Newly hired and need suggestions

kelker11

New member
Hi Everyone,
This is my first post, and I need advice and suggestions on how to improve my delivery time. I'm hoping with all the experience on this board that you can help. I was hired in April, 2019, as an RCA, and after finishing all my training, I started at my post office the last week of April. I really like this job, and I want to keep it. But I'm worried because I'm unable to finish my route by 5:00pm about 80% of the time. I am nearing my 60 days of actual working time right now.

Problem #1
So quickly, this is how my morning goes...I come in at 7:00am (and work the first hour for free because they don't start paying until 8). First, I mark my large packages and SPRs, and when I finish with what's available, I start on my hot mail, bulk items (not sure what they're called, but the newspapers, periodicals, and catalogs), and the mail from the A-frame. Next, I take the large boxes to my truck (a POV) and load the back half of the route. Then, I start sorting the DPS. This is my problem area because while I'm sorting the Hot Mail (etc) and loading the boxes in my truck, FEDEX, UPS, and some other delivery truck I can't think of the name of right now, comes...so when its time for me to start DPS, I also have more boxes to mark. In addition, we get another usps truck between 9:30 and 10--and this truck always has more boxes and SPRs, and we get more hot mail and flats at this time also. So I usually stop DPS to work on all that. The experienced carriers are ALL out by 10:15-10:30. I can case the DPS pretty well (I do have the case memorized), but I'm very slow pulling it down. I have a single cab truck that's been converted to right hand drive, so I have no room for more that one tray of mail...meaning I have to case. If you all see problems with what I'm doing, please offer suggestions, because as I mentioned, I want to keep this job and my post master is making polite but threatening comments (he speaks politely, but the gist is "do you want to keep working here"). I'm usually out a few minutes before 11:00, but if mail or boxes are especially heavy, its sometimes 11:30-12:00 before I leave the post office.

Problem #2
My delivery speed is actually my biggest problem. I have six rows of box numbers in my case (is that standard in all Post Offices?), with a total of 592 stops. So basically, 100 stops per row. Its takes me approximately an hour to do each row...which means I need a minimum of six hours of delivery time each day I work. I drive faster than feels safe, and when I have some distance until my next box, I zoom along. My mail is crissed-crossed, so I don't look through it. But no matter what, it still takes six hours. Its a disaster on the days I don't leave the post office until after 11, because I already know I'm not going to be back on time. This is made worse when I have lots of large parcels as that means parking and getting out at that stop. We are all supposed to be back by 5:00 as that's when the truck leaves with the first class (the driver is super nice and has waited up until 5:30 for us to get there). The last two people that were hired before me were hired in November of 2018...and even when I leave the post office in the morning before them, they still beat me back in the afternoons. In fact, I'm always the last one back.

Like I said, I really like this job. I want to keep it. There is enough work at this location to keep everyone working five days a week, but I'm only getting two or three days while the other RCA's are getting five or six. I do understand why, but I want to improve 1) so I don't get fired, and 2) because I'd like more hours. I know I'm not quite at 60 days yet, but the way the supervisor and post master act, it's like I'm WAY behind the curve...and since no one has been hired since I started, I have nothing to compare my against. So please, if you know any tips or procedures to help, tell me!
 

Sandygirl

Well-known member
Hi Everyone,
This is my first post, and I need advice and suggestions on how to improve my delivery time. I'm hoping with all the experience on this board that you can help. I was hired in April, 2019, as an RCA, and after finishing all my training, I started at my post office the last week of April. I really like this job, and I want to keep it. But I'm worried because I'm unable to finish my route by 5:00pm about 80% of the time. I am nearing my 60 days of actual working time right now.

