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How To Become The Best Pizza Delivery Driver Ever!

February 13, 2014

At 31 years old, I never thought I would be working full-time as a pizza delivery driver, but I have learned to embrace it. I used to get bothered about what other people thought about me, because I have a college degree in Graphic Design, and that I wasn’t using my education & talents to the fullest. Once I came to believe that nobody can defy who I am except myself; being a pizza delivery driver can be a pretty awesome job, and you can make some pretty decent money doing it.

As mundane as delivering pizzas may sound, I believe in focusing on the task at hand, and doing it to the best of my capabilities. Here are some tips I have learned from delivering pizzas first hand, second hand observations I have learned from other drivers (whether good or bad), and tips from research I have done online. Hopefully these will help you to enjoy your job as a pizza delivery person and gain more tip money in the process.

1. Be prepared & REPRESENT!

Before you even go anywhere on a delivery, make sure you have enough gas and that your car is decked-out to the nines. Ok, maybe not that far, but if your company requires a car-topper or sign, make sure you have it properly attached to your automobile and that it’s working. For car-toppers, make sure it had plenty of time to charge so it lights-up when it is dark out.

2. Make sure you have the whole order and proper change.

This may sound like common sense, but believe me, I forgot parts to an order and didn’t have correct change on a delivery. This makes the customer unhappy or annoyed. It makes you look unprepared, unprofessional, and makes the company you work for seem like they have poor customer service. You have to understand that some customers only order VIA delivery and never come into the restaurant for carry-out or dine-in. As a delivery driver, you are the face of the company. It’s embarrassing and humbling when you forget part of an order and have to go back to deliver the remainder. It effects other deliveries you could be on, and you burn-up more gas, and you won’t get tipped twice. If you forget part of an order, or are ill-prepared, you’ll be lucky if you get a tip at all.

3. Know where you are going.

A general rule in pizza delivery is that the customer expects their order to arrive in 30 minutes. Getting to the address promptly is a major factor in providing great customer service. If you are late the customer won’t be satisfied. In order to prevent this, have a good sense of direction for the city you are delivering in. Know what streets divide the town from North, South, East and West. Get familiar with apartment complexes, businesses, ally-ways, one-way streets, short-cuts, long stoplights, etc. This will come over time, but any little tricks you can use to speed-up the delivery process, use to your advantage. Make sure once you are at the address, that you follow any special instructions, like delivering to the backdoor, going to a specific section at a place of business, or knowing where to enter an apartment complex so you don’t go to a door that is locked, etc.

4. Use technology to your advantage.

This goes along with finding the proper address, but if you ever get confused, or lost,  use technology like cell phones or a GPS to assist you. Don’t be afraid to call the customer and ask for directions, especially if all the information isn’t on the ticket, or if you are delivering to a big business that has many sections or departments. Let the customer know who you are and that you are currently on their delivery. I usually say that I would like to double check their address and let them know what you have for an address and go from there. I’ve been on deliveries before where the order taker mistakenly put down the wrong address.

Don’t be afraid to use a GPS if you are unsure about an address. There are a lot of little side streets that can be difficult to find. When I started delivering, I worked in a town I didn’t live in, so I didn’t know much about the town besides the main streets. However, I was able to get their in a speedy and sufficient way VIA GPS.  If you are going to use a GPS I suggest you make it as user friendly for you as possible. Make sure it is up-to-date. An out of date GPS will only get you so far. Eventually, you will have to deliver to a new part of town that you had no idea even existed before. Set the home address to your place of work. This way if you are out on delivery somewhere and unsure of how to get back, all you have to do is hit the home button. Keep your GPS in a nice holder that’s easily accessible while you are driving so you can see the roads clearly, besides just hearing the directions. To be honest, without using a GPS, I’m not so sure that I’d be a delivery driver, because I have a horrible sense of direction.

