How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

Considering a new career in the trucking industry, you must know how much money you will create. It is the most important question to ask before taking it. After all, money does pay all the bills and will keep your trucking life along. Fortunately, drivers are lucky enough because of the ongoing shortage of truck drivers. It means there’s a chance for them to make more money in the truck driving industry.

So, how much do truck drivers make? It depends on many factors that will be explained in a more detailed way in this article.

The best thing about a professional truck driver is that they can explore countryside places and big cities while keeping the economy secure. Because of the usual trucking routes that take weeks to complete, truckers are able to appreciate the independence of a professional driving career. As per record from BLS or Bureau of Labor Statistics, there are almost 2 million trucking-driving jobs in the US for 2017.

If you are interested in joining the number of truckers that transported goods from coast to coast, the first thing to do is acquire your CDL or Commercial Driver’s License.

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make Per Mile

Lucky those careers with set salaries. With truck drivers, usually, they are paid through rate per mile they travel. It’s not about the long hours of work. But this rate may also depend on the driver’s experience, the company they’re driving for, and the region or location of where they drive. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, most trucking companies today pay their truck drivers between $0.28 and $0.42 per mile. Some trucking businesses can also pay more than that because of the increasing demand for licensed and class-A truck drivers.

A truck driver is expected to drive an average of 2500 to 3000 miles every week. When truck drivers get paid by the mile, the odometer is responsible to count the money for them as the miles go by. It is the easiest way to monitor or track the expected truck driver’s salary. These drivers being paid through miles traveled tend to create more money than those with fixed or hourly salary paid drivers.

Job truck driver has the opportunity to obtain bonuses as an addition to the regular pay they get. Salary for truck drivers may vary by location, trucking company, type of driving the drivers do, truck driver certification, years of experience, and the materials they haul. The big news is that a truck driver who is new in the business can find a competitive salary with great drivers earn incentives because of the high demand for jobs driving trucks.

Some professional driving trucks jobs are paid with a base salary, but most drivers earn their pay based on mile traveled agreement. It also depends on the truck driver’s experience, the trucking company or carrier, the type of trucking work, and the location. Generally, a truck driver will get paid by the mile more than those with a base salary.

Below are the things to consider when your job driving trucks are being

  • Most of the carrier companies today pay truck drivers between $.30 and $.40 per mile, according to BLS.
  • Every week, truck drivers approximately drive 2,000 to 3,000 miles. 
  • Due to the more robust demand for class A license drivers, they tend to get the best ‘per mile’ rate.
  • The ELD or Electronic Logging Device Congressional Mandate – Truck drivers who track their Hours of Service should do it electronically as of 2017.

How Much Do Truck Drivers Make Per Week

Truck drivers’ salary depends on a lot of factors. It includes the number of miles they drive every week and the rate per miles offered to them by trucking companies. Below are some facts to consider about the truck driver’s salary.t

  • On the lowest end, if they drive 2,000 miles/week for a $0.28 per mile rate, a truck driver would make $560 per week.
  • On the highest-end, if they drive 3,000 miles/week for a $0.40 per mile rate, a truck driver would make $1200 per week. 

Truck Drivers Earning Potential

Aside from the ‘miles per week’ salary, there are many other factors that added to the earning potentials truck drivers create. Below are some of them.

  • Type of Carrier and Driving: Professional truck drivers don’t limit themselves with one style of the job alone. They can perform in a dedicated team driving, specialized hauling, and others. If they can do all these, they are much valued by each carrier or driving company based on the current demand. The rate of carrier to carrier also varies with this type of driver’s position.
  • The Mileage: The longer the truck driving distance, the more chance of increasing their earnings. That’s why drivers are encouraged to accept assignments that need longer miles. Aside from it, they have an opportunity to get bonuses because of mileage milestones. If they drive more, the professional truck drivers can make extra-base payment.
  • Additional Bonuses: Each role or position in professional truck driving has its respective set of bonuses. The drivers are given rewards and incentives like signing with a particular carrier, achieving a mileage milestone, and referring other professional drivers to extra cash.
  • Years of Experience: Efforts do pay off! With lots of experience in the driving industry, you can build an excellent reputation to demonstrate your hard work and competency. Carriers and driving companies are more impressed with exceptional and professional drivers who can pay more for their effort and time. If you have years of experience as a driver, you can possibly negotiate at a higher rate, especially with miles per week ratings. Aside from that, you could earn more benefits packages too.