Problem #1
So quickly, this is how my morning goes...I come in at 7:00am (and work the first hour for free because they don't start paying until 8). First, I mark my large packages and SPRs, and when I finish with what's available, I start on my hot mail, bulk items (not sure what they're called, but the newspapers, periodicals, and catalogs), and the mail from the A-frame. Next, I take the large boxes to my truck (a POV) and load the back half of the route. Then, I start sorting the DPS. This is my problem area because while I'm sorting the Hot Mail (etc) and loading the boxes in my truck, FEDEX, UPS, and some other delivery truck I can't think of the name of right now, comes...so when its time for me to start DPS, I also have more boxes to mark. In addition, we get another usps truck between 9:30 and 10--and this truck always has more boxes and SPRs, and we get more hot mail and flats at this time also. So I usually stop DPS to work on all that. The experienced carriers are ALL out by 10:15-10:30. I can case the DPS pretty well (I do have the case memorized), but I'm very slow pulling it down. I have a single cab truck that's been converted to right hand drive, so I have no room for more that one tray of mail...meaning I have to case. If you all see problems with what I'm doing, please offer suggestions, because as I mentioned, I want to keep this job and my post master is making polite but threatening comments (he speaks politely, but the gist is "do you want to keep working here"). I'm usually out a few minutes before 11:00, but if mail or boxes are especially heavy, its sometimes 11:30-12:00 before I leave the post office.

Problem #2
My delivery speed is actually my biggest problem. I have six rows of box numbers in my case (is that standard in all Post Offices?), with a total of 592 stops. So basically, 100 stops per row. Its takes me approximately an hour to do each row...which means I need a minimum of six hours of delivery time each day I work. I drive faster than feels safe, and when I have some distance until my next box, I zoom along. My mail is crissed-crossed, so I don't look through it. But no matter what, it still takes six hours. Its a disaster on the days I don't leave the post office until after 11, because I already know I'm not going to be back on time. This is made worse when I have lots of large parcels as that means parking and getting out at that stop. We are all supposed to be back by 5:00 as that's when the truck leaves with the first class (the driver is super nice and has waited up until 5:30 for us to get there). The last two people that were hired before me were hired in November of 2018...and even when I leave the post office in the morning before them, they still beat me back in the afternoons. In fact, I'm always the last one back.

Like I said, I really like this job. I want to keep it. There is enough work at this location to keep everyone working five days a week, but I'm only getting two or three days while the other RCA's are getting five or six. I do understand why, but I want to improve 1) so I don't get fired, and 2) because I'd like more hours. I know I'm not quite at 60 days yet, but the way the supervisor and post master act, it's like I'm WAY behind the curve...and since no one has been hired since I started, I have nothing to compare my against. So please, if you know any tips or procedures to help, tell me!
Find someone in your office to make specific suggestions on how to handle the multiple trucks coming in and to observe you and make suggestions on what you need to do...the fact that you want to so better is reason for you to stick around best of luck.
 

kelker11

New member
Find someone in your office to make specific suggestions on how to handle the multiple trucks coming in and to observe you and make suggestions on what you need to do...the fact that you want to so better is reason for you to stick around best of luck.
I have. Almost without exception, I'm told, "Go faster". Others said they had no advice to offer, or that while casing the DPS, I should wear gloves ( I use tacky finger as gloves make my hands sweat). I even went to the supervisor and Post Master...supervisor said she didn't really know what to say, and the Post Master hasn't ever delivered mail (how can you be post master without delivering mail??). This lack of help and advice is why I'm seeking outside sources. I know everyone is busy and on a tight timeline, but telling me to go faster isn't very helpful.
 

DB.Cooper

Well-known member
I've had a "new" sub for almost 6 months now... I don't think they've ever run my route entirely by themself yet... they just split it for them... so tell them you need some help until you get the hang of it... seems to work fine for some... :unsure:
 

Sandygirl

Well-known member
no one in our office uses rubber gloves, I use rubber thumb. my office is small, so my advice my not be sound. Can you do DPS and flats and raw mail while all other packages / trucks arrive then tackle all the packages at one time...case EVERY small package you can... us package lookahead to help you organize packages that will not fit in the case into trays? Use load function on the scanner if it will tell you a number place them in trays according to the shelf numbers... write the street name and number on the end of the large packages with black marker and place in vehicle so you can see them quickly.…use markers for packages in trays...small for ones in trays....large ones for ones in back of vehicle....try not panic.... you are very new at this... do what you a doing seek information from this site ….. it takes time lots of time... try to get your regular MORE involved.... she /he needs you so he/she can have time off... I will check on you tomorrow night... let me know how many routes in your office we have only 8 but I will help if I can..
 