5. Greet the customer with a smile, friendly disposition, and great conversation starter.

I always go to the door with a welcoming smile on my face. 1st impressions really do matter, and if you aren’t smiling or happy, the customer will tend not to tip. Don’t let small things get in the way that you can’t control like: horrible weather, unmarked or hard to find addresses, getting “stiffed” on the previous delivery, or a streak of poor tips, etc.

Once the customer answers the door, I usually t to compliment the customer. You can compliment them on their nice house, wonderful outfit, necklace, cute animals, cute children, nice holiday decorations, or compliment them on the pizza they ordered, etc. Don’t just go to the door and say, “Your total is $___” (the amount of the order.)

Here are some examples of greetings/conversation starters I have used:

• “You guys ordered my favorite pizza.”
• “This smelled so good on the way over.”
• “Hi. How are you? That’s a really cool _____  (shirt, necklace, hat, etc).”
•  “Wow! You really have a beautiful house!
• “Oh my gosh! That is such a cute dog! Do you mind if I give your dog a dog biscuit?” (Yes, I carry dog biscuits with me on each delivery)
• “Hello kids. Are you hungry for some pizza? I’m Joe what’s your name? How  old are you?”
• “Thank you for leaving the light on for me.”
• “Thanks for saving me a parking spot.”
• “I believe you were expecting me. Hope I can cure your hunger.
• “Hello, so you had the ____ (read ticket order back to the customer). Lucky for you that’s exactly what I brought. Hey, have you ever tried the _____ (name an item they didn’t order or a pizza topping or crust that’s special to your place of employment). You should try it sometime. It’s so delicious!”

I could go on and on about different conversation starters I’ve used on different deliveries. Just make sure you are making it specific to the delivery you are on. For example, don’t say, “Thanks for leaving the light on for me.” when it’s daytime. Address them by their name, unless it isn’t on the ticket, and get to know your customers. I’ve been on a lot of repeat deliveries and I try to get to know their pet’s or children’s names and try to make small talk with them to get to know them better.

6. When you mention the total and they hand you the money always ask if they would like change.

Don’t assume that you are getting a tip. I go on deliveries without any expectations of getting a tip. It’s not required that they have to tip, no matter how big or small the delivery is.

7. Dealing with credit cards orders.

I carry a small clipboard with me, specifically for credit card orders, to make it easier for the customer to sign the c.c. slip. When I have the time, I usually write, “Thanks so much!”on the credit card slip that they have to sign. I also keep a highlighter in my car and highlight the areas where it says Tip: ____ Total: ____ and Signature:___________. I have a pen that is attached to the clipboard on a retractible string device. This way I am prepared with a pen and the customer can’t take it. I lost so many pens before I incorporated the string. I also take the time to personalize my clipboard. I have stickers on it from where I work. I have the word GODSPEED on the clip that I made from a label-maker. I have a picture of my dog, that I show to customers, who have a dog of their own. On the back, I keep up with monthly holidays and tape pizza related pictures and sayings. Currently for Valentine’s Day, I have a picture of a pizza in the shape of a heart that says, “Take another pizza my heart now baby.” Happy Valentine’s Day! -Driver Joe

8. Pack a pizza delivery survival kit.

When I go on deliveries I wear a swag bag (well fanny pack if you want to get technical). Yes, I’m bringing the fanny pack back! You may laugh, but it’s really a helpful tool to keep all my money and change in a safe place, that’s easily accessible with one hand. Usually you have your hands full while delivering pizzas and other items, this way I can still hang onto the pizza bag, and access the money without looking awkward. I also offer parmesan or red pepper packets on every delivery, which are kept in my fanny pack. I also carry dog biscuits in my pack and offer them to customers with dogs. Always ask 1st before giving out dog biscuits, because some owners have their dogs on special diets, or don’t want their dog taking something out of your hand in the fear of the dog bitting you or whatever.

