On the Job
Route salespeople drive trucks to sell and deliver products or services to customers.
Childhood isn't complete without a memory of the "Ice Cream Man." (Many are women, actually.) It's hot outside, you're bored, and even splashing in the backyard kiddie pool doesn't appeal. And then . . . What's that sound? Tinkling music wafts over you. Yes! You run to grab your allowance. It's the Ice Cream Man! Time for a much-deserved ice cream sandwich.
In reality, the beloved Ice Cream Man is actually a route salesperson. Route salespeople deliver products such as milk, beer, soft drinks, and baked goods.Route salespeople also work for companies that pick up, clean, and deliver linens, work uniforms, or diapers. Route salespeople have both delivery and sales responsibilities. When they deliver to stores, salespeople often stock the shelves with their goods. This gives them an opportunity to check how well their last delivery sold. Depending on the amount of the product remaining, salespeople may talk to store owners about changing their orders.
As their name suggests, route salespeople follow a route when making deliveries. They pick up and drop off items at set places along the route. Depending on what they deliver, route salespeople may travel a route several times a week or several times a month. Route salespeople may modify the order of deliveries along their route to make unloading the truck easier. They read a list of customers and their orders, and use this information when planning their route. They try to load the truck so they do not put the items for the first customer behind all the other products to be delivered.
Some route salespeople deliver food or other products for vending machines. They collect the coins from these machines, remove items that are too old or damaged to be sold, and add new items. They may also repair, adjust, and clean these machines. Other route salespeople sell food from their trucks. They may travel to different job sites where they sell food to workers. These route salespeople collect money from customers and make change.
A major task for route salespeople is finding new customers. Once they have made their deliveries, they visit businesses they think might want to buy their products or use their service. They explain their company's goods or services to people at these businesses. When they find new customers, salespeople fill out sales contracts. Route salespeople also must keep their current customers happy. Thus, they talk to their current customers about new products or services and price changes. They also discuss customers' complaints and resolve problems.
Route salespeople also have administrative and maintenance duties. They keep a log of how many items they picked up or delivered so that customers can be billed. They also must keep a list of which businesses they tried to recruit. In addition, route salespeople do basic maintenance on their trucks, such as adding gas and checking the oil.
The following list of occupational tasks is specific to this career.
- Fill out sales contracts according to company guidelines.
- Drive truck to deliver items such as food, medical supplies, or newspapers.
- Collect money from customers. Make change and record transactions on customer receipts.
- Listen to and resolve customers' complaints regarding products or services.
- Collect coins from vending machines. Remove old products and refill machines.
- Call on potential customers to explain company services.
- Keep a log of the number of items delivered to each customer.
- Review list of customers and their orders.
- Load truck in a way that makes the most of space and reduces unloading time.
- Arrange merchandise and sales promotion displays.
- Inform regular customers of new products or services and price changes.
- Repair, adjust, and clean vending machines.
- Maintain truck by adding gas, checking the tires, and performing other basic tasks.
- Sell food to office workers and patrons of sports events.
People in this career perform the following list of tasks, but the tasks are common to many occupations.
- Communicate with people from outside the organization.
- Get information needed to do the job.
- Convince others to buy goods or change their minds or actions.
- Identify objects, actions, and events.
- Communicate with supervisors, peers, or subordinates.
- Operate vehicles or mechanized equipment.
- Work with the public.
- Handle and move objects.
- Establish and maintain relationships.
- Organize, plan, and prioritize work.
- Perform activities that use the whole body.
- Control machines and processes.
- Judge the value of objects, services, or people.
- Analyze data or information.
- Monitor events, materials, and surroundings.
- Schedule work and activities.
- Estimate sizes, quantities, time, cost, or materials needed.
- Use computers.
- Think creatively.
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Have a high level of social contact. They work with store owners and sales staff most of the time.
- Often deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous customers.
- Are placed in conflict situations on a weekly basis.
- Communicate with store owners and sales staff daily by telephone or in person.
- Work in a group or as part of a team.
- Work outdoors most of the time while loading and unloading their trucks. Often work indoors while setting up goods and talking to customers.
- Work in a closed vehicle on a daily basis.
- Often are exposed to very hot or very cold temperatures when working outdoors.
- Work near customers, but usually have a few feet of space separating them from others.
- Sometimes wear work uniforms.
- Must be exact in counting product items. Errors could cause customers to be billed for incorrect amounts.
- Repeat the same physical activities, such as loading and unloading trucks.
- Make decisions on a daily basis that strongly impact the reputation of their employers. They consult supervisors for some decisions, but make most without talking to a supervisor.
- Are able to set some tasks for the day without consulting with a supervisor.
- Must meet strict deadlines on a weekly basis.
- Generally have a set schedule each week.
- May work 50 or more hours per week, but most work 40 hours a week.
- May have shifts that begin early in the morning or end late at night.
Physical Work Conditions
In a typical work setting, people in this career:
- Use their hands to handle objects.
- Repeat the same movements.
- Sit for long periods of time when driving.
- Stand while setting up displays.
- See details of objects whether they are nearby or far away.
- Speak clearly so listeners can understand.
- Understand the speech of another person.
- Determine the distance between objects.
- Make quick, precise adjustments to machine controls.
- Move two or more limbs together (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while remaining in place.
- Hold the arm and hand in one position or hold the hand steady while moving the arm.
- Use one or two hands to grasp, move, or assemble objects.
- React quickly using hands, fingers, or feet.
- Use fingers to grasp, move, or assemble very small objects.
- Choose quickly and correctly among various movements when responding to different signals.
- Use muscles to lift, push, pull, or carry heavy objects.
- Use stomach and lower back muscles to support the body for long periods without getting tired.
- See differences between colors, shades, and brightness.
- While looking forward, see objects or movements that are off to the side.
- Hear sounds and recognize the difference between them.
- See objects in very bright or very low light.
- Adjust body movements or equipment controls to keep pace with speed changes of moving objects.
- Use muscles for extended periods without getting tired.
- Determine from which direction a sound came.
- Focus on one source of sound and ignore others.
- Coordinate movement of several parts of the body, such as arms and legs, while the body is moving.
- Bend, stretch, twist, or reach out.
- Be physically active for long periods without getting tired or out of breath.
- Make fast, repeated movements of fingers, hands, and wrists.
- Move arms and legs quickly.
- Keep or regain the body's balance or stay upright when in an unstable position.
People in this career frequently:
It is important for people in this career to be able to:
It is not as important, but still necessary, for people in this career to be able to:
Source: Minnesota Department of Education.