johnwayne

Active member
why is it so disorganized? every office ive ever worked in..presort flats first..then raw flats. then raw letters. then dps. packages last. When i mark my packages, i try to put them as close to route order as i can get the large packages. but i work in small offices. so im not in everyone elses way. i case as many small packages as i can. then try to put the packages that will fit in the box in close to route order too. how do you pull down? i learned with straps. probably the slowest way to do it. imo. i started using flat tubs, and turning each bundle of mail a quarter turn. this way i can put almost every package that will fit in a mailbox right in with the persons mail. helps a lot out on the route when you dont have to rummage through 20 small packages to find the one you need. when i started..i put a number on the flat tub for the order it came on the route. now that i know the route, i dont have to do that anymore.
 

Morty

Well-known member
🤔 Is this real?

1) DPS to the street, learn it. Case everything standing up. If only flats, pulldown goes much faster. You can work DPS out of a 1/2 tray.

2) for pkgs, Get a little flip notepad. I mark down the house #, and street abreviation if not a unique #. I write in 3 columns: beginning, middle, end. You could also go by rows. Your package lookahead if setup correctly will put it in rows. You can use a sharpie and mark each pkg 1,2,3,4,5,6. Anyways, these are ways to avoid marking parcels. I don't mark my large, i use my notepad.

Put your smalls in a tub, standing up, in route order. Your choice on marking these.

Once you're past your 90 days, then we can offer some dangerous advice.
 

Skierstmoritz

Well-known member
My biggest timesaver came when I learned the case, I no longer marked any packages. I case the smalls that fit in the case, put the smalls that don't fit in the case, but do fit in the mailbox, in a deep dish plastic tray in delivery order. All large packages I load in delivery order, no marking. You will be surprised but your mind will adapt and you will miss a few at first, but pretty soon, you will remember them all or at least learn how to ck for nxt package. No more markers, no more writing down package numbers, none of that timewasting stuff. We average 140- 170 pkgs/route this time of year. Good luck, you have the right attitude.
Shame on the regulars for not giving you time-saving tips. We need rcas, want to transfer at some point? You would be welcomed with open arms and a mighty hallelujah! Kind of with morty on this one??? Real, or not
 

Morty

Well-known member
If you can learn not to mark pkg, that's a real time saver! With DPS to the street and not marking, you could be on the street within 30 minutes of showing up.

Show up 7:00, leave 7:30. Then come back and get paid for 2nd trip instead of working for free.
 

lbpd16

Well-known member
My routine goes like this:

get in at 7, get my tubs of mail and my flats and case them. Next I case my DPS. Lastly I go through the packages. Most routes I know I do not mark them or use parcel markers. I know in my head where breaks in the route are and use tubs for each "section" of the route. I make sure to ALWAYS have the next package on my lap. For routes i'm not familiar with I use the ABC/123 method. Left wing of the case is A, center is B, right wing is C, and bottom row is 1, next up is 2...etc. For packages I use a parcel marker and mark the package with the appropriate code. For example, the 2nd row from the bottom on the left wing would be "2A". And each like number goes in its own tub for smalls. 1A, 1B, 1C etc go in the tub for 1's. For the large packages I mark them the same but put them in order in the vehicle. All 1's, then all 2's etc. This method works well. Once you know the route well enough you may not need to mark them or use parcel markers. As for markers, I use the yellow half cards, not sure what they are used for but they are half the height of a "hold mail" card, as my small package parcel marker since its small. I use the big green "vacant" cards as my large parcel markers. They are good because you can write on them if you have to unlike the typical plastic parcel markers.

When I pull down I start from the last box and pull to the start of the route. I use tubs and double stack my mail. It makes for a heavy tub but it takes up much less space.

