What does a packer do?

As a packer, you are responsible for packing orders as they come in. Sometimes, this will involve picking items from stock and placing them into a box. This is why this role is often called a “picker/packer.” Other times, you will be dealing with large items or finished goods coming straight off an assembly line. Packers may fulfill shipping orders in warehouses or box manufactured items for storage. Packers need to box items in a manner that protects them from breakage or in a manner that preserves their current temperature. No matter the situation, it is important that you do your work carefully and thoroughly so that nothing arrives broken or damaged at its destination. 

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What is the average salary of a packer?

According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median hourly wage for a packer is $13.49, or $28, 050 annually. The highest-paid 10% earn more than $39,120, and the lowest-paid 10% earn less than $20,530. Packers receive a salary that is determined by the following factors. 

Employment type

A full-time packer expects to earn more than an individual hired on a part-time or hourly basis, even if the hourly wage is similar. This is because full-time employees receive benefits such as paid holidays and vacations that part-time workers do not receive.


The industry in which you work also influences your salary as a packer. If you work in an industry that pays high wages, then your chances of getting a larger salary are greater than if you worked in an industry that pays low wages. In-demand and seasonal packers may be eligible for hiring and production bonuses.


Individuals completing secondary education (high school diploma or GED) are more qualified for some packing jobs than those with no formal schooling. If the education demonstrates a higher technical ability than those without it, this may mean that you qualify for a more skilled job with a higher pay range.


The location in which you work impacts your salary. Packers' salaries vary from country to country and state to state. If you are working in an area where pay rates are high, your chances of earning a higher wage are better.

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Working as a packer

The packing and moving industry is a great way to earn extra money. It is also a great way to get into the logistics industry. There are many advantages to being a packer. You will get the chance to meet new people regularly, especially if you work for a moving company that makes both residential and commercial moves. You will learn important skills such as quickly adapting to changing environments, staying organized under pressure, and lifting objects properly. 

What are the responsibilities of a packer?

Packers are responsible for a variety of tasks. These responsibilities vary depending on your employer and the industry in which you work, but many duties are common. Packing operators prepare and package products according to specifications, label packages, and pack them onto pallets. You can expect to carry out many of these tasks daily:

  • Preparing packaging material – This includes securing and organizing boxes, bags, shrink wrap, foam, and other materials in preparation for packing activities.
  • Packaging stock items – You will spend most of your time using a packing machine to package products into boxes or bags.
  • Labeling stock items – You'll apply labels to each item as it's packed and then pass it onto the next production line stage.
  • Wrapping pallets – Once you've packed several items onto a pallet, you'll wrap them in protective plastic wrap so that you can safely transport them to their destination.
  • Inspection – Some employers require packers to inspect each product as they pack it to ensure they meet quality requirements before they leave the warehouse or factory floor.
  • Quality control – Reporting any discrepancies or damages to management

What type of equipment do packers use?

Packers use various tools and equipment to ensure clients receive goods undamaged and on time. These are some of the tools packers use:

  • Hand trucks – Packers use hand trucks to move boxes full of goods inside warehouses or loading docks.
  • Dollies – Packers also use dollies to move boxes around warehouses or loading docks. Dollies have handles with wheels, making them easier to maneuver than hand trucks.
  • Plastic wrap – Packers typically use plastic wrap to secure individual items in boxes or pallets so that they don't fall over during transit. 
  • Box cutters – Packers use box cutters for cutting packing tape and cardboard boxes.
  • Ice packs – If you are packing refrigerated or frozen items, ice packs are necessary to maintain the desired temperature of the items. Some ice packs, like dry ice, require special handling.
  • Packing tape dispenser – Packers often use packing tape dispensers to seal cardboard boxes after packing them with individual items or groups of items.
  • Forklift – If you are responsible for bringing palletized items to or from a warehouse as a part of the packing process, a forklift is your most common source of conveyance.
  • Label printer – This may be a handheld or office printer that provides labels for storage, moving, or shipping.

What is the work environment of a packer?

