6 mins

What Does 'Out for Delivery' Mean?

“Out for delivery” means that the delivery vehicle has left the closest distribution center and is now on its way to the destination address. Shipping starts when the delivery driver loads the items onto the truck at the distribution center or shipping facility. The delivery person will start their route once the truck is full.

A package that has been marked as “out for delivery” is almost at the end of its journey to its destination. Part of the last mile delivery phase is another name for this in the logistics world. Most of the time, delivery times are planned ahead of time, so customers can anticipate their items to arrive between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. Particular delivery times may change depending on traffic and weather.

How is “Out for Delivery” Performed?

A package usually gets to the “out for delivery” level on or near the date it is supposed to arrive. Generally, this status means that the package will be sent out that same day. The planned delivery date might be changed to the next day or another available day, however. This depends on things like the working hours of the local warehouse or distribution center, the driver’s workload, the need for a signature, and other factors.

Tracking data provided by the store or logistics company will show that the packages are out for delivery while they are at this point in their journey.

Shipping companies use monitoring status updates to ensure that the recipient and the person making the delivery are aware of any changes that may affect the package’s estimated arrival time.

The courier can leave a message with the choice to request a different delivery date or pick up the package at the closest pickup location, which could be a post office, locker, or store if a person was meant to get a package but fails to be there to sign for it.

In the Delivery Process, What does "Out for Delivery" Mean?

The delivery process can be broken down into three main steps for online fulfillment providers or stores that use the post office or a private shipping company:

  • Getting an order
  • Dealing with the order
  • Getting orders done

In the final phase of these three stages, packages are sent out to be delivered. For a clearer picture of the answer to the question “What does out for delivery mean?” let’s look at what happens at each stage, especially in the last mile.

Getting an Order

Once a customer submits an order for a physical good, the seller must swiftly verify the item’s availability in stock upon arrival of the order request.

There are numerous ways to confirm the availability of an item in supplies, including contacting the manufacturer or supplier, dealing with an outside logistics firm that handles orders shipped directly to the consumer, or viewing a warehouse.

This step should ideally be automated with the assistance of software that handles logistics for the highest speed and efficiency; doing so can enable businesses to offer customers more affordable delivery options and save money on shipping. 

Dealing with an Order

The seller can start working on the order as soon as they get it and confirm that the goods are in stock and ready to be ordered. In this case, information like the buyer’s contact information has to be checked. The status of the tracking data will now show that the request is being processed.

Getting Order Done

To deliver an order, it must first be packaged by the sender, sent out by the shipping company, and finally picked up by a driver. In each of these stages, the procedure for completing an order can be simplified down into smaller steps. The tracking information will show different status updates for shipments depending on where they are in the buyer’s delivery process.

Different shipping companies may use slightly different terms, but the list below shows the general order:

  • Sent out: When you first look at tracking information, a package is usually marked as “shipped.” This means that the package was picked up by a shipping company and put on a delivery vehicle. It could now be anywhere between where the shipment started and where it’s going.
  • On the way: When an item is being shipped, it is usually marked as “in transit.” In other words, it is moving from a single pickup point to another in its route. There may be more than one update with tracking information that shows various stops in the package’s route. Some of these updates may be incoming and outgoing scan updates, which happen when packages arrive and leave the facility. 
  • Out for Delivery: When a package in transit moves to the warehouse, fulfillment center, or store closest to its destination, it is put in a bin with other packages that will be delivered by a certain person. The things in the bag are scanned in as “out for delivery” and put on a truck to be delivered to their final destinations.

Order Fulfillment at the Last Mile

Many things can happen after a package is sent out for delivery, and some of them could cause the initial date of delivery to be changed. Some common situations are:

  • The delivery person or driver takes the package off the vehicle and delivers it properly the first time. At this point, the driver is likely to scan the package to let the delivery service, the shipper, and the person who received it know that the product has been delivered and is no longer present in their vehicle.
  • The driver fails to make the initial delivery attempt for a variety of reasons, including bad weather that makes it impossible to get to the location, not being able to get into a business on a non-business day, or not being able to get a sign or collect-on-delivery fee.
  • After a certain number of failed attempts to deliver, the driver will usually load the item back into the delivery truck or other vehicle and send it back to the shipping service and then to the sender. Different shipping companies have different rules about how many times the driver has to try or how long they have to wait before putting the package into the delivery vehicle.
  • A package may be marked as “out for delivery,” but it may get put on the wrong delivery truck. If the mistake isn’t caught right away, or the status isn’t changed right away, the tracking information will still show the original ETA, even though the package may not arrive until the next day or later.

What does “out for delivery” really mean? The package has arrived at a shipping transit point close to the recipient and has been put on a truck that is on its way to its final delivery destination. Most of the time, a package will make it later that same day after being marked as “out for delivery.”

But sometimes it can be late because of things like bad weather, not being able to get access, not being able to get a signature or pay the collect-on-delivery fees, or mistakes made while loading the truck.

Explore NextBillion.ai’s Last Mile Logistics Solutions.

In this Article

About Author

Rishabh is a freelance technical writer based in India. He is a technology enthusiast who loves working in the B2B tech space.


Most of the time, “Out for Delivery” means that the shipment is expected to arrive at its destination by the end of the delivery day. The exact time period may change, though, depending on things like the carrier’s delivery plan, where the recipient is in relation to the delivery route, and any delays that were not expected, like bad weather or heavy traffic.

The word “Shipped” means that the package has been sent from the sender’s place and is on its way to the recipient’s destination or a distribution center. While “Out for Delivery” indicates the delivery has left its distribution center or nearby depot and is on its way to the recipient’s address. It should be delivered that same day.

The word “Dispatched” means that the parcel is ready, labeled, and given to the shipping company to take from the sender’s area to a sorting or distribution center. On the other hand, “Out for Delivery” means that the item has been sorted and routed, is now on its way to the location of the recipient, and will be delivered soon, usually the same day.

No, “Preparing for delivery” usually means that the order is being processed and made ready to be sent. This could include labeling, packing, and setting up for the carrier to pick up the package. On the other hand, “Out for Delivery” means that the package has been processed, placed onto a delivery vehicle, and is on its way to the recipient’s address, where it will be delivered soon, usually the same day.

Carriers offer a service called “Inside Delivery,” which means they don’t just deliver the item to the recipient’s location but also bring it inside, past the front door or loading area. With this service, the package is often brought to a room or location chosen by the recipient, which is helpful for big or heavy items.

“In Delivery” and “Out for Delivery” are different in terms of when they are in the delivery process. At this point, “In Delivery” means that the parcel has been delivered to the recipient’s location and is now being handed over or accepted. On the other hand, “Out for Delivery” means that the delivery has left the warehouse or local station and is on its way to the recipient’s address, where it will be delivered soon, usually on the same day.

When an item or parcel is given to a shipping company to be taken from the sender’s place to the recipient’s address, this is called “dispatch time.” It starts the shipping process and is usually recorded when the packing slip is made and the package is ready to be picked up.