living for your family.

The mean annual salary in California is $68,510 per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Looking closer, the mean hourly wage is $32.94, while the median hourly wage is $23.04.

UPS is currently hiring seasonal package delivery drivers. Here’s a look at the starting pay in several different California cities, according to the company’s website:

  • Santa Cruz — $28 per hour
  • Sunnyvale — $38 per hour
  • Los Angeles — $23 per hour
  • San Luis Obispo — $21 per hour
  • San Diego — $23 per hour
  • Palm Springs — $21 per hour
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It’s important to keep in mind that these are starting wages. Remember, Gummings told Newsweek his pay has nearly doubled since becoming a UPS delivery driver more than four years ago, so there’s likely potential for you to do the same.

Is Being a UPS Driver Hard Work?

You might be wondering whether being a UPS driver is hard work. Given the nature of the job, this is a fair question to ask.

The answer will likely vary by person, as everyone has their own definition of hard work.

Likely the most challenging part of the job, UPS drivers must have the ability to lift up to 70 pounds, according to the company’s website. Some people might find this cumbersome — or even physically impossible — while others won’t think twice about it.

Full-time UPS drivers work eight or more hours per day. Work days vary and can either be Monday-Friday or Tuesday-Saturday.

Requirements for Becoming a UPS Driver

Now that you know how much UPS drivers make, you’re seriously interested in the job. Before applying, you want to make sure you meet the minimum hiring requirements.

Some of the hiring criteria are listed on the UPS website. This list is likely not comprehensive, but here’s a look at some of the requirements you’ll need to meet:

  • Legally able to work in the U.S.
  • Valid driver’s license — but a CDL is not required
  • Successful passage of the Department of Transportation physical
  • Excellent driving and customer service skills
  • Able to lift up to 70 pounds
  • Wear a company-provided uniform and follow UPS appearance guidelines

What To Consider Before Becoming a UPS Driver

If you personally know a UPS driver, you’ll likely ask them if they would recommend the job to someone else — i.e., you. However, if you don’t know anyone with this job, you’re not out of luck.

Thanks to the influx of job review sites, you can conduct thorough research online. For example, the role of UPS delivery driver is rated 3.5 out of 5 stars on Glassdoor.

In total, 62% of people would recommend the job to a friend. This means nearly two-thirds of UPS delivery drivers that took the time to write a review on Glassdoor like their job enough to advise others to consider joining the ranks — not bad odds.

While money isn’t everything, learning the answer to the question “How much do UPS drivers make?” can be the first step in helping you decide if this is a career path you want to pursue. The last thing you want is to set your sights on a new job, only to find out it doesn’t pay enough to uphold your current lifestyle.

As noted above, starting wages for UPS drivers can vary greatly by city. Therefore, it’s a good idea to find out what the starting pay is for UPS drivers in your area before deciding if you want to apply for a job.

However, it’s also important to keep Gummings’ insights in mind. If you’re interested in working as a UPS driver but think the starting pay in your area is a bit low, keep in mind that there’s plenty of room to grow.

It seems very possible that putting in a few years of service with the company can literally pay off, so consider putting down roots and making UPS a place where you can grow your career.

Information is accurate as of Sept. 28, 2022.

Our in-house research team and on-site financial experts work together to create content that’s accurate, impartial, and up to date. We fact-check every single statistic, quote and fact using trusted primary resources to make sure the information we provide is correct. You can learn more about GOBankingRates’ processes and standards in our editorial policy.

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About the Author

Jennifer Taylor is a West Coast-based freelance writer with more than a decade of experience writing about anything and everything. Since earning her MBA, personal finance has been her favorite topic, as she’s passionate about writing stories that educate, inform and empower. Specifically, she specializes in budgeting, debt repayment, savings and retirement.
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