A lift driver is responsible for operating warehouse machines and vehicles, especially on loading and unloading items from distribution trucks and transporting the merchandise to different parts of the warehouse. Lift drivers inspect the efficiency and reliability of the machines, ensuring its operational and optimal performance to avoid production delays. They also verify the number of products for distribution according to the order requests and shipment details. A lift driver must be highly-organized, as well as having excellent time-management skills to perform duties and meet strict production schedules.

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Lift Driver Responsibilities

Here are examples of responsibilities from real lift driver resumes representing typical tasks they are likely to perform in their roles.

  • Install and repair automobile hoists in the Michigan and Indiana area for various auto dealerships.
  • Demonstrate problem solving activities by handling problem pallets to final resolution.
  • Warehouse safety, operation/inspection of RR truck, replenishing/pulling/putting away pallets of merchandise, problem solving and cleaning
  • Utilize hi-lo truck and dollies to move and distribute product to designate warehouse areas or line side.
  • Put away merchandise using forklifts while utilizing WMS for location verification.

Lift Driver Job Description

When it comes to understanding what a lift driver does, you may be wondering, "should I become a lift driver?" The data included in this section may help you decide. Compared to other jobs, lift drivers have a growth rate described as "as fast as average" at 4% between the years 2018 - 2028, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. In fact, the number of lift driver opportunities that are predicted to open up by 2028 is 32,600.

A lift driver annual salary averages $34,457, which breaks down to $16.57 an hour. However, lift drivers can earn anywhere from upwards of $27,000 to $43,000 a year. This means that the top-earning lift drivers make $11,000 more than the lowest-earning ones.

It's hard work to become a lift driver, but even the most dedicated employees consider switching careers from time to time. Whether you're interested in a more challenging position or just looking for a fresh start, we've compiled extensive information on becoming a warehouse labour, warehouse machine operator, pallet jack operator, and machine operator/forklift operator.

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Lift Driver Skills and Personality Traits

We calculated that 24% of Lift Drivers are proficient in Fork-Lift, Pallets, and Safety Standards. They’re also known for soft skills such as Alertness, Communication skills, and Coordination.

We break down the percentage of Lift Drivers that have these skills listed on their resume here:

  • Fork-Lift, 24%

    Used fork-lift to stock and collect orders.

  • Pallets, 20%

    Demonstrated problem solving activities by handling problem pallets to final resolution.

  • Safety Standards, 8%

    Worked independently following policies and procedures to stock products Maintained safety standards while operating the Fork Lift

  • Load Trucks, 7%

    Operated hydraulic jacks to transport material through plant printed labels for packages, load and unload trucks, general maintenance duties.

  • Electric Pallet Jack, 6%

    Performed routine preventative maintenance on assigned equipment and industrial equipment such as order pickers, forklifts, and electric pallet jacks.

  • Hand Trucks, 6%

    Transport packages to and from storage areas using hoists and hand trucks fork lifts.

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"fork-lift," "pallets," and "safety standards" aren't the only skills we found lift drivers list on their resumes. In fact, there's a whole list of lift driver responsibilities that we found, including:

  • Arguably the most important personality trait for a lift driver to have happens to be alertness. An example from a resume said this about the skill, "material moving machine operators must be aware of their surroundings while operating machinery." Additionally, other resumes have pointed out that lift drivers can use alertness to "load and unload trucks and organize the warehouse skills used organization, fork lift skills, alertness, attention to details"
  • Another trait important for fulfilling lift driver duties is communication skills. According to a lift driver resume, "material moving machine operators signal and direct workers to load and unload material." Here's an example of how lift drivers are able to utilize communication skills: "processed customer orders loaded and unloaded trucks in a timely manner skilled at dispatch communication"
  • Another skill that is quite popular among lift drivers is coordination. This skill is very critical to fulfilling every day responsibilities as is shown in this example from a lift driver resume: "material moving machine operators should have steady hands and feet to guide and control heavy machinery precisely" This example from a resume shows how this skill is used: "maintained good communication with supervisors, managers, and co-workers for proper safety procedures and coordination of various shipments. "
  • In order for certain lift driver responsibilities to be completed, the job requires the skill "mechanical skills." According to a lift driver resume, "material moving machine operators make minor adjustments to their machines and perform basic maintenance on them." As an example, this snippet was taken directly from a resume about how this skill applies: "worked with fabrication mechanical engineers to establish a blueprint for the departmental storage locations of parts. "
  • As part of the lift driver description, you might find that one of the skills that might be helpful to the job is "visual ability." A lift driver resume included this snippet: "material moving machine operators must be able to see clearly where they are driving or what they are moving" This skill could be useful in this scenario: "verify through visual check, that correct material is in place to support production schedule. "
  • See the full list of lift driver skills.

    The lift drivers who went onto college to earn a more in-depth education generally studied business and general studies, while a small population of lift drivers studied criminal justice and automotive technology.

    Once you're ready to become a lift driver, you should explore the companies that typically hire lift drivers. According to lift driver resumes that we searched through, lift drivers are hired the most by Sheridan, Boasso America, and International Paper. Currently, Sheridan has 25 lift driver job openings, while there are 4 at Boasso America and 4 at International Paper.

    But if you're interested in companies where you might earn a high salary, lift drivers tend to earn the biggest salaries at Clearwater Paper, Valmont Industries, and Pactiv. Take Clearwater Paper for example. The median lift driver salary is $46,234. At Valmont Industries, lift drivers earn an average of $43,651, while the average at Pactiv is $41,253. You should take into consideration how difficult it might be to secure a job with one of these companies.

    View more details on lift driver salaries across the United States.

