Career Development

What Does a Package Handler Do?

Find out what a package handler does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a package handler.

Package handlers are responsible for moving packages from one location to another. They typically work for a shipping company or other logistics firm, but may also be employed by smaller companies that need help with their own deliveries.

As part of this job, package handlers must carefully handle and transport all sorts of different packages—from small boxes to large crates—to ensure they arrive at their destination in good condition.

Package Handler Job Duties

Package handlers have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Loading and unloading trucks with cargo that may weigh up to 200 pounds
  • Scanning packages with a barcode reader to ensure they are placed in the correct location for delivery
  • Following all safety guidelines when lifting heavy boxes or using machinery such as forklifts or pallet jacks
  • Using hand trucks to transport packages between storage areas and workstations
  • Maintaining a neat and orderly work area by stacking boxes neatly on shelves and stacking pallets neatly on skids
  • Using computers to enter shipment information such as tracking numbers and weight of packages
  • Preparing shipping documents such as labeling boxes with identifying information
  • Carrying boxes of merchandise across a warehouse to storage racks or forklift lanes
  • Making sure all paperwork is in order before shipping a package, including checking for damage, verifying quantities, and computing costs

Package Handler Salary & Outlook

The salary of a package handler can vary depending on their level of experience, the company size and geographic location. Some package handlers are members of labor unions that negotiate wages on their behalf.

  • Median Annual Salary: $36,000 ($17.31/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $47,000 ($22.6/hour)

The employment of package handlers is expected to grow slower than average over the next decade.

The need to deliver products quickly and efficiently will continue to increase demand for package handlers. However, automation may limit employment growth because some companies are using machines to sort packages.

Related: In-Depth Package Handler Salary Guide

Package Handler Job Requirements

A package handler typically needs to have the following qualifications:

Education: Most employers require package handlers to have a high school diploma or equivalent. Some employers may require a candidate to have a minimum of a GED or other equivalent credential. Some employers may also require candidates to have a background in shipping and logistics.

Training & Experience: Package handlers typically receive on-the-job training from their supervisors or managers. This training may include learning how to use the company’s specific computer systems and software, as well as how to safely load and unload packages. Training may also include how to operate the company’s forklifts and other equipment.

Some package handlers may receive additional training in the form of a certification. For example, the National Association of Letter Carriers (NALC) offers a package handling certification for letter carriers.

Certifications & Licenses: Package handlers do not require any certifications to earn their position. However, there are certifications available for package handlers who wish to increase their earning capacity or make themselves more competitive when applying to new positions.

Package Handler Skills

Package handlers need the following skills in order to be successful:

Attention to detail: Attention to detail is the ability to notice small changes in a product or shipment. It’s important to pay attention to detail as a package handler because it ensures you send the correct products to the correct customers. It also ensures you don’t damage any products during the shipping process.

Communication: Package handlers communicate with their coworkers and customers on a regular basis. They use verbal and nonverbal communication skills to convey messages and instructions. They also use communication skills to interact with customers and answer questions about products.

Organization: Package handlers need to be organized to ensure they complete all of their duties on time. This includes being able to prioritize tasks and keeping track of their work. Organization skills can also help them save time by knowing where to find the tools and resources they need.

Physical stamina: Package handlers often lift and move packages weighing up to 50 pounds. Physical stamina can help them complete their work duties efficiently.

Product knowledge: As a package handler, you should have a basic understanding of the products you handle. This can help you to identify the correct shipping location for packages and ensure that you handle the packages correctly. It can also help you to answer customer questions about the products.

Package Handler Work Environment

Package handlers typically work in a warehouse environment, which may be noisy and dusty. They may be required to lift heavy packages and stand for long periods of time. Some package handlers may operate machinery, such as conveyor belts, to move packages. Others may work in the shipping area, where they may be exposed to extreme temperatures, such as very cold in the winter or very hot in the summer. Package handlers typically work full time, but some may work part time, evenings, or weekends. Overtime may be required during busy times, such as holidays.

Package Handler Trends

Here are three trends influencing how package handlers work. Package handlers will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Growth of e-Commerce

The growth of e-commerce is a trend that is having a major impact on the shipping industry. As more and more people shop online, the demand for package handlers will continue to grow.

Package handlers can capitalize on this trend by becoming experts in shipping packages for e-commerce companies. They can also focus on developing relationships with these companies so that they are the first choice when it comes to shipping packages.

More Automation

As automation becomes more prevalent in the workplace, package handlers will need to learn how to work with machines. This includes learning how to operate automated systems and understanding how to use them to their full potential.

In addition to working with automation, package handlers will also need to be able to work quickly and efficiently. This means that they will need to be able to identify and prioritize tasks quickly and accurately.

Increased Security Measures

As businesses become more concerned about security, they are increasingly turning to package handlers as a way to handle deliveries safely.

This trend is likely to continue as businesses become even more concerned about the safety of their products and data. Package handlers who are able to adapt to these changes will be in high demand in the years to come.

How to Become a Package Handler

There are many different paths you can take to become a package handler. You could start off as a mail carrier, then move up the ranks to become a supervisor or manager. Or you could start off as a warehouse worker and work your way up the ladder to become a supervisor or manager.

No matter which path you choose, it’s important to have a strong work ethic and be willing to learn new things. Package handlers must be able to lift heavy boxes and packages, so you should be physically fit and have good endurance. It’s also important to be able to work independently and stay focused on the task at hand.

Related: How to Write a Package Handler Resume

Advancement Prospects

There are many opportunities for advancement for package handlers. After gaining experience, package handlers may be promoted to lead package handler positions, which involve supervising other package handlers and coordinating work flow. With further experience, package handlers may be promoted to supervisory positions, such as shift supervisor or operations supervisor. Some package handlers may also advance to management positions, such as facility manager.

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