If you’re interested in a warehouse center job, then a Lowe’s distribution center application can be a good place to start, if you live in the right area. The issue of location is important, as distribution centers are few in number. But let’s take a closer look.
Lucius Lowe was the founder of the chain, opening Lowe’s North Wilkesboro Hardware in 1921, in the state of North Carolina. The store remained local for the first 30 years, and only began to expand after Lucius Lowe departed the company in 1952, leaving Lowe’s in the hands of his partner Carl Buchan.
Lowe’s today ranks as the second-largest hardware chain, (after The Home Depot), both domestically and globally. Lowe’s is currently 43rd on the Fortune 500 list, with a quarter-million employees, and nearly 50 Billion US dollars in annual revenue.
Lowe’s Distribution Center Jobs
There are three requirements you must meet to work at a Lowe’s distribution center. You must be 18, you must be able to lift up to 70 pounds (32 kg), and you must pass their drug test and criminal background check. They also prefer that you have previous forklift experience, but this is not an absolute requirement.
Another thing to note is that a Lowe’s Regional Distribution Center works 24 hours a day, running three shifts of 8 hours each. You may be asked to work swing shift, (usually 4pm to midnight), or even graveyard, (midnight to 8am). Some Lowe’s RDC jobs are also weekend jobs, meaning that you work only Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.
The next issue is location. While Lowe’s has over 1700 retail stores in the USA, there are only 14 Regional Distribution Centers, which we shall refer to as RDC’s from here forward. The locations are –
- Mount Vernon, TX
- North Vernon, IN
- Statesville, NC
- Kissimmee, FL
- Minersville, PA
- Garysburg, NC
- Valdosta, GA
- Plainfield, CT
- Cheyenne, WY
- Lebanon, OR
- Perris, CA
- Rockford, IL
- Findley, OH
- Pittston, PA
You will quickly note that few of these names are familiar. This is because they are all in relatively undeveloped areas in proximity to large cities. For example, Perris, California is a podunk little town inland, where real estate values are low. Thus, Lowe’s could cheaply buy a huge tract of undeveloped land to build their distribution center, and because land values are low, annual property taxes are also low. But, Perris is located at a nexus of state and interstate highways, which allows the RDC there rapid access to Lowe’s retail stores in all of San Diego, Riverside, Los Angeles, Orange, and San Bernardino counties, an area with a total population of roughly 10 million people. In addition, Las Vegas is only about 200 miles up Interstate-215, and once north of Los Angeles, Interstate-5 leads to the rest of California. You will note that Perris CA, Lebanon OR, and Mount Vernon TX are the only RDC’s in the Western US.
This would be a good point for you to go and read the general article on Distribution Center Jobs, (provide link here when article is published), if you have not already done so. This is particularly needful with regards to Lowe’s, because they have that annoying habit of calling everyone a “Team Member” or “Distribution Associate”, rather than giving people job-specific titles. The general article describes the flow process in greater detail, but essentially it goes like this –
Unloader – You drive a forklift, and unload incoming trucks.
Receiver – You check-in the pallets as they are unloaded, by shooting them with an inventory “gun”.
Hauler – You drive a forklift, and haul the pallets to the warehouse after the Receiver checks them in.
Put-Away Driver – You drive a forklift in the warehouse. As the Hauler brings you pallets, you shoot them with an inventory gun, again, and then stow them on the pallet racks.
Replenishment Driver – You are the opposite of the Put-Away Driver. You take pallets out of the pallet racks, and place them in an area where they can be broken down.
Order Filler – When the Replenishment Driver brings you pallets of goods, you break them down and re-pallet them by store and department, as needed to fill orders from the retail stores.
Loader – As the orders are filled by the Order Filler, you load the pallets into outgoing trucks for delivery to retail locations.
Anonymous feedback from current and former Lowe’s employees shows a moderate level of employee satisfaction, comfortably above average, but nothing to get excited about. Similarly, 68% of those same current and former employees say they “approve of” CEO Robert A. Niblock. Note that this feedback is for Lowe’s overall, including retail, distribution center, and corporate jobs.
Getting That Lowe’s Distribution Center Job
The first thing to do is look at the list of 14 Regional Distribution Centers above, and see if you live near one. Assuming that you do, go have a look at the Lowe’s career site, (https://careers.lowes.com/). At the top of the page, you’ll see a blue bar menu with eight buttons. If you’re a college student or have recently been in the military, there are two buttons in the middle describing programs that may be of interest to you. Otherwise, the next to last button on the right, marked “Job Search” will take you to the advanced search page.
When you land there, the top left box is Category. Choose “All Distribution Jobs”. To the right is Date Posted, I suggest you leave that set to “All”. Lower left box, you select your State. The lower right box is meant to select your city, but that’s really only useful when looking for jobs in the retail stores. Given that there is only one RDC in a state, and given that they’re all in odd places, I suggest you choose all the cities listed. Do this by clicking the top one in the list, scrolling to the bottom, and clicking the last city in the list while holding down Shift.
You will find when you get your results that there are many different job posting titles, but when you actually click on the job listing and go to the detail page, it will always show a “Job Category” of Distribution Associate.
And now for a few useful bits and pieces about getting that Lowe’s distribution center job –
- Average wage for a Distribution Associate is $13.26 per hour, with reports varying from a low of $11 per hour to a high of $16 per hour.
- Applicants for hourly positions report a simple, single-interview hiring process.
- Applicants report that as much as a week may go by between applying online and being contacted for an interview.
- All applicants should expect to undergo a drug test and background check.
- Sample interview question – “Name a time when you and a co-worker had a project you were working on”.
- Sample interview question – “Tell me about a time you overcame an obstacle”.
- Sample interview question – “How much experience do you have with a gas-powered forklift? With an electric?”
- Sample interview question – “Can you lift 70 pounds repeatedly?”
- Sample interview question – “What does safety on the job mean to you?”
And there you have a quick look at what you need to know about filling out a Lowe’s Distribution Center application. If you live in the right area, and if you can handle the heavy lifting requirements, these jobs pay much better than working retail or flipping burgers.