Roundsperson

The Job and What's Involved

A roundsperson usually drives a vehicle from street to street, delivering or selling goods to customers at their homes or place of work. They may call at the same place on a regular basis so customers know when they will be there.

They deliver or sell a wide range of items, such as:

  • Parcels or clothing from catalogue companies.
  • Cosmetics and household products.
  • Groceries and other food items such as sandwiches, ice cream, fresh fruit, meat or fish.
  • Marketing leaflets.
  • Furniture.

A roundsperson is responsible for a geographical area. Depending on the size of their territory they may drive, walk or cycle. They may drive a car, van or small truck or have a motorbike. They may take over an existing round, or start from scratch, which involves them in advertising their business.

At the start of each day they:

  • Decide what needs to be delivered on their round.
  • Prepare a delivery plan.
  • Collect the goods from a central depot or wholesaler and make sure they have the correct materials or equipment to do their job.

Once on the road, they are responsible for:

  • Making sure the goods are delivered correctly without breakages or any accidents.
  • Getting a signature, if required, to confirm receipt of the item.
  • Leaving a card if there is no answer and making arrangements for the goods to be re-delivered.
  • The upkeep and maintenance of the vehicle they are using.
  • Recording and logging their deliveries for that day, either manually or using a hand-held computer.

They must provide a high level of customer service and satisfaction.

Some roundspeople need to attract the public's attention if they are selling food and do this by sounding a bell or playing music.

Roundspeople usually work 37 to 40 hours a week. They may have to work evenings and weekends. For some rounds they may need to make an early start. It may be possible to work part time or on a flexible basis. Work may be seasonal and can increase to cope with, for example, Christmas deliveries.

Roundspeople work regardless of the weather or time of year. The work can be physical, as they may need to climb stairs or carry heavy items. A uniform may be required. Their job may involve using a handheld computer and mobile phone.

A driving licence is usually essential.

The starting salary for a roundsperson may be around £12,000 a year. Experienced roundspeople may earn up to £22,000, including overtime.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

There are opportunities for roundspeople throughout the UK with companies such as parcel distribution companies, wholesale distributors, direct marketing companies and dairies. The larger supermarkets now offer internet shopping and employ roundspeople to provide a home delivery service.

Roundspeople may work for a company, be self-employed with their own business or be part of a franchise. There is a steady demand throughout the UK for people to take on franchises. It usually involves an initial fee for the licence to use the brand name, for initial training and set-up and for the equipment required. They may need to buy their own van. There are always opportunities to buy into a franchise.

Opportunities are advertised in the local press, through Jobcentre Plus offices and recruitment agencies, directly with employers, or on the internet. Sometimes jobs are advertised in local shop windows or on notice boards.

Education and Training

No formal entry qualifications are required. Employers look for basic numeracy and good communications skills and may expect a minimum of four GCSE's (A*-C) including English and maths. Any customer service experience is useful.

Apprenticeships in carry and deliver goods and driving goods vehicles are relevant and may be available.

Apprenticeships and Advanced Apprenticeships provide structured training with an employer. As an apprentice you must be paid at least £95 per week; you may well be paid more. A recent survey found that the average wage for apprentices was £170 a week. Your pay will depend on the sector in which you work, your age, the area where you live and the stage at which you have arrived in the Apprenticeship.

Entry to Employment (e2e) can help to prepare those who are not yet ready for an Apprenticeship. In addition, Young Apprenticeships may be available for 14- to 16-year-olds. More information is available from a Connexions personal adviser or at www.apprenticeships.org.uk.

There are different arrangements for Apprenticeships in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.

For further information visit My World of Work www.myworldofwork.co.uk/modernapprenticeships, Careers Wales www.careerswales.com; and for Northern Ireland contact www.careersserviceni.com.

Roundspeople need to be in good health. Previous driving or retail experience is useful.

A Few More Exams You Might Need

Training is usually on the job. There are a number of relevant NVQ's available, including:

  • Customer service at Levels 1, 2, 3 and 4.
  • Retail skills Level 3.
  • Transporting goods by road at Level 2.
  • Preparing and serving food at Level 1.
  • Business start up at Level 3 which covers relevant business skills such as selling techniques and keeping accounts.

As well as a licence to trade, roundspeople selling food, such as ice cream or fish and chips, need relevant training in food preparation and health and hygiene.

Franchising companies provide support for people who have taken on a franchise and give them specific training about their job and the products they are selling. The franchising companies also hold seminars to upgrade skills. Subjects covered include product training, training in new technology and courses in computing and running a small business.

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You may use life saving skills as part of your day-to-day work.

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Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

A roundsperson should:

  • Have good customer and communication skills.
  • Be organised and able to keep accurate records.
  • Be physically fit and active.
  • Be reliable and hardworking.
  • Be able to work on their own.
  • Have good time management skills.
  • Be prepared to be flexible to get the job done.
  • Be trustworthy.
  • Be computer literate.
  • Be confident to handle and deal with cash and cheque's.
  • Be able to read maps and ask for and understand directions.
  • Have basic numeracy skills.

Your Long Term Prospects

Without qualifications, the chances of promotion may be limited. There are opportunities for progression within larger companies to supervisory posts and then into managerial roles. Senior positions are involved more with administration.

Self-employed roundspeople can progress by expanding the area they cover, perhaps employing a team of roundspeople.

Get Further Information

British Franchise Association (BFA),
A2 Danebrook Court, Oxford Office Village,
Langford Lane, Oxford OX5 1LQ
Tel: 01865 379892
Website: www.thebfa.org

Dairy UK Limited,
93 Baker Street,
London W1U 6QQ
Tel: 020 7486 7244
Website: www.dairyuk.org

Improve Ltd, Ground Floor, Providence House,
2 Innovation Close, Heslington, York YO10 5ZF
Tel: 0845 644 0448
Website: www.improveltd.co.uk

Skills for Logistics, 12 Warren Yard,
Warren Farm Office Village,
Milton Keynes MK12 5NW
Tel: 01908 313360
Website: www.skillsforlogistics.org

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