If you have always considered being a delivery driver in the City of Brotherly Love, now is your chance. A city rich with history, outdoor green spaces, eclectic neighborhoods, and a focus on work culture, you can rest assured that you will constantly be on the move throughout the grid-like system of streets in Philadelphia.
However, before you pack up and move your life to this East Coast metropolis, you might be wondering - is this the right fit for me? If you have tried your luck in other busy cities in the past and had trouble adjusting to the traffic patterns, workplace culture, wages, and job security, make sure you do some research beforehand so you can be 100% sure of your next move up the job ladder.
Here is everything you need to know about driving in Philadelphia - home to the world’s greatest cheesesteaks.
Why should I be a delivery driver?
First thing is first - why should you consider becoming a delivery driver? If you are working as a courier as your main source of income, or you are choosing to be a food delivery driver a side hustle, there are numerous perks that you can enjoy with this occupation.
- For full-time delivery drivers, you have the ability to eliminate some of the toughest aspects of any job - customer interaction. Instead, by delivering packages safely and on-time, you can seamlessly boost customer satisfaction levels without having to even speak to the recipient! Furthermore, with the ability to earn a high salary, introduction of new technology to make your job even easier (route optimization apps), and transparency between management staff and delivery drivers, you will feel like you are a well-respected employee in the company.
- As a part-time food delivery driver, you have the benefits of a flexible job, keeping the cash tips for each delivery, and a stimulating job that gets you outside of the four walls of your office.
Now that you are convinced that you should stick with your courier job during your move to Philadelphia, you need to know about the traffic, the conditions, the street layout, the wages, and the benefits associated with delivery driver occupations.
Unfortunately, when it comes to driving in Philadelphia, delivery drivers are going to be susceptible to some of the country's worst traffic conditions. In 2020, Philadelphia was ranked the second-most congested city in America - and a whopping top five in the globe. Although the city has done a remarkable job in lowering their traffic percentage by 34%, the citizens of Philly are expecting this number to skyrocket once more. After all, the only reason the traffic conditions slightly subsided in 2020 was due to the pandemic keeping cars off the road. Even with the Covid-19 virus running rampant and causing quarantine lockdown, drivers who lived within the Philadelphia boundaries still spent around 94 hours in traffic during the year - 72 more hours than the national average. That's like spending almost 4 days of your year just sitting bumper-to-bumper!
But what can you expect with Philadelphia traffic? Are we talking about slight slow-downs that reduce the speed from 60 mph on highways to 45mph through a construction zone, or are we talking full-on congestion? Around the city center of Philadelphia - encompassing neighborhoods like Rittenhouse Square and Old City, spanning the entire city area between the Delaware and Schuylkill rivers - drivers had an average speed of just 12 miles per hour. Cyclists can constantly whizz by the cars crawling around the road, thankful to have their own bike lane (on some roads).
When commuting to/from the city center from outside suburbs like Manayunk, King of Prussia, or Media, commuters found the average speed was just 23 miles per hour, while the peak speeds reached 39 miles per hour - still considered to be very slow compared to the highway average of 65 miles per hour.
How to fix the problem
One of the ways the city of Philadelphia can fix the traffic conditions is by offering more SEPTA routes between the most common locations, such as between the train stations and the city center, Manayunk and 30th Street Station, and more frequent bus services. Furthermore, if businesses influenced their employees who live within city limits to cycle, walk, or take a motorbike to work, there would be less congestion among the busy city streets.
As a delivery driver moving to Philadelphia, using a real-time app, like Straightaway, can help you avoid these constant slowdowns that can plague your workday. Some of the most common areas of traffic include the city center, the Vine Street Expressway, and the exits/on-ramps getting to and from I-95.
According to Indeed, the average hourly wage of delivery drivers working in Philadelphia is $17.28, with an average of $50 of tips per day. The most common benefits of working as a delivery driver or courier in this city includes employee discounts, health insurance for some companies, and a flexible schedule. Some of the top companies for delivery drivers in Philadelphia include DVA logistics, US AutoLogistics, SEKO Logistics, Americold, XPO Logistics, Total Quality Logistics, AIT Worldwide Logistics, and DHL. Most of these businesses are either private transportation companies or freight transportation companies that typically pay their delivery drivers between $31 and $36 per hour.
- Amazon - According to Ziprecruiter, the Philadelphia, PA average for Amazon delivery drivers comes to around $24 per hour and $53,874 per year. Compared to the national average, this is nearly $4,000 higher!
- FedEx- According to Ziprecruiter, a FedEx truck driver makes a whopping $67,724 per year and $27 per hour. This salary is around $6,000 higher than the national average and over $12,000 higher than the average wage in Philadelphia.
When compared to other states in the country, Pennsylvania is one of the highest-paying states. For example, Pennsylvania delivery drivers make around 6% more than those in Oregon and 3% more than those working in Washington state.
One thing to keep in mind as a delivery driver are the rights you will have going into this industry. The last thing you want is to move to a new city and suddenly find that you are overworked and underpaid. Keep an eye out for businesses and delivery companies that do not respect your worker’s rights.
- For example, Gopuff was the subject of a new petition that was organized by their drivers that demanded better pay practices and a better detailed understanding of their roles within the company.
- After growing quickly within the past few years, Gopuff expanded to various locations across the US and opened their headquarters in 2019.
- This company has headquarters on Spring Garden Street in Philadelphia, and is one of the main independent contractors that works with delivery corporations around the country.
- However, controversy arose after the business stated that they offer their drivers flexibility, but they are not considered to be independent contractors. Instead, drivers can be penalized - or fired - for missing a shift or declining an order.
- Delivery drivers who are moving to Philadelphia need to make sure they have clarification with their delivery company to ensure you are both on the same page when it comes to your terms, schedule, wages, benefits, and expectations.
Philadelphia delivery drivers might have a lot on their plate - but it is worth it
If you are considering moving to Philadelphia to become a delivery driver or a courier, we recommend going for it. Although you might spend time sitting in traffic or dealing with some harsh East-Coast winters, you can find ways around idle time in the car and reap the benefits of the high hourly wage. By using an app, like Straightway, that can calculate your real-time information and constantly re-update to form the most optimized delivery route, you can cut down to the astronomically-high traffic percentages while driving through Philly.