Thursday, October 1, 2009


Let me preface this post by saying that I pride myself on my navigation skills and knowledge of my trade area. I love to be the guy who can answer any question anyone has: "2450 Westwood? 3rd house on the left, yellow house with a detached garage, white Trailblazer and orange Wrangler in the driveway."

That being said, there was a craigslist ad that irked me:

Local Pizza place looking for delivery driver to work evening and weekends. Must have gps and reliable vehicle. If interested please reply to posted email with contact information and phone number. Thanks

So I responded with an ad of my own:

Real delivery drivers don't use GPS. We use maps for a couple weeks to a month, and then we have our areas all but memorized. We laugh at GPS delivery drivers. You typically only have a 2-3 mile radius to learn, so a simple area map will do the job.

GPS slows you down and stops you from learning the best route to your destination. By the time you have your address programmed into your GPS, I am already at the house. I look at an ad like this and I see "Person needed to add 2 digit numbers together. Must have TI-84 or above graphing calculator".

As a 50 hour/wk delivery driver, this is just a pet peeve of mine and I hope I have trained a green owner/manager how to better run a shop. Have a nice day, all.
I see my post lasted about 5 hours before it was flagged for removal. Oh well, I posted my opinion, and I know I'm right. I've worked with people that had GPS. Over a two month sample when I worked at Pizza Hut, I averaged a 16 minute trip time. Of the GPS drivers, none averaged better than 19 minutes during that time. 3 minutes per delivery might not seem like much, but over a night with 20 runs, I've beaten Joe Technology by an entire hour. That's a butt kicking.

I've found the best way to learn a trade area is to start with the main roads and numbering system/parameters. Just knowing this will be of tremendous help. Then learn what the main drags are in subdivisions and learn the side roads. This is where it ends for many veterans. But this is where I just begin to get my edge. Once you have the normal way to get somewhere, it is time to start experimenting. Slow days like Mondays and Tuesdays are great days to do this, as losing a few minutes on a gamble won't be detrimental to getting an order to its destination on time. I also learn the timing patterns of the traffic lights, which lights use a delay, what routes have fewer traffic lights, what routes involve more right than left turns, and which neighborhoods I can cut through to escape rush hour traffic. GPS won't do any of that for you. If this seems excessive, just remember that the 15 seconds I wasted could mean the other driver gets the Arlington triple with 3 known great tippers, and I get the single to BFE.

I need something snappy to go out on: Put that in your GPS and smoke it?