Keep extra plates, napkins, forks, knives, cups, menus, coupons, other advertising devices (refrigerator magnets) in your car. I keep all my stuff in a nice tupperware container, so I can easily carry everything with me, in case I go to places like: businesses, hotels, police or fire stations, parties, or if the customer has special requests for any of the items listed above. This way I am always prepared.

I also market when I’m out on deliveries. When I go to apartment complexes, businesses, neighboring houses/condos; I take: coupons, menus and door-hangers, to promote my place of employment.

9. Carry a good flashlight/spotlight for night driving.

While night delivering, not every customer will be courteous enough to leave the light on. When I first started delivering, I thought I would go on the cheap and get an inexpensive flashlight. I bought a flashlight that was a name brand but it only costed around $5. It helped, but only so much. That’s why I stress that if you are going to get a flashlight that you spend decent money on it. I’m not a flashlight expert, but I know they measure the brightness in lumens, so you are going to want to get one with a lot of lumens. Otherwise, you can also get a spotlight. I actually got a Stanley brand spotlight for around $20 and it is pretty amazing. I can light-up a whole house (not really), but it was well worth the investment. It runs on rechargeable batteries, and comes with a wall outlet charger, and auto charger.

10. Record you milage.

At my place of employment they require that we record our milage, so I always reset my odometer, and keep an accurate record. It’s nice to have a record of your milage, so you can figure out how much money you are actually making in tips, when you factor out gasoline, oil changes, and other automobile maintenance. It is nice to have for tax purposes too. I’m not sure if you can write-off your milage when you pay taxes, but I guess I will find out this year.

11. Drive safe and wear you seatbelt.

Respect the speed limits and always wear your seatbelt. Your company isn’t going to pay for your: speeding tickets, seatbelt violations, accidents, or other moving violations. No delivery is worth a fine or an accident, so drive safe.

12. Lock your doors.

I used to leave my car doors open in the parking lot between deliveries, but I’ve learned to lock them after I noticed a couple things missing one day. I also suggest that you don’t keep your car running if you are on a delivery and you know you are going to be away from your car for a while. Notice your surroundings and if anything looks suspicious lock your doors. About the only time I keep my car running is when I’m in somebody’s drive-way and my car is about 20 feet away.

13. Make your delivery as enjoyable as possible.

I’m a music lover and I have a huge music collection, so I jam out to CDs that I own. I’m an avid compact disc collector, so I switch up albums that I listen to and keep a nice variety from: acoustic, punk, pop, jazz, metal, emo, alternative, classic rock, elevator music, escalator music,  stairway to heaven music, musicals, post-punk, country, hip-hop, instrumentals, comedy, dubstep, etc. It’s ok to jam out or relax depending on your mood and musical tastes, but I always put my music on MUTE, when I arrive at the address. Customers don’t want to hear the “garbage” you are listening to even if you think it’s the greatest album in the world.

If you don’t enjoy listening to music try other alternatives. You can easily find audio books on CD or available for download. There are a wide variety of podcasts available online that are usually free. You can also listen to talk radio or a sporting event when it’s live.

Otherwise, turn off all the distractions and enjoy the ride and the scenery. Appreciate new parts of the town that you have never been to before. Take time to reflect. Take time to grow. Take time to vent. Take time to laugh. Take time to talk to yourself. Take time to focus on driving. It’s just you and your automobile, with nobody else in the car, so do what you do…legally


* If you have any other pizza delivery tips, that weren’t mentioned, I would love to hear them. Please leave suggestions/tips in the comments below. *

One Comment leave one →
  1. Trey permalink
    November 25, 2015 12:01 pm

    Thanks , that was one of my better internet finds on the topic of pizza delivery. Im a 36 yr old truck driver , who is starting my new second job as a pizza hut deliver driver this weekend , and im actually looking foward to it. Not only for extra cash , but to get a little human interaction ( truck driving gets lonely ) I think im ready to go ive got a cheap early 90s honda accord , smartphone , gps , and a 4th generation truck drivers since of direction.As far as the fanny-pak goes i think i will opt for the apron style pokets instead …lol

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