Hiring commercial drivers can be a costly and lengthy process, but when you secure a contract with the USPS, you significantly increase hiring complexity for your business. There is much more to being a driver for USPS mail hauling than just driving. Your drivers must not only be eligible to drive per USPS regulations, but they must undergo the Postal Service badge application process, which is a type of government security clearance. Only after they have that clearance can your drivers handle US mail and access US Postal facilities. While certifying drivers can open doors for your business, it also means lengthy background checks, ongoing screenings, and periodic recertification.
Whether you’re staffing for long-distance, regional or local USPS delivery, be sure to keep these five critical things in mind.
1. The basics – eligibility to drive
For the most part, requirements for USPS drivers closely mirror CDL requirements. Contracted drivers for the USPS must meet the following criteria:
- Demonstrate or provide proof of adequate driving experience over expected types of terrain and weather
- Be 18 years old and have at least 2 years of driving experience
- No pending proceedings for suspension of driver’s license, nor had his or her license suspended for any moving violation within the last 3 years
- Not have had his or her driver’s license revoked for reasons other than moving violations within the last 5 years
- No pending driving under the influence (DUI) proceedings
Additional factors that could affect eligibility include reckless driving, at-fault accidents, leaving the scene, and speeding. The Postal Service considers legal cases, with the exception of DUI, only upon conviction. Any active DUI case, regardless of case status, automatically results in application denial.
2. Mail handlers must be certified as drug-free
Any driver who handles US mail must pass a screening test for the five most abused substances, including:
- Phencyclidine (PCP)
The USPS does not accept drug tests not conducted by SAMHSA-approved and -certified laboratories. Be sure to check the Postal Service Management Instruction, Screening Highway Transportation Contractor Personnel section, prior to driver screening, as regulations can and do change.
2. USPS workers are held to a high legal standard
Protecting the US mail system is of critical importance, and as such, the USPS holds drivers to a high legal standard. Not every CDL holder may qualify under the strict rules and regulations set forth by the US Post Master General. During the application process, drivers must provide fingerprints and subject themselves to a full five-year criminal background check, across every city, state, and country in which they have lived. If your drivers fall into any of these categories, they will not be granted the clearance need to access mail or Postal Service facilities if they:
- Are the subject of an outstanding warrant
- Were convicted of illegally using, possessing, selling, or transferring controlled substances within the past 5 years
- Had a felony criminal charge within the past 5 years
- Were convicted of offenses involving dishonesty, moral turpitude, financial gain, or assault within the past 5 years
- Are on parole, probation, under a suspended sentence, or have pending charges for any criminal activity listed in items 2, 3, or 4
- Have an established pattern of criminal conduct that could undermine the efficiency of the Postal Service or the safety of its employees
- Have been convicted of, under investigation for, or under indictment for stealing mail or other postal crimes
This list is not exhaustive. During background checks, the USPS may determine if your drivers have committed other postal crimes, including a cease and desist order for mail fraud activity, a temporary restraining order, or a final restraining order for mail fraud activity. Additionally, the Postal Service denies access to mail and Postal Service facilities in areas where they cannot determine the criminal history of an applicant.
3. For USPS drivers, their residency could matter
Applicants who are not U.S. citizens, but are legally authorized to work in the United States, must have resided continuously in the United States for 5 years before submitting an application for USPS contractor status. The applicant must include his or her resident alien number on the application.
4. Transparency is key
Because a postal badge is a form of security clearance, honesty and transparency are deciding factors in a successful application process. If your drivers omit critical information, their clearance can be denied at the time of application, or revoked during an incident investigation or at the time of renewal. Listed below are some of the ways drivers might have their badge denied or revoked. Note that this is not an exhaustive list.
- Refuses to provide information that would aid in determining qualifications for a security clearance
- Fired from prior employment with cause
- Make false or deceptive statements on their Postal Service application
- Known for the habitual use of intoxicating beverages or they frequently drink to excess
- Any other circumstance that makes them unfit to do business with the Postal Service
5. There’s an easier way to find drivers for USPS mail hauling
F|Staff is your answer to driver hiring complexity, including for USPS mail hauling drivers. When you use F|Staff to staff your trucks, we’ve already done the hard work for you. USPS drivers through F|Staff carry postal badges and we maintain their credentials. All you need to do is post your job and a qualified driver comes to you, ready to drive. You only pay for the driver’s time you use. And F|Staff lets you staff your trucks your way — long-distance, regional, local, part-time, full time, temporary, temp-to-hire… you can do it through one, simple smartphone interface. This isn’t a job board, and it’s not a staffing contract. It’s real, on-demand staffing, created for dynamic trucking businesses that are fueled by flexibility.
Are you ready to get your USPS contract out of the yard and on the road? Give F|Staff a try. It’s free to download and easy to set up, and if you need help, our crew is ready to walk you through it.