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Fedex vs UPS

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Well-known member
Feb 14, 2002
Looking for input as to who is better to work for: Fedex or UPS...both seem like great companies, but UPS appears to have the edge on retirement, work rules, and pay. Fedex looks like a better deal for first year pay and future expansion.
UPS might have a slight edge in pay, but how could you possibly construe better retirement and workrules? FedEx has an A-fund, UPS A-fund is a fraction of the size and offset by social security, UPS B-fund is bigger, but that's a lot of eggs in one basket, the overall mix for the FedEx retirement is a lot better, IMO. As to work rules, the list is too long to type here.
Alright so they get to wear leather jackets, no hat and fly around in purple airplanes. Does that make them better? Maybe they don't wear hats because most of their new hires are over 40 and losing their hair and the hat will cause substantial hair loss?

As far as the retirement goes I believe that whoever has the most recent contract will have the better pay and better retirement. Our contract comes due in 2003 and the retirement package is the number 1 issue on the table for the pilots, so that will be addressed.

Here is some info on UPS that some may not know.
1. We get paid the same no matter what plane you fly. So even the 727 guys/gals get widebody pay. Not bad
2. New hire pay sucks, but it is for 1 year and in the long run who really cares?
3. We operate about 40% of our flying daytime and 60% night time. (Not sure what the mix is at FedEx?)
4. Plus we get to wear brown clothes, brown shoes and a brown hat. And we have cool trucks.

IMHO, I would asy that you can't go wrong with either company should you be lucky enough to land a job. You will have a stable job for the rest of your flying career, and you don't have to worry about flight attendants?????

Good Luck
Another thing!

Lets not forget UPS is Has Dale Jaret to drive the truck! Go DJ! Lets hope he wins this weekend at Daytona!
We will see what happens wrt the retirement. Part of it is in the negotiating time frame and part of it is in the desires of the pilot group. That's why a few of the airlines, like NWA, DAL and US have traditionally highly loaded their A funds with little or no B fund, while others, like AA, UA and UPS have done the opposite. Which is a good idea depends on many variables that have to be in place when you personally retire.

FedEx day/night mix used to be more like UPS before the USPS contract. Now the domestic mix is a lot closer to 50/50.

As to other work rules, I'm referring to such things as allowing the company to deadhead you on company aircraft, hotel selection, etc. Also, do UPS pilots still have to dress up for recurrent ground school and other training activities?

I agree that both are good solid companies, so all of this is picking nits.
Food for thought!

Here are some key numbers from a BusinessWeek article from May 2001.


Founded 1907 / 1971
2000 Revenue 29.77 billion vs 18.3 billion
Net Income 2.93 billion vs 688 million
Employees 359,000 vs 215,000
Daily Volume 13.2 million vs 5 million
Fleet 152,500 Trucks vs 43,500 Trucks
560 Planes vs 662 Planes

Revenue Growth 8 % vs 6.25 %
Operating Margin 15 % vs 7 %
Return on Equity 28 % vs 14%

UPS earns more on each package here's why

Air Deliveries, U.S.
Fed Ex unit cost $15.27 Unit profit $.93 oper margin 6% Avg Vol 2.9Mil

UPS unit cost $14.60 unit profit $3.76 oper margin 22% avg vol 2.1 Mil

Ground Delivery U.S.

Fed Ex cost $4.77 profit $.68 margin 13% volume1.5 Mil
UPS cost $4.95 profit $.61 margin 11% volume 11 Mil

Overall Avg, Incl International

Fed Ex Cost $11.89 Profit $.85 Margin 7% Volume 4.7 Mil
UPS Cost $6.65 Profit $1.17 Margin 15% Volume 14.2 MM

To make a long story short UPS makes $1.17 on every package whereas Fed only makes $.85 on its packages.

That means UPS pockets $.32 more on every package and UPS delivers 10 million more packages on avg.

Additionally UPS Logistics Business is growing at 40% per year while Fed Ex is trying to stop a decline in their logistics business.

UPS overnight business is growing at 8% compared to Fed Ex 3.6% and this is Fed Ex bread and butter.

Fed Ex is dependant on Planes in its business model which is much more expensive than UPS reliance on ground deliveries and as you can see from the above numbers Fed Ex is no where near it its ability to deliver on the ground.

The article is about 5 pages and really breaks down the two companies.

You can get it on line from the Business Week web sight. The article is from May 21 2001.

Seems as though, even with the "overpaid" Teamsters, we are competing rather well.
For all you guys at UPS--good for you! You have a great job with a great company. Now go get a WORLD CLASS contract so FPA/ALPA or whoever negotiates with FedEx in 2004 can use your efforts as a benchmark for our new contract.

As for all the wannabes out there....company email says FedEx will hire 250 more this year. Not much hiring info on UPS, but it sounds like things are stagnant...at least for now. Just like the guys who compare FedEx to Delta, or United and American verses Southwest and JetBlue...you are p!ssing in the wind. Fedex, JetBlue, Airtran, and Southwest are the only guys hiring at the moment. If you want to work there...apply. If you ONLY want to work for AA, UAL, UPS, or DAL...you better have a backup plan for while.

The old Air Force axiom of "Flexibility is the Key to Airpower" certainly seems to apply to an airline career as well. May I suggest you apply to several carriers...and when you have 2 offers then agonize over your choice? I'm thrilled to be at FedEx, but UPS is a great company. If UPS was hiring and FedEx wasn't, I doubt I'd have held off applying to UPS simply because I liked FedEx.

If you want to fly freight, here is the good news. There are now 2 big players in the market. UPS competes with FedEx, and FedEx competes with UPS. There is a certain stabilty in the competition between the two companies. I like the odds at going 25 years with either one. On the other hand, the dog eat dog buy out dog eat dog getting eaten by another dog people moving business is a TOUGH game. I've met enough ex-Pan Am, ex-Braniff, and ex-Eastern guys in our training department to start to really appreciate the opportunity I have been given in the cargo business. Here's hoping there is enough business for all of us...

Fly safe.
No doubt that UPS is a strong company. No doubt about job security at UPS. Also, UPS pilots are some of the best guys/gals I have had the pleasure to associate with, and I hope the group continues to make great strides in their contracts, they 100% deserve it! UPS is a harder company to work for, the management just is a bit tougher, overall, fewer "creature comforts", etc.

However, in terms of the outlook of the companies, I don't think you can base it on that article comparing FedEx to UPS above. It's about a year old now and while it is true that a lot of analysts at that time were questioning the FedEx strategy, that situation has changed somewhat. Those issues were also reflected in the stock prices of the two companies at the time. A quick search of more recent articles will paint a much different picture, and that is also reflected in the current stock prices of the two companies...

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