We also had late trucks for a while. The last few months both trucks were in and gone by 7am. But when they would be late it was a disaster.

Your office seems very unorganized and obviously your management has no idea how to make it better.

DO NOT rush to make it back for the truck. They know you are new and need help. Its management's problem to make sure you have help. If you rush and have any kind of accident they will blame you and probably fire you unless your 90 days are up.

If they ask you to resign....DO NOT. Thats their easy way of trying to get rid of you. Force them to fire you. They most likely will back down. If they truly have a reason to fire you they will, they will not ask you to resign.

DO NOT come in early and work for free. You are screwing yourself out of alot of hours. And obviously management does not care if they are hinting at firing you anyway.

I think jumping back and forth from mail to packages to loading and back again is causing you alot of time.

At the end of the day, the USPS is just a clown show run by a bunch of unintelligent boobs.
 

Oi veh.

Moderator
Staff member
Problem #1
I come in at 7:00am (and work the first hour for free because they don't start paying until 8).
Please, for the love of the craft, stop this immediately. You are harming every carrier in the country with this practice.

You will get faster with time. Dont let anyone pressure you. If you are feeling pressured/harrassed, reach out to your ADR.

Don't load out until you are all pulled down. You are costing yourself time right there.

And you can save yourself loads of time by not casing DPS. There are 2 trains of thought on casing DPS...some feel it's safer to case. I personally do not case because I'm not getting paid to do it and it just adds to the time I have to be in the office.

If it makes you feel any better, I've been doing this for a while and am still the last one back. Take pride in doing your job well. It takes time to do it right. :)
 

btdtret

Well-known member
kelker11 -- Without knowing the classification ( H, J or K ) of your route, I'd say you are doing pretty good for someone with 2 months on the job.

- Good thing you waited to post until now, otherwise the advice probably would have been -- run away ASAP!!
- You like the job now -- not to worry, manglement will beat that out of you soon enough.
- Having a right hand drive vehicle helps. Guessing you have some type of cover for the back of the pickup as the mail has to be protected.
- As noted by "Oi veh" your coming in an hour early to work ( working off the clock ) is hurting you and the NRLCA. The 4240 indicates you are doing the route in 9+ hours when actually it is 10+ hours. You are already giving the USPS free work as it is, don't give them more -- they will expect it the future.
- Other parcel drops could be Amazon or DHL.
- Case your mail before dealing with parcels or at least load parcels at one time.
- Marking parcels is the safest way to remember which address has a parcel when first starting out.
- Try putting two trays of mail on the seat. It will save a few minutes ( and that is what you should be looking for -- how to save time on the street ).
- Don't add pressure to your day by comparing your leaving times to others - who have been doing this longer than you.
- 592 stops -- sounds like 3 full cases, maybe two with a wing -- depending on address spacing.
- Probably stopping to deliver parcels is a major contributor to your time on the street.
- Don't speed -- the scanner will tell on you.
- When manglement hints ( threatens ) you should work faster - ask for pointers.
- Even though you are still on your probationary period ( 90 work days or one calendar year ), contact your Assistant District Representative if you feel manglement is threatening you about keeping your job. Numerous USPS policies in place regarding bullying, threats, etc. Those should be posted on an office bulleting board.
- Back in 2015, the Postmaster General put out the word that RCA's are to "keep RCA's at all costs". Meaning manglement has to notify someone higher up the food chain when firing an RCA.
- Give manglement a text or call, letting them know they should send someone out to get the mail you have collected. With the tracking program, they will know about where you are or will be.
- If you miss the Dispatch Truck, manglement could order you to take the mail to the plant -- be sure to note the distance and time as they have to pay you for the trip.
- In the past, carriers have posted of making a two-tier rack out of PVC pipe or other material - one for DPS and one for pull-down mail.
- If you are getting serveral days of work a week, then it is not all on your assigned route. Adjusting to different routes will slow you down.
- Someone is ALWAYS going to be the last one back. Just keep doing the best you can and some day that won't be you.
- Ask your fellow carriers for pointers. As you have discovered, manglement usually has nothing to add. If manglement mentions they were a carrier at one time, probably could not hack it as a city carrier.
- Hang in there.
 