Packers work in factories and warehouses, often standing for long periods. Some companies require packers to wear uniforms while others do not. Workers exposed to hazardous chemicals while packing must wear protective clothing. Working conditions vary by employer but may involve the use of heavy machinery. Some packers work remotely. However, most employers require that workers be on-site at the factory or warehouse where packaging occurs. Remote work is more common when packers perform administrative tasks instead of working hands-on with packaging materials or machinery.

What is the work schedule of a packer?

A packer's schedule varies depending on their job type. For example, a packer who works in a warehouse will typically have regular hours during the week and some weekends. As a seasonal packer, you will work only during the holiday season or other busy sales periods. 

The hours of work also depend on a packer’s employer and position, with many jobs having employees work shifts that are assigned based on seniority. Some positions require long, irregular shifts covering late evenings, holidays, and weekends. Other positions have more regular schedules. Full-time workers work for 40 hours weekly.

Who are your colleagues as a packer?

Almost all packers work in teams, which means that you will likely be working closely with other employees hired as packers. There are a lot of other positions that you will be working with regularly. Some of your colleagues will include the following:

  • Supervisors – There is usually a supervisor over every packing job that makes sure people do their jobs correctly. Supervisors also make sure people are working safely and following safety guidelines.
  • Mechanics – Mechanics work on the machines used to pack the product, the conveyors used to move large-scale operations, and other machines that are involved in industrial packing. 
  • Cleaners and hygiene workers – Cleaners keep all areas of the plant clean and safe for all visitors. This is especially important in food processing and packaging.
  • Forklift operators – This may be a subset of packers who move pallets of finished products around the warehouse using forklifts.
  • Warehouse managers – As a packer, you will probably have regular contact with a warehouse manager. Managers will discuss things like safety measures, daily quotas, and other information you will need for your shift.

What is the career outlook for a packer?

The job outlook for a packer position is favorable. The need for qualified professionals to work in warehouses will continue to grow as e-commerce expands into more industries and geographical areas. Similar positions such as production workers show a growth potential of about 4% in the next decade. This growth rate is slower than average when compared to other careers. Advanced supply chain technology is being implemented instead of additional manual labor positions, especially in manufacturing plants, which is part of the reason for this slow growth.

What are the advantages of working with Spherion as a packer?

When you choose to work with Spherion, you'll enjoy advantages not available anywhere else. Do you want a job that offers the flexibility to work from home and spend more time with your family? Maybe you have a medical condition that prevents you from working in a standard office job. Spherion helps you find positions that use your skills and offer the flexibility you need. You have the chance to sign up for training opportunities to go beyond what you learned in school, plus a contact person who is always ready to answer any concerns or questions you have. 

At Spherion, you'll find a wide range of picker/packer positions in cities across the country as well as jobs close to home.

Working with Spherion has many advantages, including:

  • Weekly payments
  • Availability of training opportunities
  • A range of jobs in your area
  • A contact person you can always ask for help

What education do you need as a packer?

You need no formal education to be a packer. However, some employers require experience and completion of on-the-job training before allowing independent work. Most retailers will offer some form of on-the-job training to new employees. The training lasts from two hours to several weeks depending on the product that you will pack. Some healthcare facilities, such as hospitals and medical labs, require packers to endure additional training and certification before working independently. Also, you need to have some computer literacy. You will be using computer systems to record orders, track shipments, and generate bills of lading and other shipping documents, so you need to know how to navigate a computer or tablet interface.

Skills & competencies

To be successful as a packer, you will need to have physical strength, stamina, and the ability to work fast. Other skills and competencies required include:

  • The ability to stand for most of your shift
  • The ability to tally and keep accurate track of numbers
  • The ability to work well in a team and also independently
  • The ability to follow instructions so that you know what to pack in each box and carry out any other packing instructions from your supervisor
  • The ability to work unsupervised and with consistent speed and quality
  • The ability to pack items correctly so that they do not damage during transit


Packaging is an important part of the supply chain in the modern economy, and picker/packer jobs are in demand. We answer frequently asked questions about becoming a packer below.

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