    Some other companies you might be interested in as a lift driver include Walmart, FedEx, and The Home Depot. These three companies were found to hire the most lift drivers from the top 100 U.S. educational institutions.

    The three companies that hire the most prestigious lift drivers are:

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    What Warehouse Labours Do

    Warehouse labour workers are responsible for organizing shipment details by processing the correct quantity of orders, ensuring that the items are free from any defects and mislabeling. Warehouse labourers prepare the items for packaging efficiently, update the inventory records, and escalate production discrepancy to the management for immediate resolution. They should also strictly adhere to the production area's safety regulations, especially on loading and unloading items, and moving each package to appropriate shelves using warehouse equipment.

    We looked at the average lift driver annual salary and compared it with the average of a warehouse labour. Generally speaking, warehouse labours receive $2,711 lower pay than lift drivers per year.

    While the salaries between these two careers can be different, they do share some of the same responsibilities. Employees in both lift drivers and warehouse labours positions are skilled in pallets, safety standards, and load trucks.

    There are some key differences in responsibilities as well. For example, a lift driver responsibilities require skills like "fork-lift," "rf scanner," "selector," and "storage locations." Meanwhile a typical warehouse labour has skills in areas such as "customer service," "basic math," "osha," and "cleanliness." This difference in skills reveals how truly different these two careers really are.

    Warehouse labours receive the highest salaries in the technology industry coming in with an average yearly salary of $33,085. But lift drivers are paid more in the automotive industry with an average salary of $38,145.

    The education levels that warehouse labours earn is a bit different than that of lift drivers. In particular, warehouse labours are 0.1% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree than a lift driver. Additionally, they're 0.1% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    What Are The Duties Of a Warehouse Machine Operator?

    Warehouse machine operators perform various tasks for their employers. These include setting up, operating, monitoring, and troubleshooting machinery, inspecting parts for specifications and any potential damage, and reading and interpreting diagrams and blueprints to position and secure the machines. They are expected to communicate with other team members and provide support for continuous production. Most employers are looking to hire someone with knowledge of production and safety procedures, previous experience as a machine operator, and analytical skills.

    Now we're going to look at the warehouse machine operator profession. On average, warehouse machine operators earn a $661 lower salary than lift drivers a year.

    Not everything about these jobs is different. Take their skills, for example. Lift drivers and warehouse machine operators both include similar skills like "safety standards," "load trucks," and "electric pallet jack" on their resumes.

    In addition to the difference in salary, there are some other key differences that are worth noting. For example, lift driver responsibilities are more likely to require skills like "fork-lift," "pallets," "safety rules," and "selector." Meanwhile, a warehouse machine operator might be skilled in areas such as "basic math," "shipping receiving," "forklift operation," and "warehouse operations." These differences highlight just how different the day-to-day in each role looks.

    On average, warehouse machine operators earn a lower salary than lift drivers. There are industries that support higher salaries in each profession respectively. Interestingly enough, warehouse machine operators earn the most pay in the manufacturing industry with an average salary of $36,642. Whereas, lift drivers have higher paychecks in the automotive industry where they earn an average of $38,145.

    In general, warehouse machine operators study at similar levels of education than lift drivers. They're 0.4% less likely to obtain a Master's Degree while being 0.1% more likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    How a Pallet Jack Operator Compares

    A machine operator/forklift operator is responsible for operating industrial trucks to move merchandise around the warehouse facilities and other assigned areas. Machine operators/forklift operators also assist with inventory tasks by scanning orders and ensuring the correct merchandise for shipment. They manage the stability of the vehicles, ensuring its efficiency and optimization during operations, performing engine repairs for any inconsistencies to avoid delays on deliveries. A machine operator/forklift operator should strictly follow the safety protocols of the business, as well as have knowledge of the mechanical industry.

    Let's now take a look at the pallet jack operator profession. On average, these workers make lower salaries than lift drivers with a $359 difference per year.

    Using lift drivers and pallet jack operators resumes, we found that both professions have similar skills such as "pallets," "load trucks," and "electric pallet jack," but the other skills required are very different.

    There are many key differences between these two careers as shown by resumes from each profession. Some of those differences include the skills required to complete responsibilities within each role. As an example of this, a lift driver is likely to be skilled in "fork-lift," "safety standards," "safety rules," and "unload materials," while a typical pallet jack operator is skilled in "basic math," "warehouse environment," "quality standards," and "safety procedures."

    Interestingly enough, pallet jack operators earn the most pay in the manufacturing industry, where they command an average salary of $36,680. As mentioned previously, lift drivers highest annual salary comes from the automotive industry with an average salary of $38,145.

    Pallet jack operators typically study at similar levels compared with lift drivers. For example, they're 0.4% less likely to graduate with a Master's Degree, and 0.3% less likely to earn a Doctoral Degree.

    Description Of a Machine Operator/Forklift Operator

    The fourth career we look at typically earns lower pay than lift drivers. On average, machine operator/forklift operators earn a difference of $2,005 lower per year.

    According to resumes from both lift drivers and machine operator/forklift operators, some of the skills necessary to complete the responsibilities of each role are similar. These skills include "safety standards," "load trucks," and "electric pallet jack. "

    Each job requires different skills like "fork-lift," "pallets," "hand trucks," and "rf scanner," which might show up on a lift driver resume. Whereas machine operator/forklift operator might include skills like "machine operation," "cnc," "quality checks," and "sit-down forklift."

    In general, machine operator/forklift operators make a higher salary in the automotive industry with an average of $36,711. The highest lift driver annual salary stems from the automotive industry.

    Machine operator/forklift operators reach similar levels of education when compared to lift drivers. The difference is that they're 0.2% more likely to earn a Master's Degree less, and 0.0% less likely to graduate with a Doctoral Degree.