EthelAnne

Well-known member
why is it so disorganized? every office ive ever worked in..presort flats first..then raw flats. then raw letters. then dps. packages last.
Agreed. I've never seen anyone work packages first, etc., as you are doing, @kelker11. Is there limited office space that requires you to move the parcels out of the building to make room for the rest that come in later? If not, parcels--since they're sorted last--should be dealt with last for efficiency.

We could all chime in here on how we do the job in our offices--unfortunately, I don't think that's going to be very helpful to you since the circumstances each carrier finds themselves in are so different (some routes get lots of parcels, some routes get lots of box holders, some routes are high volume/short mileage, other routes are long mileage) that any advice we could give may not apply to the route you're working.

Every new RCA thinks there is some "magic trick" that they just don't know yet that will make them faster/more efficient. There isn't one. With experience, you get better at the job and the time it takes you to do it diminishes. Also, what your co-workers are telling you--"work faster"--is not bad advice. Working with a sense of urgency is important.

And stop driving unsafely. This job is not worth your life. It takes the time that it takes. Keep at it, and you'll see your time improve. Stop focusing on speed, and work on accuracy and efficiency.
 

HardearnedTan

Well-known member
Staff member
Organization is the key. Try to do everything in the same order every time, no matter what route you're doing. As others have suggested, it's easiest to start with the presort (plastic wrapped or bundled) flats, then your raw flats, then letter sized. If you take DPS to the street you can work on checking through that next, maybe you need to break it down into half trays to fit better in you vehicle. If you're casing it, then do it right after the raw flats. Then get your parcels and small baggie type pkgs and anything flat or flexible enough to go in the case, put it in the case in front of the mail for that address.
Work your larger pkgs last, and mark if you like to, or make a list to have with you on your dash to refer to on the street. Try to load in order or at least in areas of order, you can rearrange better as you free up some space along the way.
Think of the route in areas, like thirds or fourths of the route in total, and you only have to worry about a small portion of the route at a time.

With repetition and familiarity you will gains efficiency and speed. You have to find your own "groove" that makes things flow best for you, but loading pkgs several times in the morning is definitely going to be a time drag and an unnecessary frustration for you!
 

C$$

Active member
Every carrier does it differently. Keep at it, you will find what works best for you.

The biggest on route time sink I've seen (besides chitchat) is package hunting. How many times do you touch a package between when you load it and when you deliver it? Ideally that number should be ZERO. Once or twice to rearrange is acceptable, but if you are consistently hunting when you pull up to deliver a package, that can eat up a lot of time. Like Tan said, divide and conquer is key. Maybe even consider cargo netting to physically separate the sections of the route.
 

formerlyknownas

Active member
First off you are doing fine. You have to cut yourself some slack:) Speed comes with time. I kinda do it like a little kid at dinner with a divided plate. I do dps first, flats, raw and hot case. Then I do my packages. The gal next to me use to do her packages every time one got thrown in her cart. She looked like an ant. Come up with a method that works for you. Back when I first started it would take me 1/2 hour to 45 min to throw up a tray of dps. I can now do it in 15 min....but, it all takes time. Good luck, you are fabulous!!!
 

Rt2mailman

Well-known member
You have no problems, your managers do. You most likely are on a route that is evaluated at 8.7 or 9.2 hours a day. That means with a lunch the evaluation of your route doesn't fit into the 8-5 time slot. New employees commonly work longer than the evaluation of their route, therefore tell your managers he they want you back by 5, you need to have YOUR start time changed to 6:30 or 7, nor your "fake" start time your real one. I've worked as a rural carrier for 34 years and know a hand full of carriers that can work faster than their evaluation with the current Amazon/ UPS/ Fed-X parcel load.
You won't be fired if you keep working at getting better because your managers need you , remember one has never delivered, so he is below you on postal knowledge.
 
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