Truck Drivers Earning Bonuses

Truck drivers may also make money through several bonuses as an additional payment to their regular salary if they are a CDL-trained driver. Though carrier companies are different, they mostly offer bonuses as well. Below are some of them.

  • Monthly Mileage – There are trucking or carrier companies that pay extra to their drivers who triumph business thresholds for miles. Drivers can earn money for longer driving distances and extra cash because of driving with a specific company.
  • Sign-in Bonus – To attract new drivers, the competing trucking companies offer a sign-on bonus for truck drivers who choose their company. It can be a gradual or whole sum payment and may differ from each carrier.
  • The efficiency of Fuel – If you are a professional driver, you know how to use several fuel-saving practices. It will only prove the carrier company how cost-conscious driver you are. Most trucking carriers appreciate it and may reward you in return for cutting down on fuel expenses.
  • Safety Payment – If proven that you are a cautious truck driver, carriers tend to offer bonuses for safe driving practices, especially when out on highways. For most carriers, it means good business because you can safely drive a trailer, which can also save lives in general.
  • Layover Payment – Some carrier companies provide layover pay if the driver is being stalled in their deliveries. It’s one way of paying the truck drivers for the time lost while performing work.
  • Honest DOT Inspections – Department of Transportation or DOT Inspections are great for both the company and the driver. And most carriers tend to pay their drivers for a clean inspection done.

These earning potentials for a truck driver will depend on the chosen job or responsibility they decided. It may also differ from carrier to carrier, depending on each truck driver salary rate.

Which Trucker Jobs Pay Best

If you are serious about getting a good career in the trucking industry, the trucking jobs below are considered the highest paying out there.

  • Solo Driver: The average earnings for this job is $49,000-$59,000 during the first year.
  • Dedicated Driver: This driver works for a specific business like a department store. They move the company’s products or merchandise and earn around $65,000.
  • The Trainer: This is a professional driver who trained new truck drivers and could earn $80,000 every year.
  • Specialized Driver: This can be specified to different jobs like haul drivers that could earn $80,000 every year. Other responsibilities under this category include tank driving, hazmat driving, ice road trucking, and oversized load driving. Would you believe that an ice road trucking driver or owner operator can earn $250,000 per year? And this is considered as their part-time job only. All other specialized jobs involve a lot of risks, but the pay is fantastic and worth it.
  • Team Driver: This is one of the best opportunities in the trucking business. If you are a team driver, you can work with another driver. It allows you to take turns if you’re tired and rest. In this setup, you can cover a larger distance in just a short time. But both of you will receive the salary as total mileage and not only the part you drove. Team driver could earn from $100,000-$150,000 per year.
  • The Owner-Operator: It’s possible to run a trucking business with just you, a few drivers, and a massive fleet of your trucks. This role can give you $100,000 per year.

Though it’s possible to be an owner-operator of a trucking business, it takes a lot of risks. For truck driver beginners, it will cause them a startup hassle that might affect the operation of the company. Do not be tempted right away. You can gain experience first. You need to get all other opportunities as a driver before you can be a reliable one.

How much do truck drivers make starting off?

If you are planning to become a truck driver, you may be wondering about the potential income from the job in the first place. More importantly, you would want to know how much you can make initially. While the actual figures may vary according to where you work and the nature of the work, standard statistics show that a truck driver earns somewhere between $0.28 and $0.42 per mile.

These rates will increase if you have enough experience and certifications in the area. Because the trucking industry is growing, there is an increasing demand for top-of-the-class truck drivers. Based on the primary rates, you can earn a decent amount depending on how many miles you can ride every week. At least, you can expect to make around $560 per week, given that you can drive for 2,000 miles.

So How Much Do Truck Drivers Make?

So, how much truck driver makes? The answer varies with role, location, experience, and a lot of other factors. During the first year, you can earn an estimated $55,000 and more. In 2 years, you could make more than $80,000. Eventually, with years of experience, truck drivers can earn six figures.

With these possible salaries, it’s very tempting to join the trucking industry. A new career is waving at you. A truck driver can make a considerable amount of pay per year, depending on several factors explained above. The trucking industry continues to grow and becomes healthy, especially now with the explosion of online shopping. Yes, during the startup year, the truck driver’s salary might be less, but once they gain years of experience, they will earn a respectable amount from this job. Hopefully, it’s easy for you now to see and realize the benefits of entering the professional truck driving industry.

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